BEIJING, Jan. 7 (Xinhuanet) – Children with low self-esteem could be further hampered if lavished with too much praise, according to a study Monday in the journal Psychological Science.
Parents tend to give their children an unrealistic feedback on what they are achieving by going absolutely over the top and saying “you’ve done so well” or “that was really fantastic.”
Researchers from Southampton University said that inflated praise may put too much pressure on children with low self-esteem. It may make them feel that they always have to do well, and they’ll disappoint people if they don’t, and so they may refrain from taking on bigger challenges.
In an experiment, 240 children drew a famous van Gogh painting, then were given inflated, non-inflated or no praise from a “professional painter.”
The children were then told they were going to draw other paintings, but could choose which ones to draw.
They were told also that some of the paintings were easy to do “but you won’t learn much” while others were difficult and “you might make many mistakes but you’ll definitely learn a lot too”.
The children with low self-esteem who had been lavishly praised chose the easier pictures while those with high esteem opted for the more difficult ones.
The result of the experiment suggests that inflated praise could cause kids with low-self esteem to shrink from new challenges.