Don’t Harm my Child’s Self-Esteem

The following is an article that originally ran in the Washington Post a few days ago and then in the Sacramento Bee today. It’s an interesting description of how our kids haven’t been helped by having excessive praise given to them for trying to do something, regardless of their successes. The thought being that we would harm their self-esteem by being the least bit critical. The author discusses studies which are showing that encouraging kids to keep trying, despite their initial failures, and then giving praise when they achieve the goal is much more helpful for emotional development. It’s focused on a shift in classrooms, but it’s applicable to all parenting situations, regardless of age. It reminds me of the old saying, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”

To view the article, copy and paste the link below to the address bar. If you have difficulty, the author is Michael Alison Chandler, and it’s on the front page of today’s (1-16-12) Bee.

In schools, self-esteem boosting is losing favor to rigor, finer-tuned praise

3 Responses to Don’t Harm my Child’s Self-Esteem
  1. Theresa Sparks
    January 17, 2012 | 8:17 pm

    This is an excellent article! I couldn’t agree more that the heaping of “false” praise has really been the undoing of many children. I see more and more young people who are afraid to try something new because they may not be perfect on the first try. The funny thing is, I think the kids were on to us the whole time! They know when they try hard and do their best. They are quick to realize they aren’t the “best” at everything they try and the adults who have been teaching, coaching or supervising have been telling them “great job” for no real effort.
    I hope this pendulum swings back and that we can raise some kids with a little more drive and a lot thicker skin!

    • Steve DeBenedetti-Emanuel
      January 18, 2012 | 5:08 pm

      Thanks, Theresa, you’ve made really solid points. Projecting forward, I’m concerned how today’s kids will cope as parents, having not been equipped to cope with stress and overcome obstacles. I’m also curious how those who choose to go into education will cope as teachers…

  2. self esteem
    January 28, 2012 | 9:09 pm

    You’ve got great insights about self esteem, keep up the good work!

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