I try really hard not to tell my kids I’m proud of them.
I know that sentence was really harsh, but I have your attention now, right?
I try not to tell my kids I’m proud of them, but instead rephrase it by saying, “Are you proud of yourself?” or, “You should be very proud of yourself!”
I am proud of them, I really am! But their own pride in themselves will carry them much further than my being proud of them ever will.
It’s not something I do 100% of the time, I still find myself exclaiming, “I am so proud of you!” often. But I throw in enough “You should be proud of yourself” to balance it.
At school this week, my kindergartener was awarded as a “red cape runner” for having the most improved testing scores for the class that month. She, along with others from the school, was given a red cape and they all ran through the hallways with We Are the Champions blasting over the speakers. It was a way to celebrate their hard work and dedication, and it was amazing as a parent to have the chance to watch these children, just beaming with pride, run through the hallways.
Afterward, when I had the chance to talk to my daughter, I told her that she did amazing and we were so happy we could come to watch her. She responded with,
“Mom, I am SO proud of myself right now!”
My eyes instantly filled with tears. It was the first time she had told me she was proud of herself without any prompting from me. And for that, I was extremely proud of her.
Her own self-pride will carry her further in school than any praise I can give her. It will also drive an intrinsic motivation in her school work, to see that if and when she puts in the time and dedication, she can and will achieve great things, and she can do it to be proud of herself, not just to make me proud.
Featured Image by Kayla Wright