AirTalk for August 14, 2013

Do we praise our children too much?

Kim Strømstad/Flickr

What accomplishments are worthy of praise for your kids?

Early childhood experts are saying too much praise can have negative side effects. As KPCC’s reporter Deepa Fernades explained, when parents praise kids for talent or intelligence, they are making it harder for them to deal with life.

Carol Dweck, Stanford Psychology professor, recently did a study that looked into whether praise for children ages 1 and 3 impacted the child when they were aged 7 and 8. Dweck found negative impacts. She found that the praising actually harmed the child’s behavior for taking on challenging tasks. Researchers are not saying all praise is bad.

It is natural for parents to want to build their child’s self esteem. But research shows it is better to praise kids for their effort, and not just telling them they are great. Take our poll here and let us know if you agree with the research.

Do you think too much praise is bad for children? Can praise the wrong way impact their ability to face challenges? Do you agree with the research? What is the right way to encourage a child?

Guests:

Deepa Fernandes, KPCC’s Early Childhood Development Correspondent

Alfie Kohn, author of numerous books on education, parenting, and human behavior including “Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes” (Houghton Mifflin, 1993/1999) and “Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason” (Atria Books, 2005)


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