Can We Praise Our Kids Too Much?

Can We Praise Our Kids Too Much?

From the moment that Sausage was born, I’ve given her praise every day, telling her that she’s the most beautiful, intelligent, amazing, special, funny little girl in the whole universe. I tell her about a hundred times a day that I love her and that she’s my favourite human in the whole world (don’t worry, Husband and I have an understanding that Sausage is favourite to both of us, but he and I come a very close second!).

Speaking of Husband, he’s always told me to lay off a little bit on the barrage of compliments, that my constant ego massage will cause her to become conceited. I always disagreed, stating that it does a child good to hear positive things every day. But recently, I’ve begun to wonder (shock, horror!) if Husband was right. Just yesterday, I changed Sausage into her pyjamas, only for her to do a twirl and proclaim “Mummy, I look gorgeous!” (Actually, she says george-us, but I kinda like it that way!). Her little declaration, whilst totally adorable, got me thinking. Is it wrong for her to say these things?

As social beings, and mostly as British citizens, we’re generally taught that humility is best. We don’t like to talk about our achievements or our talents, feeling that self promotion is brash, or makes us seem egotistical. But maybe we should adopt a bit of the American way and treat ourselves to a little more fanfare. There’s no doubt that insecurity has become the blight of the masses, it’s extremely rare to find a person without a complex about something, be it an internal or external ‘flaw’. But what’s best, hiding your light under a bushel, or shouting your best qualities from the rooftops? Is there a middle ground?

I think we can safely say that Sausage wouldn’t be walking around, calling herself george-us if she hadn’t heard me calling her it since the day she arrived in our lives. And I do agree with Husband that once she reaches school age, such confidence could see her ostracized by her peers. But isn’t that sad, that being confident can mark you out as being different, being somehow wrong? I thought that the point of evolution, the basis of the human race was survival of the strongest, and doesn’t confidence make us strong? But maybe it’s about the amount of confidence we have, and how we project it.

As far as I’m concerned, Sausage is the most beautiful, intelligent and amazing human being, and as her mother I reserve the right to remain true to that belief and praise her as much as I want. I think that she can go anywhere, do anything, as long as she believes in herself, and that the basis of that belief comes from the confidence that we, as her parents, will give her. So, do we teach her to be confident in herself, but not to let on to others about her self-belief? Is it inevitable, in this world, that self-doubt will sneak in anyway, and undermine all of that? I certainly hope not, but I don’t know if my method of over-praise is the way to combat it, either.

I also don’t know if the English way is best. Surely if we’re so used to hiding our talents, employing that typical self-deprecating demeanour that we’ve all become so used to, we might miss out on opportunities because we don’t want to put ourselves out there, for fear of appearing too arrogant.

All I know is, I will be here for Sausage, her own personal cheer squad, telling her to be all she can be, extolling her virtues, just in case she doesn’t know how to give herself the praise she deserves.

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