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The scary truth about praising kids

Dyan Eybergen, a child and adolescent psychiatric nurse, has more than 10 years experience working as a therapist and parent educator. Eybergen currently resides in St. Albert, Alberta, with her husband and three sons. Out of the Mouths ...

5 Tips to build confidence in kids

There is a right way and a wrong way to praise kids. Done correctly, your child develops a strong sense of self-worth, however when your "overpraise" your child, their sense of self becomes skewed and they blame others for their failures. Therapist Dyan Eyebergen gives tips on building your child's self worth through the correct use of praise.

5 tips to build self-confidence

Here are some tips for building your child's sense of self worth, without the use of praise.

  • Tip #1: Encourage children instead of praising them: Concentrate on the satisfaction the child feels at completing a task by asking them to evaluate their own fulfilment in what they have accomplished. "I bet you feel really good about getting your homework done?" The child will internally mark that sensation and prefer it over feeling overwhelmed or anxious about incomplete homework.
  • Tip #2: Expectations: Set realistic expectations for your child based on their age and stage of development and whether or not they have the capacity to succeed at a particular task.
  • Tip #3: Set your child up for success by giving them the proper tools and skills to accomplish a given responsibility. If they are lacking, help them.
  • Tip #4: View failures as opportunities for growth and learning. When children fail, they rarely get praised, but you can always encourage a child to try again.
  • Tip #5: Highlight how the child's accomplishment impacted other members of the family. "I really appreciate you getting your homework done so we can spend some time reading together tonight." This way, children will see their actions as being part of something bigger than them. When children feel that they have positively contributed they feel valued.

Help children to recognize their strengths and manage their weaknesses. Most children will excel in some areas of life and struggle in others. Have them acknowledge where they do well and nurture those interests. Where children do not show any great particular aptitude, help them to find strategies to cope and recognize their attempt to try. "I know math is not your best subject, but I can see you making a real effort; the extra help you're getting at school is making a difference."

Children need to be regarded unconditionally. Even when they are messing up make sure to communicate your love for them.

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