If you want your kids to be more successful and confident, start praising them for these 9 things

There’s a significant difference between praising your kids blindly and praising them constructively.

The difference lies in intent and impact. Mindlessly complimenting your child can lead to an inflated ego, while thoughtful praise can boost their self-esteem and confidence.

As a parent, your words carry immense weight. And smart parents know that certain words can foster success and confidence in their children.

Here are nine things you should start praising your kids for if you want them to be more successful and confident. Trust me, the words you choose matter more than you think.

1) Effort over outcome

It’s common for parents to fixate on the end result.

We praise our children for acing tests, winning games, and coming first in competitions. But in doing so, we might be overlooking a crucial aspect of their development: the effort they put in.

In the world of child psychology, there’s an ongoing conversation about the importance of praising effort over outcome. The concept revolves around fostering a growth mindset in children.

Coined by psychologist Carol Dweck, a growth mindset is the belief that abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. It’s contrasted with a fixed mindset – the idea that our abilities are innate and unchangeable.

When we praise our children for the effort they put into tasks – regardless of whether they succeed or fail – we help them understand that persistence and hard work are valuable traits.

So, next time your child works hard on a project or spends hours practicing for a sports event, praise them for their dedication and effort. That way, you’re not just recognizing their success – you’re acknowledging the journey they took to get there.

It’s not just about empty words – it’s about genuine recognition and appreciation. Keep it real if you want to avoid inflating their ego without substance.

2) Resilience in the face of adversity

Raising a child isn’t a walk in the park, and neither is being one. Life throws curveballs and it’s crucial for kids to learn how to handle them.

One thing I’ve realized over my years of parenting is the importance of praising resilience. I’ve seen my own children face various challenges – from failing a test to not making the cut for the school play.

Take my daughter, for example. A couple of years ago, she auditioned for the lead role in her school’s musical but didn’t get selected. She was heartbroken, but instead of sulking, she asked for feedback, worked on her performance skills, and went on to secure a pivotal role in the next school production.

At that moment, I didn’t just praise her for landing the role; I praised her for her resilience. I made sure she knew how proud I was of her for bouncing back from disappointment and working tirelessly to improve herself.

Praising a child’s resilience sends them a clear message: It’s okay to fail. What matters is how you pick yourself up and keep going. And that’s a lesson that’ll serve them well throughout life.

3) Empathy and kindness

In a world often riddled with conflicts and disputes, empathy and kindness are qualities that can make a significant difference.

When children show these traits, it’s important to praise them. Not only does this encourage them to continue being empathetic and kind, but it also lets them know that these are valuable traits to have.

Teenagers who engage in pro-social behaviors, like helping, sharing, and comforting others, are more likely to become successful and satisfied adults.

When you see your child sharing their toys with a friend, comforting a sibling who’s upset, or helping someone in need, make sure you praise them for it. These seemingly small acts of kindness can go a long way in shaping them into compassionate and successful individuals.

4) Taking initiative

Taking initiative is a vital skill that can pave the way for success in various aspects of life. It’s about taking charge, making decisions, and not waiting for others to tell you what to do.

When you see your child taking the lead on a project, stepping up to help with household chores without being asked, or proactively solving a problem they encounter, be sure to praise them. These are signs that they’re developing a sense of responsibility and leadership.

Recognizing their initiative will not only boost their confidence but also encourage them to continue being proactive and responsible. This can set a strong foundation for their future endeavors, whether academically, professionally, or personally.

5) Honesty

Honesty truly is the best policy, and it’s a trait that should be cultivated from a young age.

In a society where white lies are often seen as harmless, teaching children the value of honesty can be a bit challenging. But it’s an integral part of character building.

When your child admits to a mistake or tells the truth in a difficult situation, praise them for their honesty. This reinforces the idea that being truthful is commendable, even when it’s hard or uncomfortable.

By fostering a culture of truthfulness at home, you’re helping your child develop integrity and trustworthiness – qualities that will serve them well in all walks of life.

6) Expressing feelings

In a world that often prioritizes achievements and results, it’s essential to remind our children that their feelings matter.

Emotional intelligence is as important as any academic skill. It’s the ability to understand, use, and manage emotions in positive ways. It helps us communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges, and defuse conflict.

When your child opens up about their feelings – whether it’s joy, fear, excitement, or sadness – praise them for their courage to express themselves. It’s not always easy to put emotions into words, especially for children.

Let them know that it’s okay to feel a wide range of emotions and that they should never be ashamed of how they feel.

This heartfelt acknowledgement can help them grow into emotionally intelligent individuals who are in tune with their feelings and the feelings of others.

7) Appreciation and gratitude

One of the most beautiful things to witness as a parent is when your child shows appreciation and gratitude. These are qualities that have the potential to make their lives richer and more fulfilling.

I remember a time when my son, barely five years old at the time, looked up at me after a regular dinner at home and said, “Thank you for cooking, mom. I really liked it.” It was a small thing, but it meant the world to me.

When your child expresses gratitude, whether it’s for a meal, a gift, or a simple act of kindness, praise them. It’s essential to let them know that acknowledging the good in their lives and expressing appreciation is not only polite but also deeply meaningful.

Cultivating an attitude of gratitude in your children can help them develop a positive outlook on life and build stronger relationships with those around them.

8) Patience

In an age of instant gratification, teaching kids the value of patience can be quite a challenge. But it’s an essential trait that helps them develop self-control and tolerance.

Whether it’s waiting their turn while playing a game, being patient with a younger sibling, or working persistently on a task until it’s done, it’s important to praise your kids when you see them exhibit patience.

Recognizing their patience encourages them to continue practicing this virtue, helping them understand that good things often come to those who wait.

This valuable lesson can help them in various aspects of life, from academics to relationships to personal growth.

9) Self-love and self-acceptance

At the heart of confidence and success lies a fundamental trait: self-love and self-acceptance.

When your child demonstrates signs of loving and accepting themselves, with all their strengths and flaws, it’s a moment worth praising. It could be as simple as shrugging off a negative comment, embracing their quirks, or expressing happiness with their own achievements.

Praising your child for self-love reinforces the idea that they are enough just as they are. This not only boosts their self-esteem but also equips them with the mental resilience to tackle life’s ups and downs.

A child who loves themselves will grow into an adult who can give and receive love freely. And that is one of the most beautiful gifts you can give your child.

The heart of the matter

At the end of the day, it all boils down to one simple, yet profound truth: when we praise our children for the right things, we lay the groundwork for their self-confidence and future success.

One of the primary roles of parenting is to help our children navigate their way into becoming well-rounded adults. And the words we choose to use can significantly influence their journey.

The renowned psychologist and author, Haim Ginott, once said, “Treat a child as though he already is the person he’s capable of becoming.”

How powerful is that? We hold in our hands the ability to help shape our children’s perception of themselves and their abilities.

When we praise their effort, resilience, empathy, initiative, honesty, expression of feelings, appreciation, patience, and self-love – we aren’t just boosting their ego momentarily. We’re instilling in them values and life skills that will serve them well throughout their lives.

Every word of praise is a seed planted in the soil of their young minds. And with time and consistency, these seeds will grow into strong trees of confidence, resilience, empathy, initiative, honesty – and ultimately – success.

Remember this as you navigate the beautiful journey of parenthood. The words you choose today can shape your child’s tomorrow.

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Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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