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6 Ways to Upgrade Your Praise

Big kids no longer buy that they're "the best." Try these more sincere forms of flattery.
woman praising child

Remember the days when your preschooler showed you every last drop of paint he splattered on paper so you could rave about it? And when you could talk your kindergartner into playing soccer just by telling her how awesome she was? Well, the times they are a-changin'.

"When kids get to be 7 and 8, they transition from being overly optimistic about their abilities to being realistic," explains Jennifer Henderlong Corpus, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at Reed College, in Portland, Oregon. "They're beginning to know what they are capable of, how good they are at it, how they measure up to their classmates, and when the praise their parents give them rings true." A sign of this: Your kid may start brushing off your genuine kudos with "You have to say that -- you're my mom."

How do you articulate your praise so that it meshes with your child's savvy new stage? Increase her self-esteem by tweaking your compliments so they sound more legit to her.