A psychotherapist says parents who raise confident, mentally strong kids always do these 3 things when praising their children

As parents, we want our kids to feel good about themselves, so we try to praise them as much as possible.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Research shows that there are benefits to praising kids. A simple compliment can generate self-worth and pride. However, it depends on what kind of praise we give, as well as when and how frequently.

As a psychotherapist who works with parents and children, I’ve seen over and over again the negative effects of overpraising a child’s talent or outcome (“This looks amazing!” “You’re so handsome!” “Good job!”).

But these short, exaggerated reactions can cause kids to only focus on things that may harm their self-esteem. They might feel performance anxiety (“If I get this answer wrong, I am dumb”), for example, or believe that they are only appreciated for their appearance (“What if people think I look weird in this shirt? Then they won’t love me”).

So should you praise your kids at all? Of course. But there are right and wrong ways to give praise. Here’s what parents of confident, self-motivated and mentally strong kids always do:

1. They praise the process

When you praise the process (e.g., the kid putting effort into a math assignment), instead of the talent or outcome (e.g., the kid’s natural ability to solve math problems quickly), kids are more likely to develop a positive attitude toward future challenges.

In the 1990s, Carol S. Dweck, a professor of psychology at Stanford’s Graduate School of Education, studied the effects of these types of praises. In one experiment, a group of children was told they were successful because they were smart, while the second group was told they were successful because they worked hard.

When the two groups were given a variety of puzzles, children in the second group were more likely to choose a harder puzzle. Dweck also found that praising the process made them more likely to feel confident in a task even if they made a mistake.

2. They never make it a competition

3. They use observational language

(With Inputs from cnbc)

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