Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Praising Teenagers

February 24th, 2015     By Bob Pick, Vice President of Boys Town Nebraska/Iowa

Family, Parent-Child Relationships, Parenting Skills

I’m very much an advocate of praising kids, including teenagers, in a positive-negative ratio of at least four positives to every one negative. For some, this may sound a bit lofty but it is very realistic if adults truly pay attention to behavior and learn to praise specifically and genuinely.

Praise is a sincere, positive evaluation of a person or an act. A lot of praise is “global” and terms are used such as “great job,” “you are smart,” or “pretty,” etc. These are very general, nonspecific words that often mean little to kids/teens.

One of the keys is to offer very specific praise for very specific behavior. Learn to observe a behavior and describe the behavior back to the teen when possible. My general rule of thumb is when offering praise to a teenager; use one or two specific behavioral sentences. In contrast, when describing inappropriate behavior to a teenager, use only one brief specific behavioral sentence. As an example of effective praising, a parent could say “I appreciate you completing your homework last night, as well as spending 20 minutes helping Billy with his spelling.”

Praise is one of the most powerful tools when engaging teenagers. I work with kids from all background and I’ve yet to find one that doesn’t appreciate a genuine comment of praise.

Related Posts

 

 

Kids Don’t Come with Instructions, but Our Classes Can Help!https://www.boystown.org/blog/Pages/Kids-Dont-Come-with-Instructions.aspxKids Don’t Come with Instructions, but Our Classes Can Help!One truth about parenting should be very clear. Parents don’t always have all the answers! After all, children don’t come with instruction booklets.September 21, 2021Parenting AdviceOne truth about parenting should be very clear. Parents don’t always have all the answers! After all, children don’t come with instruction booklets.Boys Town Contributor
Jacob Young Visits Boys Townhttps://www.boystown.org/blog/Pages/Jacob-Young-Visits-Boys-Town.aspxJacob Young Visits Boys TownLast week, we were so excited to welcome Jacob Young, Emmy Award winning actor and Boys Town friend and supporter, to the Village of Boys Town.September 22, 2021UncategorizedLast week, we were so excited to welcome Jacob Young, Emmy Award winning actor and Boys Town friend and supporter, to the Village of Boys Town.Boys Town Contributor
Knowledge is Power: Black History and the Road to Social Justicehttps://www.boystown.org/blog/Pages/Black-History-and-the-Road-to-Social-Justice.aspxKnowledge is Power: Black History and the Road to Social JusticeFor Boys Town senior Maddie Hagan and junior Megan Lambert, visiting the hallowed grounds of these and other landmarks of the civil rights movement was energizing, empowering and emotional.September 16, 2021Boys TownFor Boys Town senior Maddie Hagan and junior Megan Lambert, visiting the hallowed grounds of these and other landmarks of the civil rights movement was energizing, empowering and emotional.Boys Town Contributor