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Praise: Your Gift to Someone Else

Updated on October 13, 2016

Give the gift of praise.

Two brothers together....easy to find words of praise.

Brothers playing nicely....
Brothers playing nicely.... | Source

Praise is one of the most powerful ways that we can connect with others.

It is a way to validate to another individual that what they have done has been completed well and deserves recognition. It reaches to the core of the recipient and can lead someone who may be questioning their value to feel confidence they may not have felt previously.

It is important to let someone know what they are doing well. It is equally important to let them know what needs to improve..

Giving sincere accolades for a job well done will encourage desired behaviors to be repeated and even improved. For some individuals it is a highly motivating incentive.

Few things in the world are more powerful than a positive push. A smile. A world of optimism and hope. A "you can do it' when things are tough

— Richard M DeVos

Balance is the key

Children and adults alike can read our body language and the tone in our voice. Use of sarcasm and curt remarks creates an overall tense atmosphere so when praise is finally used it falls on deaf ears.

Establish early on a positive. sincere tone and demeanor with those with whom you will come in contact. That does not mean you need to gush all of the time. Correct when you need to and praise when it is appropriate.

As I grew up, my parents liberally praised me for a job well done. They did, however, scold me when it was called for as well. I believe that is what is required...balance . Praise, encourage, cheer on while being willing to scold and fuss when someone is not trying to do his or her personal best. To be more politically correct, I should have said, redirect as needed .

Give this gift thoughtfully and judiciously.

As he learns, I learn how to praise him.

Baby grandson is learning so many new things. I have multiple opprtunties to praise him.
Baby grandson is learning so many new things. I have multiple opprtunties to praise him. | Source

No matter how busy you are, you must take time to make the other person feel important.

— Mary Kay Ash


Super -praise is an extremely effective type of praise. Praising someone sincerely and effusively in front of at least one other person is known in some circles as super praise. It verifies for the recipient that the work, task, job, favor was well done. Done so well in fact that is should be publicly acknowledged. That is powerful.

It is one thing to be privately told that you did a great job. It is quite another to have those words said in front of at least one other person. And, while it may make the recipient feel a little ill at ease for a moment, the message is out there: 'You have done such a good job that I want others to know it."

A Remarkable Young Woman

She was a remarkable young woman and I know she still is although time and space separate us. She knew how to praise so that those who were on the receiving end of the praise felt they were a key part of the whole school and without them things would just not work well.

As the principal, she laced up her tennis shoes that she wore with her shirtwaist dresses and headed out onto the campus to actively oversee all that was happening. She was definitely hands on and knew what was happening in our school. So, when it is was time to praise, she could do it sincerely because she really was aware of what was happening. To be praised by her was meaningful for that reason.She often would put a hand on your shoulder or on top of your hand as she was praising. There is no doubt that the words she spoke were said with sincerity

Peromnia Grant, someone who gives the gift of praise effectively

It was almost twenty years ago that I was working with parents at a small school in Daytona Beach. There are people that you meet in your lifetime that even if you lose touch with them temporarily, you can contact them and it as if all of the years fall away. Just the saying the name of the person brings back a flood of remarkable memories. Peromnia Grant is one of those special people. She is the first person that I have ever known that used super praise.

Peromnia is someone with whom you can always rekindle a relationship even if time has passed. She is someone that, when you are in her company, you just automatically feel better. Better about yourself. Better about every thing.

Neither too much nor too little

In the brief video that follows, the speaker says ...

We should treat praise like child should starve from a lack of it and no child should become obese from too much of it

Carefully chosen words

That little school closed a few years ago. Peromnia is no longer a principal. She has moved on to serve her county as an Assistant Superintendent for Volusia County Schools, Florida. I am not surprised. She was destined to make a lasting mark on the educational system. She has made a lasting impression and feeling of success in the hearts of those with whom she came in contact and I would imagine she still does so today.

All of these years later and I can still feel the way it made me feel when she would comment about some writing assignment I had completed. I remember too how I felt when I witnessed her praising someone else. It had a ripple effect; we all felt worthier because she carefully chose her words and did not falsely praise.That is why I have chosen to include Peromnia in this article about praise.

She definitely got it right.

This candid short video is well stated.


Children and praise

Children are a little tricky when it comes to praise. There are books filled with ideas on when you should and should not publicly praise kids.. There are even 'cut off ages'...ages at which it is recommended you privately praise.

I found while teaching grades K-8 for many years that beginning about fourth grade and continuing through eighth, the less public praising I gave individuals , the better. Group praise for these grade levels was ONE person was singled it worked. Truly I do not remember if I read that somewhere, heard it in a class I took, or just discovered it, but I found it out early in my teaching and it proved to be an important tool for me throughout my career. It worked out of school as well.

The little guys on the other hand loved for me to call them by name and say what it was that I liked that they were doing. "I like the way Henri Lee is forming his O'", I would say. And, everyone would scramble to do her or his personal best.

Be certain the accolades you give are sincere and well deserved. Otherwise the praise will not have the power that is desired.

Praise for Kitty Sitting


Still More Ways to Praise

  • let's give ____ a round of applause (make a circle with your hands while clapping)
  • Look how much you have improved...
  • .Phenomenal.....You deserve a hug
  • Give me five...
  • .You've got it!,,,
  • You're our shining star.....
  • Two thumbs up
  • You are so special....
  • That's incredible....
  • Hooray for you....
  • Wow...look at you
  • You are so honest...
  • .I love it....
  • Great effort.....
  • You tried so hard.....
  • You make me smile
  • Good try.....

Choose the way you wish to praise...

  • Awesome ....
  • That's the way...
  • I knew you could do it...
  • Outstanding...
  • You did it...
  • I knew I could count on you....
  • Way to go....
  • Give me five!!...
  • Amazing....
  • Keep up the great work,,,,
  • Remarkable work...
  • You have been hiding your talents....
  • Fabulous...
  • You rock
  • I am so proud of you...
  • Great job
  • Wonderful job....
  • You shared nicely.....
  • How kind..
  • How generous
  • How thoughtful....

Pretend that every person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, "Make me feel important....You will succeed in life."

— Mary Kay Ash

Feeling Valued is Empowering

The words were in the quote from Mary Kay were spoken to those who were training to sell Mary Kay products. I have attended some of those meetings and you are made to feel important and valued.

Being made to feel valued is very powerful. It can build confidence and empower the recipient.

Be careful about extinsic rewards

Praise sometimes becomes confused with stickers, or, toys from a Treasure Box. Be careful.

If you establish from the very beginning with your children how important you think praise is with no reward connected to it, children will buy into it.

The significance of the praise needs to be deemed so by you.

As a teacher, I would tell the children after I praised them, that I would be letting their family know of their deed that warranted the praise. That was very effective. And I did contact the family either via email, phone, or take home notebook the day I praised the child.

As a teacher I did give out some stickers, I did 'stamp' some papers with cool stamps, I did give some extrinsic rewards but not with great frequency. The children never knew when I might offer an extrinsic reward. I believe that was a huge reason why it was effective.

They learned that words of praise were far more valuable than any THING I could give them.

Even Kitties Like to be Praised


False praise produces undesired results.

Praise also can be ineffective or produce undesired effects if it is given without purpose. If a child does not do his or her personal best, it is not okay to give false praise. False praise is saying 'great job' when your child clearly had not tried or had made little effort to be successful.

You have a big role here. Whether in sports or around the house or in the school setting if you home school or if your child goes to school outside of your home., you have a huge impact on what happens. Your child listens to that little voice echoing those words you have said before undertaking whatever it is they may do.

Praise for a Job Well Done


Redirection and correction is very important.

. After the event, providing redirection and more support to a child who did not do as well as was expected is important. And, far more meaningful than false praise, telling your child, what they can do to improve is so much more valuable than telling her or him,' it is okay' when in fact you know the task could have been completed at a much higher level of competence.

Do praise effort. If your child has struggled with a task or skill praise improvement and encourage continued efforts to become very skilled.

Over expecting excellence is as harmful as underestimating it. Provide the atmosphere, the tools, the interest, and the support. Be the safety net for your child and you will find you are able to sincerely praise on a regular basis.

Make your own decisions about praising.

Volumes have been written on this topic by experts on this topic.I respect that. I also reserve my right as you will to agree or disagree with the conclusions that are drawn from their experiments or with their beliefs. My personal experience on the topic of praise is shared with you here. Thus, I did not reference anyone's work. What is cited here is my personal experience with use of praise on the job and at home experience for more than forty years.

You may wish to read some of these writings. There are books on both sides of the issue. There are those who will tell you exactly how to praise. In these books will be things you will choose to do and things you will not choose.

Here are a few titles:

Developing Positive Self Images and Discipline in Black Children by Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu

'Five Reasons to Stop Saying 'Good Job' Parents Magazine 2001

Punished by Rewards by Alfie Kohn

Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn

'The Power and Peril of Praising Your Kids' New York Magazine 2007

Outside the box

There are so many clever and creative ways to praise outside of the box.

Each one of you can certainly come up with ideas of your own that will make your employees, spouse, children, friends...feel the love.

It is with a cautionary note that I suggest any of the following. They should only be given at great intervals, maybe even as infrequently as once a year. Definitely, only for some very unusual accomplishment. If used to often they become expected or somehow seem to be earned and lose their power. Those with an asterisk can be used at your discretion with greater frequency than others.

  • Gift cards
  • A catered luncheon
  • A party
  • A handwritten note or card*
  • A fanciful e-card*
  • A bouquet of candy
  • A bouquet of fruit
  • A bouquet of flowers
  • A basket of stuffed animals
  • A basket of gardening implements and seeds/plants

(the type of acknowledgment is limited only by your budget and your imaginaion)

Praising is a gift

Far more valued than a tangible gift, praise can validate feelings of self-worth. Whether we want to admit it or not, knowing that we are valued is important to us. When someone sincerely praises our work, they are telling us they recognize the effort and thought that went into achieving the desired result.

Giving the gift of praise is powerful and effective if used appropriately and sincerely.

© 2012 Patricia Scott


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    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 2 years ago from sunny Florida

      You are so right...choosing just the way to praise someone, be it a child or an adult, is key. And as you say, superlatives often do not yield desired results.

      Angels are on the way to you ...thank you for stopping to visit.


    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 2 years ago from California

      I don't remember watching the video before. Gosh this is a solid, concrete direction for praising children. When I was working with preschoolers I hated when people said a child was pretty.

      Staying away from superlatives is vital.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 2 years ago from sunny Florida

      Poetryman Perhaps you misunderstood I do not advocate inappropriate unwarranted praise...that is insincere and unproductive.

      I also DO believe in discipline but I also do not approve of words that are demeaning and make the child feel worthless. I have seen that happen too many times.

      A balance is important and needed.

      Angels are on the way to you again this morning ps

    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 2 years ago

      When I see the parent of a serial killer praise him and criticize everyone else, I cringe. I think that sometimes we are too permissive and too unwilling to help a child develop self discipline.

      But I certainly agree when the child is doing things like exhibiting self discipline, caring and sharing, these behaviors are worthy of praise and encouragement.

      I think the parents that show up to school with a lawyer are usually creating a monster child. I remember overhearing a mother make excuses to her son's COLLEGE football coach. There should be none of that if you want a proper young man who can handle his own business.

      I like the parent who takes her son's teachers aside at the beginning of the year and says something like: He is a normal boy. He will at times do, say and even think things he shouldn't because that is his job as a boy. Feel free to discipline him whenever he needs it in any way you see fit as long as bruises, broken bones, and public humiliation are not involved.

      Encouragement and praise are vital to making a child a complete human being but developing self discipline is priceless and will ensure that your child surpasses his confused peers.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 2 years ago from sunny Florida

      Yes 'right' praise is so important in a world where false, fake praise is often the case.

      And it makes such a difference to those who hear it.

      Angels are once again on the way to you, Tirelesstraveler

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 2 years ago from California

      In this world where perfection is expected and not taught praise is frequently false right praise is indeed vital. You worked hard, your were good a sharing, you were kind to help, are so much better you look pretty today, I like your hair. We have lost tract of what true praise is. Nice work.

      Going to share.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 2 years ago from sunny Florida

      One thing I learned from my Momma is that it never huhanrts to make someone else feel appreciated.

      Thank you so much for stopping to read and consider.

      Angels are on the way to you today ps

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey

      Such an interesting topic to explore when, as you have emphasized, balance and carefulness with rewards is carefully considered. Each of our backgrounds has so much to do with our responses to other people and learning from each other what is useful and what is harmful is something that we should not take lightly. Thanks for sharing these concepts for others to ponder.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      Hi lindacee

      It is indeed. It is so powerful when it is sincere and given when it is really deserved. Anyone who is on the receiving end of it feels uplifted and encouraged by words that recognize an accomplishment.

      My grandbaby is learning to follow directions nicely ...when asked to do things like pick up toys and put them away, he does so, and he smiles when he is praised for it.

      thank you for stopping by

      Sending Angels to you this afternoon. :) ps

    • lindacee profile image

      lindacee 4 years ago from Arizona

      Praise is such a wonderful gift when used properly. I agree with every one of your points! What an uplifting Hub to read on a beautiful Sunday afternoon! Thanks for sharing. :)

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      Good morning

      This article was work of heart. I traveled many roads these past years and found along the way the magic of heaping a little praise on someone for a job well done.

      I know how I feel when it is shared with me and I only hope that half of that same feeling is felt by someone who receives praise from me.

      Have a lovely Wales Day...Sending you an abundance of Angels, dear Eddy. :) ps

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      A beautiful hub and I am so glad I came across it. here's to so many more for us both to share on here and I vote up plus share. Have a great weekend.


    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 5 years ago from sunny Florida

      Thank you so much for your kind words. As for me, I just remember especailly as a chld how I would feel when someone praised me. I try to pass that along to others. Thank you too for stopping by. I will be over to visit soon.

    • shruti sheshadri profile image

      shruti sheshadri 5 years ago from Bangalore, India

      beautiful :) A well deserving praise, from the heart!

      Your words portray amazing truth! really enjoyed it :) voted up, thank you :)

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 5 years ago from sunny Florida

      Good evening, are so right. Specific praise is very effective. That is a good way to insure the behavior will be repeated. Thank you for stopping by. It is always nice to have you visit.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      The most effective way to give praise or compliments that I have learned over time is to tell the other person - child or adult - WHAT you like and WHY you like it. Thanks for this meaningful reminder, pst.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 5 years ago from sunny Florida

      Good Morning, MH....

      You know that is such a good point. What we learn is often what we give out. It is interesting now when I praise my baby grandson. I am very specific. And he seems to understand. Thank you for the stopping by as usual it is always nice to see you. ps

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this. I am not sure we were positive because of our environment or our environment was positive because of us.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 5 years ago from sunny Florida

      Hi, Fiddleman,

      I so agree. A hug, a few words can make so much difference in the life of another. Thank you so much for your kind words. I will be over to visit soon.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 5 years ago from sunny Florida

      Good evening, Pamela

      You are so right. Just a kind word, a word of encouragement and acknowledgment can make so much difference Thank you so much for your words of acknowledgment; it is humbling and appreciated. I will be over to visit soon.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 5 years ago from United States

      This would be a better world if we all followed the advice in this hub. It feels good to give praise and to receive it . This is a beautiful hub and I enjoyed it very much. Up, across and shared.

    • profile image

      Fiddleman 5 years ago

      Wonderful hub and a simple gesture. Giving sincere compliments no more than simply speaking them. Words and hugs can lift the spirits and we all need the affirmation of love both represent. Thanks for sharing.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 5 years ago from sunny Florida

      frmoran...the One minute manager's author was spot on. Recognize accomplishments. People need to know when they have 'done good.'

      Thank you for your votes ----praise is a lovely thing indeed. I will be over to visit soon.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 5 years ago from sunny Florida

      Hi Vocalcoach....I am blushing with all of this praise. And you are right. We do need to recognize our own successes but as for me I do that privately, you know.

      thank you so much for all of your kind words. I will be over to visit very soon.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 5 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      Giving praise to another being takes so little and does so much for the self-esteem. Everyone should read this hub. And we must remember to "pat ourselves on the back" too.

      Voted up and across and will share this on "Inspiring Writers Network" on FB and more.

    • rfmoran profile image

      Russ Moran 5 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Beautiful hub and an important one. Giving the RIGHT AMOUNT of praise is one of the most important talents we can nurture. I recall in the book the One Minute Manager, the author urged to look for anything positive after assigning a project and then praising the employee. Good for adults and children. Voted up, beautiful and awesome.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 5 years ago from sunny Florida

      Hi Bac2basics.

      I too have seen children sworn at and screamed at in public. I wonder if they were treated that way when they were small It is heart breaking. As we know praise can make a huge difference in the live of another. Thank you so much for stopping by.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 5 years ago from sunny Florida

      Good morning, Billy,

      Yes, you are right. All of us should give sincere praise. It never diminishes us to tell someone else something that can make them feel valued. It just works. So glad to see you stopping by today. Have a lovely rest of the day, my sweet Friend. ps

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      What a beautiful and valuable lesson....for parents....and for teachers....heck, for everyone. How easy it is to praise, and yet so many never thing to do it. I learned this gradually as a teacher, but I can say without hesitation that praise is crucial to good teacher....and parenting.

      Great message PS....have a great day!

    • bac2basics profile image

      Anne 5 years ago from Spain

      Great hub Patricia. I saw so many young mothers in the UK, before moving to Spain, berating their children, often using the foulest language, but never ever giving praise. It seemed to me that in general parenting skills had gone out of the window. To be honest it broke my heart every time I saw this, and I saw it often. Praise goes a long way when given appropriately and swiftly, even if the praised do blush a little when it´s given in public. The after glow remains and serves to make people want to do even better. Great hub and I hope lot´s of people note what you have written and work on their interpersonal skills.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 5 years ago from sunny Florida

      Hi Debbie

      Indeed words do have power. That is why I suppose I never could subscribe to the old stick and stones saying. Words can and do hurt when used to inflict intended pain.

      But hopefully more of the positive words can be used to build others up. thank you for your kind words. and that you for stopping by.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 5 years ago from sunny Florida

      You are so right, sradie...How lucky those employees were to have YOU, someone who understood the value to sincerely praising. It was good for all as you say since productivity was soaring. I was so blessed to learn lessons about praising especially from my friend Peromnia. What a gift that has been to my life. Thank you for stopping by.

    • sradie profile image

      sradie 5 years ago from Palm Coast FL

      Awesome lesson for all people. I learned this from a friend when he knew it and applied it to me. What incredible empowerment that was for me. In later years I learned a valuable lesson about the proper application of praise in the work setting. I ran a trade show graphics production shop of 14 employees. The workloads, schedules and labor needed were intense. Whenever my crew succeeded or came up with a new best practice, I wasted little time letting them know how well they were doing. We quickly became one of the most productive graphics shops in the country. So long as it's sincere and real, praise is a heart changing element for successful living.

    • debbiepinkston profile image

      Debbie Pinkston 5 years ago from Pereira, Colombia and NW Arkansas

      What a beautiful Hub about how praising our children and others can have a positive impact on their self-esteem and sense of worth! I tried hard to praise my children when they were growing up and even now as adults.

      On the other side of the coin is criticism, that ugly, damaging-to-the-core bad habit that many people don't even realize they engage in. (See my Hub about the damage of criticism).

      Our words DO have power, the power to destroy or the power to build up. Thank you for reminding us of the great power that we possess to positively influence another person through the use of praise!

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 5 years ago from sunny Florida

      Good morning...I agree. It is a God-given gift. It is uplifting not only to the one who is on the receiving end of the praise but also for the one who is giving it. It is a win/win situation. Thank you for stopping by and for your kind words.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 5 years ago from sunny Florida

      Good morning...I agree. It is a God-given gift. It is uplifting not only to the one who is on the receiving end of the praise but also for the one who is giving it. It is a win/win situation. Thank you for stopping by and for your kind words.

    • Shrikrishnap profile image

      Shrikrishna Potdar 5 years ago from Bangalore

      Thanks for this praiseworthy hub :)

      Quality of praising good is one of the gifts from God. Every human being has this quality to praise others but sometimes we postpone the act of praising. If we observe, praise multiplies joy both for the person who receives praise and the one who praises.

      One can be easily be happy just by praising good things around. It is said if you praise something or someone we receive same qualities.

      Thanks :)