There are not too many people that would disagree with the idea that parents have a desire to be proud of their children. However, there is some debate around how you should express that praise for your children, if you even should at all.
On one side, you have people that believe pride in oneself should be avoided as it comes across as being over-confident and bragging. As an extension of this belief, displaying praise for your children is a means of taking responsibility for their success and there should be a better alternative.
Contrary to this belief, there are those that say taking pride in our own accomplishments or those of our children is a healthy thing. It helps children grow into confident, successful adults.
Who is right?
It is hard to say, as I believe there are very valid points from both sides of the coin.
Showering your child with praise will certainly boost their self-esteem and confidence. However, too much praise and your child will become self-centered and arrogant, thinking everything is about them and their accomplishments. Not enough praise and your child may begin to lack the motivation to push themselves to achieve great things.
Speaking of motivation, often times it is best to praise the effort displayed by your child as opposed to the outcome. By telling your child that you are proud of how hard they worked regardless of the outcome, you are teaching them that failure is acceptable. When a child can learn that failure is not something to be feared, they will begin to push themselves and not fall apart in the face of fear.
In recent months, I have had a few experiences that made me proud of my children – or I should say made me proud of how hard they worked for something that they wanted.
Most recently, my youngest son wanted to expand on his experience with hip-hop dancing and audition for the dance company, which is the competitive dance team. When we received word that he made the team, I sat down with him and expressed to him that I was very proud of how hard he worked and the challenge that he took on to make the team before telling him that he had made the team.
A few months back, my oldest son attended the tryouts for the local baseball team that would compete in the PONY National Tournament. With players that were one to two years older than him, he faced his fears and jumped right out there and did his best. When the team was announced and he had not made the roster, I told him that I was extremely proud of the fact that he challenged himself to compete with older boys and did not back down from a difficult situation.
As you can see, I do tell my children when I am proud of them but I am careful not to go too far. Rather than telling them they are the best, I try to tell them that their effort is the best.
If you’re concerned about your child becoming one of those arrogant brats that thinks (and tells everyone within a 50-mile radius) they are the best, focus more on praising them for their level of effort rather than the accomplishments themselves.
What are your thoughts on being proud of your children?