Praising kids may PROMOTE CHEATING
Owing to the complexity involved in praising, it is essential for adults to learn the mannerism that doesn’t promote dishonest behaviour
Parents and teachers must learn to give kids the right kind of praise as researchers have found that the wrong kind of praise can backfire. Children who are praised for being smart, or who are told they have a reputation for being smart, are more likely to be dishonest and cheat, say two studies.
“Giving children wrong kind of praise makes them dishonest,” said co-author of both the studies, Kang Lee, Professor at the University of Toronto.
The first study, published in the journal Psychological Science, showed that preschoolers who were praised for being smart were more likely to cheat subsequently than those who were praised for doing “great” in a particular task.
Similarly, the second study, published in the journal Developmental Science, found that preschoolers who were told that they had a reputation for being smart were also more likely to cheat.
In the first study, researchers asked three and five-year-olds to play a guessing game. When children did well on one occasion they were praised in one of two ways: one-half of the children were praised for being smart, while the other half were praised for their performance. After receiving either type of praise, the children continued to play the guessing games.
Researchers then left the room after asking children to promise not to cheat by peeking at the answers. Their behavior was then monitored by a hidden camera.
Results showed that despite the subtle difference between the two forms of praise, the children who were praised for being smart were more likely to act dishonestly than the children who had been praised for their behavior in a specific game.
The results were the same for both ages. In the second study, researchers told each child that he or she had a reputation for being smart. Hearing this, similarly to receiving direct “smartness” praise, also had the effect of increasing children’s tendency to cheat. “Praise is more complex than it seems,” Lee said. Overall, for adults, the studies show the importance of learning to praise in a way that does not prompt or promote dishonest behavior. But what could be more affirming than telling your child, “Good job!” “I’m proud of you” or “You are smart.” The correct choice of words also play an important role. As already mentioned, instead of focusing on the achievements of the child, it would be suggested to appreciate their character. Also, it was found that schoolaged kids praised for their intelligence became less likely to attempt new challenges. But when praised for their efforts, they worked longer and harder. Overemphasizing intellect or talent – and then believing such traits are innate and fixed – make kids more vulnerable to failure, fearful of challenges and less motivated to learn. It’s very obvious that children will follow what they see. So don’t just praise or lecture kids about good character, compassion, and charity, but model these attributes. Apart from aforementioned tricks, praising the inner qualities of the child will also help. We are a materialistic society that puts far too much emphasis on outside appearances. Giving teen-aged kids well-deserved compliments that focuses on their inner qualities, such as telling them that they’re “kind,” “helpful” or “fun,” instead of focusing on what they wore or owned, reduced their materialistic tendencies and build self-esteem in them.