People are more successful when they feel good about themselves – ring true? It does for your kid too. They experience daily struggles like fitting in, balancing their responsibilities and choosing the right career path. They also deal with things that you as a parent never had to deal with – pressure from social media, cyber bullying, and more – it takes a toll. They feel burdened with the need to succeed, and at a young, fragile age, your teenager is nothing if not self-conscious. The best way you can help is by doing what you probably do best: boost your child’s confidence by encouraging them and being their biggest fan.
Getting a compliment has the same positive effect as receiving money.
According to recent research, the area of the brain known as the striatum is activated when a person receives cash or compliments. This says a lot because as a parent, you know how much teens love getting cash. The same research shows that when people receive compliments on their performance, they tend to improve on it even more. So encouraging your kid can actually yield more of the results you want to see. Also, compliments are good for your child’s (or anyone’s) health. They lift their mood, benefit self-esteem and increase general happiness. Overall, they help to create more motivated, confident young adults. Got a minute? Check out this video on the importance of validation and what it can do for confidence.
Here’s how you can help build confidence.
While it feels like your kid doesn’t care about your opinion, they are constantly seeking your validation. You can build your child’s confidence by telling them how unique they are and what you appreciate about them. There’s a few easy guidelines to keep in mind:
- Encourage kids to focus on mastering skills, rather than comparing them to others. It’s about your kid doing the best they can do.
- Only praise traits your kid has the power to change. Try to focus on effort, not end-results or ability.
- Convey realistic standards. It’s good to motivate kids to work hard but the goal should be to build them up, not add to the pressure.
Worried about “coddling” your kid too much? Compliments shouldn’t be an issue as long as you stick to the guidelines and keep it sincere.
Try our compliment card approach.
People tend to notice faults much more than we compliment, so don’t feel bad if praising your teenager isn’t coming naturally. Instead, give the compliment cards below a try. Just print them, cut them out and give one to your kid daily, weekly or whenever they seem to need a pick-me-up. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can even personalize them with a note.
Aside from the warm, bubbly feelings they create, compliments benefit your child’s future performance and help to create happy, confident young adults. That’s a big return for something that takes just seconds.