Many parents know that they need to give their children positive feedback and praise in order to help boost their self esteem. Are you doing it in the best way though? As parents, we often get caught up into our busy lives and throw out compliments to our children that may not have the intended effect that we were hoping for. Here are a few tips in order to be most effective in the way you compliment your children.
1. Be specific- Too often compliments or praise to children is a simple “good job.” While easy, it may not be so easy for your children to know what exactly it was that they did that you found to be good. Be more specific by adding what they did that was a good job. For instance, “good job cleaning up your room quickly.”
2. Be genuine- Kids are better at reading people than we often give them credit for and can tell when the compliment is not genuine. If you can’t give them a wholehearted honest compliment, just skip it, all the other heartfelt compliments you give them will make up for it.
3. Don’t use sarcasm- Younger children are often confused by sarcasm. Whether it confuses your child or not, it will have an even bigger negative impact on their self esteem than if you just didn’t say anything at all.
4. Praise the effort- Some children may begin to learn that they should only be proud of themselves when they are successful if they are only praised for a job well done. In order to prevent this from happening, make sure that a good portion of your praise is for the effort that your child put into the task. For instance, instead of saying “I’m so proud of you for making that goal” say “I’m so proud that you played so hard and didn’t give up!”
5. Talk about your children’s pride in themselves- The ultimate goal is for kids to learn to feel good about themselves without relying on what others think or say. Talking about how they feel about their accomplishments and efforts will go a long way in this regard. It can be as easy as “you must be really proud of yourself for doing so well on your test.”
Keep up the good work in raising children with a positive self-image!
If you are looking for a Brevard County counselor or therapist give me a call. My office is located in Rockledge and I would be more than happy to talk with you.
Jessica Stebbins, M.S., Registered Marriage and Family Therapist Intern
Discovery Institute, P.A. Rockledge,FL
Serving Brevard County