Praising a Child with Challenging Behaviour

Praising a child with challenging behaviour


Praising a child with challenging behaviour can be difficult.

I find praising difficult. It is one of the hardest things I find as a parent to do. It doesn’t come naturally to me. I never remember being praised by my parents, and this is where it stems from.

I really do try to praise, and I find it a lot easier to do this with the Toddler. For me, it seems that the older 2 is where I struggle with, although I know that they need praise just as much as the younger ones.

Praising Capt. Chaos is the most difficult of all.

With his ADHD and ODD comes a lot of challenging behaviour which can last for hours – by which time I am stressed beyond belief and praising is the last thing I want to do.

I know I need to make a more conscious effort to do this. Not just with Capt. Chaos, but with all the children.

On my fridge I have “Fifty Ways of Saying “Very Good”” which can help give me that visual booster to praise the children when they have done something good or helped me.

It also helps to give me a different way of saying the same word, as we all know that it can get a bit boring saying the same thing over and over again.

I was given this list by one of the Support Workers that run a support group I used to attend, and I want to share it with you to hopefully give you a few different ways of praising your children.


Please feel free to clink on the link and download the FREE printable list!

Fifty Ways of Saying Very Good



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  2. Joanne Mallon
    August 15, 2013 / 9:11 am

    I think it’s great that you recognise that praising is a challenge for you and are doing something about it. Like you I wasn’t praised a lot as a child (I don’t think our parent’s generation did that sort of thing) so I probably go OTT with it now. The list looks like a good start but it’s a bit vague. Children find it helpful if you praise the behaviour you want them to repeat, and be specific about what you’re praising. So something like “Well done for great sharing” is better than a simple “well done”, or “lovely handwriting” rather than “great work”. Once they know what they’re doing right, they’re more likely to do more of it.

    • August 15, 2013 / 9:36 am

      Thank you for your comment and I agree with everything you have said. The list is just a copy of what I was given and what we have used. I guess it could do with some adapting – which I will look in to.

  3. August 21, 2013 / 2:34 pm

    A few on there I will be using – my son has ADHD and mild autism and I have found I have to adapt the whole way I speak to him – for instance when he was younger if I said Can you put your shoes on, he would ignore me and just sit looking at me, so I would get more and more frustrated and end up putting them on him myself or making a comment when he did like see it’s not that difficult is it? But then we were told about how some autistic children takes things literally so the ‘Can you put your shoes on’ wasn’t being seen as a request but more as a question ‘Can you put your shoes on?’ so he was sitting there thinking ‘yes you silly cow of course I can’. Simply saying ‘Please go and put your shoes on now’ got a very different response and likewise with the praise, I always try and make it clear what I am praising him for or even when asking him not to do something. In the park the other week, he was right up crawling along the top of the equipment like a beam, about 10 foot high, instead of telling him off I got him down quickly by saying ‘while you are doing a fantastic balancing job up there and amazing me, other kids won’t be as good and may try and copy and then fall and hurt themselves or worse break a bone, could you come down please’ and he did. I find I need to praise more and not just see the bad stuff, I think we are all guilty