PRAISE That Makes Your Relationship Stronger and More Connected

couple with woman smiling

So what kind of praise can make your relationship stronger and more connected? I would say hands down, “Descriptive Praise”. It is the most powerful kind of praise as to making a connecting impact. We all like to be praised or hear the good stuff about us. But there are specific ways to give praise that is most helpful and carries the strongest punch. This is “DESCRIPTIVE PRAISE”. And the cool thing is that it can be used for all of your relationships.

What is Descriptive Praise?

Descriptive Praise is different from traditional praise, which normally is expressed with a “Good job.” OR “That was great.” OR “Wonderful”  Traditional praise is evaluative in nature. Descriptive Praise is when you describe out in detail what you have seen or heard or feel and then it is left open for the receiver to take it in and praise themselves. The sender comes across as really seeing and noticing all of the small details of what has occurred which has so much more impact. Some like to add a summation after the description of the details of what has occurred to give it a more powerful effect.

Who Can it Be Used With?

I first heard about “Descriptive Praise” when I read the book How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk. Later I saw the authors speak when they came to Tulsa.  I then became involved in teaching their group workshop materials and have found through the years that “Descriptive Praise” is applicable for all relationships: Parent / Child and Couples. Actually for any relationship.

What Are the Specific Benefits of Descriptive Praise?

  • A closer connection with your loved one who feels very acknowledged and really very seen and heard.
  • The receiver will feel good about their behavior as it has been witnessed by a loved one or someone who they know and care about. It can be a self-esteem booster.
  • It gives the receiver an opportunity to look in detail at what they have done and praise themselves. This is a very healthy kind of praise.
  • In regard to parent / child relationships, the detailed nature of descriptive praise helps to wire the brain with what parents may feel is behavior that they wish and hope their children to continue.

Examples for Your Consideration

couple eating salad and smiling

Couple Examples:

“I see you have made supper for us tonight. And look at all that chopping and pre work you have done to make our veggie soup. You even made a fresh green salad to go with it. You are really taking care of us! Thank you.”

“I was so busy and I know I told you I was going to throw in a load of laundry, but I forgot. Looks like you did it for me. You saw I was over my head and came to my rescue.”

“I loved my Valentine’s present. You noticed me looking at those pretty scarfs and went back and bought me one. You were really paying attention to what I like. That makes me feel so special.”

child and parent talking and smiling

Parent / Child Examples:

” You picked up your room. All the books are on the shelf. The clothes are in the hamper. Your papers on your desk. And legos in their special Lego bin. That is what I call being organized.”

” You came home and got a snack and went straight to your room to work on your home work. You chose to get your homework done early. You were thinking ahead.”

“You were mad at your friend and you choose to use your words instead of hitting him. You know how to control yourself.”


I hope you will give descriptive praise a try with your loved ones. It may feel a bit wordy but I think you will find the effort very much worth your time. I know your loved ones will love it and you for it!

My ending example. This one is for you 🙂 “You saw this blog title and decided this article was worth taking a look at. So you took your time and read it through. You are open to new ideas to improve your relationships. You take time for what is important to you.”

So how did that feel?


Source for the original descriptive praise concept: How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish.

Handshakes and Hugs

I am passing this blog piece on as it is a wonderful addition to my last post on creating greeting rituals with children. These are very fun, simple handshakes and hugs! Tanna Strom

Kindergarten Nana

Research shows that the one of the best ways to build connections between people is eye contact and touch.  I was always looking for good ways to foster relationships so I loved including special “handshakes” in our morning routines.  We sometimes called them handshakes, other times we referred to hugs.

I introduced these one at a time at the beginning of the year.  The children would be standing in a circle, I would demonstrate the handshake and do it with the child on my right, I always tried to remind the children to turn and look at their partner while they were shaking hands.  Then that child would turn and “pass the handshake” to the next child, and so on around the circle – back to me.  After the children knew a variety of hugs, the special helper would choose which handshake we would do each day.

For most of…

View original post 597 more words

A Pinky Hug, A Cool Handshake . . . Create Your Own Welcome Ritual with Your Child

handshakes_0007Ever do a “pinky hug”? Or have your own original hand shake? Creating your own special greeting with your loved one can be fun and unique to your relationship. And why not add a bit of fun to our greeting. There are all kinds of potential greeting rituals. Maybe a high-five or a hip or knuckle bump or a series of actions that you design with your child.  One of the fun parts could be coming up with your own “signature greeting”. I found a wonderful blog piece that I will re-blog for you to look at the many different handshakes this teacher has used with her children.  So be on the lookout for this blog piece that will appear on my blog. It is titled Handshakes and Hugs by Kindergarten Nana. She has Thumb Kisses, Butterfly hugs, Fish Hug and much more to consider as a potential greeting.

thumb kiss

Another possibility could be a special phrase or term of endearment phrase you use only for your child. If you have more than one child, each having their own greeting will give them each a sense of being unique. I do think checking in with your child as to if they like what you are using is a respectful thing to do.

I have heard many terms of endearments or nicknames. Most I think are liked by children, especially if they are positive and have a nice feel to them.  Being mindful and thoughtful as to choosing something that does not have any kind of negative connotation is important I think. What we may teasingly use, can be hurtful to a sensitive child.

I also think as children get older they may or may not like the special name or ritual of greeting, so keep alert to their feelings and do a ck in with them. Creating a new greeting can make sense as they grow.

A shout out to the mom who shared her “pinky hug” ritual with me.  This is simply the pair looping their picky figures.  This might be nice if you have a child who is embarrassed by a full hug. Of course for some the traditional full hug may be just the ticket.

Good luck in coming up with your own special connecting ritual with each of your children. This ritual will live on in your child’s memory way after they are grown.