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Friday, November 26 2021

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Are you over-praising your child?

It is very common that every appropriate or good behaviour needs to be complimented. Children often like to get praised by parents/teachers, and it definitely boosts their confidence level and self esteem. When you praise your children they learn how to recognise when they do well and also feel proud of themselves.

However, praising also has a dark side. In the sense that over praising could make the children overconfident, dominant in nature, and it may later turn out that they develop narcissistic tendencies. As a result children might not adopt acceptable behaviours that lead to adjustmental issues. Thus, let us briefly understand why over-praising is not good.

Children expect their work need to be praised

Sometimes in order to bring smile on their child’s face, the parents praise them without even realising how it affects their later behaviours. For instance a boy shows his drawing to parents, and they might say Wow! You are amazing. We have never seen an artist like you before or you are the next Picasso. After hearing the praise he might feel good but as the process becomes too much the child might question his worth if he is not appreciated every time. If the praising process stops or reduces the child might face self-doubt about himself. He also expects the outer world will do the same as parents do. So when the child enters the school, and if this praise doesn’t show up the child become fragile emotionally, throws tantrum or loses interest in the activities or the child might become self-centred or over confident about everything he does. These kind of exaggerated statements literally hinder the true abilities of the child as it sticks to the frequently repeated praises.

Praise the process not the person

This doesn’t mean that you need to completely stop praising the children for their work. When the boy shows the painting, the phrase would be “Wow! This is very creative, you must have really worked hard. The blue green shades look elegant in this work.” By doing this the child will understand that you closely observed and also your critical analysation embarks curiosity and creativity in them. Also pay close attention to the process instead of giving a blind praise. observe what the child has done. This kind of compliments allow children to evaluate themselves and sparks exploration in them.

Praising often ends up in comparison

Comparison might happen between siblings, neighbours, classmates or friends. Arre, you have won in 400-metre-race while your friend couldn’t even win 100-metre-race. You are such a brilliant kid. This kind of praise brings unnecessary sense of competition and actually doesn’t motivate your young children.

Over-praising your children in every attempt puts pressure on them as they feel unworthy when praising doesn’t serve well. So compliment your child for his/her work but do not overpraise. If we want our children to be happy, instead of just giving them praise, we must also offer them chance to feel good about themselves. This not only increases their esteem but also helps to spread the feeling of worthiness to those around them.

Image by Arek Socha 

Ramya E.

The author is a counselor and lifeskills trainer who has trained over 2000 students. She holds an M.Sc. in Psychology.

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