Without any praise, the child’s self-esteem will shrivel up. But too much praise can be just as harmful as too little. If a child is made to think he is already as good as he needs to get, what is the point of working hard?
Here’s how to build your child’s self-esteem without overpraising:
- Keep your praise specific. If your child shows you a school essay, you might say, “I especially like this paragraph. You used vivid words.”
- Be selective. You don’t need to praise your child every time she hangs up her coat, unless that’s something you’re working hard to teach her.
- Teach your child to deal with setbacks. Sometimes, your child will try and fail. Rather than telling her, falsely, that she did a wonderful job, find something honest to say. “Learning long division is hard. But you’ve mastered other hard things. Remember when you were just learning to write in cursive? That took time—but you stuck with it. You’ll learn this, too.”
- Keep your child feeling challenged. Once she achieves a goal, help her set her sights on the next accomplishment.
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