Children want recognition. They do something. Then come to parents for a reward.

We often reward them with praise. “That’s a beautiful picture.”

But praise makes children seek constant feedback. Their self-worth becomes tied to what we value and say. They give up their independence of thought and creativity to conform to what we and others value.

What children really need is acceptance. The best way to give this is to give your child your full attention.

For example, the next time your child is coloring don’t keep praising him each time he brings a picture to you.

Sit down with him. Watch while he colors. Listen to his comments. He’ll no longer need to seek your praise because he knows what he’s doing is important enough to warrant your attention.

As you observe, you can reinforce what you think is important. Ideally, this will be your child’s creativity and imagination—your child’s unique gifts.

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