Praise is powerful. It is something we all relish. Everybody likes to be recognized for what we are doing well, for our successes, and for our efforts. It feels good to be praised. Plus, we feel motivated to continue to work harder, to do better, and to achieve more. It is no different with children. Children respond positively to being praised. They thrive when their parents, teachers or coaches acknowledge their good behaviour, effort, listening, sharing, empathy, etc. Moreover, the benefits of praise include helping to build your child’s self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth.
With so much talk nowadays about food, diets, shape, and weight, it can be confusing as a parent to know how to help your child develop positive feelings about their body, no matter what size they are. Body image disturbances can begin as early as preschool, and can have lasting impacts. Why is it so important for children and teens to have a positive image of their body? Because young people with a positive body image are more self-confident in general and are less likely to develop eating disorders or weight-related problems such as obesity, or other emotional problems like anxiety or depression. While body image in children and teens is influenced by many different sources – including family, friends, and the media – parents play a pivotal role in helping to promote positive body image at an early age.
Why is it that we are our own worst critics? Why do we say such mean things to ourselves and call ourselves names (e.g., “fat”, “ugly”, “stupid”, “not good enough”, “failure”, etc) when we would never dare to say such awful things to our closest friends or acquaintances? Unfortunately, we often allow ourselves and somehow give ourselves permission to be so self-critical. We tend to be more understanding and to have more compassion for others than we do for ourselves. Indeed, it seems a lot easier to give compliments to others than to accept and to believe the compliments we hear.
Is there a purpose to this self-criticism? Yes. The answer is motivation. The reason we can be so judgemental and critical is to motivate us to change.