Emotional abuse: Number two on the list, right after “persistent criticism, sarcasm, hostility, or blaming,” is “conditional parenting, in which the level of care shown to a child is made contingent on his or her behaviours or actions.”
What matters is the message our kids receive, not the one we think we’re sending.
“the more conditional the support [one receives], the lower one’s perceptions of overall worth as a person.”
Studies have repeatedly shown, for instance, that students tend to learn better, all else being equal, when no A’s are used to reward them—that is, in classrooms where descriptions of students’ performance are used without any letter or number grades attached.
If you pay children for trying to solve a puzzle, they’ll tend to stop playing with it after the experiment is over—while those who were paid nothing are apt to keep at it on their own time.
Praise isn’t just different from unconditional love; it’s the polar opposite. It’s a way of saying to children: “You have to jump through my hoops in order for me to express support and delight.”
people with something close to “true”—or unconditional—self-esteem “would probably feel pleased or excited when they succeed and disappointed when they fail. But their feelings of worth as people would not fluctuate as a function of those accomplishments, so they would not feel aggrandized and superior when they succeed or depressed and worthless when they fail.”
Positive judgments don’t cancel out negative judgments, because the problem is with judgment itself.
A considerable body of evidence suggests that when children are led to become preoccupied with how well they’re doing, they often take less pleasure from what they’re doing.