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The Problem with Too Much Praise

01.27.2014 posted by AwanaYM

The Problem with Too Much Praise

Can you give a child too much praise?

Many modern parents say no, choosing to over-praise kids who seem down on themselves in hopes of building their confidence. The results of a new study, as reported by NBC News, suggest that over-praising kids with lower self-esteem may have just the opposite effect from what their parents intend.

The kids, aged 8 to 12, next were asked to draw either simple or intricate pictures. Children with self-designated lower confidence chose the easier task if they got excessive praise, the study found. They were more apt to tackle the tougher drawing if they received simple, positive feedback. Kids brimming confidence, meanwhile, were game for harder tasks after hearing extra-flowery raves for their initial work.

The authors theorized that telling children with lower self-esteem they performed “incredibly well” caused those kids to believe they had to match that high standard, making them shrink from trying to repeat the achievement.

As youth leaders who often have significant influence in the lives of our students, do you think we can also be guilty of over-praising kids in hopes of building them up? What’s the most effective way to help insecure students build the right kind of confidence?

photo credit: Perspektivet Museum via photopin cc

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