Here's the thing: Kids develop immunity to praise. They require higher and higher doses of it to be satiated. And as soon as parents and teachers remove the dangling carrot, children can lose interest in their activity.
Children need to slow down, struggle and problem-solve in order to learn all the elements that go into worthy efforts. They also need to appreciate where their efforts begin and end so that they can take appropriate responsibility when their efforts succeed or fail.
The most we can do as a parent is provide for our children, love them for who they truly are, and help them to develop into their own capable, unique person. We should always aim to care more about our child's character than how he or she appears.
The point isn't to criticize children. But it's to recognize that self-esteem really, truly comes as the result of achievement -- in the classroom, on the field, at home -- rather than false accomplishments.
The problem isn't that kids expect praise for everything they do. The problem is with our need for control, our penchant for placing conditions on our love, and our continued reliance on the long-discredited premises of behaviorism.