Whenever I have a new member join my team at work, I take a few minutes to talk about the value of feedback and praise. I want to make sure that they understand that we use both in our team environment and that the purpose of praise is not to make them feel good - the purpose of praise is to encourage them to keep up the behavior that I am praising.
I have to say that this works really well: I am super specific with my praise and the team understands why.
I have to admit: This works with my son, too.
When my son was a toddler, I did my best to not say generic things like "good job" or "nice work." It was hard. I am sure it crept in there. But, I think I did a good job of throwing in specific praise as well, like "I like the way you colored inside the lines on this picture," or "that was the farthest throw I've seen you do at that toss game."
If you don't believe me, the research is in: Specific praise works for our children.
I would be interested to learn more about this topic. For example, do the children who hear specific praise in toddlerhood expect to hear that type of praise their entire life? Is it more meaningful to them long-term?
From my perspective: It can't hurt.
Are you specific when you praise your child? Tell me about it in the comments.