Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Encouragement vs. Praise

Tuesdays are the days I go to a fabulous parenting class- or something I like to think of as "Mommies anonymous." While there are a few (maybe two) men in the class- the majority of this class is women. Women with young children, women with grown up children, women with a plethora of children, and women in the back holding their new little born babies. All women in different stages of life but with SIMILAR "issues" revolving around parenting. Guilt, worry, frustrations, surprises, trials, etc. seem to be brought up by many every class.  It must be a requirement of motherhood to feel these feelings.

Last week we discussed Encouragement vs. Praise. 
Aren't the same thing you ask? 
Well, actually nope- totally different.  
Here's how. 

Praise is only temporary 
Encouragement is long lasting internal 

Praise:  is product oriented- "to do"
Encouragement: is internally oriented- "to be"

Praise: uses Superlatives like "most beautiful", "best", "prettiest"
Encouragement: refrains from using superlatives

Praise: creates winners and losers in a situation
Encouragement: creates a win-win

Praise: uses general compliment such as "good job"
Encouragement: uses specific compliments: " I love the way you worked so hard..."

Praise: is about the end product and therefore accomplishments are indication of self-worth
Encouragement: accomplishments are separate of self-worth

Praise: "You are the greatest wife in the world" 
Encouragement: "you worked so hard at.... I believe in you."

Praise: "You are the best."
Encouragement:  "I really appreciate...about you."

Praise: "You did a super beautiful job."
Encouragement: "I love your persistence at..."

This week I really made note of how often I found  myself praising. "Good boy" or "You are the best," kept creeping out of my mouth.  So rephrasing it to something like. "You really worked hard at putting that puzzle together" instead of "Good boy" was quite a challenge.

Get the idea?

The person that encourages:

-places value on the child as he/she is
-has faith in the child's ability
-recognizes a job well done and gives recognition for EFFORT
-recognizes and focuses on strengths and assets
-asks permission to give advice or help
-is SPECIFIC in giving compliments
-refrains from encouraging others as a way manipulate 


check out more of Carleen Tanner's Parenting class here.



  1. This is such a great idea! My friend and I have been talking about that recently. Praising hard work is really important rather than just praising ability.

  2. Thanks for the reminder on this one! Amazing how quick we revert back into standard parenting tactis. I wish I could take the class with you . . . And little man is about as handsome as a baby can get. Or should I say Toddler?

  3. SO easy to forget! He is growing up way too fast!