Parenting Guide

Parenting Guide

Praise Authentically

How to Give Empowering Encouragement

“A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success.”


  • How to Make Praise More Effective

    As in almost every facet of parenting, there is considerable debate over how and when you should praise your child. An increasing body of research is showing that praise is most effective when it is: • specific. • authentic. • directed at something your child can control, like her effort and improvement. Praise is less…

  • Does Praise Build Self-Esteem?

    Of course, you want your child to feel good and succeed. However, you may not realize that over-praising can undermine the power of praise and strip it of its meaning. It can also turn your child into a “praise junkie,” relying on you or others for approval. Too much praise may even lead her to…

  • Key Research Findings to Keep in Mind

    When your child is praised for her efforts, she will keep trying new things and working hard to achieve her goals. • Praise your child in a realistic and loving manner. • Praise is most effective when it is very specific and focused on effort, perseverance, and practice. • Focusing on effort and improvement allows…

  • Give Empowering Encouragement

    • Three-year-old Amy just started swim lessons. While other children leap into the water, she has been cautious, often remaining on the pool steps, and is just starting to kick and move in the water. On the way home, her parent acknowledges Amy’s effort by saying, “You are trying so hard to get comfortable in…

  • Resources for Further Reading

    Gunderson, E. A., Gripshover, S. J., Romero, C., Dweck, C. S., Goldin-Meadow, S., & Levine, S. C. (2013). Parent praiseto 1- to 3-year-olds predicts children’s motivational frameworks 5 years later. Child development, 84, 1526-1541. Levine, M. (2006). The price of privilege: How parental pressure and material advantage are creating a generation of disconnected and…

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