Why Parents Need to Stop Focusing on Self-Esteem

It’s the most natural thing in the world to do… to lavish praise on your child. To be sure, as their parents, it’s important to affirm our kids. But, did you know that the research has revealed fatal flaws in the whole “Self-Esteem Movement”.

We talk about this in our just released Video “3 Things YOU can do as parents that will CHANGE your child’s chances at SUCCESS”. You can access it for FREE for the next few days right here.


Dr. Roy Baumeister, once a strong proponent of the Self-Esteem Movement, has called it, “The biggest disappointment of my career.” In fact he’s also credited with this quote:

“People with high self-esteem think they make better impressions, have stronger friendships and have better romantic lives than other people, but the data don’t support their self-flattering views…A generation and many millions of dollars later, it turns out we may have been mistaken…I’m sorry to say, my recommendation is this: Forget about self-esteem and concentrate more on self-control and self-discipline.”  ~ Dr. Roy F. Baumeister

Undeserved praise, as it turns out, doesn’t help kids achieve, it actually works against it. Not only does it not prevent kids from underperforming, but it very well might be the cause of it.

One of the more alarming consequences of empty praise is the way kids begin to discount, not only the unwarranted praise, but the well deserved praise also!

The Self-Esteem movement is one of the cultural shifts that has greatly impacted our parenting. Here are three quick strategies to address this:

  1. Praise effort rather than results – “Wow! You worked so hard on that project… doesn’t that feel good.” Of course that needs to be true!
  2. Give your child loving criticism when appropriate – research indicates that children performed better with serious and skilled criticism than with empty praise.
  3. Focus on training Self-Control – concentrate more on things like self-discipline, grit, and perseverance; rather than self-esteem and vacuous praise.

According to Julie Lythcott-Haims, the self-esteem movement is just one of four cultural shifts that have impacted parenting. If you want to know more, watch our newly released video, “Three Things YOU can do as parents that will CHANGE your child’s chances at SUCCESS” It’s the third installment in our series, “How to Raise Successful Kids”. It’s FREE and you can get access to it right here.


So continue to praise your children, that’s what loving parents do. But if you want it to be effective… make sure it’s true and genuine! Your child’s success is at stake!