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Can Praising Kids Be Bad?

Though it's clear that too little praise can be extremely damaging for a child, research indicates that praising kids too much can be damaging, too. Studies have shown that praising kids for their intelligence can actually make them less motivated at school, because they start to assume that everything should be easy for them to learn. Then, when confronted with things that are difficult for them to learn, they either become overwhelmed and give up or choose to study something easier.

More on praising kids:

  • The type of praise a child gets is important as well. Children older than age 7 are extremely sensitive to insincere praise, and if they receive a lot of it, they start discounting sincere praise as well as insincere praise.

  • Children who are over-praised or praised only for their intelligence also report being more willing to lie about their grades or cheat to get a good grade in order to keep up the appearance of being smart.

  • Praising kids for their effort, rather than for their intelligence, makes them more motivated to learn and even encourages them to choose to learn more difficult things.

Discussion Comments

By Krunchyman — On May 25, 2014

While praising kids can certainly be a good thing, I think that sometimes, we need to learn to give ourselves a pat on the back as well. After all, people aren't always going to be there to cheer us on, even if they would love to.

By Chmander — On May 24, 2014

Even though the article doesn't state this, another reason why you shouldn't praise kids too much because if you do, they could end up becoming too spoiled. In other words, they may feel that they'll be able to get away with anything, and that their parent(s) won't be too hard on them. Although this isn't always the case, it's definitely something to take into consideration.

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