Too much praise?

We all want our kids to be confident and fearless, but how do we go about instilling confidence?

I had always imagined praising their efforts, and encouraging them was the key, but now, I’m not so sure anymore… Is there such a thing as over-praising a child? Do they become reliant on approval of others, and thereby eroding the very thing you’re trying to build-up? 

At which point does too much praise become useless flattery? And then, does that not make them become egotistical? 

How do you draw the line between instilling confidence, and preventing arrogance?

I’ve been wrestling with these issues lately. 

The best answer I’ve come to thus far, is that instead of vaguely saying ‘Good boy, well done’ I try to be more specific. For example, ‘You’ve done a really good job helping me clear away the toys!’ In that manner, I express my appreciation, as well as reflect it back to the childs behaviour, instead of empty praise. I now try to reserve compliments for when its deserved, and still relate it back to faith. Reminding them that good deeds are practising sunnahs, and ultimately earning Allaah’s pleasure. ‘You were very kind to share your sweets with a friend. That’s a wonderful sunnah to follow.’

It reminds them the true reason, we work harder, be nicer, act kinder, and that instils humility. Constantly remembering Allaah’s commands, and relating everything back to his words, and the Sunnah, promotes a feeling of accomplishment, without the downside of pride.

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