Teaching children to be proud of their achievements

Being able to celebrate achievements allows us to live life as an unfolding adventure, rather than feeling stuck and or tied to routines or decisions made long ago. 

Why is healthy pride so vital?

Feeling a healthy sense of pride (without being vain) is a positive reward that nourishes our self-esteem and encourages us to keep going. We can help our children celebrate their successes, and at the same time, respect and value the work of others. The difference between being self-confident and being a narcissist is that we don’t need to seek approval from others, or sabotage the work of others, to shine.

How can I encourage healthy pride and self-esteem in kids?

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Noticing and appreciating achievements

Help children recognise the things they do well, and also help them to celebrate the successes they have on the way to reaching their goals. For example, if a child finds it hard to divide numbers, and manages to correctly divide the first few, that would be a good time to reward their success.
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Differentiating achievements and responsibilities

It can be helpful to guide children to understand the difference between achievement and responsibility. As an example of the difference, think about family chores. Each member of a family will usually have their “to-do list” of chores (for example, doing the dishes, watering the plants, or throwing away the garbage). These tasks correspond to being a family member, so there is no need to give rewards for fulfilling them. A healthy balance can be found between teaching that it is good to fulfill responsibilities without expecting anything in return, and still appreciating and valuing our contributions when they go above and beyond.
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Enjoying the process of learning

When children start practicing something they really enjoy, we can try to avoid judging their work in an overly-evaluative way, so that instead of judging the outcome, we can appreciate the process. We might do this by, for example, enjoying their happiness, valuing their effort, their search for new solutions, or their intensity of concentration.
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Setting challenges and celebrating success

We can help kids set creative challenges and then celebrate what they achieve. Setting fun challenges takes children out of their comfort zone and gives them confidence. In kind ways, we can also acknowledge where they could improve, because children appreciate it when we are sincere.
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Demonstrating appreciation

Showing appreciation with real affection, using hugs, caresses, and validating words, rather than giving expensive items or gifts. Also encourage children to congratulate their friends, by recognising moments that are important to them, and being attentive to their wishes, too.
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Modelling Positive Values

Encouraging and modelling positive values helps children see that striving, discipline, perseverance and effort are really important for achieving goals  Likewise, we can model being brave, and not shying away from difficulties.
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Being resourceful

Show children how to be resourceful so they develop skills to use in later life: for example, they might use lists or mind maps to set out their goals, decide things to do, evaluate their performances and identify things to improve. Help them to be creative, using drawing, scrapbooks, or even music. In this way, children will learn to give themselves the recognition that their actions deserve, without needing to seek external validation, which can lead to frustration when they cannot find it.
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Participating in group activities

To remain balanced, we need to know that we are not the only ones who have opportunities or skills, and that we require others to be healthy and happy.

Participating in sports, community or social activities helps children see that we all need to participate in order to be stronger and achieve bigger goals.


Best free books at Storyberries

Some Free Books about Healthy Pride at Storyberries

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Martin’s Flute

Martin wants to play his new flute but there are so many distractions, even outside in the yard. Martin shows that even in the midst of all the distractions, he can be really diligent, and his efforts are rewarded.
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More of Me to Love

A beautifully illustrated and affirming story about a young girl who has been taught from birth to love herself just as she is. A super book for raising self-esteem and for highlighting the things that really matter.
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This Rabbit

A wonderfully fun poem that explores the different likes and skills of a group of rabbits. There’s a real sense of celebration to the poem, and also an invitation at the end, for the reader to reflect on their own preferences. A super story for celebrating accomplishment and for building self-esteem.

Article by Luzmery M. Romero Gamboa and Fleur Rodgers

Luzmery Child Psychologist Storyberries

Luzmery works in the area of clinical psychology as a psychotherapist for children, adolescents and families. Since 2016, she has run a Psychological Center in Venezuela called Psicoluz. She offers workshop facilitations to parents, is involved in recreational activities for children, and has been working as a freelancer since 2017 performing online psychotherapy. 

Storyberries parenting portal author and mindfulness coach Fleur Rodgers

Fleur is a meditation teacher in France and uses a compassion and loving-kindness based approach to meditation and slow-minded living. Fleur posts regularly to Instagram @rodgers.fleur . She has two children, is a qualified teacher in adult education and is the founder of Timeouttobreathe.com