Comments on: The Curse of Praise http://www.designmom.com/2013/02/the-curse-of-praise/ The Intersection of Design & Motherhood Sun, 16 Mar 2014 02:20:17 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.1 By: Pepa http://www.designmom.com/2013/02/the-curse-of-praise/comment-page-1/#comment-799385 Pepa Sat, 30 Nov 2013 12:57:43 +0000 http://www.designmom.com/?p=31324#comment-799385 My parents praised me A LOT when I was a kid. I was pretty smart and, for the most part (I threw a fit when I got a B) I did really well in school until I was in sixth grade. Schoolwork started getting harder, and although I still passed, my grades weren’t great anymore. My mom started scoffing at me, and told me I was irresponsible and that I wasn’t trying hard enough, even though some work was genuinely difficult for me, and I couldn’t get a good grade when I legitimately tried to.
I was always the smartest, the prettiest, a genius. I couldn’t stand to see myself fail when I tried to do something, so I just retreated. It was too much of a blow for my self-esteem. I’m also overly critical about my appearance, because I have to keep being THE prettiest.
I know my parents meant well, but they raised me to be afraid of challenging myself.

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By: Jennifer http://www.designmom.com/2013/02/the-curse-of-praise/comment-page-1/#comment-441515 Jennifer Fri, 01 Mar 2013 19:30:45 +0000 http://www.designmom.com/?p=31324#comment-441515 You might want to read Alfie Kohns’ book “Punished by Rewards”. It’s an excellent read and has insightful information backed by research. I recommend it!

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By: Chrissi Richards http://www.designmom.com/2013/02/the-curse-of-praise/comment-page-1/#comment-440143 Chrissi Richards Fri, 22 Feb 2013 23:06:24 +0000 http://www.designmom.com/?p=31324#comment-440143 If only developing capable, hard-working, kind, honest, confident children (and Teens!!) were a matter of giving the Correct type of praise! :)
Great points in the article, I’ll definitely take some bits to add to my always trying to improve parenting skills.

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By: Rebecca http://www.designmom.com/2013/02/the-curse-of-praise/comment-page-1/#comment-439915 Rebecca Fri, 22 Feb 2013 06:14:45 +0000 http://www.designmom.com/?p=31324#comment-439915 Thank you for posting this. I have worked with children for over 10 years and completely agree with this study.
I can’t begin to describe the hundreds of times I’ve dealt with smart children that break down when learning a new concept because they don’t get it right away. Who freak out when they don’t get perfect scores. They race through problems and make simple mistakes because they’re over confident. They don’t try new sports because they can’t master it right away. They cry and throw fits during video games when it’s challenging.

Every single time I’ve met the parents and they’ve turned out to be well intentioned cheerleaders. Telling their child they are beautiful little snowflakes that are perfect.

Praise is important, necessary; but it needs to be constructive. Everyone needs to be ready for failure. Or maybe you want your kid to move back into the house when they can’t keep a job.

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By: Mrs. LIAYF http://www.designmom.com/2013/02/the-curse-of-praise/comment-page-1/#comment-439231 Mrs. LIAYF Thu, 21 Feb 2013 05:17:20 +0000 http://www.designmom.com/?p=31324#comment-439231 When I was young, I was never praised by my mother. She had a very unloving mother and unhappy childhood, so wasn’t very good at nurturing her own children. I never thought I was good at anything she thought was important. In contrast, I was often praised by teachers and mentors. I credit those individuals with my current happiness in my career (as a judge), as I never thought about going to college until a high-school calculus teacher mentioned that I might give it a go.

When it comes to my own 5 year old son, he is definitely bright, inquisitive, creative and kind (his teachers tell us this also). However, rather than tell him he is “smart,” my husband and I comment on how hard he works and how proud he should be that he accomplished something difficult – from learning to read to climbing a (albiet small) mountain all on his own carrying his own pack. We also comment when he is especially kind and thoughtful to his friends and his little sister. And, when he says something is “too hard,” we respond “yes, it’s hard, but it’s not too hard. If you keep trying and learning, you can do it.” Just a few months ago he told me “Mom, I’m glad that I’m a person who never, ever gives up, even when things are hard.” I was so proud!!

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By: Anne http://www.designmom.com/2013/02/the-curse-of-praise/comment-page-1/#comment-439217 Anne Thu, 21 Feb 2013 01:53:24 +0000 http://www.designmom.com/?p=31324#comment-439217 There’s a great quote from Anne Frank that I thought about after I read this article:
“Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths,
but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.”

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By: Design Mom http://www.designmom.com/2013/02/the-curse-of-praise/comment-page-1/#comment-439185 Design Mom Wed, 20 Feb 2013 21:12:20 +0000 http://www.designmom.com/?p=31324#comment-439185 The comments on this post have me riveted! They have me sorting through childhood memories to see if I can identify how I was praised. I’m fascinated!

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By: Wendy http://www.designmom.com/2013/02/the-curse-of-praise/comment-page-1/#comment-439084 Wendy Wed, 20 Feb 2013 15:26:54 +0000 http://www.designmom.com/?p=31324#comment-439084 20/20 did a news story on this topic years ago. They spoke directly to this topic, finding that children try harder when the correct kind of praise is given them. One interesting thing the study cited was that the people in society with the highest “self esteem” were prisoners/criminals. They tested this group and found them to be over the moon with general praise for themselves.

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By: Carol F. http://www.designmom.com/2013/02/the-curse-of-praise/comment-page-1/#comment-439041 Carol F. Wed, 20 Feb 2013 03:05:03 +0000 http://www.designmom.com/?p=31324#comment-439041 Nicely said, Amy.

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By: Dee http://www.designmom.com/2013/02/the-curse-of-praise/comment-page-1/#comment-439040 Dee Wed, 20 Feb 2013 02:59:10 +0000 http://www.designmom.com/?p=31324#comment-439040 I think the pendulum of praise swings with the times. My parents were not regularly praised because they were raised to be modest and telling your children how great they were could lead to raising an adult who was full of himself. When I was growing up my parents, (my mom especially) praised me and made me feel like I was the greatest! Yes, I believed it too! Later when we all grew up my cousins made the comment to my mom that they wished their own mother would have praised them more, and made them feel great. We praise our own sons because we do think they are pretty amazing. One son takes it all in and the other one could care less what we think. I do believe that praise should be genuine and helpful.
I was a reading specialist and I heard EVERY mother come into Kindergarten testing and say that their child was “gifted”. So basically we ALL think our kids are exceptional! They will grow up and learn their limits soon enough.

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By: Grace http://www.designmom.com/2013/02/the-curse-of-praise/comment-page-1/#comment-439025 Grace Wed, 20 Feb 2013 00:27:29 +0000 http://www.designmom.com/?p=31324#comment-439025 Growing up, my mom was both praiseworthy and critical. My mom praised my strengths and helped me with my weaknesses. My dad, on the other hand, had this mentality of not pushing me too much, I’d figure it out on my own. But I have to say, more than my parents, my peers are why failure is not an option. My best friends are geniuses, my BFF is a Calculus guru and everything always seemed to come so easy to her. Both her parents were teachers, but I honestly think she’s just one of those natural smarties. My peers always grouped me with the “smart people.” In all of my classes it was automatically assumed I knew everything and anything and when I didn’t, people literally thought I was lying about not knowing! It really made me so insecure with my abilities; I think a study of peer pressure in education would be interesting.

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By: Azure http://www.designmom.com/2013/02/the-curse-of-praise/comment-page-1/#comment-439017 Azure Tue, 19 Feb 2013 23:10:51 +0000 http://www.designmom.com/?p=31324#comment-439017 Just this morning, my 9 year old whined that I said “good” in a flat tone when she came to tell me she had gotten dressed. I asked her what I was supposed to say. She said I’m supposed to say “Good job!!” in a really happy voice. I don’t want to be a hard ass mom, but aren’t you expected to get dressed by yourself when you’re 9?

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By: Maike http://www.designmom.com/2013/02/the-curse-of-praise/comment-page-1/#comment-439016 Maike Tue, 19 Feb 2013 22:38:50 +0000 http://www.designmom.com/?p=31324#comment-439016 Many thanks for this post. It’s an eye-opener in so many ways. I was always wondering why I started as a really smart student and ended up equally smart but not very daring or confident or succesful. Maybe I can handle it a bit differently with my daughter. Although I think I already intuitively did. I am a real believer in hard work and that it is the number one confidence booster so I always try to encourage her to work hard if she wants something. As much as telling her that I love her for everything she is.

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By: Amy Hackworth http://www.designmom.com/2013/02/the-curse-of-praise/comment-page-1/#comment-438993 Amy Hackworth Tue, 19 Feb 2013 19:58:15 +0000 http://www.designmom.com/?p=31324#comment-438993 Heidi, thanks for the book recommendation! I’d love to read more.

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By: Amy Hackworth http://www.designmom.com/2013/02/the-curse-of-praise/comment-page-1/#comment-438992 Amy Hackworth Tue, 19 Feb 2013 19:57:33 +0000 http://www.designmom.com/?p=31324#comment-438992 Another example would be (from the Stanford article), “Good throw” instead or “You’re a good basketball player.” I’m working on praising my boys’ hard work on their Lego creations and their creativity in specific structures they’ve made and the effort they put into making them. I think the heart of celebrating your children is still there, it’s just saying it a little differently.

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By: Wednesday: Newsy Snacks For Busy People | justb. http://www.designmom.com/2013/02/the-curse-of-praise/comment-page-1/#comment-438977 Wednesday: Newsy Snacks For Busy People | justb. Tue, 19 Feb 2013 19:01:15 +0000 http://www.designmom.com/?p=31324#comment-438977 [...] of the Day: Indoors/Outdoors - above -  (found via Simply [...]

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By: hyzen http://www.designmom.com/2013/02/the-curse-of-praise/comment-page-1/#comment-438964 hyzen Tue, 19 Feb 2013 18:09:13 +0000 http://www.designmom.com/?p=31324#comment-438964 Amy, in the linked study, this is the example of person vs. process praise they used after the 5th Grade test subjects finished a test:

Person praise: “After this first set, we praised one-third of
the children for their intelligence. They were told: ‘Wow, you got x number correct. That’s a really good score. You must be smart at this.’”

Process praise: “One-third of the children were also told that they got a very good score, but they were praised for their effort: ‘You must have worked really hard.’”

As a person who received a lot of the first kind of praise as a kid, I can tell you that hearing the second type of praise would almost have felt like an insult. I would have thought only people who weren’t naturally smart/talented/whatever would have to work hard to get a good result. I was often praised by being told, “You’re so smart, things come easy to you, you’re a natural, etc.” The flip side of that coin is that, if you do have to work hard to succeed at something, you must not be so smart after all. And if you work hard and fail anyway, you must really be pretty dumb. So it’s better not to try at all than to try hard and fail. And that way of thinking is not a recipe for the greatest possible personal success or happiness.

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By: Amy http://www.designmom.com/2013/02/the-curse-of-praise/comment-page-1/#comment-438959 Amy Tue, 19 Feb 2013 17:33:47 +0000 http://www.designmom.com/?p=31324#comment-438959 I thought about this some more.

I grew up receiving more criticism than praise, as I’m sure a lot of other people were. It is definitely something that has had negative repercussions into my adult life. So I welcome any type of praise I get now. I take it to heart when I am person praised and people tell me I’m a good mom. I’m sure there are kids who really need to hear that he/she is great. Maybe it depends more on the context and not necessarily the words being said? Like if you only tell your child he/she is great after they do something positive, then I can understand how they could have a fear of failure. But is that fear of failure worse than having a fear of not being loved because their parents were afraid of praising him/her incorrectly or just withheld affection? I don’t know. Different things are harder for different people.

No matter what, all parents do something that could eventually be brought up in a counselor’s or therapist’s office because we are imperfect people raising imperfect beings. I think what’s most important is that we all do what we feel is best for our own families and try not to judge other families for doing what they feel is best for them.

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By: Amy http://www.designmom.com/2013/02/the-curse-of-praise/comment-page-1/#comment-438952 Amy Tue, 19 Feb 2013 16:45:07 +0000 http://www.designmom.com/?p=31324#comment-438952 I think that this is interesting topic, and I’ve heard it brought up before. I guess I still don’t understand the difference between person praise and process praise, though. In every discussion, I’ve heard examples of person praise, but I was wondering if anyone had examples of process praise. I think including real life examples of process praise when discussing this topic would really help clarify misconceptions about it.

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By: Nikki http://www.designmom.com/2013/02/the-curse-of-praise/comment-page-1/#comment-438951 Nikki Tue, 19 Feb 2013 16:44:00 +0000 http://www.designmom.com/?p=31324#comment-438951 We have often talked about how we praise, or compliment our children. My husband and I were particularly concerned about what we say to our daughter. So often we found ourselves telling her she was pretty. When my husband told her one day that she was smart her response was “Why? Because I picked a pretty outfit?” She was only four or five at the time, and we were thrown back.

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