How often in the last hour have you said "good job" to your child? It's almost like a knee jerk reflex nowadays. We congratulate every. single. act our kids do. Ate your cereal? Good job. Put your pants on? Good job. Cleaned up the toys? Good job. Said hi to your grandma? Extra good job. Why are we bravo-ing everything? What happened?
It's exhausting to be a cheerleader and honestly, it's not only unnecessary, but damaging.
We are creatures of habit. Kids who grow up hearing good job and great work and you're such a princess, and you're so smart expect to get those pats on the back ALL THE TIME. I am not saying not to congratulate your child here and there for the awesomeness that they are and for their good deeds, but try, to reserve them for really good moments. Kids need to learn that their actions are reflections of them, based on their inherent and intrinsic sense of self- not based on outside compliments and cheer.
Also, for the love of everything sacred, reserve the "Good girl/ good boy" compliment for your pet. All kids are good. All the time. They make mistakes, they learn, they do things that are annoying, messy, and even disastrous. But they are good. By saying to your child "good girl" when she does something you want- you teach her that she is only good when she follows your command and otherwise she can be a bad girl. By trying to compliment her this way, you are directly sabotaging any chance you have of building up her self-esteem and instead creating a person who believes in order to be good she must do as she is told (a puppet).
My article on this topic goes a bit further. And if you're really into research, check out books by Carol Dweck and Paul Tough. They dive head on these topics.
Thanks, happy reading and happy New Year!
Dr. Eva Benmeleh
I am a licensed clinical child psychologist in Hallandale Beach. I hope you enjoy the site!
221 West Hallandale Beach Blvd., Suite 202
Hallandale, FL 33009