Search icon


01st Jul 2024

Parenting columnist says parents shouldn’t high five their kids


A parenting columnist has informed parents to never give high-fives to their children.

According to the columnist at the Omaha World-Herald, giving high-fives to your children treats them as a peer and causes children to lose respect for their parents.

“I will not slap the upraised palm of a person who is not my peer, and a peer is someone over age 21, emancipated, employed and paying their own way,” columnist John Rosemond wrote.

“The high-five is NOT appropriate between doctor and patient, judge and defendant, POTUS and a person not old enough to vote (POTUS and anyone, for that matter), employer and employee, parent and child, grandparent and grandchild.”

He added that respect for adults is “important to a child’s character development,” and high-fiving between kids and adults “is not compatible with respect.”

“The child who is allowed to high-five an adult has tacit permission to talk to said adult as if they are peers,” Rosemond said. “Do not wonder why, if you high-five your child, he often talks to you as if you are his equal.”

However, his claims are not backed by any significant research.

In fact, there is evidence that supports the idea that high-fiving kids as a way of showing praise increases a child’s self esteem and motivation.

Many studies have been done on the benefits of praising children.

In 2014 it was found that “using a gesture to praise your child increased motivation, persistence, and self-esteem more in children than when researchers praised their ability.”

For example, giving high-fives after a child gets a homework questions right rather than telling them “You’re so smart!”

Using this tactic reinforces good behaviour and and enhances social competence.

This parenting trick certainly works for younger children. However, it would be interesting to see how older children react over time with the same form of reward.