Kids are always seeking approval from parents. Even we as adults, however secure we may be in our lives, a few generous words from our parents always make us beam. Praising your kids is a wonderful way to show them that you are proud of them. This reassurance helps in building their confidence. However, even though praising your kids is a positive thing, we suggest you exercise some caution while doing it and watch out for some of the common mistakes most parents make, albeit unknowingly:
1. Overdoing It
We tend to get excited when our kids complete something, especially if it is done without supervision. While it is ok to be happy and spread the cheer, you need not make it into a celebration every time. For example, kids getting ready for school on time is something that is expected of them and not an achievement in itself. The idea is not to put them down but to make them realize their responsibilities. Over-praising the kids may lead to low self-esteem issues in future as they would get addicted to being applauded and always look for approval, even over trivial, everyday things.
2. Praising Publically
Parents love to brag about their kids in front of their family and friends. This could go either way—while some kids may feel embarrassed and shy in social situations, others may start getting a sense of entitlement. They would expect everyone to be as enthusiastic about their accomplishments as their parents are, which may not always be the case. It is crucial that they learn to be humble. Praising kids is something very personal. We want kids to know how delighted we are about their success, but it does not mean that the entire world has to be too.
3. Including Comparison In The Praise
Appreciating kids for their effort or achievement is a good practice but not when it extends to comparison with siblings or friends. So while it is right to say, “Wow, your dance performance was superb!” it is not advisable to say, “You performed much better than xyz”, or worse, “You did well but xyz’s was even better”. Kids should enjoy their achievement on their own. They need not be made to feel inferior or superior to others for that.
4. Using It As A Tool
Desperate situations sometimes call for desperate measures. In cases where kids are a little stubborn and won’t comply with parents’ requests, praise may come in handy and parents may fall into the trap of using it to get the work done. “You are such an awesome kid, you will clean your room”. This again causes a conflict in their minds about what is a responsibility and what is an achievement.
This is not to say that all the above strategies are off-limits. Sometimes it is required to praise the kids in front of everyone or use all possible tactics for them to do anything. The key is to not make this a habit and be conscious of how it can impact your kids. After all, there is no denying that parenting is a tightrope walk and demands that we maintain a balance in everything that we do—even something as simple as praising the kids!