Bolstering Your Child’s Self-Esteem: Part IV- The Words We Use

bolstering your child's self esteem with the words you use

Written by Dr. John Carosso

The parent’s balancing act

As parents, we want give our kids lots of kudos and praise, but we also want to be realistic and help our children to have an accurate self-appraisal so, ten years from now, they don’t end-up on American Idol making a fool of themselves because they think they have a particular talent when they don’t.

Best picture you’ve ever seen…?

So your child proudly shows you a picture and is seeking your feedback. You notice that the picture is ‘okay’; no work of art compared to what other kids his or her age would produce. You could say that this is the best picture you’ve ever seen and you love it but, if you keep that up, you’re looking at a future American Idol moment.

What to do instead

You can, and should, always find something positive to enthusiastically praise. It may be the bright blue sky in the picture, or a cute smiley face in the sun. It may be the obvious effort your child put into making the picture (you can, and should, always praise effort, no matter the outcome). You can also praise your child for even minor progress in any one step along the way of completing or mastering a task. No matter the need for improvement, you’re going to give tons of praise for that small improvement. Always find something to praise before offering ‘constructive criticism’. In fact, give at least 5 praises for each constructive criticism.

The power of words

It’s vital to be affirming, positive, enthusiastic, and praising in our comments to our kids. See my prior post ‘The Recipe for Ruining a Perfectly Good Kid’ for more on how our words can damage. However, we’re going to avoid that by always finding something to praise before we critique, and giving lots of kuddos for effort. This way, you can be guaranteed to bolster, not deflate, your child’s self-esteem. God bless.

Dr. C’s Morning Minute

View Dr. C’s Morning Minute Video ‘Bolstering Your Child’s Self-Esteem: Part IV, The Words We Use’ for more information about this topic by clicking here.

See more of Dr. C’s Morning Minute on our Video Blog Page

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Dr. John Carosso

I work as a Child Psychologist, and School Psychologist in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania,specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD, Behavioral Problems, Autism, Depression, Trauma, and Educational issues. I also provide in-home and in-school wraparound services.