In Search of Praise

Have you ever forgotten to write a post because you wrote it in your head? Here is one of mine:

I’ve been appreciative of a co-worker who has helped me out in my new job. She gives me lots of tips and pointers, all in a kind and non-judgmental way.
One thing she said has stuck with me, “Praise them for everything.”
Then, another co-worker shared that we needed to lift one another just as much as the kiddos.

I grew up with parents and grandparents of a generation that believed praise would go to our heads and we would be vain. As a result, I’m not good at giving or receiving it. At least not verbally.

I have a child who would reply to praise, “You’re the Mom; you’re supposed to say that.” She never believed the praise. And I’ve slowly learned to say things like “I saw how you helped a teammate,” rather than just “good job!”

This same daughter took a “love language” quiz as a school assignment last week. Words of Affirmation is one of the “5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman, and she did not score high in that love language.
She told me how she always used to want praise or compliments from other people, but when she got them, it didn’t do anything for her. And so, I shared with her how acknowledging our achievements empowers, validates, and builds confidence faster. We don’t have to wait for external validation, which is only someone’s perception and not necessarily fact.

Getting back to praising the Kindergarteners, I get it; they need all the guidance they can get as they navigate their new world and learn what their teachers expect of them. The best parenting advice I ever received was, “Tell them what you want them to do, not what you don’t.

Praise is just positive feedback. It’s what you give when you catch someone doing the behavior you want to reinforce. And everyone wins when the goal is to do what is right.

Does praise come easy for you? Are you motivated extrinsically when someone else praises you or intrinsically when you acknowledge your accomplishments?

2 responses to “In Search of Praise”

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