4. Don’t Compare
One of the most important ways to encourage kids with words is to stop using words of comparison. Some parents may resort to encouraging their children through comparison. This is how most of us are raised. While growing up we were compared in schools, in sports, in extracurricular activities, or in any other activity. Sometimes these comparisons may help someone to motivate us to work harder. However, it is worth noting that this approach may also prove to be unfavorable.
For instance, when you compare yourself with a more successful colleague and perform well in comparison, you are proud, excited, and motivated. However, when you fail, you beat yourself up and feel depressed.
Comparison praising makes children more susceptible to future setbacks. Kids who are praised with comparison, don’t tend to stop comparing even as adults. They also lack the motivation to do better. In difficult times, they are more likely to get angry, frustrated, or anxious than other kids who were brought up without comparison. Winning oriented attitude can affect the child’s desire to learn or overcome failure. As a way to avoid failure, these children often avoid challenges or trying new things that require skills that they are not good at.
So in case you are praising your child, instead of saying “you are so good at singing, just like your sister”, opt for saying “you are a wonderful singer”.
5. Avoid Overpraising
Encouraging children with tasks that are easy to complete or not done well enough is considered as insincere. Hence there may be several negative impacts when adults tend to praise simple tasks or if they overpraise their children. It can also have a significant impact on the child’s personality. Children may internalize the belief that they are special individuals who are entitled to privileges.
Parents often tend to overpraise their children with low self-esteem in an attempt to raise them. Such attempts can ultimately lower the child’s motivation and self-worth. On the other hand, in children with higher self-esteem, over-praising doesn’t lower their self-esteem but tends to cultivate narcissism. A 2015 study pointed out that narcissism is partly rooted in early socialization experiences, and suggests that parent-training interventions can help curtail narcissistic development and reduce its costs for society. Children are more likely to grow up to be narcissistic when their parents overvalue them and when their parents see them as more special and more entitled than other children.
6. Compliment Unexpectedly
One of the most effective ways to encourage kids with words is to praise and compliment them unexpectedly. It is essential to be spontaneous and authentic when praising your children. For instance, you can put an encouraging note in your child’s lunch, or use kind and encouraging words when they don’t expect it. You can also use other forms of encouragement such as a hug or a high five as a way to acknowledge their accomplishments. It is important to keep in mind that the advantages of praising decline when the child expects it. A 2013 study pointed out that praising children with low self-esteem, for their personal qualities rather than their efforts may make them feel more ashamed when they fail.
7. Praise Your Child’s Efforts
Humans are elegant creatures who are always keen on attempting to learn and understand the cause and effect of events. A 1991 study reported that how we attribute to events affects how we think of and respond to future events. Children are conditioned to attribute their successes to the efforts they put in when children are praised for their efforts. The effort used is the innate power to control and improve a task. Children will naturally focus more on effort or develop their skills when they are praised for their efforts. They grow up to believe that the only way to get results is by practicing and improving skills. This is an excellent way to encourage kids with words since it helps children to adopt a growth mindset. Children with a growth mindset tend to embrace lifelong learning and the joy of incremental personal growth. Empirical studies have revealed that growth mindset has positive effects on student motivation and academic performance.
When they face challenges, these children attribute their failure to the amount of effort they put in. This enables them to try and work harder and allows them to improve their performance. They grow up to be more resilient, responsible, and mature.