Creative Child

Why Overpraise Sets Our Kids Up For Failure Not Success

by Deborah Song


3. Be specific. If the purpose of praise is to reinforce a positive behavior, then it’s important to be specific when telling our kids why we’re proud of them. Instead of saying, “Good job,” for example, try a comment like, “You worked so hard on this project,” “You were so focused during the game,” or “thank you for sharing.”

4. Ask questions to encourage introspection. Allow your child the space to decide for himself how he feels about his accomplishments. By asking questions like, “What did you enjoy most about your game?” or “What did you enjoy most about your performance?” your child can arrive at their own feelings of accomplishment.

5. Don’t say anything. If you really want to try something different, hold off on the praise, at least for a little while. When parents remain quiet, kids now have the ability to hear their own voice and become less dependent on your praise to feel good about himself.

Deborah Song is a Canadian-born, Los Angeles-based writer, who obtained her master's in journalism from New York University. She is the founder of, and is passionate about helping parents find better work-life balance and proper support through community.

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