LPT: Don’t put yourself down in order to compliment someone, ESPECIALLY children

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I’d like to second the comment about praising effort over talent. It’s disheartening to focus and work hard on something for a long time, only to have people talk about it like you’re so lucky or that it must come easy to you. That being said, I’ll still take whatever compliments I can get.


I think it’s so important to demonstrate to kids that it’s okay to not be amazing at something, but that practice can make you better at it! That’s why praising effort is so important. I know a family where the daughter is always asking her parents for validation, and the parents always act like whatever she wants to show them is the most amazing thing/act they’ve ever seen. And it’s like… The reason your daughter is so desperate for your approval is because she can smell your BS as well as any of the adults around. She wants your *real* approval, not your fake amazement.


It actually does another thing worse than those examples. Over-praising (saying “you’re the best” at everything) has been proven to turn out children that are afraid to try new things, that fear failure, and that avoid tackling new skills that they are not yet “the best” at. When your baseline is perfection, trying new things you are not yet good at feels bad and is not rewarding. This means you lack persistence, which is a key factor to success. Instead children should be praised for their effort and for earned successes, not some unearned generic “you’re great” statements.


I made it a habit to tell kids I meet (I have small kids myself, so plenty) how I suck at something, but I’m good in fixing the car, or your heating, it doesn’t matter if you can’t do something supergood. No one can do *everything* supergood And that I’m clumsy, and forgetful, chaotic, and I’m doing *alright*, so don’t stress about it.