Praise sounds and feels good but some teachers use too much, running the risk of making "praise junkies" out of kids. That's the opinion expressed by Dr. Rick Curwin, a New York education specialist, in a new report. Praise-pushing teachers aren't the only ones rapped in his books; parents also may set the stage for praise addiction by supportive words and too many pats on the back, Curwin says. This brand new educational and child-raising ailment is described in Curwin's report in the October issue of Instructor, a journal for the nation's teachers. He said: Praise can be "as addictive as alcohol or drugs." Kids hooked on praise may be manipulative without even realizing it. "They are overly concerned with the value judgments of other people (especially their teacher) and unable to appreciate their own unique talents and abilities unless they are approved by others." "Praise-addicted kids play praise-getting games and they usually win." "As with any addictive substance, there is a fine line between casual use and abuse," Curwin said. "If you don't use direction, you may just hook your kids on a habit they'll never break." Curwin said praise involves "a value judgment you make for someone else and reflects your personal beliefs about what constitutes good and bad or right and wrong." "Although young children do need a point of reference when establishing their own value systems," he said, "too much judgmental influence from other people can limit their opportunities for developing decision-making abilities and their willingness to try new behaviors." So how do you help kids hooked on praise? "You can't expect your kids to kick the praise habit 'cold turkey' but you can help wean them from it gradually by changing the reinforcement tactic you use," Curwin said. He suggested teachers -- and parents -- use "I messages" to wean the praise junkies. "These reflect your thoughts and feelings, but don't pass judgment on the student," Curwin said.