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Tired of Always Saying “Good Job”?

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New Ways of Saying "Good Job"

I teach parents to NOT say “good boy/girl” because it’s flat-out praise, and praise is not good for children.  But if we can’t say “good boy,” what are we gonna say when our child takes his plate from the table and puts it on the counter? How do we acknowledge it when they hang their coat up on a hook?

I know! We say an encouraging substitute phrase: “Good job!”

The trouble is that parents say “good job” about 100 times a day! They say it as much as praising parents say “good girl.”

Good Girl : Good Job — Tomato : Tom-aaaah-to.  No difference really.

If all our children hear is “good job,” I am pretty sure it’s not very encouraging anymore.  So blah, so generic, and clearly doled out only when the child did something we are judging in some way. Perhaps it’s becoming a praise statement just with sheer usage and intent.

I suggest if you want to be sure you are responding in encouraging ways, drop the robotic “good job” crap, and instead try to get really descriptive.  Be encouraging by sharing with your child what you’re noticing, how you appreciate their contributions and how it’s helpful to others.

Here are some suggestions to give you the idea:

“Thanks for bringing your plate to the counter without being asked, I really appreciate you helping keep our house tidy.”

“You put your coat right on the hook! That makes our front foyer look so much tidier, doesn’t it? Such a help.  Thank you.”

“You really care about your room, and you keep it so tidy and organized that it’s a pleasure to play in here.”

When it comes to encouragement, more is better than less.  Drop the pre-fab cornball phrases and really get authentic with your children.

About Alyson

Alyson has been blogging parenting advice for over 15 years. She has been a panelist at BlogWest, Blissdom, #140NYC and more. Her content appears on sites across Canada and the US, but you can read all her own blog posts right here.

More about Alyson

3 Responses to “Tired of Always Saying “Good Job”?”

  1. Cathy Errington

    Not to be the grammar police, but…. you wrote “Be encouraging by sharing with your child what your noticing…”. It should be “what YOU’RE noticing”. I’ve been noticing this mistake on pretty much a daily basis from my facebook friends, and it’s become a pet peeve. 🙂

  2. Alyson Schafer

    Good catch! I’ll fix it!

  3. Krista D.

    Your information has been so eye-opening for me as a mother to a two-year old. I’ve always done the “good job” stuff, but now as he is getting older I want to know what other encouraging words to say to him.
    PS. I’m buying your book this week!!!
    Thanks for all your good advice and I wish you continued success.


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