Your child truly is special. They have experiences that no one else has had. They do things that no one else has done. Your child is a unique individual unlike anyone that has come before them, and anyone that will come again in the future.
But as special as your child is, everyone else’s child is special as well. Every human being is unique in their own special way. While your child may seem to have qualities that other children do not have, there are also going to be others out there that are smarter, faster, funnier, friendlier – children and adults in the world that are also going to have skills, talents, and traits that are just as valuable as your child’s.
What Happens When We Put Our Child on a Pedestal
You should absolutely praise your child. Praise from your child’s parents goes a long way towards helping them gain a positive sense of self and know that they are loved, appreciated, and supported in this world.
But it’s possible for that praise to go a bit too far. We also have to make sure that we do not put our child on a pedestal, treating them as though they are quite literally “more special” or “better” than other children. Sometimes, that may seem like healthy praise, but it can cause several challenges as your child starts to learn their place in the world, including:
- Creating an inflated sense of self that may start to act upon their belief that they are better than their peers or that their beliefs and actions deserve to be valued higher.
- Confusion or disappointment that others do not see them as being as valuable or as important as they’re used to experiencing at home.
- Potentially traumatic social interactions or isolation as a result of being seen as less likeable or different based on these behaviors.
We should praise our children. But we should also make sure that we’re clear on when to praise, how much to praise, what to say about other children, and how to make sure that our child doesn’t feel that they’re more special than other children that they may interact with.
If you’d like more information on parenting, or you’d like to talk about your child or your own mental health, please contact Long Island Psychology. We are licensed to provide remote therapy anywhere in New York, and have three offices – Garden City, Rockville Centre, and now a new location for therapy in Roslyn Heights.