Bloomfield Hills

A Teacher/Mom’s Perspective: The Importance of Sincere Praise

Apr 30, 2021

I was born to be a teacher. It's my gift that I'm able to share and I love working with children! So, I'm a bit of a nerd when it comes to researching what's best for children. While reading different articles about children's self-esteem, I came across some interesting studies. Of the two I'd like to highlight, one deals directly with children and the other deals with perceptions of who is responsible for fostering a child's self-esteem

The first study was from the University of Iowa where they studied statements that were made to two-year-olds. Shockingly, the average child hears 432 negative statement per day while only hearing 32 positive statements each day. That's a ratio of 27 negative statements for every two positive statements. While I don't have a degree in child psychology, I can tell you as an experienced teacher (and parent) for over two decades that this ratio is damaging to a child's self-esteem.

That being said, while praise and positive statements are important, they also need to be intentional. It's very important to praise a child correctly, because insincerity can have a detrimental effect. Extreme praise does the same. If a child doesn't sit up a little straighter when you give praise, take a look at the praise you gave – Was it insincere? Overdone? Did it compare the child to someone else? Did it applaud the child for something that was easy? If it falls into one of the previous categories, it's ineffective.

The second study is from self-esteem expert, Jack Canfield. He surveyed 1000 parents and 1000 teachers to ask who is responsible for the development of self-esteem, teachers or parents. The results were that 72% of parents said that teachers were responsible, while 78% of teachers said that parents were responsible. I'm including this study to build awareness, so rather than debate who really should be responsible, I'd like to focus on what we do at Best Brains Learning Center of Bloomfield Hills.

We believe it's important to build a child's self-esteem, so each child becomes self-confident. We also believe that children are more motivated to do well when they feel good about themselves and that this, in turn, builds persistence and grit. At Best Brains Learning Center of Bloomfield Hills, we give sincere, positive affirmations to our students. Not only is our praise sincere, but it is specific and focuses on a child's behavior, small accomplishments, and just being the wonderful human beings they are!