There’s much debate around the praise of teens nowadays. Should teens grow up with the idea that “participating” is enough? Are parents and educators diminishing teen’s perception of what’s expected of them? What other long-term effects associated with praise do we have to be careful of? Here’s how to strike a balance between building your teen’s confidence and intentional praising.
Critics argue praising may actually hinder your teen’s self esteem and cultivate a fear of failure. Even gifted students were reported to severely underestimate their abilities due to receiving too much praise. In turn, teens may lack confidence in approaching new challenges unless they knew they would achieve success and ultimately receive praise. When comparing cultures who embraced high praise versus others who did not value promoting self-esteem, the latter tended performed better in educational testing.
However, there is a way for parents to create a positive relationship with their teens to build confidence without sacrifice praise that come natural in American culture.
Appreciate The Effort
Instead of praising teens for being “so smart”, focus the praise on the actual accomplishment or specific task. Praise them for their critical-thinking skills, or how they found a creative soluton to a challenge. For sports, it may confuse teens to get praise for being “so strong”. Build their confidence by asking them how they won their game, or how they finally learned how to break their last personal record. As a matter of fact, effort if much more important in that stage of their life and we use that in Rising Tycoons Academy Approach.
Seek Your Teen’s Opinion
Parents may not always see eye to eye with their teen. But staying involved and supportive in your teen’s mandatory tasks (education, chores, family affairs) and special interests (extra curricular activities, friends, social media) allows you to have better context when encouragement is needed. Doing this creates a comfortable environment between parents and teens and sets the foundation for both parties to communicate effectively.
Praise with Intent
When teens don’t believe their parent’s praise is authentic, it not only discounts that moment but may leave a negative mark for future praise. Teens will quickly learn when they are being praised only to be tricked into doing something else. Parents can be intentional with what and how they encourage their teens progress, however small, and attempts, even failed.
Having a better understanding of the argument against praise will help parents find the balance when building up their teen’s confidence during a significantly development phase in their adolescence. By appreciating their effort, seeking their opinion, and praising with intent, parents set the foundation for confident, capable, and self-motivated young adults.