Preschooler

"Did I draw nicely?", Something about praise ...


It will not surprise anyone to say that parents play an important role in building a child's self-esteem. What messages (verbal and non-verbal) a child receives from an adult influences the belief in how important, competent and valuable it is. That is why such a great role is attributed to the formulation of praise. Opinions on whether a child should be praised and how they have always been (and probably will be) divided. Some live in the belief that regardless of reality, the child should be repeated at every step that it is the smartest and the best in everything, others, according to the saying "Do not praise, do not praise, because you change your mind ..." say that you should not brag at all. Below I present a type of praise model that I met during my studies and which I had the opportunity to use when working with children. In my opinion, it is a perfect, structured recipe for safe, descriptive praise.

1. Describe what you see

... meaning name specific behaviors, refraining from the words "evaluators". A reference to the facts will show the child clearly what he is praised for. Global assessment, even using the most beautiful and lofty words, does not fulfill a very important role: it does not depict the child's specific competences. When a child shows us a freshly painted drawing, the natural reflex of most of us is to look for words that would unambiguously define our impressions, so when we look at the drawing we usually confirm it with a quick assessment "Beautiful!" It is worth trying a specific description of the child's behavior that we feel deserves praise.

Returning to the picture, try to describe what the child created and at the same time interested you: "I see that you drew a tree and colored each leaf on it separately!" When a child puts the toys back on the shelf, tell him what you saw: "Pawelek, I see that after playing you put your book back in its place. ABOUT! I also see that you put all the blocks in the box! "At the end of this count, according to natural habits, one of the words that would clearly show our assessment, e.g." Very nice! "Would fit perfectly - let's try to stop ourselves. So what next? How can a child know it's praise?

2. Describe how you feel

An ideal replacement for this very general and zero-one (showing that the child is behaving "nicely" or "not well") will be a description of how the child's behavior affects you. This is a very important stage of praise. It shows the child that his actions evoke specific emotions in you, teaches you to name emotional states and predict how what he will do will affect others. "I am very pleased when I look at your picture and see so many green leaves on the tree, they remind me of spring!" "It's nice to enter such a cleaned room."

It is possible that the child will ask for an unequivocal assessment, wanting to know if he is "polite" or "naughty" and whether the drawing is "pretty" or "not nice". In such a situation, one can be tempted by a fairly simple solution: ask the child what he or she thinks about it, emphasizing that his own feelings are very important here. Seeing the child's doubt about your reaction, you can repeat or name other words what positive emotions you experience in relation to his actions.

3. Summarize the praiseworthy behavior

It is very important here to emphasize that the child's behavior should be named, not its internal characteristics. The difference in these two forms of summary may seem very subtle and seemingly insignificant, however, they refer to completely different categories.

Saying, "But you are hardworking." we call some general internal trait, which is perceived as a relatively constant property and evidence that we should expect in each subsequent situation. Each of us, even at work, has often found ourselves in a situation where someone, praising us, has assigned us a specific feature based on a given event. Even if it is a positive label, so formulated can arouse a lot of negative feelings: anxiety ("Will I be able to confirm this self-image in the next situation?"), doubt in the credibility of the praiser ("If I was late for work and the boss calls me punctual today, can I believe the honesty of his words?" "), Denying my own competence (" It is impossible that I am athletic, since I am short of breath after 10 minutes of running. ").

Therefore, for example, when talking about a child's work on a picture in the following form: "This is called accuracy." Or "This is just ingenuity!" We point to the child's competence, which we infer from a particular situation - without burdening it with a general etiquette. Of course, it is necessary to distinguish between situations of talking about a child in the context of his skills and behaviors that are worth rewarding and moments in which we express our tenderness towards the child - without any scruples let us assure you that he is our most wonderful and beautiful treasure :)

Beware of traps!

Praise honestly - be authentic. Even if it might seem that the child's action was so arduous and clumsy that it is difficult to find something that you could honestly praise, take a good look - appreciate the effort and the smallest steps.

Point to the child's successes. The words: "I knew you could handle it", "I said that if you want you can do it.", Even if best intentioned, may partly take away the child's sense of influence on the achieved success.

What is all this for?

The most important goals for formulating praise in this form, along with quite obvious strengthening positive behavior, primarily building the child's autonomy and self-efficacy, which is directly related to what types of goals it will set in life and how it will deal with challenges. Naming specific behaviors is at the same time building a list of indisputable evidence of the existence of specific skills in the child's sense. Replacing the assessment with a description of one's own feelings towards the child's behavior and emphasizing the value of his or her own opinion favors building positive self-assessment, without being dependent on external assessment and the constant need to verify what others think.

Presented above three-step praise scheme it may sound unnatural at first, but it is worth going through the initial difficulties and see how we feel in this way of formulating positive information and how the child's reaction is related to it. It may seem that such a scheme requires building complex statements - in fact, even three short sentences are enough. To develop automatism in building praise in this form, I encourage you to try at every possible occasion and every relationship - being at work, talking to a friend or eating dinner prepared by her husband. :)