Contrary to the common belief that praise is always beneficial to children, it often has very negative effects. A positive evaluation that does not fit the child's self-image may evoke hostility: "I am not pretty, I'm ugly." "I hate my hair." "I did not play well, I was lousy."
Children infer that if a parent judges positively, they can also judge negatively someo ther time. Also, the absence of praise in a family where praise is used frequently can be interpreted by the child as criticism: "You didn't say anything nice about my hair so you must not like it."
Praise is often felt by the child as manipulative--a subtle way of influenceing the child to do what the parent wants: "You're just saying that so I'll study harder."
Children sometimes infer that their parents don't understand them when they praise: "You wouldn't say that if you knew how I really felt about myself."
Children are often embarrassed and uncomfortable when praise is given, especially in front of their friends: "Oh, Dad, that's not true!"
Children who are praised a lot may grow to depend on it and even demand it: "You didn't say anything about my cleaning up my room." "How do I look, Mother?" "Wasn't I a good little boy?" "Isn't that a good drawing?"