Thursday, June 13, 2024

Psychiatrist demystifies why constantly praising a child might make them brittle

It seems to fly in the face of everything we have been taught, but trying to develop a child’s confidence by persistently praising them could essentially create a weak and fragile person. This was revealed by Psychiatric specialist, Gao Basaka, who says “parents need to be more candid with children about their strengths and weaknesses because once a child develops a fixed mindset (by hearing praises all the time) and then hears negative things about themselves, they become very fragile,” she says.

She also says if you are accustomed to hearing praises all the time and then someone criticises you, it becomes a blow to that person’s identity. “Our biggest undoing was believing that you build confidence by telling children that they are ‘intelligent’ or ‘neat’, but the truth is adults as well as children need to control ÔÇö and anticipate ÔÇö both successes and failures,” she says.

Basaka stated that every person has an assured measure of intelligence in them and therefore it becomes unsustainable to nurture a child to think they don’t need to develop skills because they’re intelligent at everything they do.

“Parents must realise that constant praise doesn’t cultivate and advance resilience in a growing child, but only leads to a mindset that is rigid,” she adds.

She explained how the Mindset theory affects every person from the time of birth up until adulthood. “The mindset theory basically has to do with how we distinguish capabilities as learned or inherent, and how we analyse mistakes or failure,” she says adding that the mind therefore is placed in two categories which are: growth or fixed.

“Growth means a child receives doses of both praise and chastisement, whilst a fixed mindset means the child only receives doses of something positive or negative,” she says.

Amongst other things, she says the same applies at workplaces. “Organisations which instil the growth mindset usually encourage staff to learn from mistakes, rather than punishing them for making them,” she says.


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