Compliment or encouragement
What a good kid!
What a smart boy you are!
What a beautiful girl!
Many parents who have abandoned punishment and reprehension and seek to help their children develop a sense of self-esteem, usually use complimentary terms and sentences like those mentioned above to address their children. To their astonishment, however, they find their children developing a sense of selfishness rather than a sense of self-esteem and lacking the perseverance to accomplish some tasks. Going back to the old times, parents remember that they were rarely complimented or encouraged by their parents and were even punished once in a while. Interestingly, though, perseverance was and is the dominant attribute of their generation, while this attribute has mostly faded away in the next generation. Why?
Contrary to popular belief, compliment doesn’t really contribute to the development of children’s personality but would impair their personality and cause them to become self-centered and judgmental.
What is the difference between compliment and encouragement?
Let’s first lookup both terms in a dictionary
Compliment: An expression of esteem, respect, affection, or respectful judgment.
Encouragement: to inspire with courage, spirit, or hope, to give help or patronage to
There are three major differences between compliment and encouragement
Human beings, in general, enjoy admiration and compliments, approve of good attributes, and even struggle to obtain them. When you address your child by saying “you’re very smart” he /she will definitely feel pleased. In fact, he/she feels that he is very special and remains in the same state to preserve this trait. Fear of losing this favorable attribute is actually the element that prevents them from taking further steps. Suppose that you give your child an age-appropriate jigsaw puzzle and he/she manages to correctly fit all pieces together. If you give him/her a pat on the back and address him with the term “intelligent” he/she will definitely feel pleased but won’t be willing to solve more difficult jigsaw puzzles. Although children seek to make progress all the time, the improper compliments we pay them may slow them down.
“What a nice boy you are”
- The focus is on the end result.
“What a beautiful painting you have drawn”
- Extrinsic motivation force is activated.
“You are awesome! This chocolate is for you”
Thank you for picking up your toys after playing
- The focus is on what is being done
Judging from the time you spent on this drawing, it’s easy to understand that you like drawing
- The focus is on the process
This room is spic and span. I think this room is a better place for playing and you have a much better feeling here. Don’t you?
- The intrinsic motivation force is activated.
On the other hand, when we encourage children and let them know that they deserve a pat on the back for the efforts they have made, they realize that the effort they have made to solve the jigsaw puzzle is worth it. This gives them an incentive to make further efforts and prove their potential qualities to themselves and others. The compliments we offer for an exaggerated end result, cause our children to stop making further efforts after a great achievement.
After winning the gold medal, Many Olympic medalists also experience severe depression and ask themselves “what now?” This condition could be attributed to the fact that coaches and others supporting them mostly focus on the medal, rather than the efforts that should be made and the paths that should be taken to reach a goal.
Money, prize, and rewards also generate extrinsic motivation. Here, we don’t mean to imply that extrinsic motivation is useless, because an extrinsic motivation, such as the promises we make for candy or taking children to the park is not that detrimental after all. But children who are easily encouraged to do or avoid something by extrinsic motivations may be easily lured into taking high-risk actions when they reach adolescence. Extrinsic motivations are no longer controllable during adolescence.
The good feeling children experience after doing something for the first time is actually a natural encouraging force that rules out extrinsic motivations such as approval and prize. In fact, extrinsic motivations such as prize make children focus their attention on the prize, rather than efforts.
Approval and satisfaction of parents are also extrinsic motivation. In fact, when we ask children to do something to please parents or don’t do something that might displease them, we are actually giving them an extrinsic motivation that is not beneficial at all. A child who gets into the habit of gaining parents’ approval will not only have weak self-esteem but also loses decision-making and selection power. Such children seek to please others at some stage of their lives, may, in adolescence, readily take their friends up on an offer of narcotics, and finally go through a blind infatuation when it comes to the selection of a spouse.
The points mentioned so far might make you believe that parenting is a herculean task. You may even wonder if this book is intended to comfort parents or give them more stress and anxiety.
When I first got to know about parenting points and techniques, I feared that I might end up ruining my child’s future. But you don’t really need to be worried about this. Mere knowledge of parenting techniques could also be of great help. Parenting is not just about the physical growth of children but can be regarded as a process that helps parents learn a thing or two about the treatment of children.
Parents just need to beware of their behavior and try to modify at least one of the terms and sentences they use to address children every day. In the end, they will be surprised by the large number of favorable habits that have been interiorized in them. I know many couples who have managed, in the parenting process, to develop better relationships with their spouse and relatives as well. To be honest, people are most reluctant to spend time and energy to improve their personality and soul, because it’s always difficult to make a change. , but when it comes to parenting, we are willing to check our behavior and attitudes or Even improve ourselves mainly because children are the most important asset in our life on the one hand, and modification of relationships with them could lead to an improvement in relationships with others.
” A child needs encouragement like a plant needs water“
One of the most important lessons to be learned in parenting is how to develop a perfect sense of self-worth in our child. Parents who know how to encourage their children and really believe in them are the ones who can successfully help their children develop a sense of self-worth, sparing themselves the trouble of constantly monitoring them or feeling worried about them during their adolescence. As long as parents can maintain their intimate relationship with children, they can make sure that they can always make the best decisions and would never give up.
Self-worth is an inner feeling that cannot be developed overnight. The foundations of this sense are deeply rooted in the sense of belonging. This belief is developed when children obtain capabilities through experience.
Parents cannot give a sense of self-belief to children; children should actually acquire this sense as they grow up.
The sense of self-worth gives children the courage to take risks and experience new things every day. These experiences range from climbing stairs without asking for help to making friends in the park. Children with a weak less of self-worth are less likely to take risks.
Nevertheless, risks and new experiences are not always successful. In other words, children have bound to experiences failures in their life, and that’s only when we can help them improve new skills. This skill is referred to as the improvability force. The improvability force is the ability to restore power and succeed after a failure. Children are actually born with this force but parents can help them activate and boost it.
It should be noted that parents who are too cautious and don’t let children experience failures as much as they are supposed to, prevent children from acquiring the improvability force.
By Naghmeh Keshavarz
Thanks for reading this, If you like this article or you might not any way I know you care about children and you can make an impact in someone’s life and future. You can do it now.