Five Biggest Mistakes Parents Make With Confidence-Boosting
By Michael Grose
Parents always have the right intentions when they boost their
children's confidence but sometimes their esteem-boosting efforts
backfire and have the reverse effect.
Here are five mistakes parents commonly make when
they try to give their children self-esteem a boost:
It is easy to become a praise junkie so that kids
are praised for standing up straight. "Wow! You are standing up.
What a guy!" Go easy on the praise. Too much of it and it means
nothing. Also praise boys in private rather than public as they can
become easily embarrassed.
Fail to link comment with effort
Make sure the things you praise really deserve it.
Sometimes we lower the bar with children and we do them a disservice
when we accept second and third rate efforts.
Use a sibling or friend as a model
Sometimes in our efforts to inspire kids we use
friends or siblings as role models. Comments such as "Look how hard
your elder sister works?" actually discourage kids rather than
encourage them. Compare kids only with themselves not others.'
Mix praise with criticism
There is nothing like bursting a child's bubble by
praising them up for good work followed by a "but ...you could do
better" or something equally deflating. Keep feedback and criticism
for another time and let kids enjoy a bit of praise.
Lack of sincerity
If you encourage or praise a child you have to mean
it. I mean really mean it otherwise kids see through it a mile off.
We all have the best of intentions when we try to
boost the self-confidence of children and young people however if we
are to do something we may as well do it well.
So to be effective at self-esteem boosting it helps
Be realistic with the amount of praise we give and
don't over do it.
Make sure we link our positive comments with real
effort and improvement from children.
Never compare a child to a sibling or friend, even
out of frustration.
Avoid mixing praise with criticism or sarcasm.
Don't expect kids to do a perfect job so approximations are okay.
Poor effort isn't always okay though.
Only encourage or praise a child when we really
resource Michael Grose is a popular parenting educator and parent
coach. He is the director of Parentingideas, the author of seven
books for parents and a popular presenter who speaks to audiences in
Australia, Singapore and the USA. Take the "Does your child have
healthy self-esteem?" quiz at