{Weekly Writing Challenge} Parenting as a Cliffhanger…

08 Jan

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.


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”.
[Margaret Thatcher]

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love & affection.”

Read what other bloggers are sharing:

Meet Me Halfway: The Epic Saga of Zero to Hero Day Six, Part Two | Rose B Fischer

DP Challenge – Part 1 | hometogo232

Hidden word poem | writemybrainsout

The Soup Story | So Not Simple

The Raven’s Omen – Part 2 | The Crone’s Apprentice

Vendetta on the Mountain | Wah Wah Zine

Bible Trivia: 1-7-14 | Proverbs 31 Teen

Weekly Writing Challenge: Roy G. Biv | Making Life an Art

My Meh 2013 According to Facebook – part 1 | Awkward Laughter

My Meh 2013 According to Facebook – part 2 | Awkward Laughter

Chapter 5 – January 1C | Keigh Ahr

Monster in the Dark: Pt 1 of 3 | Ripples of Truth

The Worst Day of My Entire Life | The Girl Who Never Stopped Dreaming

Suicide no. 19: Would You? | derekalanwilkinson

A Day At The Bank « Christopher’s Cave…

Daily Post: Roy G. Biv | Making Life an Art


Posted by on January 8, 2014 in children, expat, FAMILY, foreign service


Tags: , , , , , , ,

19 responses to “{Weekly Writing Challenge} Parenting as a Cliffhanger…

  1. Cherise

    January 24, 2014 at 5:08 am

    We are against false praise, but do give constructive criticism and lots of love to kids in our family … and we give them our time


  2. aishasoasis

    January 10, 2014 at 4:05 am

    Hi! I want to shower you with gold so I’ve nominated you for the Sunshine Award. Please accept it with my thanks and appreciation for your sunny blogging by visiting:


    • 3rdCultureChildren

      January 10, 2014 at 9:32 am

      Thank you very much for the nomination! Will defitely be checking your blog very soon – much appreciated! 😮


  3. Rose F

    January 9, 2014 at 10:35 pm

    Thank you for the link–I think the most important thing is honesty.


    • 3rdCultureChildren

      January 9, 2014 at 10:40 pm

      Agree – I believe parents, caretakers, and any other ‘strong figure’ in the child’s life needs to be honest, and yet, loving…. the truth does not need to be cruel, but misleading a child into thinking they’re an overachiever could be more cruel than any blunt truth! Thank you very much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts, Rose F!


  4. justiceforkevinandjenveybaylis

    January 9, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    Reblogged this on justiceforkevinandjenveybaylis.


  5. Lucid Gypsy

    January 8, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    Maybe its about being realistic so as to not create expectations that are too high?


  6. aishasoasis

    January 8, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    It’s been my observation coming from a big family that children are very perceptive and they know themselves better than anyone else. If they perceive the praise they receive is a lie, then it won’t have the desired effect. I don’t think it’s a question of praise or don’t praise – just don’t falsely praise – keep your encouragement grounded in the truth, and don’t use flattery either, it’s so transparent!


    • 3rdCultureChildren

      January 8, 2014 at 2:25 pm

      I agree. As a grown-up child who faced very low self-esteem issues, and as a mother of growing children. Growing up, I felt a lot of pressure from my parents to ‘always succeed’… and they would tell others [their adult friends] how ‘well-behaved’ and describe the [always raising] school grades their daughter had… It did create a lot of expectation, and unnecessary pressure… Now, I see the world with completely different eyes: I was able to battle the low-self esteem and reinvent a ‘better, more confident’ myself… 😮 I’m totally against the false praise, but will always keep up with the encouragement – thanks again for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! Have a happy & successful 2014 [and this is no false praise! :o]


      • aishasoasis

        January 8, 2014 at 4:38 pm

        Thank you! Very wonderful and important discussion! ;^)


        • 3rdCultureChildren

          January 8, 2014 at 7:40 pm

          Just trying to add to the pot! 😮
          Hope the discussion keeps on growing… feel free to share it! [and thanks for doing so!]


  7. Susan

    January 8, 2014 at 12:51 pm My sentiments exactly today!


    • 3rdCultureChildren

      January 8, 2014 at 12:55 pm

      Thank you very much, Susan! For taking the time to stop by, sharing your link and adding to the conversation! 😮


      • Susan

        January 8, 2014 at 12:56 pm

        Very welcome and loved your post!


        • 3rdCultureChildren

          January 8, 2014 at 12:58 pm

          Thank you! I was reading your post, and stopped at the ‘image’ of my own child leaving his book on the kitchen table… and my heart racing… so right! They’ll survive the trauma… and every single one after the ‘library day fiasco’…



Got something to say? Share it here!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: