Boost in self-esteem - Give your children real praise and they will have enough confidence to succeed in life

by chekna on Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Happen to read this article from Rachel Goodchild

WE hear a lot about how our children need to have good self-esteem to do well and become resilient. But so often, what we think might work to help create this just isn’t doing the job.

We can be in the cycle of praising our children, thinking it will make a difference to them, but it’s just hitting the surface and having no real impact at all.

So how do you praise your children effectively?

Here are some simple guidelines.

» Say like you mean it. It sounds simple, but we often focus on trying to puff our children up without actually working out if it actually sounds like we mean it. It doesn’t mean you need to sound negative instead, but use praise on your child when you really feel it.

» Use ‘I’ in the praise. Make it about how you feel about your child. So instead of saying: "You did a great drawing there", say: "I really like your drawing." It means more as it’s more personal, and it’s a direct exhortation.

» Make it specific. "Good boy" is not nearly as effective as "I love the way you are sitting at the table." Let them know the behaviour you like, and let them know you’ve noticed and they are more likely to do it again, and again.

» Say it face to face. It’s no use calling out praise absentmindedly over a computer screen. Stop what you are doing, slow down, look them straight in the eye and talk calmly and clearly.
Children are often more taken with actual interaction and attention than the words. It means they know you mean what you say and you’ve taken time away from whatever you were busy with to say it. Children understand parents are busy. That’s why they know from an early age that undivided attention from an adult is one of life’s biggest treats.

» Be happy about it. Children read our tone and our body language instinctively. Smile, and look pleased as you say it. Make sure your tone is light and friendly. A hard or harsh tone can scare them away from taking it in.

» Add a pat, hug and kiss. Children love physical touch. Cement your praise with physical touch. It helps the words go in, and it gives children the message you are serious.

» Do it again. When you’ve done it once, it’s good to do it again. Look out for the behaviours you love, slow down and acknowledge them. Not only will they love you for it, but you’ll love the changes it brings in them.

If your children don’t have a lot to praise them for, then it’s going to be tricky to start. However, praise is far more effective as a behaviour management tool than criticism or scoldings. It teaches our children what they should be doing, instead of telling them what they shouldn’t do.

Children often don’t know the alternative to negative behaviours until we help identify them for them. They will naturally do what they feel will get them the most attention from us, never mind if it’s behaving badly.

It comes down to your preference in the end.

How do you want your children to get their time from you – from cross words, scoldings and telling off or moments of love, smiles and praise, and plenty of hugs.

That’s a simple one for me!

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