Hope For The Journey

Therapist Shares 5
Tips on How Praise
Can be A Powerful
Practice in

Being a parent has its fair share of challenges. Maybe you are wondering how to navigate with your child’s actions or behaviors. Or you may experience feeling the sensation of it being forced in trying to help your child or children feel supported despite your best efforts. The practice of praising your children can have unique and special benefits for your dynamic. With these simple tips you can start engaging with your child to help create a positive change in your child’s development.

The Experience of Praise


Before starting your practice of praising your child/children, I would like to invite you in an exercise of noticing how this feels in your own experience. Imagine your boss tells you how well you contribute to the job or your customers telling you how helpful you’ve been. Do you notice any sensations coming forward like feeling confident, appreciated, or recognized? Notice how positive those sensations feel in your body or how you feel emotionally.


When you notice how positive this experience can be, it is very similar to how a child feels when they are noticing their actions/behaviors having a positive impact. Children are like researchers and are constantly absorbing information as they learn through experience. It is important to remember the impact of positive feedback and how that can change your internal experience. Many of us can find at least one experience where we were maybe having an off day but one person’s praise or kindness was able to shift the experience entirely. Keep this in mind as you notice your child’s experiences from day to day.


Why Praise is Essential in Parenting


Children thrive on positive praise through a genuine and warm regard. A key factor in this practice is bringing mindfulness to your body language, tone, and how you engage with your child. When hearing words like, “I love you” or “I am so proud of you”, can cause a child to have a release of endorphins (happiness rush). This can help in increasing their sense of self, positive behaviors, the ability to manage or form healthy relationships, and problem solve. 


Your New Praising Phrase Toolbox

Here is a list of examples of how to start practicing praise:


  •  “I like the way you…”
  •  “I admired the way you…”
  • “Do you know how important you are to me?”
  • “I could really see how much you were trying.”
  • “I care so much about you.”
  • “I feel so proud of you when you…”
  • “You can really feel proud of yourself because ..”
  • “You are a real friend – look at how you…”
  • “I trust you to…”
  • “Congratulations on the way you…”
  • “Thank you for…”
  • “I can see how hard you worked on that – well done!”
  • “I can really see that you are improving”


Practicing Praise Tip #1: Notice & Praise The Small Victories 


It is common for parents to focus on the unwanted behaviors of their children rather than the good ones. A positive behavior can be as simple as them completing chores without any prompting, not arguing with their sibling, finishing their homework, etc. The goal is to practice praising your child’s good behaviors, even when they seem ordinary and expected. There are many factors that can go unnoticed so mindfully pull your attention away from the bad behavior and more into the good behavior to increase their sense of healthy actions/behaviors.



Practicing Praise Tip #2: Start With Something Small


Sometimes parents’ goals for their child might be too challenging for the child. It may be helpful to try with a small list of goals, so that you can become aware of your child’s strengths and areas for growth that will be easy to address and help support with. Additionally, it may be helpful to provide praise when you notice that your child has followed the house rules for 10-15 minutes, so that it can happen more naturally for your child. Rule of thumb is to focus on the steps towards achieving the goal, rather than the end goal itself.



Practicing Praise Tip #3: It Is All About Effort


As you know, there are many things that are in our control and out of our control. A good example of this, is your child may study for hours and they may not get the grade that they wanted. Providing praise about what is in your child’s control (studying), can help your child to identify what is in their control such as resiliency. This may help them to make better grades in the future. 



Practicing Praise Tip #4: Negative Attention


When a child does not get positive attention, they tend to settle for negative attention. If your child starts to display negative behaviors that are not dangerous or destructive, try to ignore it so that it decreases the behavior. After the negative behavior has stopped, wait a few minutes and begin to provide praise for something positive your child is doing, such as regulating themselves, so that it can increase the positive behavior.


Practicing Praise Tip #5: Practice Consistency 


Just like going to the gym one day will not build any muscle overnight, praising your child once will not instantly improve their behaviors. It is important to practice consistency, because it will help your child to build the behavior you are looking for and will help your child’s confidence, motivation, problem solving, and overall development.

Begin Therapy in Round Rock, TX and Austin, TX

Our team of caring therapists would be honored to support you in learning the skills to help you better cope with the issues you face. You deserve to feel hope again and prioritize yourself. To start therapy with Hope For the Journey, please follow these simple steps:

  1. Contact Hope for the Journey
  2. Meet with acaring therapist
  3. Start receiving the support you and your teen deserve.


Other Services Offered At Hope For The Journey

Depression treatment isn’t the only service we offer. Our team is happy to offer a number of services from our Round Rock, San Antonio, and Austin therapy offices. Mental health services include therapy for anxiety and depressiondomestic violencesexual assaultPTSD, and EMDR. Our team also provides support for family members of all ages with counseling for teens and young adultschildren and tweenscouplesmen, and parents/partners. Contact us today to learn more about our team and community involvement!

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