Why Are Praise & Encouragement Important?

Updated March 23, 2017

In the March 20, 2006, issue of the "Journal of Affective Disorder," researchers found a link between childhood verbal abuse and adult self-criticism that leads to depression and anxiety disorders. Lack of praise and encouragement can have long-term effects on children.

Good Behavior

Encouragement of good behaviour leads to more good behaviour. Children often exhibit behaviour so a parent will notice. If parents respond only to negative behaviour, their child will exhibit more negative behaviour. Children who receive praise and encouragement have higher self-esteem. Children praised for trying learn that mistakes are a part of learning and sometimes the effort carries more value than the success.


Relationships determine how praise and encouragement are administered and accepted, states Barbara Bowman, founder of the Erikson Institute for Advanced Study in Child Development in Chicago. Praise and encouragement have more meaning when received from someone the child cares about and who cares about the child.


Praise and encouragement may not produce the desired effects if adults do not know the difference between the two. Encouragement acknowledges the child's effort, while praise acknowledges the completed task. Over the long term, praise can lead to dependence on the approval of others, but encouragement can lead to self-reliance and self-confidence.

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About the Author

Residing in Clarksville, Tenn., Patrice D. Wimbush has been writing since 2002, with her work appearing on various websites. Her areas of writing expertise are contract and criminal law. She holds a Master of Public Administration from Murray State University and a Master of Arts in communication from Austin Peay State University.