By Cristiane Uchida, LAPC
The way we talk to children certainly impacts the development of self-esteem. Parents have a tendency to praise rather than encourage children, and there is a difference.
Praise has these characteristics:
- It is External: Comes from others and reflects others’ thoughts and feelings.
- It is Product Based: Focuses on the end result.
- It Promotes a “Pleasing Personality”: Creates people who are motivated to get approval from others.
Examples of praise include:
“I am so proud of you!”
“You are the best player on the team!”
Encouragement has these characteristics:
- It is Internal: it focuses on the person who performed, or is performing, the deed.
- It is Process Based: Focuses on the process, rather than the result.
- It Promotes a “Confident Personality”: Creates internal feelings of capability, responsibility and autonomy.
Examples of encouragement include:
“You worked so hard on that!”
“You accomplished what you wanted. How does that feel?”
“I appreciate your help.”
Encouragement helps children’s confidence grow by giving them the sense that they are capable of accomplishing things without worrying about pleasing other people.
Encouragement develops internal motivation for doing well. Although praise has its values, research has shown that encouragement has a stronger impact in helping a child to develop independency and self-esteem.
Cristiane Uchida, APC, NCC, works with individuals of all ages and is passionate about helping children overcome anxiety, anger issues, phobias, and low self-esteem.