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Praise for kids vital but only when due

Elizabeth Davies, with her children Holly, Caleb and Annika, says praise should be genuine.
Elizabeth Davies, with her children Holly, Caleb and Annika, says praise should be genuine.

AWARDING kids for just turning up or praising their intelligence whether they deserve it or not can actually have negative impacts on their development, according to new research.

Elizabeth Davies doesn't think there's such a thing as praising one's kids too much.

But it's important to make sure it's warranted and genuine, the Maryborough mum-of-four said.

New research has shown that false praise hinders children when taking on challenges.

In the United States, it was reported that children who were praised for their intelligence during one test would then choose an easy test over a difficult one to continue looking smart.

Ms Davies said it was necessary to provide feedback if the child performed badly.

Praising them when they were good, however, was equally important.

"The bad stuff is the stuff that sticks with them," she said.

She said giving children praise when it was warranted was vital.

But it was important not to go overboard and treat every accomplishment or activity like it was an act of genius.

"Don't go over the top," she said.

"If a kid draws a picture of a stick figure you can say that's nice or that's good.

"But some parents make a big deal about it."

Praising children for the effort they put into an exam rather than for their intelligence meant the kids were more likely to choose the more challenging exam, according to results from the US study.

Topics:  children praise research



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