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No Slave To Praise…

Plenty of us (myself included) are still breathing a slow sigh of relief, but many of us (myself included) are also thinking about how we prepare our kids to ‘be ready’ for the changes on the horizon.

For many kids, being apart from their parents 7 hours a day 5 days a week after being with them almost permanently will be an unwelcome shock to the system, and whether it’s about coping with big & sudden change, or simply managing the demands of classroom life, ‘freedom’ is not destined to be an easy transition for every child.

Especially for those children who struggle with self-confidence or anxiety (mine included), when they do ‘succeed’ or ‘achieve’- especially if this involves facing a challenge or overcoming an obstacle-our natural response is often to give lots of praise; We want our affirmative feedback to build up their confidence to do it again.
And sometimes that’s just the tonic. Let’s be honest;Who doesn’t like to get praise?

But do you always need to praise your child in those moments? NO…
Can you actually over-praise? Can you really give too much positive feedback? IMO, yes.

In fact; although not always; sometimes praise-or too much praise– can actually be counter-productive. WHY?

Because when we make a big song & dance about what our children have achieved etc., we can inadvertently communicate that they’ve wildly surpassed our expectations. In other words, we were expecting them to struggle, we lacked faith in them, we didn’t actually have much belief in them at all…

Either way we’re still saying ‘This is a really BIG deal’, which tends to magnify whatever the ‘thing’ is; It stays a really big deal.
And sometimes, of course, this is exactly what our kids (any of us, in fact!) need; if it’s a big deal worth celebrating, go for it.

But other times, it’s more helpful if we help normalise ‘the thing’, if we express an ‘it’s not a big deal’ attitude towards it.
I’m not suggesting you say ‘so what, it doesn’t matter’; Whatever your kid’s achievement is, it’s still important to acknowledge it and build your kids awareness & sense of competence-that’s what builds confidence & resilience.

But what I am saying is that we give affirmative feedback in a much less obvious way. So what can we express instead?

💖 ‘Of course you did it, I never expected anything less’…
💖 I never doubted you for a moment’…
💖 ‘I had complete faith in you’…
💖 ‘That’s just like you’…

However you share that message, giving what I call ‘backdoor feedback’ helps to reduce the gravity of the situation and desensitise our kids’ fear of failure.

If you want to take a deeper dive into building resilient children, join my new online session for parents on 9th March; more info here!


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