Saturday, November 01, 2008

Does Praise Add Pressure?

I'd love to know what you think about this article entitled Want to build your child's self-esteem from the fabulous CERC website. It's premise is that we, as parents, need to be very careful about the way we give feedback to our children to assure that we do not set them up for disappointment or low self-esteem if they do not measure up to all they think we want for them to be.

I fear I've fallen short a bit in this area, as one who's pretty regular at praising her sons for their accomplishments. The article suggests a more refined praise paradigm:

Praise, then and now

OLD

You're brilliant.
You're a great hockey player.
You're smart.
You're so talented.
You're a great colourer.
You're a good artist.

NEW

I really like the way you tried all different ways and found one that worked.
I'm really happy for you -- you worked really hard on the ice today.
I like the way you took on a hard task. I like the way you stuck to it.
You're stretching yourself. You're trying new things.
I like the way you used colours.
That drawing makes me happy. Tell me about it.

So what do you think? I'm fairly certain our parents praised us regularly, and I don't think my self-esteem didn't suffer too greatly.

p.s. Is anyone aware of the trend towards "potty-training parties" mentioned at the end of the article? I must have missed that one!

Book Resource:

2 comments:

Laura said...

Though I consider myself to be an old school type person, I am a fan of the 2nd type of praise- specific and authentic.
I think REAL self esteem comes from being able to do things well and independently.
When we praise specific skills and achievements, we help kids to know what is valued.
I am a teacher so daily praise is a way I reinforce positive behaviors.
(Okay, truth be told...sometimes I DO say, "Man you all are terrific." - no specifics there!)

Lisa M. Hendey said...

Laura, thanks for weighing in! I have lots to learn in this arena and hearing from a teacher is great input! Lisa