Kids know when they're doing a not so great job, whether it's at home, at school, in a competitive or artistic situation or just learning to tie their shoes.
If you shower praise on a kid who knows they're still learning they more often than not will disagree with you or protest the good words. In fact, when you truly want to praise a child for an accomplishment that deserves it, the words may ring a bit hollow - they might not believe they're genuine. After all, you tell them everything they do is terrific ... so why do they need to even try?
It's more effective and better for your child to try and encourage talk about how things are going rather than just pouring on the praise or ignoring the less than great elements of what's going on.
Telling a kid he's doing a good enough job might seem like the right thing to say, but it could backfire or degrade into a disagreement from the child who truly wants to do better, and won't accept "good enough" from himself.
In that type of situation it's best to try to focus on the aspects of the task that they think ARE good, or done well, or are enjoyable and celebrate those successes.
Life is not about approval and impressing others. It's about finding the joy in what we do and being successful at self-imposed challenges. We need to teach our children to know themselves, and to listen to that inner voice to get satisfaction, not to look for approval by their peers, parents, teachers or bosses.
If they meet their personal goals a step at a time along the way to their final objective they will feel good about themselves. It's not about the destination ... it's about the journey, and that path should be satisfying and fulfilling as it nurtures growth and development.
By finding ways to present genuine comments, helpful discussion and focus on the person inside rather than encouraging a child to seek applause at every step and turn along the road to growing up, a parent will go miles toward helping a child build genuine self esteem, confidence and competence.