Parenting: Insincere Praise Deflates Self-Esteem

Phony compliments don’t help build a child’s self-esteem. The fact is that they undermine a child’s confidence.

Children see through people who are not honest. The message that you give with insincere praise is that you can’t find anything to really praise. When that happens, it tells a child that he or she does not deserve real approval.

The secret is to be sincere and find something that you really can praise. Even if it isn’t something huge, remember that small things will be stepping stones toward a child’s improved self worth.

It’s so important to let children understand that failure is okay. Failure and mistakes are crucial for success to become a reality. Children need their parents to believe in their abilities, to be proud of their efforts and teach them how to learn from the negative events in their lives.

Photo: crdotx


  1. Gerry
    Schools promote complimenting ALL children. The example I have is a friend's daughter was on a sports team. The winning team members all got trophies but so did all the other kids (the exact same trophies). And they were all called up one by one to receive them in a school ceremony. There is a lack of reality with this practice. My point is it could be happening both at home and at school. Those kids on the other teams know they didn't do the best job yet they were rewarded regardless.
    May, 2012 at 1:48 pm
  2. Gerry, thanks for commenting. I so agree. I remember when my oldest son was little and played T-ball. (At that time I didn't know about the everybody is a winner rule.) In the car on the way home, I told him that he had done such a great job. I said, "You hit a double and that was fantastic." He was pouting and almost in tears. When I asked him what was wrong, he said, "It doesn't matter how hard I practiced or how well I did. The kids who didn't try, didn't come to practice and didn't practice at home did just as well. We are all the same and nobody cares about working hard to get better." I will never forget that moment. So sad. After all, life teaches that there are winners and losers. Why not teach children a modified version when they are little?
    May, 2012 at 8:41 am

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