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Skip High Praise for Kids with Low Self-Esteem

Taylor Hinton/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- An international team of experts warns that adults should back off from over-complimenting children, particularly if they have low-self esteem.

American, British and Dutch researchers say that giving youngsters too much praise when they lack confidence could backfire, making them less inclined to face challenges.

The study first ranked 240 boys and girls, ages 8 to 12, on self-confidence and then had them copy a painting. Kids with lower self-esteem were then given an inordinate amount of compliments compared to those with more confidence.

When it came time to copy other paintings, some of which were more intricate, the youngsters with less confidence stuck to the easier pictures while kids with higher self-esteem were more likely to copy more challenging ones.

Researcher Eddie Brummelman explains, "If you tell a child with low self-esteem that they did incredibly well, they may think they always need to do incredibly well.  They may worry about meeting these high standards and decide not to take on any new challenges."

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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