If you have been following me on my FB group, you will be aware of the #Mindful #Monday project (this is a project where we discuss about mindful, respectful parenting).
On the thread to day we are discussing “How to praise a child and come out of the “good job , good job” habit?”
We are all so used to saying “good job” to everything that the child does – He used potty – “Good Job”, he shared his toy- “Good job”, he drew a flower – “Good job”, he ate on his own – “good job”….and I understand how difficult it is to get out of this trap (I myself have been here).
So why we should Stop Saying “Good Job” to our Children?
1. By saying “good job” we are taking our children for granted. Very often we dont even look at what they are saying as we are so drowned in our own work. So more than often we are not being a good observer or listener as a parent when we are saying “good job”.
2. We hinder their growth mindset – We make them believe that they are already doing good (but we are not affirming it in a positive way). Children will soon start to avoid challenging tasks for the risk losing their status as “the smart kid.” They will slowly lack in intrinsic motivation and have a constant need for validation. So basically we will end up creating “praise junkies”.
3. It might distract the child in his important work (aka play).Imagine a 3 year old engrossed in painting and we suddenly shout out loud “Wow! Good job”…Chances are the child might lose interest in what he / she was doing.
4. It can undermine their independence. Eg a child who brushes his own teeth does not need a validation for it with a “good job” – there are several other ways of letting the child know how happy you are with him.
So what do we say / do instead? Well, I have created a quick 10 point inforgraphic for all of us 🙂 Of course you might need to tweak this as per your child , the context and the situations. But this is what works for us 🙂
Most points are self-explanatory , but I will just talk about point #8 – Nourishing empathy- e.g. Your child shared a toy with his friend. So instead of saying “good job” we can say ” Your friend looks so happy now that you gave her your doll”. So here we are emphasizing on how the other child is feeling. When we use positive social interactions instead of just a “good job” we are helping to nurture our child’s empathy skills.
Well it all is easier said than done, but one mantra that I try to follow that helps me to re-focus my words is : “Praising the process and not the person”. I would love to know what are the phrases that have worked for you <3