I guess the case for less praise in our parenting is simple:
It has many unintended consequences.
This is especially true if the one being praised is old enough, or aware enough, to know that the compliment is disingenuous.
For example, public speaking was at one-time not my forte. Suffice to say – I was bad at it.
I knew I was bad. Everyone knew I was bad.
If you had come up to me after I fumbled my way through some talk and said “Awesome job, man!” I would have thought you were trying to make me feel better, or were making fun of me.
Let’s praise each other, but never in a way that might look hollow or disingenuous.
I don’t know, something to thing about.
Praise can make you doubt the praiser. (“ If she thinks I’m a good cook, she’s either lying or knows nothing about good food.”) Praise can lead to immediate denial. (“ Always beautifully dressed! . . . You should have seen me an hour ago.”) Praise can be threatening. (“ But how will I look at the next meeting?”) Praise can force you to focus on your weaknesses (“ Brilliant mind? Are you kidding? I still can’t add a column of figures.”) Praise can create anxiety and interfere with activity. (“ I’ll never be able to hit the ball like that again. Now I’m really uptight.”) Praise can also be experienced as manipulation. (“ What does this person want from me?”) I remember my own frustrations whenever I tried to praise my children. They’d come to me with a painting and ask, “Is it good?”
-Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk (Amazon)