Pumping up kids’ self-esteem with meaningless praise doesn’t help them learn — or grow up, writes Lenore Skenazy. Why not set kids up to do something praiseworthy and then praise them.
A kid who goes and gets the family’s groceries really has done something significant. Ditto a kid who makes the dinner. Ditto a kid who bikes over and hands grandma her card instead of just scribbling a note and having mom drop it in the mail.
There are a whole lot of “real-world” tasks we used to give kids that garnered them the kind of self-esteem we have taken to instilling artificially with gold stars for not-very-special “specialness.”
I just saw Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino in which retired auto worker Walt Kowalski tries to “man up” a Hmong boy. At the end, Kowalski gives the Silver Star that he won — and won hard — in the Korean War to the kid.