Do I tend to overpraise my children? Yes. It's easy to fall into the trap of telling them "Good job"or " You did great" for every little thing. However, when you overuse praise, it can actually backfire on you. First, the kids come to expect it for everything and second, it gives them a false sense of self worth. I have three children. I am proud of all of them, think they are great at a million things and love them to pieces. But, I also know they are human and capable of doing non praise worthy things like getting in trouble and doing things they are not supposed to.
Self-esteem actually depends on your internal ability to generate positive feelings about your accomplishments. Though we as parents can contribute to positive feelings, a child has to actually experience the struggles and sometimes fall short of their goals to really develop their own positive self worth. The last thing we want to do is make our child so dependent on praise that they actually develop a fear of failure.
It's not a quick fix, but there are certain ways we can give props without overdoing it. Instead of generic phrases like "Good job", "You are the smartest one" or "You are the best artist", try to promote positive behaviors and actions without going over the top. Specific phrases like "I am so proud of you for dressing yourself today" or "You must be proud of yourself for doing well on the test" address events without being over the top or using throwaway phrases. It's okay to notice their efforts, ask questions and help guide them. Every event does not need to have a prize at the end of the rainbow. I always tell my kids as long as they know they have done their best, that's all we can ask for. Every game will not be a win, every test will not be a 100. If they are loved and know you will listen to them, support them and be happy for them, then we are doing our job and they are growing into the successful and well adjusted young adults we want them to be.