What's The Buzz?

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

BUZZ TERM: The "Praise Paradox"

WHAT IT MEANS: The "Praise Paradox" refers to the gap between what parents sometimes think will help their child versus what has actually proven to be helpful. We praise children by saying "you're so smart" and "good job!" with the belief that this positive feedback will provide them with confidence when they encounter challenges. Instead, as growing evidence reveals, constant praise often causes children to respond less courageously to challenges and to give up more easily. The child eventually learns to want praise more than a sense of accomplishment, losing the pleasure of a "job well done." Some experts think that a better method is to have a dialogue about the choices involved with an achievement: "How did you know what color to make the feathers?" or "I see you put a lot of feathers on that chicken," instead of "good job!"

WHERE IT COMES FROM: Columbia University's Dr. Carol Dweck, author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, and Alfie Kohn's books Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishment to Love and Reason and Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes.