Imagine that you’re sitting in a coffee shop enjoying your drink and reading the paper when someone taps you on the shoulder. “Your jacket is beautiful,” the stranger says. “The color really complements your eyes.” You say thank you and return to reading. The whole exchange lasts less than 30 seconds, but it leaves you feeling uplifted. That feeling will tag along the entire day.
Compliments are tools that have a two-way effect. By becoming good at it, you get to enhance both your and others’ well-being. When you compliment someone, it shows that you choose to see and recognize the good in them regardless of all the flaws. It’s an expression of your inner positivity. On the other side, compliments work as a ‘mirror effect’ – a person usually perceives himself through the eyes of others. They will look at themselves the way others see them, and compliments make them see and appreciate the good.
Secondly, compliments derive from taking notice of praiseworthy situations and efforts. So, they are a mark of awareness and consciousness. We need to cultivate awareness of the good developments that are all around us.
WHY IS COMPLIMENTING A SKILL?
Skills need to be required, and not everyone has the ability to practice them. Praising has a similar case, how many people genuinely find a praiseworthy trait in others instantly? And when we fail to see that trait, our compliments are deprived of being genuine. So, finding that true trait needs skills.
Secondly, ingenuine compliments are also those that are out of context. A child might not feel motivated if you compliment their appearance when they just gave a presentation. Being mindful of the relevance is thus vital.
ARE COMPLIMENTS THAT NECESSARY?
Compliments create a positive sense and environment among all, and mainly it provides us with our essential needs
The two of our most important needs
1- The need to feel important
2- The need to be loved.
Both needs are fulfilled when we receive compliments and negligence might cause a low self-esteem. The same is important for a child’s mental and educational development. Praise nurtures a child’s confidence and sense of well-being.
Praise is a means to show your child how to think and talk positively about themselves. Each compliment helps your child learn how to recognize when they do well and feel proud of themselves.
There are several ways to praise and compliment a child:
1- Some words of encouragement every now and then will have a big effect on the child
2- Non-verbal ways of praising, a thumbs up, smile, or a high five can be powerful ways to show that you are impressed.
3- Surprise them with some reward.
4- Look for little changes and success and make sure to make them noticed. Rather than waiting for a praise-worthy moment, try to appreciate any effort or improvement.
5- Make sure to praise the attempt and not the achievement. Running a marathon deserves applause even though they did not come home with a medal.
Also, those words of appreciation, those little gestures of praise are the best way to build a bond with your children and students. It is difficult not to like a teacher who always has something positive to say about us.
CAN COMPLIMENTS GO WRONG?
Be mindful & wise when using the tool of praise. Many highly skilled children with some kind of learning difficulty might feel embarrassed if they are praised for completing basic tasks that their fellow classmates are not. It just shows them that the bar of expectations is set too low for them. Hence, we need to filter our compliments by weighing its impacts on the receiver.
Also, compliments like “good job!” have less to no impact. These phrases are not well focused and are too generic. It also focuses on the outcome rather than the process. If you’re going to be lazy with your praise, at least say, “Good effort!” because it focuses them on what they did to do a good job. They should know what exactly they are being praised upon.
Similarly, compliments on good results such as ‘you are so intelligent’ do not focus on their efforts, rather it praises their in-built gifts. So, they associate their achievements with intelligence and their failures with stupidity instead of lack of hard work. Basically – avoid praising your children about areas over which they have no control.
NEGATIVITY LASTS LONGER
At times unintentionally, criticism of our words or actions can flood their minds with negative emotions. This might affect their relationships with others moving forward and can be at a risk for depression and anxiety.
Children raised by chronically pessimistic parents may become withdrawn or aggressive. A child that feels he can’t get anything right may give up trying at all. Negative parenting is more likely to produce defiant, angry, and socially withdrawn children.
To avoid criticism, we can practice a few tips:
1) Avoid unintentional shaming, comparisons cause unseen damage that can even last a lifetime. It creates resentment with the compared sibling and with their own selves too.
2) Avoid labels and gender or age-based comments.
3) Replace the ‘don’t’ with ‘please’
- Don’t run – please walk
- Don’t throw – please put them on the table
- Don’t yell – please use your quiet voice
- Don’t hit – please be gentle
- Don’t interrupt me – please wait until I finish talking
At Brainnnovation, our trainers use the powerful tool of positive affirmations and praises to boost their self-confidence and make them believe in themselves. Every training session is filled with self-esteem-building phrases that are targeted towards the client’s effort, thought processes, and personality. Brain-training is intense, and the challenges force our brains to move out of their comfort zones in order to make changes (form new habits) or new ways of doing the same tasks. That kind of mental hard work is praise-worthy & each child on-board duly receives their cheerleader remarks, encouragement, and motivation – to keep striving!