Appreciating Children

Last evening my daughter was proudly showing me he school workbooks. She was really proud because most of the worksheets/test papers had ‘good’, ‘*’, smileys or even some stickers below them. Some had even multiple ones. And she was now looking at me expecting appreciation (which of course I did)

 I was thinking about this later. These are just one part of the appreciation these kids get. In addition, they get to stand near the board, get smileys on their hands, get the class to clap for them. What for? For reciting some rhymes, reproducing some words with correct spellings, bringing some objects to the class as told by teachers, keeping silence in the class, doing additions and subtraction without mistakes. And the children expect similar appreciation from parents too.

 The thought I had was – aren’t we little overdoing this? When you are grown up, appreciation is a very rare thing and that too a genuine appreciation is seldom. At work, where you spend most of your time, appreciation comes in the form of more responsibility and more money. But that too is once a while.

 So what happens to these kids who are so used to being appreciated for every right thing, when they grow up? Are they likely to become depressed ? Are these kids likely to become more addicted to nicotine/drugs? I think it is very very likely. May be someone will study this someday in detail.

The appreciations at school primarily comes from complying to rules or being good. Very rarely children get appreciated for a creative response or solution. But when they grow up, no one appreciates them for being good, the likely hood of they getting appreciated is high if they are creative. This I think is creating a contradiction in their minds and naturally in their lives too.

 But I am not really sure if being very conservative in appreciating children will be a good idea? It is possible that they might get a more realistic perspective of life ahead. Or will be end up making their life also dull and uneventful like that of ours?

4 thoughts on “Appreciating Children

  1. Chockalingam Eswaramurthy

    Interesting post Sajeev. I agree, overdoing of appreciation in children naturally grows their tendency to expect appreciation at every stage at their life (same carrot and stick policy?) . Having said that, I believe children should be taught to have a dream and develop a passion which can allow them to design their life accordingly.

    1. Sajeev Post author

      Hi Chocks! Hope you are doing great.
      ‘Overdoing’ is a very fluid concept, we are always ‘doing’ and never ‘overdoing’. Overdoing comes only in hindsight or through feedback from others.

      Your comment on ‘dream’ gives me another thought. How often the dreams/passions are really genuine? At least in India the dreams are heavily influenced and biased by the society.So either there is a mismatch between the capabilities and aspirations or when it is achieved, it looks very hollow.

  2. nikimonikado

    Good post! (There you go, adult to adult, honest appreciation :)). I think it is all to do with expectations and toning everything to expectations. Children are expected to be random, creative and hence disorderly, whereas adults are expected to be conforming, compliant and respecting order. So, when someone is out of the norm, they are appreciated. for children, it is being orderly and for adults, it is being creative. In fact, in adults, if one is creative in breaking the rules, they are punished, which is a negative form of adulation. “negative” does get you straight to the papers as well…

    1. Sajeev Post author

      You are right Bala. But I think the problem here is that it’s the same children who grow up become adults. So can we really put them in to two buckets and treat them differently? (like for e.g birds and animals, each of them for their whole life remain a bird or an animal..)


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