Parenting Tip:  For High Self-Esteem, Praise the Effort, Not the Child by Fern Weis, Parent Coach

Updated: Oct 9


Do you know that praising your child can backfire? You're probably trying to boost her self-esteem, and make her feel better about herself. When you praise the child, however, you are filling her with your own hopes and desires about who you want her to be. She may also feel incapable of living up to that high standard.

But the day will come when you can't be by her side, assuring her that she is competent, strong and resilient. Then what? Who is she without all that?

Self-esteem is an inside job. It comes from doing good things and from picking yourself up when things don't go well. You want to be praising the effort and the attitude behind the actions and naming what you see. "You wanted to put off doing that assignment because writing is challenging, but you did it first and stuck with it. That's real determination." "I saw how angry you were when your sister took your toy, but you didn't hit her or yell. You asked for help and showed self-control." "You were uncomfortable with what your friends were doing. It took courage to stand up, say it, and walk away." Praise the effort, not the child. Watch your child blossom into the self-confident, independent person you know he can be.


Fern Weis is a certified life coach who learned that caring and good intentions are not enough in parenting.  In fact, they are often the problem! Fern supports parents of teens and young adults who are going through difficult situations, including addiction recovery.  She helps parents release guilt, end enabling and confidently prepare their children to thrive through life's challenges. Her articles are featured in Thrive Global, Medium, Motherly, The Teen Mentor, and Bergen County Moms.

Learn more about coaching and classes at www.fernweis.com. And then download your free guide, "Five Powerful Steps to Get Your Teen to Talk." For information on Family Recovery programs, visit www.familyrecoverypartners.com.

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