Praising kids often may do more harm than good

Praising your children often may damage their confidence as experts claim “empty” comments make the kids unhappy. According to leading psychologist Stephen Grosz, comments such as “you’re so clever” or “you’re such an artist” could also hinder the kids’ future performance at school.

Grosz said that such “empty praise” causes children to be unhappy as they feel they cannot live up to the false expectations, the Daily Mail reported.

Instead he advises parents and teachers to bestow compliments less frequently and use phrases that congratulate children for “trying really hard”.

“Empty praise is as bad as thoughtless criticism – it expresses indifference to the child’s feelings and thoughts,” said Grosz. “Admiring our children may temporarily lift our sense of self-esteem but it isn’t doing much for a child’s sense of self,” he said.

Grosz also cites research showing that children who were heavily praised were likely to perform worse at school.

Psychologists from Columbia University asked 128 students aged ten and 11 to solve a number of maths problems afterwards, some were told, “You did really well – you’re so clever”.

Researchers told the other group, “You did really well - you must have tried really hard”.
Both groups of children were then given more difficult questions and those who had been told they were clever did not do as well as the others.

Researchers found kids even tried to lie about their results when asked about the experiment, the report said. Grosz believes that instead of overpraising children, parents should try to build their confidence gently.

“Just listen to what your child wants to tell you, about what they’re interested in and what they’re passionate about,” he added.

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