Kids need our support on a daily basis. Here’s what you should and shouldn’t do to motivate them.
Praise the effort made by a child
Parents are usually more prompt to point out the mistakes their children make than to praise the effort. “We feel that to get good results, we need to keep up the pressure,” confesses Adeline, mother of four. Some kids are good at dealing with this kind of approach; others feel discouraged when faced with their parents’ permanent dissatisfaction. Why bother trying to do your best if your parents are never happy?
Encouragement should never be confused with empty praise or vanity (“Sweetie, you’ve got an A+, I feel so proud”), nor should it be contingent on results alone. It’s the acknowledgement of the effort and progress made by a child, proud of having outdone himself.
Red lines never to cross
Often parents deem that their children’s performance should be on a par with their own ambitions. Accepting children as they are is to help them to grow and learn how to rely on their own strength, to develop a sense of confidence and self-esteem.
This is by no means an incitement to become competitive. Bluster and cheekiness are signs of weakness. Lack of confidence often hides behind the mask of hostility and arrogance. Make no mistake when personal wishes and capacities of children are not taken into account, competition will lead to bitter disappointment. Encouragement reassures them, makes them grow and brings them closer to fulfilling themselves.
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