How Much Of Appreciation Is Too Much?

I am aware that too much of anything can be bad for a person. But, does that apply to appreciation for children too? After all, a positive environment is a good confidence building ground for a child. Isn’t it?

How Much Of Appreciation Is Too Much?

Despite the fact that, I grew up in a household that encouraged a child (irrespective of gender) to do well in studies, in extra curricular activities, to gel in social set-ups, I was shown the Lakshman Rekha many a time. This was done to let me know that, I mustn’t get carried away with the freedom that my parents trustingly gave me. This was done so that I knew the difference between right and wrong. This was done to make me feel grounded. Discipline was definitely a part of my upbringing, whether I liked it or not then.

So, when my boy was growing up, my husband and I showered him with a lot of love and appreciation like any parent would naturally do. My husband’s disciplinary family background had been sterner than mine so, we unanimously decided (without actually getting too verbal about it) that our son should grow up in a positive atmosphere.

Unwarranted stress and strife, frustration and desperation must never trouble our household so much that it had a traumatic effect on our child like we had seen it happen in many families around us. So, we appreciated (even to the skies sometimes) tiny achievements of our son whether it was drawing, his flair for taking to the stage for singing, etc.

Slowly, we encouraged him to participate in other extracurricular activities that made him feel confident about himself like fancy dress competitions, sloka recitals, elocution and the like. And, he fared fairly well too, basking in the appreciation bestowed upon him by his loving parents, teachers and friends. That was when he was little.

But now, when I observe him as a teenager I do perceive signs of “I am good nah!” “Life is a cake” kind of attitude. Nothing wrong in that, you might say considering the fact that we ourselves have grown through this stage feeling more or less the same emotion. Sometimes, the arrogance of a modern teenager spills over, spreading conflict on the home front and I wonder:

Should we have been sterner while moulding him?

Should we have instilled certain values without giving him a choice instead of explaining the origin and purpose of certain acts, rituals and traditions?

Should we?

Now, why would I ask myself this question? Well! For one, society is different. The pressures of a fast moving world are tremendous, something that scarcely existed when we were teenagers. Distractions are tremendous too.

Or maybe, I am just plain worried that the effect of today’s society could churn out a not-so-good citizen of a child!

I let my article marinate before I would give it the appropriate conclusion apart from the fact that household duties also beckoned me. Sometime later my son came back home from school. He was not his cheery old self. All was needed was a sympathetic pat on his shoulder and his emotions flooded. I knew then, that I needn’t worry about anything any more.

As long as he felt the need to share, to confide, to understand emotion from logic, things were going to be fine. Even if the world tried hard to make a man out of my son before his time, I knew that it could not steal that innocent childhood from him which with God’s grace and guidance was still alive…

I had got my answer. Too much of appreciation was never going to be bad as long as it came from the right source. What do you say?

Shail Raghuvanshi is a freelance journalist, content writer, editor, book reviewer and poet. She has 15 years of writing experience in newspaper, magazine, radio and television. She has worked as a Spoken English Teacher too. She runs a blog for writers called Write Space  and blogs at her personal blog Muse N’ Motivation. A daughter, wife, mother and friend, she believes that there is no situation that can’t be made better. Faith, Friendship and Family are what makes her life complete.

  • Reema Sahay

    Hi Shail, My son is 2, and just to encourage him, earlier we would say ‘Wow’ every time he would accomplish something. It has spiraled into him saying ‘Wow’ himself before even finishing the task at hand! So, now we are cautious. We explain to him that one says ‘Wow’ only when you have done something really well. Now, even on this point, there is a school of thought which tells saying ‘good job’ is actually limiting the child’s imagination and capabilities. Why? Because when we say ‘Good Job’, we are judging him on certain set parameters which he has supposedly exceeded. If you think about it, it is right. Moreover, we are always worried how the child will fare outside of the threshold of home where there would be stricter parameters on which he would be judged. Plus, what if he becomes complacent?
    I am yet to make up my mind about this 🙁

    • Hi Reema.
      I too have worried about that. But, sometimes, when I ponder too much I find myself being too harsh on my son. Then, when you revert back to your usual loving appreciating self it becomes difficult. I understand what you are saying completely.

  • Sunita Rajwade

    Appreciation like love can never be too much.

    • Well-put @sunitarajwade:disqus. I completely agree. Wonderful article, Shail.

      • Thanks Sakshi. Yes, appreciation transcends all barriers as long as there is true love there.

    • Hi Sunita.

      Agreed. 100%. Appreciation can never be too much. But, the right amount must be truly gauged by the parent. Don’t you think so?