Giving compliments to your child: the do's & don'ts

In education they have known for a long time: giving compliments or giving positive feedback to students promotes their motivation and improves their learning performance. In the upbringing it does not work any differently. Giving a compliment gives your sprout a good feeling and helps to form a positive self-image. For an optimal effect it is important that you compliment in the right way. How do you do that? Read on soon!

At the right time

It is important that you make a compliment at the right time. That is to say: immediately when the feedback applies. For young children it can be difficult to get a certain situation back in mind. The compliment then loses its value, as it were, and will therefore have less effect.

Process-oriented or product-oriented feedback

Consider carefully what you want to compliment exactly. We distinguish between process-oriented feedback and product-oriented feedback. With process-oriented feedback, you emphasize the effort your child has made to accomplish a certain task. For example: What beautiful colors have you used with this drawing. Or: I can hear that you have practiced a lot on the piano.
With product-oriented feedback, the emphasis is on the result. For example: What a beautiful drawing! Or: You play beautiful piano.

Both ways of complimenting are fine. However, they both have a different effect. Do you want to stimulate the independence of your child and increase his or her self-confidence? Then place the emphasis on the effort your child has made and make use of process-oriented feedback.
Use product-oriented feedback especially when you want to give the child a good feeling at the moment.

Feedback on a personal level

In education, this form of feedback is seen as the least powerful. Feedback on a personal level says something about the opinion of the person who gives the compliment. For example: What are you a sweet child? Or: You are very smart. In parenthood, however, this form of complimenting is very valuable. You give your child a nice feeling about himself and that eventually increases his or her self-confidence.

Is there a wrong way of giving compliments?

It may sound strange, but you can also give too many compliments to your child. If you shout at every turn how clever, sweet or smart you are sprouting, the feedback loses its value. So finding a balance is very important. Exchange feedback on a personal level with process-oriented and product-oriented feedback. Also important: make sure that the compliments you give are really sincere and sincere. Overdoing is not necessary.
Even complimenting without criticism is not a good idea. When your child sings falsely or signs outside the lines, there is no reason to praise him or her in heaven. In such a case, encourage your child to practice more. In such a case, start positive. Example: I can hear that you have a good voice. You can therefore learn to sing well. Therefore, keep practicing, then you become better and better.


As a parent you like to compliment your child. You want to show appreciation and show how proud you are of him or her. The approach is therefore positive. Yet it can also turn out wrong. Too many or exaggerated compliments may raise the fear of your child to fall off their pedestals. This can eventually provoke fear of failure again.

The aforementioned balance is therefore really important when giving compliments. When you have found the balance and use the various forms of feedback alternately, you support the development and motivation of your child in a positive way!

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