Are we overvaluing our children? Is that even a thing? According to a recent study done by Ohio State University, the engulfing praise of our kids is creating a generation of narcissistic brats.
Ok…so I might be one of those parents that heaps praise on my kids. Do I praise them too much? Who knows, could be. My husband and I, however, have been careful about the type of praise we give to our kids. We don’t overpraise them when they wash their hair or if they tie their shoes, but there are qualities that will benefit them into adulthood that we do encourage. And they are qualities they don’t often have the chance to learn at school.
As a parent, it is my responsibility to train up my child
So here are a few areas that I go overboard in the praise department, because these are characteristics I want to develop in my kids. They are attributes that will take them a long way as they grow.
I’ve had to work hard to build up initiative in myself. I tend to lean more to the lazy side. I’m not one of those parents that does crafts with their kids every day and if I’m bored with my work, I don’t want to find things to do, I want to go home. Initiative, however, is one of those characteristics that make a person stand out, especially in the workforce.
Children are not normally known for their enterprise, but that doesn’t mean they can’t learn to initiate. So when my kids make an effort to do something they weren’t asked to do, or go above and beyond what was required, I give big praises. I also explain to them they are showing initiative. Through praise, I encourage them to do it more often…what parent doesn’t like their child to do something without being asked?
My son is the worst at finding something he has lost…especially if it’s right in front of him. And as a parent (particularly as a mother) my kids are constantly asking me to help them solve a problem.
My husband and I have worked hard at directing our kids without fixing things for them (my husband probably more than me). Giving them time to solve their dilemma before we step in (unless I’m tired and then it’s easier to do it myself…but that’s an issue for another post) they are encouraged to find their own solutions.
If it’s an issue I know they can eventually work out themselves I will often refuse to fix it for them, trusting in their ability to resolve it. Then when they celebrate their accomplishment, I lavish on the praise.
Thinking outside the box
I named my website ‘A Life Outside the Box’ for a reason. I find constantly in life that when I look or act in a way that is outside the box, it’s usually a better way of doing things than the ‘norm’.
When my kids think or create ‘outside the box’ I praise them for that. I know that it takes ingenuity to get ahead in life, and by encouraging them to look at things in different ways it makes them better problem solvers and prepares them for what life throws at them.
Perhaps I overdue it praising my kids for the above mentioned areas, but honestly, I don’t care. I want to develop these areas of their lives and it’s my job to prepare them for the world that’s waiting for them. I won’t know till their grown whether or not it works, but I can say that my kids know when they show initiative and they know when they think creatively. If I can play a part in making sure those things continue into adulthood I’d saying I’m doing pretty well.