Patricia Fitzpatrick’s Effective Parenting Series – Episode 2 ‘Praise & Encouragement’

News, Wednesday 4th March, by HSSCU

Following from the great interest in our 1st ‘Effective Parenting’ article with Patricia, we had to continue on our series and bring you the next in a series that our members love. As you know, we’re not just your financial provider, we’re part of your community. And in that, you are part of the HSSCU family. Please read below for tips on ‘Praise & Encouragement’ in your parenting techniques from Patricia, As discussed previously, Patricia Fitzpatrick is a strategy psychologist, published author and HSSCU member. We hope you continue to find this series insightful and enlightening.


Praise & Encouragement

Praise is positive attention. What gets attention grows and flourishes, what is ignored withers and dies – think of the flowers in gardens.  Encouragement is differentiated from Praise in that Encouragement is about the process; Praise is more about the result. For example, a parent stands on the sideline and encourages the child/team on his/their efforts in the game, this spurs the child/team on to do better and perhaps win. If the child/team have to wait for positive reinforcement e.g., “you won, well done” until the game is won, the winning will be harder if at all.


Praise gives your child a clear message that the behaviour being praised is a valued behaviour. Parents are aware of the importance of praising their child, but often ask can you over praise a child. The answer is NO, as long as your praise is labelled. That means as long as your child knows what behaviour is being praised.


Praising Your Child - Effective Parenting - Patricia Fitzpatrick


An Example of Praise:


Maria aged 6 has just finished her dinner – eaten as much as she is hungry for. Never force your child to eat all on the plate.


Mother: “Maria please put your plate in the dishwasher.”


Maria does as she is asked.


Mother: “Thanks for that Maria and also for doing it as soon as I asked. High five!”


Maria received the positive attention of praise for compliance, and for doing as she was asked immediately. She is highly likely to repeat this behaviour because she loves praise and wants to get more of it.


Key Principles of Praise:


  • Praise behaviours you would like to see repeated. For example, if the child shares a toy “well done for sharing, that made your friend happy”; her friend refuses to share a toy and the child does not grab it, “you stayed calm, even though that was frustrating, well done you”; the child is quietly playing a game, doing homework etc., notice the child, “it’s lovely to see you having fun, concentrating on homework…” etc.
  • Praise immediately. This is particularly important for younger children whose memories and attention spans are shorter. However, delayed praise is better than no praise e.g. Dad, who was very busy this morning getting the children to school, remembers later how Aaron got ready without a fuss so when he sees Aaron in the evening he says “Aaron thank you getting ready on time this morning, it helped me lots”.
  • Rather than saying ‘good boy”; ‘good girl”, be specific; “thank you for…”;  “ lovely sharing…”; “that was really kind …” This is called labelled praise.
  • Remind your child of the behaviour you want and then praise compliance. Molly aged five has a habit of hitting out when her younger brother takes a toy from her toy box. You see him doing this and before Molly has a chance to hit out remind her of the appropriate behaviour, “Remember we use our words Molly when someone does something that upsets us ….. well done for using your words.”


Encouraging Your Child - Effective Parenting - Patricia Fitzpatrick


We hope the above insights help you and give you some useful tips for your family life! You can read the 1st article in this series here.


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