The current work examined conditions under which parental praise leads to higher academic achievement and better psychological health in schoolchildren. We tested the hypothesis that perceptions of accurate praise, both by parents and by children, are associated with outcomes optimal for children. Our results showed that parents’ perceptions of over- or underpraising (vs. accurately praising) their children’s schoolwork predicted poorer school performance and higher depression in children. From children’s perspectives, perceived under- and overpraise by parents predicted poorer school performance and higher depression. However, when children felt that their parents’ praise was slightly (but not majorly) overstated, this had at least as beneficial effects as when they felt the praise accurately reflected reality. For parents and educators, these results underline the importance of basing praise of children on actual performance and the need to pay careful attention to how praise is perceived by the child.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology
- Clinical Psychology