Right. So we decided that all praise does is add pressure to a child's life and make them feel like they have to be "perfect" in order to be worthy of love and acceptance.
But we still want to build them up and here are some ideas on how we can do that!
Things that build confidence in kids:
1- Parents validating all their experiences whether good, bad or neutral.
Good: “Baba, I’m so excited I got so many toys on my birthday! I love getting toys!”
Baba: “Yeah? I can imagine! Getting so many toys sure is fun!”
❌ “Hmm.. beta material things are not that important. Happiness comes from helping others.”
“bad”: “Mama, I’m so sad because my friend said she won’t be my friend anymore.”
Mama: “Aw that hurts for sure. Do you need a hug?”
❌ “Oh kho! Chalo koi baat nahi! Naye dost
Mil jayain gai!” (It’s ok- you’ll find new friends)
Neutral: “Baba! Look! The sky is green!”
Baba: “Is it? Interesting! You think the sky is green...” (you can later explore why they think so but correcting them in that moment isn’t necessary)
❌ “Buddu! Asmaan neela hota hai.” (Silly! The sky is blue!)
2- Viewing them in a positive light 100% of the time. Believing that any “shortcomings” they have are functions of their brain and not a personality trait.
3- Refraining from labeling them and putting them in roles (he’s very stubborn, she’s very rude, he’s very aggressive, she’s very demanding, he lacks focus, she hates sharing)
4- Blocking unsafe behaviors (hitting siblings) without lectures and raised eyebrows every time.
5- Engaging in child-led play with them (they control the whole play. We just follow directions)
6- Fostering independent play skills.
7- Asking kids for their help, for their thoughts and opinions.
8- Listening to kids’ concerns and helping them problem-solve.
9- Setting clear boundaries confidently for yourself and them.
10- Taking an interest in what they like regardless of our feelings about that thing.
11- Telling them how they add value to our lives.
12- Thanking them when they help, apologizing to them (unconditionally) when we’re wrong and acknowledging their efforts. (Praise isn’t the same as acknowledgement:
Praise: wow you’re amazing!! *clapping*
Acknowledgment: You put all the plates away. Thank you!)