Tuesday, May 10, 2011

31 Days Closer to Your Kids: Praise Them

Shelly Final

I was watching “Access Hollywood” the other day (don’t judge) and a reporter was talking to an actress on a red carpet. The reporter praised the actress up and down—her hair was gorgeous, her nails were flawless (unlike mine), and where on earth did she get those shoes?

Except that wasn’t praise.

That was flattery, and there’s a difference.

I’ve known flattery. Maybe you have too. Flattery is insincere. Flattery is fake. Flattery makes my skin crawl.

But praise. True praise for something I’ve done or, better yet, some quality I might possess will stick with me for hours. Real praise will make me fly. (My love language is words of affirmation, after all.) Tell me what you like, what you reallyreally like about me, and I’ll be your BFF.

Forever, even!

Don’t we all like to be praised for who we are or for something we’ve done? Guess what—your kids like it too. In fact, your kids will really soar if you get into the habit of praising them. They might even want to be your BFF.

What if I praise her too much and she gets a big head? you might be thinking. Don’t worry about that. My guess is that most parents err on the side of too little praise (I know I do) and that our kids could hat sizes could stand a little filling out.

Here’s the thing, though. Our kids know when we’re being insincere. Our kids know when we’re not listening, right? They also know when we say something we don’t mean.

So find something praiseworthy in your child today. It’s there. Even if your child is having one of “those” days--look hard. Find something to praise and sing it out. Shout it from the rooftops if you have to. Tell your child what you reallyreally like about him.

And watch him soar.



  1. Again...great advice and I'm going to do this today.
    BTW, my love language is also words of affirmation. (Thanks for all of your "comment love"!)

  2. I like your differeniation between flattery and praise. I have a dear friend whose parents gave her so much positive talk growing Genup, that she was shocked when she went to college, that the whole world didn't think she was adorable, fun, special etc. Genuine authentic praise is better. Thanks, Shelly.

    Just one of the things I like about you is your generous spirit.
    (My words of affirmation for today.)


  3. Good advice.
    I try to never mentioned my kids being the best, the smartest ect, because they know it is not true.
    Instead I praise them for working hard, or being responsible.

  4. You make such a great point, Heather. Praise should be genuine.

  5. Hey girl--

    I just caught up on reading all the 31 Days posts that I'd missed over the past few days. What a great job you're doing, Shelly! And that's not flattery, my friend--that's praise. Because you ARE doing a great job. You're sharing insight and offering practical advice.

    So your love language is affirmation, huh? One more thing we have in common. We should have a club! :)

  6. I just found your 31 days -- I love it!! I'm on my way back to read some more now...

  7. Great topic and you relay it with grace and honesty - that's what I like about your writing.

    Love catching up on all the 'days'.