The Washington Post:
I’ve done it. You’ve probably done it. And we’re hurting kids when we do.
According to the journal Psychological Science, heaping praise on a child with low self-esteem only does more damage. Doing the same to a kid who’s already confident makes them thrive.
“Inflated praise can backfire with those kids who seem to need it the most — kids with low self-esteem,” said Eddie Brummelman, lead author of the study and a visiting scholar at The Ohio State University, according to the association.
So what is inflated praise? In this study, it consists of one word that ups the ante a bit. Instead of “You did a good job,” you say “You did an incredibly good job.”
Parents seemed to think that the children with low self-esteem needed to get extra praise to make them feel better,” said Brad Bushman, co-author of the study, according to Psychological Science.“It’s understandable why adults would do that, but we found in another experiment that this inflated praise can backfire in these children.”
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