Beyond Praise: 8 Ways to Boost Your Child’s Self-Esteem Without Saying “Great Job!”
Children with healthy self-esteem are more resilient emotionally and better prepared to function in the world than children that have a false sense of self-esteem or low self-esteem. You may think that showering your child with praise is good for them and boosts their confidence. However, despite the best of intentions, there are things you can do to prepare your children for the world that are more effective than repeatedly saying, “Good job!”
Be a Positive Role Model
You can help build your child’s self-esteem without saying a word. Your level of self-esteem reflects on and directly influences your child. If you have challenges with your own self-confidence, this is the perfect opportunity for you to improve yourself while setting a positive example for your child. As you are learning about how to build your child’s self-esteem, apply the lessons to yourself and grow together. If you already have a healthy self-esteem, your child can see that and learn from it.
Provide Unconditional Love
Show your child unconditional love that is not tied to achievements, successes or performance. This can help your child feel a sense of self-worth and confidence about being him or herself, as opposed to feeling love and gratification based upon what he or she does or does not do.
Trust Your Child
Take a deep breath, step back and trust your child to make their own choices, decisions and to take thoughtful risks. Trying to protect your child from failure does not help to build the skills that your child needs to grow and develop independently. You may be pleasantly surprised by the amount of resourcefulness and creativity that your child shows when he or she feels empowered to make decisions and learn from making mistakes.
Support Your Child’s Unique Nature
It’s important to recognize, encourage and support the skills, talents and characteristics that make your child his or her own special person. In doing that, it’s important not to compare your child to other children so that your child does not feel better than his or her peers. A false sense of self-esteem can result in bullying and other hurtful interactions with other children.
It may be counter-intuitive, but giving your child too much praise does not help to build healthy self-esteem. Overpraising, particularly with general praise when it is not necessarily deserved, can give your children a false sense of confidence about their abilities and set your children up for failure when they are not prepared for it.