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How To Praise Your Teen (And Everyone Else)

Fern Weis Images November 2022 1

Parent Coach for Moms of Teens: Fern Weis

Is there a parent out there who hasn’t complimented their child in order to make them feel better?

Sometimes it’s true, and sometimes we just can’t stand to see them hurting.

“You know you can’t change them; you can’t give them positive self-esteem.”

And our kids know the difference.

How To Praise Your Teen:

So how do you praise them in a way that is sincere AND helps build their self-esteem?

You know you can’t change them; you can’t give them positive self-esteem. Only they can do that giving their best effort and attitude.

Therefore, you praise the effort and the attitude. You don’t talk about the accomplishment, per se. You talk about what you see, what qualities they’ve shown.

What does it sound like? Here’s a scenario between a parent and child. After a game you say, “Mike, you’re a great basketball player”. Mike responds, “No, I’m not. There are lots of guys who play better than I do.”

Comparing Himself To Others:

Mike is focused on the negative and comparing himself to others. Here’s a better way to approach it.

Dad: “Mike, I noticed how focused you were, looking for chances to pass the ball to your teammates. Well done.”

Mike: “Yeah, Dad. I’ve been working on that.”

That’s not an evaluation of Mike’s skill. It’s an observation, an acknowledgment of what Dad saw him do. Mike did it. He made it happen because of how he showed up as a player. No judgment, comparison or expectations. Just the facts. Compliment received.

It would be nice if people could always see the positive qualities they have… but they don’t.

Remember that people feel good about themselves when they do good things. Let’s say it in a way they can hear it, accept it, and it sticks with them.

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Fern Weis

About the Author:

Fern Weis is a Parent Empowerment Coach for Moms of Teens and a Family Recovery Coach. She’s also a wife, former middle school teacher, and the parent of two adult children who taught her more about herself than she ever could have imagined.  

Fern partners with moms of teens and young adults, privately and in groups. She helps them grow their confidence to build strong relationships and emotionally healthier kids who become successful adults. She knows first-hand that when parents do the work, the possibilities for change are limitless; that it’s never too late to start; and you don’t have to do it alone. Learn more about Fern at www.fernweis.com.