Trying to help our kids build up their self-esteem by constantly heaping praise on them is not the way to go. What kids need, instead, is to learn how to develop their own competence. In fact, by over-praising kids, we’re doing more harm than good. “We’re lowering the bar for them,” Taylor says. “If you keep telling your child she is already doing a fantastic job, you’re saying she no longer needs to push herself. But confidence comes from doing, from trying and failing and trying again—from practice.”
Let them practice a lot
Help them assess their own performance
Remember that struggle is good
We know we’re supposed to praise effort over results or ability. (It’s the difference between “I saw how much you practiced your math problems this morning,” versus “I’m so proud that you aced that test!”). It can be hard to reel it in, though, when your child really does excel at something. But kids who become too focused on performance may begin to take fewer risks or hesitate to rise to new challenges, lest they not do as well as they’d like or as well as they think we’d expect them to.