Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Giving Praise

Giving praise can be so complicated.  Sure, I know all the "rules".  Make sure it is sincere, specific, focused on the effort.  So when Michelle came home with good grades in her Friday folder I praised her specifically about her improved effort and how it is showing results.  I was sincere and not over the top.  You can't ever be over the top because it backfires.  Poor grades is something we have been working on.

Then comes Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  All days with behavior problems at school.  Typically she doesn't have a lot of behavior problems at school.  I called her teacher to see if she knew what was up.  She was about to call me to see if I knew what was up.

Sarah left a few weeks ago but other than that there have been no changes.  Michelle does not have much of a relationship with Sarah, Larissa does and cried and cried over her leaving.  Michelle, nothing.  We were discussing the last week when her teacher mentioned her grades and how she praised her over them last Friday.  Uh oh.  Too much praising.

She worked it out, she came home Friday with all F's.  Not just low scores but zero's to 33.  I didn't say much.  I just handed her the papers to redo them.  If you fail a test here you get the opportunity to redo it over the weekend.  She took all weekend to redo the papers.  I showed her how to do the math many. many times.  Anthony showed her, a friend showed her.  Everyone showed her how to do her division problems.  The thing is, the week before she did the same type of problems with a 100 score.

She spent a lot of time not correcting her test.  Saturday she got a break as we went and picked Sarah up to go shopping.  However, she didn't realize that Sunday was the big game day.  We had friends coming over the watch the Superbowl and lots of food was prepared.  She did come and eat but didn't get to participate in the festivities.

(This was not all of our food, we had food everywhere,)

She realized her error but it was just too late.  She went to bed early on Sunday.

This week, she is doing great.  She has had a green every day so far. I wonder if she will come home with good grades on Friday.  I wonder what I will say if she does!

I am curious, anyone else struggling with this issue?  If so, how do you deal with it?


  1. I have complained about that several times in the past. It seems to be a bit better. Now I can praise a paper. But before I'd just have to nod and say, "Okay" and nothing more. The other one, and this is still a problem for Kaleb, is having over the top feelings of entitlement after a privilege. I took a pizza to his school and ate with him. That made him all so important in his eyes that he went to after lunch recess and punched kids in the back. Even if it's that he gets to go late due to an appointment, he is totally rude to everyone afterward. It resulted in me not being able to take him lunch and eat with him for the last year and a half. We are going to try it again soon. Hopefully he has or is outgrowing this. Random: He just started concerta last week.

  2. Fortunately, we haven't had this problem with school. Meghan struggles with praise in other areas, though. If I pay special attention to anything she does--be it an art project, a recognition at karate, an award at Awana, a job well done on chores, whatever--she pops up this huge entitlement complex and becomes completely unbearable to live with. About the best I can offer her is a nod and a "great job!" Anything more than that and she can't handle it.

  3. Sigh,..... yes, indeed.

    My kiddo looks for the praise, asks for it and then sabotages it.

    Today I have the other one home all day... I think he was feeling left out with her not being allowed to go to school and having to work on her attitude. He has been going out of his way to annoy her to no end and looking for negative attention.

    There's no real break, is there?