Self-esteem, a key concept of social psychology, involves self-perception. Effected by a child’s awareness of themselves and their surroundings as well as their expectations of functionality, self-esteem development continues throughout the life span. The development of a healthy sense of self-esteem is not black and white and in early childhood, this burden falls largely on the caregiver. The caregiver is responsible for creating and maintaining an informative environment for the child to successfully grow. Subsequently, the research regarding how to do so is constantly evolving. This literature review will provide information on self-esteem, and its development and longitudinal effects, as well as analyze studies involving the relationship between one’s environment and self-esteem. Additionally, this review will delve into the relationship between praise and self esteem. Praise allows for the caregiver to express their approval of the child. The use of praise resulting from a child’s behavior can have both additive and decremental effects on the child’s self-esteem, and thus the most beneficial child rearing techniques are highly individualized.
Defining self-esteem and its development
The definition of self-esteem is largely debated within the psychological community with regards to theoretical perspective. Termed, “a key to a successful life”, a child’s self-esteem is quite important to their caregiver. Self-esteem, according to Smith and Mackie (2007), is a person’s self-concept about themselves, which can result in both negative and positive assessments. Self-esteem can predict both future successes and failures in domains such as health, work ethic, socioeconomic status, and relationships (Orth, Robins, Trzesniews...
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... interactions can affect self-esteem. Praise is generally seen as a positive reinforcer for a particular behavior and can be verbal, such as saying “good job”, or behavior, for example by putting an A+ exam on the kitchen fridge. The process of praising is not universal. For all studies evaluating the relationship between praise and self-esteem, in addition to taking into consideration the individuality that is self-esteem, researchers must operationalize praise so as to decrease potential biases and increase the validity of their studies. The use of praise is not only limited to early childhood interactions in the household but can have global effects in academic and social settings as well (Coe, Higgins, Elliot, 2014). The following studies investigate this complex relationship to identify the benefits and disadvantages to praise and self-esteem development.
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