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There is nothing more important to children than encouragement. When we encourage a child we give them the necessary ingredient to live a happy life, a life filled with self-esteem and selfrespect. By encouraging a child we inoculate them with the strength to cope with life's ups and downs and the knowledge that they are creative and capable beings. It all sounds so simple doesn't it? Well, it is simple but only if we understand the difference between encouragement and praise. These two things are not at all alike and so often confused by parents that children become discouraged by praise. What is Praise? Praise is an evaluation of a product. The evaluation flows from the adult to the child. It is often quite arbitrary because it is the adult who wittingly or unwittingly sets the standard for what product will be praised and when the praise will be given. Tell a child they have done a brilliant job of something may sound lovely but it doesn't inform the child about what it is they did that was brilliant. For example, your child presents a book review and you say it is brilliant. Well, what was brilliant about it? Was it the spelling? The organisation? The content? The writing style? Any one of a combination of these things could have been brilliant. You see, praise does not inform. There is something else wrong with praise. It sets a standard that must be repeated in order for the adult to be proud of the child. If a successful exam results is praised the child may think they must always reach that standard to be praised again. Often the bar is set too high and children become discouraged because they can't reach it. Encouragement Encouragement is recognition of the effort put into completing a product. Even if the result is flawed or unsuccessful encouragement can be given. Encouragement is given freely, without regard for the product. If a child has studied and prepared but still fails a test the child can be encouraged for having prepared and informed about how to do better on the next attempt. Unlike praise, encouragement just acknowledges the effort put into completing a task by the child. An encouraged child is an empowered child. What if a child hasn't put effort into a task? Well, they can be asked if they prepared well enough, did they study enough. Then you can encourage by simply saying "I believe in you. I'm sure if you prepare next time and put a bit more effort into things you will be pleased with your results, now go ahead and try because I know you can." Encourage your child every day and the results may well surprise you.


David J. Carey, Psy.D. 297 Beechwood Court Stillorgan Dublin, Ireland http://www.davidjcarey.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Dr._David_Carey

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How to Raise A Happy Child