On Parenting … on praising

On Parenting … on praising March 15, 2013

From Dr Michelle Borba:

4 Signs Your Kid May Be Over-Praised

In all fairness, for years parents have been encouraged to “praise” their kids — and to do so lavishly. Reams of parenting books stress the value of giving kids all those accolades and acknowledgements–al those “Good job!” comments help our kids develop self-esteem! In fact, this weekend I picked up a flyer from at a parenting event with this advice: “Praising kids is the best way to boost their self-esteem. If you catch yourself saying a negative comment, remember the 5:1 Formula. ‘Kids need five positive comments for every negative comment they hear.”  (I strongly advise you not to ignore that advise). Most of us are guilty of over-praising so how do we know if we’re praising our kids too much? Here are signs of over-praising I shared on TODAY.

1. Self-Centered:  I did great, Mom!  The child is frequently praised individually so he forgets the contributions of others in the group or his team effort. Instead, he focuses on his plays, efforts, goals, etc. Listen for the pronouns of “Me and I” instead of “He, she, you, or we” in the child’s vocabulary.

2. Praise-Dependent:  “Do you like it mommy?”  The child is so used to hearing adults praise that he now depends on those accolades to jump start his effort and needs your approval for self-maintenance.

3. Expects Accolades:  “Aren’t you going to tell me, ‘Good job?’”  The child has heard your “Good job” so frequently that the praise no longer is meaningful. The child just expects you to say, “Atta boy!” regardless of whether it’s deserved.

4. Over-Competitive:   “But I’m better than her and got a higher grade.”  The child has heard praise so often and needs the accolades to maintain her own self-image. The danger is that the child can begins to tear others down to feel better about herself.

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