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Jennifer, School Psychologist
Category: Parenting
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Experience:  Collaborative parent consultation on everything from modifying behavior to child development.
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Our five year old son keeps asking for our acceptance and reassurance.

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Our five year old son keeps asking for our acceptance and reassurance. He will often ask if we are proud of him and what we think of something that he has done. Sometimes he will ask us to make a decision for him. Is the normal or are we praising him too much and not giving him a chance to decide how he feels about himself?
Hello and thanks for using!

It's very normal for all children to go through a stage of wanting to please those they love. As for the praise, try praising the act itself (or WHY you like the behavior) instead of pouring praise on the child. For example, when he waits patiently for something he wants you could say, "I think patience is really important" instead, "You did such a great job being patient!" Or when he picks up his toys you might say, "I just love a clean house!" instead of "You picked up your toys! What a good boy!" It's ok to praise him, too, but you're right that it's important for him to begin deciding himself how he feels about it. You could follow these questions with, "How do you feel?" to foster that intrinsic motivation.

Other times you may want to simply "notice" what he's doing without giving it any level of judgment. For example, when he's drawing a picture, you might say, "I see you're drawing a truck!" No comment about the quality, how focused he is on the task, etc. The fact that you noticed will be enough for him to perceive it's something you see he enjoys doing.

I wish you the best of luck!
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