Stop Praising Your Child's Results: A Gentle Parenting Informed Technique

Unlocking your child's full potential goes beyond celebrating their achievements—it starts with appreciating their efforts.

In this exploration of gentle parenting, we delve into the profound impact of praising a child's process. Have you ever considered the transformative power of praising effort over results? The positive impact on child development is profound.

Studies such as Temple University, 2013  show that “Toddlers whose parents praised their efforts more than they praised them as individuals had a more positive approach to challenges five years later.”

On the flip side, when we exclusively applaud positive outcomes, the unintended message can be detrimental. It may convey that their self-worth is contingent upon success, creating undue pressure and fostering a fear of failure.

Illustration of the transformative impact of gentle parenting on child development.


Demonstrate to your child that their mistakes are a process to achievement. Demonstrating it does not mean having a conversation. It means "reacting" in excitement when you noticed that this mistake was a step forward from their previous mistake.

“The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried.”

  • Stephen McCranie

Valuing your child's effort motivates them to practice harder

Praising results alone may inadvertently communicate that failure is unacceptable. The underlying question becomes, "Will they still love me if I fail?" This mindset can be emotionally taxing, leading to feelings of inadequacy.

As psychologist Carol Dweck aptly puts it, "The view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life."

Embracing the entire process, including potential failures, sends a powerful message in line with gentle parenting principles. Imagine your child missing a basketball shot. Instead of focusing on the miss, enthusiastically say, "That was a great try! Give it another shot!"

Studies show that children who receive praise for effort, even in the face of failure, are more likely to develop a growth mindset and persist in the face of challenges. Aligning with gentle parenting techniques, this approach nurtures resilience and confidence in kids.

This is evidenced in Psychology Today, “Should Parents Really Stop Praising Their Children?” How we praise our child really does matter. 

In the context of developmental stages, Erik Erikson's stages of psychosocial development offer valuable insights. For instance, during the stage of "Autonomy versus Shame and Doubt" (ages 1-3), fostering a sense of autonomy and encouraging effort aligns seamlessly with the principles of gentle parenting. This stage emphasizes the importance of allowing children to explore and develop a sense of independence.

Encouraging a positive attitude towards trying transforms the learning experience. From a practical standpoint, when trying becomes enjoyable, children are more likely to persevere until they improve, reflecting the joy that comes with gentle parenting.

In nurturing resilient and confident children through the principles of gentle parenting, praising their efforts becomes a cornerstone. By celebrating the process, we communicate that they are inherently valued, irrespective of immediate success. As we navigate the intricate journey of parenting, let us embrace the growth mindset promoted by gentle parenting, fostering a love for learning, resilience, and the joy of trying.