Parents love complimenting their children, but specialists say there can be too much of a good thing. "Overpraising a child can get her hooked on success and celebration instead of being satisfied by her own accomplishment," Elizabeth Hartley-Brewer, author of "Praising Boys Well and Praising Girls Well," told parents.com.
Instead of praising every new or good thing your child does, try focusing on new or extra impressive accomplishments. They'll enjoy your praise even more and be able to recognize which achievements are really worthwhile.
Here are some compliments that follow three major kid compliment rules: 1) They focus on effort and not the outcome, 2) they encourage the child to rely on his or her approval and not yours, and 3) they focus on specific successes, not generic ones.
You should be so proud of how hard you played at the soccer game
Notice that this compliment points out that the child should feel proud and doesn't emphasize your approval. It also focuses on the effort your child made and not the outcome. You could pay this compliment whether your child's team won or lost the game, and you can customize it for nonathletic situations as well.
Your smile is contagious
Isn't the genuine, unaffected smile of a child so beautiful? Watching kids discover the beauty of life is a parent's greatest joy. Let them know you love to see them smile. So often as kids get older they get self-conscious about smiling, meaning they'll do it less if they don't have positive reinforcement when they're young.
I'm happy you're part of our family
Isn't it easy in the midst of the day-to-day grind to forget to be thankful for each member of your family? Take some time to notice what your kids contribute to your family and evaluate how involved you are in their lives. Is there more you can do to make sure they feel safe and loved?
You must feel so proud of yourself
Remind your kids occasionally that they should be proud of themselves when they complete a difficult task or assignment. While your approbation as a parent will always be important, they should realize that their feeling of value is worth even more.
You have such a great sense of humor
Kids say the darndest things and parents get front-row seats to some hilarious one-liners, though they often have to bite back their laughter. When your child is intentionally funny, let him know you enjoy laughing with him, tell him a joke back and enjoy many more laughs in the future.
I noticed you studied so hard for that math test
Notice again how the focus is on effort and not the outcome. Educationworld.com warns against fixed compliments like, "You're really good at math," because kids can feel pressured to always be smart or good. Doing poorly on a future test could make them feel like failures or discourage them from challenging themselves going forward.
I look forward to our conversations
Kids like to know you value what they say. How better to let them know than to tell them how much you enjoy talking to them? Show them you mean it by inviting their conversation even more in the future.
You shared with your brother so nicely
It would be easy to say something like, "You're so nice to your brother," but that wouldn't tell your child what she did to deserve that praise. Instead, being specific and pointing out what she did gives her the feedback she needs so she can replicate the right behavior in the future.
You light up every room you walk into
Is your son or daughter naturally happy, positive and fun to be around? Help your kids notice the effect their good (or bad) moods can have on others.
I have so many fun memories with you
Living through life's precious moments is fun, but reliving them with your kids can have even more value. Talk about past vacations, holidays, funny memories and feel that bond with your child grow stronger.
When you ___, you set a good example to those around you
Similar to the idea of telling your child exactly how she was nice to her sibling, you can help a child figure out what constitutes a good example by pointing out what he does that is worthy of exemplifying, such as when he helps a friend in need, does chores without being asked or studies hard in school. Stay specific in your compliments.
I appreciate it when you stand up for what you believe in
One of the toughest things a child might do is to stand up for a belief in the face of disapproval from his or her peers. At times like these, it's important for a parent to point out that even when others disagree with you, it's good and honorable to stand your ground on your beliefs. This skill will stand him or her in good stead in the future.
It may be especially hard when children are faced with bullying, violence, inappropriate online behavior, depression, and fear. You want to be able to stay in your child's life and know what makes them happy or sad.
Making sure your children make good choices in friends and in social media usage will impact their futures, as well. VISR is an app that allows you to monitor their online activity, helping you protect and empower your children whether they're on their phones or on the computer. Download VISR in the Apple Store or on Google Play to stay involved and make sure your child is happy and healthy.