The power of praise: A new study says it can have major benefits

Posted at 11:12 PM, Feb 13, 2019

ORLANDO, Fla. — ORLANDO, Fla. -- Everyone likes to be acknowledged when they do a good job. Now new research shows praising kids for the effort when they’re young can have major benefits later on.

Encouraging your kids is part of being a parent. But a new study shows there may be power in your praise!

Researchers looked at how parental praise during the toddler years affected kids when they were in fourth grade.

Results showed parents who praised their toddlers were more likely to have fourth graders with an incremental motivational framework, which means they believed intelligence could be improved with hard work. The study also found kids with an incremental motivational framework had high achievements in math and reading comprehension. This type of thinking leads to perseverance.

Experts say the best kind of praise is process praise. This means praising the effort instead of the person. For example, phrases like “I like how you tried” or “great catch” are better than “you’re so smart” or “good boy.”

Previous research has suggested that “person praise” – or simply praising a person and not an action – can be a bad thing.

But interestingly, this study found no connection between the amount of “person praise” and the child’s entity framework later on.

Produced by Child Trends News Service in partnership with Ivanhoe Broadcast News and funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.