The Power of Praise

We’ve been reading  about the ability of praise to strengthen and build relationships in the book Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends. Sometimes I think that I’m learning more from that book than my children.

Children naturally long for their parent’s approval and we can greatly frustrate them by not giving it or by always having a standard that is too high for them to reach. High standards are good, but letting our children know how proud we are of them right where they are is an important and powerful tool to encourage them as they reach toward those standards.

Letting our children know that we are proud of them and telling them about the positive traits that God has given to them will encourage them to continue to work to please us. Praise has the power to help  build a better relationship and help you to gain the hearts of your children.  When this happens your children will go to amazing lengths to please you (and by God’s grace the Lord also). This makes life especially beautiful.

This week I left Kaitlin (13) at home to babysit some of the children while I ran errands. I came home to find that, during her free time,  she had moved all the furniture and mopped (on her hands and knees) the entryway and living room simply because she knows that her mommy loves sparkling clean floors.  Having your child’s heart is powerful. Praise is powerful.

If  our children don’t find approval and acceptance from us (or if they aren’t with us enough for our approval to matter), they will look and find it elsewhere and often the ‘elsewhere’ admires traits that God does not find admirable.

Being an encourager does not come naturally to me.  This is something that I’ve been working on since our children were all little.  I make  a conscious effort to encourage and praise my children often and to let them know how very proud I am of them. While I am still good at finding areas that need to be improved, I’m much better at praising my children for their strengths and telling them how thankful I am that God gave them to me.

So in case there are others like me to whom praise does not come naturally, I thought I’d share some of  my ideas and practical tips for becoming a better encourager.

Part 2: Practicing Praise

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18 Responses to The Power of Praise
  1. Tawnja
    March 15, 2011 | 8:11 am

    I sure need help in that area. Looking forward to the tips.


    amber Reply:

    me too!


  2. Celee
    March 15, 2011 | 8:59 am

    Thank you for the reminder! Yes, I need to work on praising my kids more and my husband, too. I remember reading somewhere once that we should praise our loved ones seven times more than we criticize them because of the imbalanced way in which most of us take criticism. I fail miserably at that, but do try to keep it in mind.

    Thank you for reminding me of the power of praise this morning.



  3. Katie
    March 15, 2011 | 9:32 am

    I love this! Thank you. I think its easy to forget that what they’re doing is great and that the higher standard will come, but the effort being made needs to be acknowledged and praised. Thank you for the reminder:)


  4. DeAnn
    March 15, 2011 | 10:31 am

    I’m reading Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends too! Once I read it, we’ll read it together as a family. My tip on praise is that it needs to be specific. Rather then nice job. Using Kimberly’s example, “You worked hard, the floors look great.” “I love how you noticed the floors and took care of cleaning them, thank you.” Specific praise helps children repeat the desired behavior.


  5. Cheryl @Treasures from a Shoebox
    March 15, 2011 | 11:11 am

    Thank you for sharing this. I am better at noticing faults than things to be praised. It’s a never-ending battle. But I’m trying. I look forward to the next post.


  6. Lollie
    March 15, 2011 | 11:19 am

    I just have to say I need those dresses for our renaissance unit celebration!! Where did you get them? Do you have a pattern? 🙂


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    We got those from Vision Forum for the girls for Christmas this year. Sense & Sensibility also offers period patterns.


  7. Kelli
    March 15, 2011 | 12:45 pm

    I’m reading that book right now too and feel like I’m learning so much and so much I wish I’d known a long time ago 🙂 Can’t wait to read your next post!


  8. Sarah @ Frugal Fun for Boys
    March 15, 2011 | 3:06 pm

    This is a great reminder – reading your post while my son (7) is outside planting seeds in pots all by himself. The patio is turning into a huge mess, but I need to praise him for his planting job well done and not focus on the mess. So hard to do sometimes, but the end result will be worth it!

    P.S. I have also enjoyed your posts about handling sibling conflict – very helpful!


  9. Bunny
    March 15, 2011 | 3:49 pm

    I wish I had done that when my children were small. Is it too late to start now? Kimberly I appreciate the way you help all of us, including me. Love ya!


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I think you did a great job and am especially grateful for all the time you spent homeschooling me. Thanks Mom, love you!


  10. Michelle
    March 15, 2011 | 4:51 pm

    With all little ones sometimes I feel more like a “nag” than an encourager. I really need to work on more praise. (But then I’ll analyze myself that I’m creating a “high self-esteem monster.”) 🙂


  11. Gabe
    March 15, 2011 | 6:03 pm

    We are reading that book too, and like you, I think I may be learning more than the kids. It seems God has been working on my heart as far as being a better encourager too. I’m looking forward to hearing what you are learning.


  12. Susan
    March 15, 2011 | 7:21 pm

    This is an area in which I could use a lot of help. A little Praise goes a long way but I must admit there is a huge shortage of it around here.


  13. leigh
    March 16, 2011 | 9:31 pm

    Oh just mentioned this last night to the hubby…one of the baseball coachs for our 6 yr old is so critical of these little ones….his voice is such a downer ..wonder how it can be brought to his attention that he needs to change his voice to be an encourager so the boys have fun and want to continue to learn.


  14. Mercy
    March 17, 2011 | 1:59 pm

    I would definitely be interested in some follow up posts about this.. I find it terribly difficult to give praise and encouragement. Sadly I find it easier to praise small children than to give a lot of praise and words of affirmation to my husband, who thrives on it. I will be looking into the book as well, since I have two daughters, 21 months and 3 months, who currently adore each other and I really want to keep it that way!


  15. Alexandra
    March 21, 2011 | 7:57 am

    Didn’t you love that Brothers & Sisters book? Our kids listened to me read it, mouths agape, lol. They’re four older children from Russia, and anything we can do to make them feel warm and fuzzy toward each other…. I think it’s working, praise the Lord…. 🙂


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