Breaking news: overpraising kids with low self-esteem might backfire.
“While kids with high self-esteem seem to thrive with inflated praise, those with low self-esteem actually shrink from new challenges when adults go overboard on praising them.”
So overpraising kids might be a bad thing? That’s something that every parent on the planet once knew instinctively before the sociologists, psychologists and other “ologists” grabbed the reins of childrearing.
Nor is it surprising that the negative results of “overpraising,” aka false praise, effects kids with low self-esteem differently than their high-esteem peers. The kids with low self-esteem were born with the ability to recognize the difference between sham and substance from an early age and respond accordingly. They are destined to be the world’s realists. So getting praise from adults, who are supposed to know better, for substandard performance is of course confusing to these kids. They seem more grounded in reality than most of the adults in their life.
So while children with high self-esteem may see themselves as the center of the universe,
their more realistic low-esteem friends know there’s probably much more out there.
Butt ah, the kids with high self-esteem! They are the dreamers…
…they are the WONs we’ve been waiting for. They have a gift; they were born to leave their mark on the world and it will all be good!
Getting back to the high praise study though, I guess high self-esteem isn’t necessarily a good thing either, as was first reported in 1998:
It has been widely asserted that low self-esteem causes violence, but laboratory evidence is lacking, and some contrary observations have characterized aggressors as having favorable self-opinions. In 2 studies, both simple self-esteem and narcissism were measured, and then individual participants were given an opportunity to aggress against someone who had insulted them or praised them or against an innocent third person. Self-esteem proved irrelevant to aggression. The combination of narcissism and insult led to exceptionally high levels of aggression toward the source of the insult.
…These findings contradict the popular view that low self-esteem causes aggression and point instead toward threatened egotism as an important cause.
I don’t know anyone around here that would apply to however.
Rude drones to follow…
So, what have we learned today, boys and girls? You should not overpraise kids with low self-esteem. Better that they come by their self-esteem the old fashioned way: by earning it. However for the kids that already have already developed high self-esteem for no particularly good reason: go ahead and praise them as profusely as you want. It can’t hurt, they’re already delusional.
And with enough false praise they might just grow up to be president someday.
Or Prime Minister…
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Cross-Posted on Patriot Action Network