I'm reading an article by Alfie Kohn that talks about the current trend towards praising children for everything they do. We even give awards (and trophies!) for last place so children will have "self esteem." However, this doesn't work and we see the results of this misplaced feedback now in colleges and universities.
As Kohn notes, "Does praise motivate kids? Sure. It motivates kids to get praise. Alas, that's often at the expense of commitment to whatever they were doing that prompted the praise."
You can read the rest of the article here.