THE PRAISE PROBLEM
I do believe in positive reinforcement and showing kids we are proud of them and appreciate their behavior.
However, dishing out lavish reward and empty praises for expected behavior is where it goes overboard.
For example, participation trophies are a good example of the praise problem.
Everyone gets a trophy even if they missed three games and gave no effort.
My question is, does this represent the real world?
Are we really doing kids a favor by giving them something they did not earn?
I see that kids raised on a diet of rewards and praise for expected behavior struggle facing realities of life.
In a sport like baseball, it could be spending time on the bench, martial arts, it looks like testing for a belt or stripe and not getting it, or getting a “C” on a paper.
Kids and parents who are constantly praised for the minimum effort generally become resentful and angry at the instructor or coach.
Failing to see that if their child spent more time studying or practicing, it could have earned them a higher grade, belt, or game time.
The unfortunate part is that when this occurs, most parents let their child quit and blame the coach or instructor.
Letting kids experience the reality of life can be scary.
The truth is they will not get it right all the time.
They will fail and seeing this happen is not easy.
Think about the first time your child skinned their knee.
The first time they saw blood, feeling the pain, and hearing the panic in their voice was uncomfortable.
They might even hubble around for awhile and probably show it off.
What happens the 10th time?
It might hurt but is no big deal.
What I am saying is that kids who experience life failures, will naturally learn to bounce back, they will see failure as a challenge, understand consequences, learn what does not work and what does work.
I believe that a parents’ job is to prepare them for the reality of life, that life has many bumps and no one is immune to it.