My answer: “Stop telling them you are proud of them every time they do something!”
No really. Just stop. Here’s why.
When we over praise, we teach kids that they should be doing things for us, for the validation, and not for their own self satisfaction.
It also teaches them that their worth is equated to what they do, produce, or achieve.
Trade your praise for love and affection and ask your child how they feel about their own performance instead.
The picture shown here is the inside of a card that I sent to our daughter Madison. She is 22 and just got a great job! I am proud of her…. but not because she got a great job.
I am proud of her because she’s my daughter and I love her.
It may sound like such a small distinction but when your child fails at something, and they will, they will believe they have let you down, and that they are not worthy of your affection or love if you only praise achievements.
I see it every single day and it breaks my heart.
So instead of praising your kiddo all of the time, try this instead.
Ask them: “How do you feel you did?” Then respond to their feelings.
There is definitely a time and place for praising your kiddos! I like to praise them when they do acts of kindness that you wouldn’t normally expect. Like seeing a woman in the grocery store dropping items and running over to help, or offering their own money to someone in need and so on.
Even then, be sure to ask them how those acts made them feel! Allow them to grow a sense of pride in themselves by advocating for their success without over praising. Then, instead of praising, try saying something like “That was beautiful to see, thank you!”
Let me know your thoughts or please do share your story at the bottom of the page!
Experience has made me wise, coaching has shown me how to share that wisdom.
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Love and inspiration,