Adverse Affects of Praise on Children

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

While driving home from work the other day, we caught an interview with Po Bronson on NPR in which he was discussing his new book “NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children.” What Bronson claims is that contrary to popular belief, too much praise can be bad for children…

He explains, “Children today hear so much praise that they have decoded its real meaning…When kids fail and all we do is praise them, there’s a lot of duplicity in that, and kids begin to hear ‘Nothing matters to my parents more than me doing great or me being smart,’ and failure becomes almost a taboo subject.”

While everyone’s parenting is different, I agree with Po. The key is real acknowledgment and not hollow praise. When I look at one of my son’s painting, I don’t quickly rush to meet him with a generic, “IT’S GORGEOUS! GREAT JOB!” He can tell that I’m full of it and not taking time to really look at his hard work. Instead, I tell him what I see, “I see you used a lot of yellow and I see a car there and I can see how much effort you put into this!” It makes him appreciate that I’m actually paying attention to his work and not just giving empty praise.

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with Po’s view?

To listen to the complete interview and to read an excerpt, visit NPR’s Web site.