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Parenting Tips

This section contains weekly parenting tips and strategies ranging from picky eaters to positive discipline!

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Praise or Encouragement?

In our parenting, we use praise all the time, right? Well, research has shown that, despite our good intentions, praise can create “approval junkies” instead of children with enhanced self-esteem.  Encouragement, on the other hand, seems builds to self confidence, risk taking and connection.


What is the difference between praise and encouragement?


Praise is the act of expressing approval or admiration.

It includes words or behaviour that give someone knowledge they have done well. The goal of praise is to reinforce accomplishment.

Encouragement is the act of offering support, comfort or hope.

It includes words and behaviours that give someone confidence to do something. The goal of encouragement is to inspire.

Praise is hard to apply to a “failure” because it is usually intended to express approval for an accomplishment. Encouragement, however, works for everything!

We do not need to eliminate praise from our parenting toolbox, but we can increase our use of encouragement and decrease how often we are praising our children and teens.


Here’s some tips…


Offer feedback that is specific and clear.

Try, “you are putting the dishes in the dishwasher so carefully”, rather than “Good work! See, you are so good at loading the dishwasher.”

Be sincere and honest.

Try, “your squiggly lines all over the page are so colourful” rather than “that is a beautiful drawing”.

Focus on effort more than outcome.

Try, “You worked so hard to build that tower” versus “wow, what a beautiful tower”.

Be curious about your child/teens’ experience.

Try, “It looks like you love wearing your hockey jersey. Do you feel good in it?” versus, “You look so handsome in your hockey jersey.”

Harness the power of YET.

Try, “I can see how discouraged you are because skating is so hard. You are just not there yet. What do you think would help you do a bit better?” rather than, “Ah, you are a good skater. Don’t worry.” Check out this video about the Power of Yet.

Want to learn more? Check out KW Counselling Services’ Winter 2020 Parenting Schedule. There is a seminar about praise and encouragement!


2 Responses to “Praise or Encouragement?”

  1. diane says:

    Thanks, Victoria. Your point is so true. We have all been taught that we need to praise kids when they succeed….but we are not taught what to say or do when they don’t succeed. I like the idea that encouragement inspires kids, regardless of the outcome!

  2. Victoria says:

    I love this. I grew up in a time family where praise was given seldom. I started my career as an wxe ece when we were told to constantly praise I love the new healthiest balance.

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