Praising Children May Damage Their Confidence, Claims Psychologist

14/08/2014 16:46 | Updated 22 May 2015
Don't praise your children! You could DAMAGE their confidence...

A psychologist has claimed that praising children could actually damage their confidence.

Stephen Grosz, an expert of 25 years standing, reckons that using phrases such as 'well done darling' can have a negative effect on kids and hinder their performance at school because they are 'empty' praises.

Grosz says assertions such as 'you're so clever!' could leave children ending up feeling they cannot live up to expectations.

"Empty praise is as bad as thoughtless criticism," Grosz says. "It expresses indifference to the child's feelings and thoughts. Admiring our children may temporarily lift our sense of self-esteem but it isn't doing much for a child's sense of self."

Grosz backs up his claims by citing research from Columbia University which found that children who were heavily praised were likely to perform worse at school.

In the Columbia study, experts asked 128 school children aged 10 and 11 to solve a number of mathematical problems, telling some of them after that they did 'really well' and were 'so clever'.

The remaining children were told 'You did really well – you must have tried really hard'.

Both groups were then give more difficult maths tests. The experts found those who had been told they were 'clever' did not do as well as those who had been specifically told they had 'tried really hard'.

What do you think? Do you think specific praise is always better?

Or is praising your children simply part of letting them know they are loved and valued and not worth over-analysing?

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