As parents of two daughters, Rochelle and I are on a constant journey to raise them to become strong, loving, and God-dependent people. To that end, I recently went to hear Barbara Coloroso speak on her book Kids Are Worth It! : Giving Your Child The Gift Of Inner Discipline, which I promptly bought. Barbara is an internationally recognized speaker and author in the areas of parenting, teaching, school discipline, non-violent conflict resolution and reconciliatory justice. Coloroso begins in an unlikely place for the 21st-Century, whether or not we – parents, schools, teachers, etc… – are praising kids too much and addicting them to rewards.
Part of her reasoning is that children become hooked on the praise and rewards. A child at 5 who responds behaviorally to his/her parents praise becomes a problem-child at 15 and the parents wonder what happened. “What happened to our kid?” they say. Coloroso posits; nothing happened. The child has simply traded your praise for the praise of his or her peer-group. In fact, they’ve been trained to respond to praise and rewards. Quoting Choon Tan, Coloroso writes,…
“Children who are bribed and rewarded don’t have much of a chance to grow into independent and self-assured young people. They will always need somebody’s approval for their ideas and for their well-being they will need an unbroken supply of love and admiration.”
What do you think? Is it possible to praise to much? I hold this quote and the very admirable work of Coloroso against a wise saying attributed to Fred Craddock: “More people die of a broken heart than a swelled head.” What say you, Friends?