Bravo, Fantastic, Well done! Well, if you havenâ€™t guessed it already then these are the words I often say to my kids. In my mind, I am encouraging them. But, these were not the words that I grew up listening. I probably only remember – can do better, you need to do better, work harder, study harder, you should practice more, or itâ€™s okay to lose. I donâ€™t remember winning a single game of cards, carom, table tennis with my dad. So, here I am thinking are we only showering our kids with praise all the time? Are we boosting their egos and self esteem a bit too much?
Studies show that it gives your child a lot of positive imaging and offers the feel-good factor to perform better. However, children with low self-esteem could be harmed if they are lavished with too much praise by parents, a research claims. Inflated praise can cause them to retreat into their shell and worry they will have to reach the same standard in future tasks. The researchers from Southampton University acknowledge this advice may run counter to parentsâ€™ intuition – but insist being called â€œincredibly goodâ€_x009d_ could be bad for these children.
On the other hand, confident children will strive to do better and see the praise as a challenge to repeat or better their efforts. What essentially these studies imply is, gauge your child before showering him/her with praise. Do not intimidate them with so much hullabaloo that they have high standards to live up to and it burdens them.
I also think itâ€™s important for parents, teachers and other stakeholders to be affirmative yet give constructive feedback. More often than not the feedback is not channeled or directed properly and leads the child to believe that itâ€™s all good.
Our children have a hard time facing defeat and often find it humiliating if they have to get NO for an answer, or get less than what they expected. Hereâ€™s my mantra on praising kids for a supremely balanced ego:
- Not always: Donâ€™t praise them all the time. It will lose its value and may seem hollow.
- Praise the effort not the result: If your child is consistently trying and instead of an A + manages something less, make sure you acknowledge the effort she puts in versus the result.
- Celebrate their success: It could be an ice cream, a game, an extra book, 15 mins more of TV time; whatever works for the two of you. This way your child will know that success is sweet.
- The positive critic: Criticism should always be affirmative and constructive.
- Boost their morale: Motivate them with praise but donâ€™t cripple them with it. There should never be a situation that they canâ€™t do without it.
Images courtesy: Â© Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images