Raising Little Angels is a monthly post about the struggles, joys, confusions, and questions that come with parenting. The tongue-in-cheek title refers to the fact that parenting often feels like anything but an angelic endeavor. After all, we don’t want little angels; we want little saints!
I know some amazing parents (note this sentence! We’ll come back to it). My guess is that the overwhelming majority of parents who read this blog are pretty amazing parents. There is, however, some disagreement, even among amazing parents, on how and whether to praise children. Some parents praise everything their child does: “Talulah! You drank all your milk and ate all of your peas. You’re such a good girl. You’re so good at eating your dinner.” Other parents hold the belief that praising their child for behaviors that they should engage in anyway will create spoiled little monsters. Both praising styles are on to something–the each hold buds of truth. Proper praise motivates children, while the wrong kind of praise causes negative consequences and self-defeating behavior.. More pointedly:Praise is good, but the wrong kind of praise can be harmful. Research by Carol Dweck, a psychologist out of Stanford, helps shed some light on the praise problem.