How to Praise Your Child

Could the praise you give your child be hurting him?
Self -Worth Analyst, Karen Eddington, says parents need to choose their
words carefully. She has the words to build your child’s self esteem, not
his ego.

We can break down praise into three general categories:

Worth Statements: Comments that reflect unconditional love and
value. A child does not have to do anything to earn this praise. They
should know that they are a person of worth just because they are a
person. You can never, never, never use too many worth statements with a
child. “You are amazing.”

Purpose Statements: Praise that revolves around skills or ability.
Children need to develop a sense of purpose and they will need
encouragement as they develop their talents, however these statements
often provide a sense of conditional worth. If they are only hearing
purpose statements the child may feel as if their worth depends upon
performance. Purpose statements should be used with care and
awareness. They should be used in conjunction with worth statements to
reiterate that there are no conditions to being valued as a person. “Great
job scoring 100% on your math test.”

Comparison Statements: Expressions that gauge, rate, or
compare. These statements often put the child above, below, or alongside
another person. These statements should be used sparingly and parents
should be aware of the difference between a good comparison and a bad

Good Examples: “You are the smartest person in the entire 10th
grade.” May be used sparingly as too many can result in a feeling of
entitlement. As a parent, your child should feel like you are their biggest

Bad Examples: “You are prettier than Emily.” Any statement that
creates a hurtful hierarchy should not be used. Though you may have good
intentions on helping your daughter feel pretty, these statements actually
create an insecure child.

You don’t need to be an expert to be a good parent; you simply need to
know how to express unconditional love.

You don’t need to be an expert to be a good parent; you simply need to
know how to express love.

Bonus Online Resources: See more examples

Examples of Worth Statements: When using worth statements
watch for times your child makes a difference in your life and the life of
others. Remember not to place any conditions on them

You rock
You are awesome
I love your smile
You are great
I’m grateful for you
You make our family so fun
You have beautiful eyes
You are loved
You are fabulous
I love you always and forever no matter what

Examples of Purpose Statements: Look for ways your child’s
talents and traits influence, inspire, or make a difference.

You are great at playing the piano, your music helps calm me down
You are great at making friends
I love watching you play basketball, your team really benefitted from
Thank you for making breadsticks, they are delicious
You are good at math
You so talented at____________
You are beautiful ***(note: Appearance based worth should be treated like
performance based worth.
This is placed in the purpose statement category because it should be used
with awareness and will be best absorbed by the child when used in
conjunction with worth statements- their worth should not be conditional
on being beautiful)

Examples of Good Comparison Statements: Find ways to
communicate that you are your child’s biggest fan. Use with caution. Kids
need to hear how valued they are but remember that putting yourself above
or below another person can lead to arrogance or inadequacy. In addition,
too many comparison statements can also lead to entitlement. Using an
extreme comparison (like comparing their knowledge to Albert Einstein
instead of the child next door) can help them from feeling in competition
with their peers.

You are the most amazing basketball player I have ever met
You are the smartest person in the entire 10th grade
You’re the best
I’m the luckiest mom in the whole world
You are smarter than Albert Einstein
You are the most talented dancer I have ever met
You’re the coolest person in the world

For more help Karen will be sharing a free class for teens at the Davis
County Library Central Branch on Saturday April 28th at 2:00pm.

Davis County Central Branch Library
155 N Wasatch
Layton UT 84041
For more information you can call the library at 801-547-0729.

Karen Eddington is a Self-Worth Analyst and has spent over ten years
researching women and teens. She is the author of Today, I Live and directs
many community outreach programs on self-esteem. Worth, Purpose, and
Comparison Statements are part of the Pivotal Parenting Programs created
by Karen and Cory Eddington, LMFT. For more information you can go to

Add comment