Yeah, it's nice. That's nice too. Yup. Nice.
February 18, 2010 12:30 PM Subscribe
Why does my 7-year-old daughter always seek praise and how do I deal with it? I need suggestions for specific responses.
posted by yawper to human relations (40 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
My daughter is a happy, well-adjusted 7-year-old. She’s funny and kind and has lots of friends. She’s also intelligent and has no problems at school. She’s not particularly shy or timid, and will readily try new things. All in all, a great kid. The problem? She seeks a lot of praise for little things, especially for any kind of artwork. She’ll ask for praise througout the entire process. For example, if she’s drawing a picture of a house she’ll ask me “Do you like how I made the roof?” A few minutes later, “Do you like how I coloured the curtains?” When it’s done, “Do you like the picture I made?” This drives me crazy, and I don’t know the correct way to respond. I can’t exactly say “no”, but I feel backed into a corner. Most of the time I just say “yeah, it’s nice” or “mm-hmm”, but it feels fake to me and I’m sure she can sense that. Occasionally I’ve been honest and said something like “hmm, that's not my favourite colour” or “that’s kind of messy, actually” but I can't do that every time...that would just be cruel. Other times I have told her “Ask me when you’re finished so I can see the whole thing” and that works but only in that particular instance.
I’ve read the literature on praising for effort not ability, and I do that. I never say things like “yes, you’re so artistic”...I say things like “I like how you coloured in a pattern” or “that must’ve been hard work making all those leaves”. That’s a fine response to the final question (“do you like it”) but what about the in-between questions? I just don’t understand why she does this and how to make her stop.
For the record, she is not a whiny, attention-seeking brat and she's not an only child. As I noted above, she's a very sweet, well-adjusted kid. She asks these questions sincerely, with a smile on her face...which is why it drives me so batty.