Praise is powerful. It is something we all relish. Everybody likes to be recognized for what we are doing well, for our successes, and for our efforts. It feels good to be praised. Plus, we feel motivated to continue to work harder, to do better, and to achieve more. It is no different with children. Children respond positively to being praised. They thrive when their parents, teachers or coaches acknowledge their good behaviour, effort, listening, sharing, empathy, etc. Moreover, the benefits of praise include helping to build your child’s self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth.
The teenage years have forever been characterized as a time of turmoil and change. It is during adolescence that youth are trying to discover who they are, where they belong, their likes and dislikes, and what they want for their futures. In order to exert their increased independence and to help prepare adolescents for adulthood, teens will pull away from their parents and move towards their peer groups. Indeed, the majority of the adolescents I have worked with are incredibly loyal to and protective of their friends (sometimes caring more about their buddies than about themselves).
An aspect of adolescence that is often concerning to parents (and to adults in general) is teenagers’ tendency to engage in experimentation and risky behaviours as part of this self-discovery process.