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Praise: Perfect in Moderation

by Michele | June 9th, 2016 | Communication, Tweens

12-year-old-smilingThe tween years can be tricky. (I know, I’ve said it numerous times.) However, they really can be. During these years we need to focus on our children’s self-esteem even more. Of course, we need to do it judiciously, as it is important to give them a good foundation, but we don’t want to go overboard.

Like most of life, moderation is key. Praise does not need to be continually flowing, telling your tween that everything he does is perfect. Non-stop praise has a host of issues:

  • His self-esteem should be firm but not overly inflated.
  • It doesn’t show him areas for improvement.
  • It sets him up for disappointment when others don’t continually lavish him with praise.

Honesty is a key piece of praise. For example, if your daughter played well at her softball game, congratulate her when it is done. Although you don’t need to tell her that colleges will want to give her a scholarship; a few kind words will suffice. If it was a less successful day on the field, let her know that there will be more games and time to practice to improve. Don’t tell her it was a great game if it wasn’t.

Keep in mind that not every single thing that your child does needs praise. Success on a math test? Congratulate him. Made his bed before school? Maybe not. Every child is different. So what is a victory for one, may not be for another. The key point is to remember that praise should be given often enough that your child feels warm and fuzzy but not so often that it no longer feels special.

At the same time, it is also important to teach your tween to receive praise graciously. When someone compliments your tween, be sure that she gives thanks. Working on actually saying thank you is key. So often tweens (and adults) deflect praise. “This jacket? It’s nothing special.” really should be, “Thank you. It was a present from my cousin.”

Praise is a wonderful thing. It feels good when someone compliments us, whether it be on an outfit we are wearing, for a project we completed, or something else. Too much of it becomes overwhelming, but just a little bit will give your tween the ability to believe in himself. With that ounce of self-confidence, he will begin to make the transition from uncertain tween to self-confident teen.

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