As parents, we want our kids to feel good about themselves, so we try to praise them as much as possible.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Research hows that there are benefits to praising kids. A simple compliment can generate self-worth and pride. However, it depends on what kind of praise we give, as well as when and how frequently.
However, there are negative effects of overpraising a child’s talent or outcome (“This looks amazing!” “You’re so handsome!” “Good job!”).
These short, exaggerated reactions can cause kids to only focus on things that may harm their self-esteem. They might feel performance anxiety (“If I get this answer wrong, I am dumb”), for example, or believe that they are only appreciated for their appearance (“What if people think I look weird in this shirt? Then they won’t love me”).
So should you praise your kids at all? Of course. But there are right and wrong ways to give praise. Here’s what parents of confident, self-motivated and mentally strong kids always do:
1. THEY PRAISE THE PROCESS
When you praise the process (e.g., the kid putting effort into a math assignment), instead of the talent or outcome (e.g., the kid’s natural ability to solve math problems quickly), kids are more likely to develop a positive attitude toward future challenges.
2. THEY NEVER MAKE IT A COMPETITION
It’s not healthy to be trapped in a vicious cycle of competition. Social comparisons can teach kids to always measure success based on the outcomes of other people
3. THEY USE OBSERVATIONAL LANGUAGE
Simple language tweaks can help your kids feel proud of themselves for putting effort into something. It can also make them more excited to take on more challenging things in the future.
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