Overpraise Can Hurt More Than Help

mother, childJuiceBoxJungle beat me to the punch on Friday by posting this video segment about overpraising kids, as a response to the Big Kid Buzz story, "Do You Let Your Kids Win?"

I saw the vlog, it's really hilarious--but more than that, it goes deeper than just the issue of throwing a game for a child; it really asks us to think about the potential damage that overpraise can do to kids.


When children are met with constant praise for every single thing they do, it makes them somewhat "addicted" to praise. Overpraise creates the need for more praise--even when praise is unwarranted to begin with. So trophies just for showing up and cheering for every single art project just might be the wrong thing to do. No one wants a child who can't function unless everyone is patting him on the back. Also, children are not dummies; parents can quickly lose credibility with their kids for constantly cheering once a kid senses that no one else is.

One rule of thumb to go by is to ask yourself, how much effort did your child put in? Always be sure to reward the effort not the results! As children get older, extraordinary effort deserves big praise--but not much else.

Are you an overpraiser?

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