Back in 2005, as article named ‘Yep, Life’ll Burst That Self-Esteem Bubble,’ which highlighted some shortcomings of the self-esteem movement which had originated back in the ’70’s. What’s so special about it? As it turns out, the referenced and this article will be highlighting the exploitation of praise and importance of constructive criticism.
Let’s start off by breaking a common conception ‘The more the praise, the higher the self-esteem.’ However, things certainly didn’t add up like the way they were supposed to, and now we are reaping the results in the form of overly sensitive kids. Studies show that the generation of kids raised with lots of praise lacks confidence, competence, and accountability. What’s even more worrying is that the kids raised on a ‘Praise high’ have a tough time with constructive and critical feedback, which often results in blame and self-entitlement.
So the million dollar question, why isn’t the overdose of praise effective to build self-esteem as originally thought? Let’s start off with the definition of the word, praise: The act of expressing approval. If a child is always looking for approval from a teacher or parent, then they will be focussing on external adulation. Every adult requires slightly different things from a child. One parent may value speaking up for yourself while the other might emphasize politeness.
Think of it this way, if children’s attention is captivated by continual external approval and rewards as they develop, they lose their internal compass to be happy and fulfilled. Adults’ praise is often too general, such as “Good boy/girl!” or “Great job!” It gives the child no concrete information which they can use to improve a skill or repeat an effective action. One expert aptly coined this situation as caffeine. It gives you a boost, but the more you drink it, the more you want it, gradually developing a habit resulting in a mock addiction. Just like caffeine, the more children drink up praise, the more they rely on it to feel good about themselves and to motivate themselves.
More importantly, the most confusing kind of praise for a child is the praise motivated by a parent’s desire to make up for a criticism flung out as a result of a negative experience. In this situation, praise is often a guilt-induced reaction coming from the parents to make up with their child.
Productive and encouraging feedback is thoughtful, specific, and usually, engages the child in introspection. Encouragement creates a dialogue between you and your child or teen, which as a bonus strengthens the relationship. This kind of feedback builds not only healthy and authentic self-esteem but also creates strong, confident young adults who desire to contribute in the world.
With meaningful feedback and encouragement, a child can repeat specific actions that create excellent results. Skill can be improved, and a child can actively increase success by the amount of effort and focus they apply in each situation. The repetition of internally focused attention creates a lasting sense of self that is independent of other people’s responses. The child or teen, not another person, has control over the results they create. Children strengthen the muscles of their individualization and learn to follow their unique inspirations, desires, and dreams.
Part of the solution is equipping your child with the right education to build the right mindset. Education these days has transcended beyond the desks and chairs of school. By focusing on learning at a hands-on self-pace, inspirational and collaborative environment, the Montessori imparts the essence of cataloging a problem, attention to detail, starting off with baby steps and evolving an idea through experimentation; and solving problems with feelings of animated interest. Experts from Milton Montessori remark that there is no age restriction in promoting and enhancing innovation, the most of which is focussed on using criticism as a stepping stone.