In part one of this series of posts on my experience of The Incredible Years parenting course I looked at the importance of play in helping children develop.

Here I am going to talk about praise. Sounds obvious to say that praise is so important for children. However, how good are we at it really?

Children need praise for a variety of reasons – it encourages them, it supports them, it provides positive reinforcement . . . it makes them feel good about what they have done and, more importantly, who they are.

The course gave some great tips on how to praise:

As a parent, make sure you catch children doing things right and praise them for it. Another important element for parents and children is the concept of giving praise to get praise.

However, it is the impact of praise on children’s overall emotional development which is critical. A child who is praised is building up what we called in the course their ’emotional piggy bank’ so that when it comes to disciplining the child is more resilient.

A child who hears negative comments has his or her emotional piggy bank depleted so that when a parent has to discipline that child they are not able to cope so easily with it.

And then there is the behaviour that parents model – the behaviour that children copy. Children need to see and hear their parents praise each other. I won’t go into the impact on children of parents who are mean to each otherĀ  . . .

The big take away for me, aside from the need to praise behaviour in a timely way, was that we need – parents, children, grandparents, all of us – to make sure we praise behaviours in others.

I don’t think this happens nearly enough and especially not in the workplace.