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Children need to be seen, not praised

All a child needs is to be "seen"

By Fra TushaPublished 4 months ago 4 min read
Children need to be seen, not praised
Photo by Bence Halmosi on Unsplash

As parents, we are always pleased with every bit of progress our children make, and we are always ready to praise them.

But "praise" is not everything. Sometimes, what your child needs is not the same old, uninspired compliment, but your attention.

What they need is your attention. From now on, stop using the praise method casually and give them your attention and let them feel your gaze!

01. Children who are often praised are more worried about failure

Research on child-rearing has found that "praising" children is not always beneficial.

One researcher asked different children to solve math problems. After solving a set of simple problems, the researchers gave each one a sentence of feedback. For some children, they praised their intelligence: "Wow, you're so smart!"

And to other children pointing out their effort: "You just worked hard." Then the researchers gave the children a more difficult set of questions.

Children who were praised for their intelligence were more worried about failure, tended to complete less difficult tasks, had more difficulty persevering when they encountered difficulties, were easily agitated, and even showed a decrease in their self-esteem levels - praising his talent hit self-esteem.

At first glance, this sounds contrary to our intuition. But when we think about it, it fits well with our experience.

While praise is comforting, it is still a form of evaluation. It takes a person to a very high place and then concludes. This "conclusion" is scary. When we receive a compliment, we often fear that we are not worthy of it, which can add a lot of pressure to it.

mother and daughter

Out of that pressure, we are more willing to repeat the same work: if I did this is good, why take the risk to try more possibilities?

In more serious cases, we simply do nothing at all. "You all compliment me on how well I write, but I don't know how well? I'm afraid that if I write any more, I'll show my fears." We respond to praise by giving up.

If you say to a child, "Wow, that's a beautiful picture of you!" Or compliment a child for winning at chess: "You're the little chess king!" He will be very happy. But ask him to draw a picture or play another game, and he may hesitate.

02. Praise is worse than criticism

In life, people can't help but judge when they open their mouths. It seems not easy to speak in a "non-judgmental" way.

Evaluation is close to a defining expression. For it, you can only accept or not accept, but it is difficult to have a more extended exploration. If it's a realistic exchange, it's likely to cause a chill: you've already jumped to conclusions, so what are we talking about?

In this sense, it is even easier to end a conversation with praise than with criticism.

Criticism can at least be countered: you say I'm bad, and I disagree. But what about praise? The rebuttal is also inappropriate, but there is no room for further discussion to continue.

We are talking well, I suddenly came to a sentence: "I think everyone is very good, very good, very good." This will make the atmosphere of the scene cold. To continue to talk, only ignore this sentence.

03, learn "non-judgmental communication"

Non-evaluative communication focuses only on what is happening, not on abstract judgments, definitions, and praise and criticism of people

A non-evaluative teacher asks students, "What's going on when you don't do your homework a lot lately?"

An evaluative teacher, on the other hand, would say, "Why do you keep not doing your homework lately?"

The former is concerned with the course of an event, while the latter would simply be admonishing.

In this latter case, the teacher doesn't care about the reason. He only cares about characterizing the student, and in this case, he has done so by saying, "Admit it! You're just a bad student."

It was as if this was the subtext. One can smell the obvious rejection. If you are this kid, just bow your head and admit your guilt, nothing more needs to be said.

With the former expression, on the other hand, we get closer to the truth of the matter. Maybe this student is in some trouble, maybe he has recently had some new ideas, or he is using this behavior to convey a certain attitude, or whatever else is possible.

When we adopt a non-evaluative stance, we are creating space for this information to flow: "Go ahead, let me see it, I'm curious about these things you're going through." You don't need to justify it, just simply describe your experience, and that's what we're focusing on at this moment.

04. All the child needs is to be "seen"

By communicating without evaluation, we are doing one thing: describing the experience itself.

The description of the experience seems the simplest, but it is often the most powerful. The recognition and mutual acknowledgment of things are far more important than even the thoughtful "praise" given.


About the Creator

Fra Tusha

stay hungry, stay foolish.

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