A few years ago a colleague made me aware of Jesper Juul, a famous family therapist. Studying his work dramatically affected my perspective on praise. I have been very critical towards praise at the work place for a long time but never applied the knowledge I gained in my years as a consultant to child education.
Today, I am totally convinced that praise neither benefits our employees nor our children. Find out why…
Self Confidence vs. Self Esteem
Self confidence is related to skills. It reflects one’s trust in certain abilities. For instance, I am self confident regarding my ability to effectively change businesses. I am also self confident that I can push more than three times my body weight with my legs on a leg press. Self confidence always develops in relation to a specific domain. It’s not a generic, it’s specific.
Self esteem is related to our identity. It reflects our contentment towards ourselves as human beings independent of any skills. It’s a deep conviction that I am okay.
Praise is almost always directed at accomplishments. A child draws a nice picture and receives a compliment. A child outruns another child and receives praise. A child finishes its dinner at receives positiv feedback etc.
The child learns that to be accepted it needs to prove its abilities. Consequently it develops self confidence in regards to those abilities. Within the boundaries of this skill it feels comfortable. Outside those boundaries it feels unsure. It doesn’t develop any self esteem though. That’s the very issue, self confidence doesn’t encourage the development of self esteem.
If however, a child is accepted regardless of any accomplishments it can develop a stable self belief, i.e. self esteem. Instead of praising children for outcomes we should be a part of their experience and gift them a smile while they are in the process of doing something. “Co-experience in favour of judgement” that’s the motto.
Where am I?
Did you stumbled upon this page accidentally? It’s part of an eight week series about the way I challenge conventions and how this enabled me to live an unconstrained and free life. Find out more here.