All my life I’ve been put down.
Comments such as, “you can’t do that”, “you’re not good enough”, and “who do you think you are?”, have stuck with me.
They’ve popped up as reminders when I’ve set out to achieve something I’ve always wanted to do, such as write a book, or run my own business.
And the main person responsible for making these comments?
I was too often my own critic. Looking back, I did it as a form of protection. It made it easier when others did say mean things to me, if I was already doing it to myself. That was my reasoning anyway.
So now, as a mum of three, and running my own business, coaching others to achieve their potential, there’s one thing I can rely on to help me get the best out of myself, my kids and my students - praise.
Yes, I’ve read studies that warn us that too much praise is ‘bad’ for children. They fear that they’ll turn into narcissistic adults, or that the pressure to constantly achieve will be too much to cope with.
I can see where they’re coming from, but praise in the right situation works wonders.
Praise for the effort that children put into tasks, as opposed to praise purely for the end product, helps a child develop self esteem and self worth. Praise for the behaviour you’d like to see in a child, such as being thoughtful, or helpful, gives them a sense of pride and a good feeling about who they are.
We all strive for love in this world, yet on a day-to-day basis we get sucked into pointing out what’s not working well, what we don’t have and what we don’t want others to do.
There’s too many times I’ve told my kids not to do something and seconds later they do the exact thing I told them not to. When I focus on the positives, or praise them for their efforts, it’s a different story.
For example, I’ve been like any other parent who dreads the school run and morning routine. An hour or so of constant nagging to get dressed, brush teeth, eat breakfast wears me down.
So, I changed things.
I started to praise my kids for getting dressed on time and wouldn’t you know it...most days they do it now without the need to nag!
My eldest is very like me and often puts himself down. I’ve been praising his willingness to help me on a morning, and now he is up and dressed at 7.40am (I used to have to coax him out of bed at 8.20am some days). He has had breakfast and brushes his teeth by 8.15am and often helps me get all of the school bags and coats in the car.
I believe that praise and the ability to see the best in children, no matter what they do, develops a strong foundation for their self esteem and self worth.
If they have the adults in their life believing in them, and building them up, maybe they’ll start to believe in themselves too.
If your child needs help to be happier and confident, my books can help. Check out ‘The Happy Child: Fun Book’, ‘The Happy Teenager: Fun Book’ and ‘The Happy Child: A Little Book of Happiness and Positive Affirmations.’
If you’d like some help, try ‘The Happy Woman: Fun Book’, ‘The Happy Woman: What You Can Learn from Kids, Dogs and Men’ or ‘Your Super Success Journal’.