Saturday 4 January 2014

Too much praise?

I read somewhere once that we should limit the amount we praise our children. The idea is that too much praise or telling them they are special/beautiful every second of the day will have a big impact on their personalities and psychological thoughts. After all, if they are already special, why do they need to try and be clever? If they are beautiful, that is all they need? Of course not. 

I believe the key is moderation and pin pointing the action you need to praise. 

I am very guilty of praising Sienna a lot these days. After all, she is a toddler who is learning about the world around her and I am amazed at how much she understands and the new things she picks up every week. I am forever telling her she is clever or a good girl or so precious to mummy and daddy. It is hard not to acknowledge everything little and I think at this age, it is important to praise their new tricks. I am also aware of giving her the attention she needs when she does something good or clever, rather than it going unnoticed and she starts thinking she has to be naughty to get attention. Apparently the behaviour of murderers and rapists, comes from the fact they think they are above anyone else and can do what they want. Not how I pictured my daughter as I'm sure no mother pictures their child this way, so I do think too much praise can affect them, you need a balance.

As she gets older, I think these praises will become rarer and rarer as she won't be learning things so quickly. I will praise her on the things she puts effort into. That word, effort, is what we should praise. Clever or not, it is the trying that is the hardest part and the thing that should be noticed. Along with good table manners, being polite and listening. We need to start praising the actual action they are working on, rather than just generalising it as 'clever' or 'special'. I want to bring Sienna up to realise that she is so so special to mummy and daddy, but all children are and she is no better/more special than anyone else, we still all need to try at one thing or another. 

As for being beautiful, every child is the most beautiful to their mother. But being beautiful is not the focus of life or what I want her to think about all the time. This is going to be the hardest for me as everytime I see Sienna, I say something along the lines of 'Hi beautiful', 'Hi gorgeous baby girl', 'You look so pretty wearing that' etc. As someone who struggled with self-esteem and hating her appearance as a teenager and still a bit now, I really don't want Sienna to focus on her appearance too much. In future, I will be telling her she is the best Princess because she is polite and listens, not because she is beautiful.

What do you think? Is too much praise harmful? 
Any advice for me on stopping the focus on appearance?

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