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Values & Education

Don’t Praise, But Do Compliment

There is probably no soul on earth that can live without getting complimented every once in a while. Age is no bar when it comes to receiving compliments. Compliments are often remembered for a long time after they’re spoken. Its effects are multifold.


  • It provides the necessary elevation to one’s identity.
  • It encourages the receiver to improve further.
  • It inspires them to make an effort.
  • It builds self-confidence.
  • It heals aching hearts.

Acknowledging them is one of the best things we can do to have a positive impact on the people around us.

“Remember, man does not live on bread alone: sometimes he needs a little buttering up.” ― John C. Maxwell

Children are no different. They are ever hungry for compliments and encouragement.

The finished bottle of milk by an infant, a simple straight line drawn by a toddler, the first sentence spoken by your child, a colorful treat made by your girl, a consolation prize won by your boy, all of these need to be complimented. Wondering why? The efforts put in for each of these simple acts, needs to be recognized for the child to make an effort to do better in the future.

Encouragement works like magic. When you compliment them for having accepted their mistake, you’re encouraging them to be honest and be trustworthy. When we do not think twice before disapproving a wrong deed of theirs, should we shy away from complimenting them for the right deed? No. We must make an effort to recognize their strengths and help them improve upon their weaknesses. Encouragement gives a boost to their identity. They feel accepted. Acceptance is bliss.

It is not necessary to wait for a perfect occasion or a perfect deed to compliment them. Getting a glass of water for you as soon as you’re back from work is itself a great act of kindness. A smile with a “Thank you darling!” is well deserved. Isn’t it?

A “Good job” on your appraisal form from your manager makes you want to do better… Right??? So imagine how it works with an innocent little child. It also helps them realize there are bigger things to achieve and they need to strive hard to achieve those.

Compliment them even when they fail with “At least you tried. Next time you’ll do much better.” This helps in the process of growth and helps build enthusiasm in the young souls. It also makes them feel that they are not alone in this expedition. It shows them that you care and that you are with them.


This is the scene I bump into most evenings and like any normal parent I also end up screaming and shouting at my girls for having messed up the floor. But I do make it a point to compliment them when they help me clear it. It helps remove hard feelings.

The most important thing to keep in mind is the thin line between compliment and flattery (or praise). The child should never take the compliments for granted. He/she should not feel superior in any way, just because you’re complimenting. It’s as simple as the difference between “You’ve done well.” and “You’re the best.” The former lets them know that there is still room for further improvement. Whereas the latter claims they’ve reached the peak of improvement. A perfect mix of ‘Yes’ and ‘No’, ‘Do’ and ‘Don’t’, ‘Good’ and ‘Bad’ and ‘Sorry’ and ‘Thank you’, is what keeps the momentum going.

What is your take on this? I am sure you have your own stories and experiences to share.

Rekha Dhyani is a mother of two girls, a 7 year old and a 5 year old, settled in Delhi. She’s a marketer by profession: apart from juggling with Excel sheets, Presentations and Strategy Documents; she also manages to remain sane struggling between alphabets and multiplication tables at the same time. She hopes to win over the love of her life back, which she has lost to the little girls since the past few years. Her new found passion in writing frequently on her blog is the only stress-relief she claims.