Better Kinds of Praise - parenting educator Dr. Rene Hackney describes the differences between evaluative and descriptive praise and the related impact on children.
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Host: Is there a better kind of praise? Rene Hackney: There is a better type of praise, it is called descriptive praise. Rather than being evaluative here, the parents are describing what the child did, giving them specific feedback. So, while evaluative was very vague, descriptive praise is specific. The parent is saying, You handed a block, you picked up your toys, you listened the first time. They are giving very specific feedback to the child telling them what it is they did, that way the child is better able to repeat at the next go around. It is not seen as being vague. It also gives ownership to the child rather than the parent saying, Oh, thank you so much. Oh, I really like that the parent is saying to that child, Wow, look how smart you are, look how good you made your friends feel. That was a really helpful thing to do. It is giving the child the ownership of that behavior, so they are more likely to repeat in the future. It also focuses on the intrinsic motivation. Rather than do something good because somebody will notice, it is do something good because it was the right thing to do. So, overtime you get a child who is building the intrinsic decision making, the intrinsic way of knowing what the right thing versus the wrong thing to do is in that situation. The descriptive praise, overtime, the child is learning specifically what behaviors are good as opposed to being left to wonder it.