Sunday 25 February 2018

Sinead Moriarty: Mollycoddling children will do them no good

We are all guilty of it. We've all done it. We've all looked at our five- year-old's painting of coloured splodges and said, 'Wow'. We've clapped and cheered when our seven-year-old stumbled their way through a song, forgetting half the words and completely off tune. We've hugged our eight-year-old when he came third-last in the race and said, "I'm so proud of you".

But new research has shown that by behaving in this manner, we are ruining our children. Stephen Grosz, a psychoanalyst, has written a book called 'The Examined Life'. In it he claims that empty praise is as bad as thoughtless criticism. Mr Grosz believes that we are all lying to ourselves. When we say, "we just want our children to be happy", what we actually mean is that we want them to be successful.

Research has shown that we, as parents, need to let our children breathe and stop smothering them with praise. Lavishing compliments on our youngsters for doing something trivial will actually demotivate them. Unnecessary praise might also make your child unaware of how hard they actually need to work to achieve things. We are giving our children a false sense of confidence and security.

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