When being called “Incredibly Good” is really not good for children?
Great Wednesday, although it began with a not-so-welcoming weather in La Paz – the rainy season has arrived, and flooded streets displaying the hectic driving behavior are definitely not the best place to be! The inspiration for this ‘quasi-op-piece’ comes from the idea of leaving the readers ‘hanging’ [thanks, Michelle W., btw!]’, while I freely start a discussion on possible strategies on parenting well-rounded children [or lack of thereof!].
Back to work, as expected, and having the opportunity to read the paper before the work day starts is key! The Washington Post column on ‘Parenting’ called my attention with an article on ‘Stop heaping praise on your kids’, by Amy Joyce, really brought some thoughts up, as well as, a few questions and concerns.
STOP PRAISING YOUR KIDS??
Not really, but let’s keep on moving on. Also, nobody should be telling us what to do regarding the way we bring our kids up, correct? 😮
We’ve all done it, stated Amy Joyce. But I’m sure not all of us knew we might be hurting our kids by doing it… At least, I did not know. How could I? Simply trying to work my best magic tricks when it comes to parenting…
Why would we, parents, knowingly harm our children?
These were the first questions, and the curiosity brought out led me to read the study from the Psychological Science, where ‘researchers found that adults seem to naturally give more inflated praise to children with low self-esteem.
‘But while children with high self-esteem seem to thrive with inflated praise, those with low self-esteem actually shrink from new challenges when adults go overboard on praising them’.
Hummm… What exactly is ‘inflated praise’? How can someone give a ‘negative’ perception to something as positive as ‘praise’?
According to the study, “Inflated praise can backfire with those kids who seem to need it the most — kids with low self-esteem”. Now, it begs the question: are we, unaware parents, damaging our kids personal growth process by ‘over praising’ them?
I would welcome any remarks, feedback or comments [from other parents or alike] on this issue, because, frankly speaking, I just found myself making mistakes while [trying as hard as we can!] raising our three TCKs… Obviously, for a parent with a [socially speaking] child who faces difficulties performing regular tasks, it’s a normal thing to offer praise – that’s the way we were taught to behave – you make your child feel better, look better [among his/her peers], feel happier and well-accepted within the group. Am I wrong in stating that?
The affirmation: ‘Parents seemed to think children with low self-esteem needed to get extra praise to make them feel better’ appears to be universally correct, I’d say… Remarks from this recent study showed that children with low self-esteem were more likely to choose the easier pictures if they received inflated praise. By contrast, children with high self-esteem were more likely to choose the more difficult pictures if they received inflated praise.
What is the right path to take, though? 😮 To praise or not to praise, that’s the question; paraphrasing the great British writer.
Do we really create more pressure over children with continuous praise?
“If you tell a child with low self-esteem that they did incredibly well, they may think they always need to do incredibly well. They may worry about meeting those high standards and decide not to take on any new challenges.”
After all this, do you believe I’ve got some sort of solid opinion on the issue?
Let me offer a bit of background on my experience as a parent: I’m a mom of 3 TCKs, struggling to manage our multi-lingual household, traveling to a different country every so often, and having to guide our nomad family towards constantly adjusting to new cultures, new places, new friends… Praise is a definite part of our daily routine… and I do believe it’ll continue to be so…
Of course we [the husband and I] work on praising our kids, now 8, 5 and 3 years of age. Not excessively, I’d say, but the praise is there… we understand how challenging it might be for our kiddos to thrive within cultures… and adapt. As painless, as possible. Not easy at all, though! 😮
Thank you very much for sticking around, and for your much appreciated feedback on this big question: should parents ‘tone down’ their pride and praise towards their developing children? And if so, how should we begin tackling this task? I’ll be anxiously waiting for your input. Enjoy your ‘homework’, and have all a great week! 😮
“Disciplining yourself to do what you know is right and important, although difficult, is the highroad to pride, self-esteem, and personal satisfaction”.
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love & affection.”
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