In our hypercompetitive society, it’s easy to convince ourselves that heaping praise on our children will serve them well in developing the confidence they’ll need as they get older. But in the long run, we may be doing them a disservice by not allowing them to experience disappointment, nor develop healthy coping tools for failure (and failure is a part of life). In fact, studies have shown that too much undeserved self-praise, often a side-effect of parental overpraising, can actually lead to depression.
Take this short questionnaire to see whether your parental praise level is just-right or may be over-the-top:
- You say, “Good job!” to your kids more often than you say, “Nice effort.” YES or NO
- You’ll do anything to avoid watching your child fail, including taking over the projects for which they’re responsible, or placating their disappointment with food or gifts. YES or NO
- You believe the best way to build your child’s self-esteem is by telling him/her how good they are at doing things. YES or NO
- You want your child to know that, in life, results are ultimately more important than effort. YES or NO
- It’s okay to praise children for things over which they have control (showing compassion, generosity, persistence, etc.) as well as for things over which they do not (physical attractiveness, height, intelligence, etc.). YES or NO
If you answered YES to at least three of these questions, you may benefit by speaking to a professional therapist specializing in parent-child relationships. For more information, click here (insert hyperlink to appropriate web page).