New York, Jan 3: In a bid to make children with low self-esteem feel better, parent often heap lavish praise on them. But such a gesture actually harms them, making them averse to new challenges, a study has found.
“Inflated praise can backfire with those kids who seem to need it the most – kids with low self-esteem,” said Eddie Brummelman, lead author of the study and a visiting scholar at Ohio State University.
The study also showed that inflated praise have positive impact on children with high self-esteem, said the study published in the journal Psychological Science.
The researchers carried out the experiment to determine the results of such praise on two different groups of children – one with low self-esteem and the other with high self-esteem.
The results showed that parents gave more inflated praise to children with low self-esteem than they did to children with high self-esteem.
“Parents seemed to think that the children with low self-esteem needed to get extra praise to make them feel better,” said Brad Bushman, co-author of the study and professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State UNiversity.
“If you tell a child with low self-esteem that they did incredibly well, they may think they always need to do incredibly well. They may worry about meeting those high standards and decide not to take on any new challenges,” said the study.
“It goes against what many people may believe would be most helpful,” Bushman said.
“But it really isn’t helpful to give inflated praise to children who already feel bad about themselves,” he added.