Why does praising your child have such importance
Growing up as a young child I grew up in a beautiful area in the uk, surrounded by fantastic views, friendly people and never really missed out on opportunities; however I have always felt, even to this day, that something was missing. Lack of praise.
I was never a very confident child, although I was fearless, cheeky and always strived to be the best; and yet not once was I ever praised through school, and only occasionally from my mum and never (to this very day) from my farther. As I grew older I found myself become timid and worried about what others thought of me, and I began to think that I wasn’t good enough to put myself forward for things, and even began to lack the passion I once had for learning, almost giving up on even trying. I had had so many years of having no praise or even acknowledgement for my hard work and that I had completely shut off. I was never a “high achiever” at school, mainly because I am dyslexic, so found it very hard at times to keep up with the “high achievers”, however I would try my hardest and achieve what I could.
Around the age of 10 I noticed that my teachers would give me “special tasks” (like stacking chairs in the dining hall or re-stacking shelves in the library) to keep me out of the classroom instead of helping me or to prevent me from even trying as “this is too hard for you”, and there was a group of about five (which was half of our class, as my year only contained 10 students!) that were given “special tasks” to keep us out of the classroom.
It was only when I reached college at the age of 17 and started to get praise for the hard work I was doing. I had gone there with a open mind, a fresh start, and I hoped that things would improve and they did! The first piece of coursework I had completed, the teacher went through it with me while they marked it, so I could see where I could improve and which bits were great. My teacher had told me my work was GREAT! I was over the moon. I had grown up thinking I was “useless”, “unintelligent” and “simple-minded” due to teachers and family telling me that I was for so long, and I had began to believe it… However one teachers words had changed that, it brought all the passion and confidence I had once had for learning back. so I spent my two short years at college, pushing myself to do better on each piece of coursework, and in each practical assessment until I achieved the highest marks I could. At our graduation/prize giving day, I had managed to achieve both best student of the year and scholarship bursary in my chosen subject. I was thrilled. I just wanted to go and show all those people that put me down and called me “simple”, just what a “simple” person can achieve with a little praise and encouragement.
I went on to work as a Nanny and childminder after college. I loved every minute working with young children, toddlers and babies. They were able to bring me so much joy each day, and I was able to bring them joy by allowing them to learn in ways that were fun, exciting and yet controlled.
You very quickly learnt that each child is different, and they all learn differently; in spite of that fact each child reacts to praise in a very similar way, they smile! And normally say thank you in one way or another, whether it is as simple as a little smile, a hug or they will often make you something.
In my opinion there is a enormous amount of pressure on children of today to be the best and achieve the highest grades, get the best jobs or if you cant get those, just reveal your whole body on television/social media and you can become a reality star earning millions each month.
If teachers in schools took the time to assess how each child learns and try to devise different ways to teach them (like teaching maths through weighing our ingredients whilst cooking, or learning calculations through playing ball games), then praising and acknowledging their hard work and progress, whether that is does by a smile and thumbs up, well done or sticker charts; and a achievement can be as simple as remembering to bring a book in, tying their own shoe laces or saying thank you. We will have children that strive to be the best and enjoy what they do in life and they may actually begin to enjoy school and want to go, rather than the tantrums and tears before and after each difficult day of being put down and hard work that five years ago would have been taught to children 3 years older than them!
I am not saying we should mollycoddle our children or praise them for bad behaviour, however we must remember how we ourselves feel when someone praises us, acknowledges how well we look, or admires something we have made. Surely don’t we we want our children to feel like that as much as possible everyday?
I know I do