How "recognition" impacts self-esteem and moral behavior

Edward Hallowell, MD, EdD Psychiatrist & Author, shares advice for parents on the role that recognition plays in building a child's self-esteem and moral behavior
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How "recognition" impacts self-esteem and moral behavior

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Step Five in the Cycle of Excellence, Gaining Recognition consolidates the confidence and self esteem, motivation that Step Four, Making Progress and engendered. And it doesn't mean, again, that you have to win a prize. It simply means someone you respect, a teamate, a classmate, a coach, a grandfather, somebody who matters to you notices the progress you've made. That feels really good. But not only does it feel good internally in terms of confidence and self esteem, but it connects you to the person or people recognizing you. And what's the great value in that? That's the root of moral behaviour. Moral behaviour at its most spontaneous, at its most muscular, at its most enduring does not come from memorizing the 10 Commandments or fear of punishment. It comes from ownership in the group. If I feel ownership in the team, the club, the business, the company, the family, the town, the country, then I will not be inclined to break its rules because I'm part of it. It's a part of me and I'm a part of it. Immoral behaviour is usually committed by people who feel dissed, unrecognized, left out, exploited, taken advantage of. So a problem in moral behaviour is really a problem in recognition and connection.

Edward Hallowell, MD, EdD Psychiatrist & Author, shares advice for parents on the role that recognition plays in building a child's self-esteem and moral behavior

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Edward Hallowell, MD, EdD

Psychiatrist, ADHD Specialist, & Author

Edward (Ned) Hallowell, MD, EdD is a Harvard-trained Child and Adult Psychiatrist in practice in Sudbury, MA (outside Boston) and New York City. The author of 18 books, Dr. Hallowell specializes in learning differences such as ADHD and dyslexia, both of which he has himself.  He has also written extensively on general issues of parenting and living in our modern age. He lives in the Boston area with his wife of 23 years, Sue, and their three children, Lucy, Jack, and Tucker.

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