Can you give a child too much praise?

It is natural for parents to praise their children for doing extraordinary things. It feels good when your kid does something you can’t believe someone his age can do; you are proud to have an awesome kid. 

Praise is when you tell your child that you like what he is doing and how he’s behaving – for example, “That’s a great job, Jared” or “Well done, AJ.” It nurtures your child’s confidence and sense of self.

By praising your child, you show how to think and talk positively about themselves. You’re helping your child recognize when they do well and feel proud of themselves.

Parents sometimes struggle with finding the right balance when it comes to raising their child: How much is enough? How much is too much? How much is too little? While there is no secret formula, understanding when, where, and how to praise is essential for raising confident kids with a healthy sense of self-esteem.

Experts say that praising the effort and not the outcome can also mean recognizing your child when he has worked hard to help clean the yard or help in cooking dinner, or completing his assignment in math. Your son may not be the best basketball player on his team. Still, suppose he’s out there every day, participating in practice, shooting baskets, running drills, and playing hard. In that case, you should praise his effort regardless of whether his team is winning or losing.

When your child does make a special effort that deserves praise, say it out as you see fit. But praising your child with cash or money should be avoided. When you offer money, your child will be motivated by money and not by the positive feeling of success. While this is not a brilliant idea, you should embrace opportunities to celebrate their hard work or achievements. Go out for ice cream or at their favorite fast-food restaurant after a sound report card or after his musical recital to celebrate your child’s hard work and persistence.

Can you give a child too much praise?

Nowadays, parents hope to boost their child’s self-esteem not just by praising but also by overpraising. Parents primarily focus on their children’s “greatness” in this competitive world and often exaggerate statements that fail to reflect their true abilities. Constant praise does not build self-esteem and can create “approval junkies” – yes, kids seek recognition for everything they do. They’ll learn that self-worth can be based on what others say and eventually can’t do things if they are not being praised.

A real sense of worth is based on the skills your child can build for themselves and the actual achievements they’ve made and not just you telling your kids that everything they do is terrific. While praising your child for everything may seem right, overpraising can have adverse long-term effects, including feelings of entitlement, inadequacy, disappointment, and loss of interest in activities.

How do you praise your child the correct way, or how do you build up their self-esteem?

Be specific. Avoid giving your kids generic compliments like “Good job.” This won’t help your kid understand what he did right or what he needs to improve on. State what the child has specifically done, it will give a highlight to the task, and he may likely repeat the good deed. You can say, “Great job for choosing the right colors for your drawing!”

Be short. It doesn’t have to be long and elaborate or done every minute. One-sentence praise delivered the right way is enough.

Be sincere. Say it wholeheartedly and mean it. Don’t just say it so you’ll have something good to say.

Aside from praising, it is essential to take notice of something your child likes to do and offer support and encouragement that is realistic and appropriate. Children also need to feel a sense of independence and autonomy to feel the true meaning of self-worth. As parents, we should sensitively guide them towards finding something they truly enjoy and do well, then provide opportunities to engage in the activity and develop their skills. 

If we want our kids to be truly happy, instead of giving them all the praise we can provide, let’s offer them the chance to feel good about themselves. Let us create opportunities for them to be self-sufficient, generous, and compassionate.