Friday, March 06, 2009

Saved for the most sincere moments

I very rarely tell my children that I am proud of them.

Years ago when putting together my thesis for my masters degree in education I read that children should learn to appreciate their own pride. They should learn that accomplishing something makes them feel proud. Basically, they work hard in accomplishing something for themselves. The conclusion was that responsible children enjoy taking responsibility for their actions and in the end understand self worth as well-balanced self-motivated adults.

"Mama. Mama. Did you get my teacher's email today? Are you proud of me?" Jay ran through the door yesterday.

"I did get the email, Handsome." I knelt down before him beaming, so incredibly proud of my little man. After weeks of journaling at home something clicked and he finally understood writing.

"Are you proud of me, Mama?"

"Are you proud of yourself?"

"Yes! Mama. I am sooooooo proud of myself."

"If you are proud, so am I."

I started this a long time ago as soon as I realized that my pre-school aged children were constantly seeking my praise. "I did it! Are you proud?" After countless amounts of kisses, hugs, and "I'm proud of yous" I decided to keep the kisses and hugs in my repertoire but turn things around by asking them, "Are you proud?"

It's still a work in progress. However, when you hear those words for the first time "I am proud of myself" you yourself realize how incredibly proud you really are.

"I am so proud of myself, sweet little mousie Mama." Jay smiled as I tucked him into bed for the night. We discussed how hard he had worked and how happy it felt to be proud. "I am very proud, Handsome" I told him after his goodnight hug and kiss, those words of mine reserved for the most sincere moments. He fell asleep smiling. Just like I did.

58classy comments:

Valerie(momof3crazykids) said...

You know, what a great thing to make sure you ask back. I am so gonna remember this. That would be such a great self esteem booster.

Domestic Extraordinaire said...

what a very great idea.

And way to go Jay!!

Don Mills Diva said...

Lovely. You are such a good mama.

Marinka said...

You're right, it's so important for them to internalize the pride and own their work and not just seek affirmation. But it doesn't mean that I don't hear you beaming!

MommyTime said...

This is a great lesson. I do think I probably tell my two that I am proud of them a little too often. But I also try very consciously to find a quiet moment to explain to my son WHY I am proud of him on the occasional days that he does something really extraordinary. The light in his eyes tells me that those moments mean so much more than hundreds of "I'm proud of yous" reiterated on a playground in response to a feat of swinging or running. I will keep your principle in mind, though. I think it's very smart.

Texan Mama @ Who Put Me In Charge said...

That's awesome!

Why can't I think of stuff like that?

Nap Warden said...

I am going to have to add this to the parenting regime. I constantly tell my kiddos I am proud of them. I want them to be proud of themselves...Well done:)

The Daily Stroll said...

What a great lesson! I'm going to have to remember this!

katydidnot said...

anyone who calls his mama a sweet mousie is okay with me. my nephew calls his mom mousiebird. none of know why. his brother calls me aunt kitty cat.

heh.

Junebug said...

Katydidnot: My son calls me "mother dear". Hee hee.

Maggie May said...

I work on that too.

*jimaie.marie* said...

you know what? you're AMAZING! what a fantastic idea that SHOULD seem very simple yet it had never crossed my mind! I adore you for this story and I love that JAy was so very proud of himself, as he SHOULD be! What a sweet sweet boy he is!
thank you for this i starred it in my reader so that i may come across it later and reflect on it again!

DysFUNctional Mom said...

You are SO smart and inspiring.

Kat said...

I bet he had happy dreams that night. :)

designHER Momma said...

I've never thought of doing it this way, asking my daughter if she was proud of herself first.

I just might try it out.

Managed Chaos said...

I'm always looking for ways to build self-confidence/pride in my kiddos...what a wonderful idea.

kim-d said...

Oh, how incredibly sweet and touching. I almost cried at how good that feeling of pride must have been to Jay. Yet another wonderful gift you give to your children!

Dawn@Embracing the Ordinary Life said...

Oh that's a good one...I should start asking my kids that.

Stephanie said...

I think this is a great idea. My mom never told me she was proud of me. I still constantly strive to make others happy instead of myself. It's a fine line and I think you're walking it on the right side, in an awesome way!

Katie said...

That's awesome, and SO true! What a great value to instill in them!

Becca said...

How sweet! Sounds like a great idea. I am going to have to remember that one for the future!

And Congrats to the both of you!

A Crafty Mom said...

Those are words of wisdom for sure. Truly inspiring and a wonderful lesson for all mothers, for sure.

Krystyn said...

Oh, I just love this idea. I will definitely start asking Izzy is she's proud!

Thanks for passing it on.

Every Day Goddess said...

That is so lovely!! I love this idea! You are such a great mommy!!

LceeL said...

Kinda makes me proud just to know you. The course you have chosen is a wise one. But ANY reinforcement is better than none at all - and I have seen so many, many parents who just don't know how to respond in a positive fashion to their kids and their accomplishments. Or they don't care. I know kids who would DIE for an "I'm proud of you" from a Mom or a Dad, because all they get is "That's not good enough" or "You can do better".
Well done, OHmommy. Well done, indeed.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

Intersting concept. I have to admit to frequently telling my kids how proud of them I am. I just feel like I'm constantly telling them what they're doing wrong (all of the "nos" that come along with raising toddlers), that I really want them to understand that more than anything I recognize everything that they do right too. And there just isn't always time to be specific.

This is a big one for my special needs boy. He's always working so much harder at things that come easily to other kids. Every night I make it part of the bedtime routine to tell him he's a good boy, a smart boy, and that mommy and daddy are SO proud of him. And I actually do make him repeat it back. Just to make sure he's listening. So maybe that's our version of what you do. For now.

Hopefully - when they're all older/further along with their discussion skills, I can move on to something a little more advanced.

rockanddrool said...

so sweet!! i've always asked my kids if they are proud of themselves. because i always felt that, as important as it is to them that i am proud...it's more important that they should be proud!!
good job!!
xo

I am P said...

My 3 year old asks me everyday...mama, are you so proud? I always answer yes, today, I have a new answer! Clever, I really like it!

Blessings From Above said...

I am ashamed to admit, I don't think I've ever asked my daughter if she is proud of herself. Thanks for another great parenting lesson!

BrainLint said...

Great, great thing to say! I often tell my kids that I'm proud of them. But this really will help them much, much more!!!

Domestic Goddess (In Training) said...

That is a really good idea. I have never thought to ask that, and I bet it would mean something if my stepdaughter realized that she should be proud of herself.

Thanks! No jokes... thanks.

Courtney said...

Thank you for the great suggestion of "are you proud?" I am using that now b/c like you said, kids are forever seeking praise.

And, what a sweet memory for the both of you.

Hailey said...

Love it! I am going to start doing this with Caroline. You always have the best advice. Thank you for that.

Angie @ KEEP BELIEVING said...

I tell my kids I am proud of them a lot. My parents rarely lavished praise and pride on me. I think it harmed me and my self esteem. I was always looking for approval. They just weren't emotionally giving at that time in our lives.

I can see that you are emotionally giving, though.

KEEP BELIEVING

Elaine A. said...

This made me tear up (dang hormones!) ; ) Very sweet...

Jessica said...

Never thought of it that way but it makes perfect sense!

BusyDad said...

You have a knack for writing posts where I can't write anything sarcastic about as a comment. Oh well, I'll just smile too :)

April said...

I read about this a few years back, and started using it, too, because it makes such good sense. It's a great lesson for them to learn that it's their own approval and self-worth that matters, and not to seek it from others.

Megryansmom said...

That is a very smart idea I must remember. p.s. I love your new hair!

PunkyBean said...

UH! Pulls at my heart strings! Way to instill drive! I have learned a lesson today...

Tiaras and Tantrums said...

very sweet for your son - great accomplishment . . . although I sort of don't agree with this. I LET my children know when I am proud of them . . . only b/c I had parents who never let me know - so you know, I didn't know. Thus being, I will always TELL my children when I am proud of them . . . for the little stuff or the big stuff.

MamaClaire said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tara R. said...

That is so sweet. I would love to use that with my son.

MamaClaire said...

I think my favorite thing about your blog is how you give excellent parenting advice in a non-judgmental and unassuming way. We have degrees in similar fields and I love that you make suggestions that are small and simple but can have a BIG impact on child development and the family system. And in this case your suggestion is based on practice AND research. Bravo!

Missy said...

Great idea!

Corinne said...

It's an important less for them to learn! Thanks for the reminder :)

3 Peanuts said...

that is great advice. SO many parents today praise every little nose blow OR they push their kids and don't praise at all. This seems to be just the right balance. We do it just tha same way.

Kim

Rhea said...

You're trying to make me cry, aren't you?

Lisa@verybusymomwith4 said...

Wondering if something is wrong with my kids--I honestly cannot think of time when they asked I was proud of them?! What's up with that? I admit I do tell them I am proud (and sadly disappointed when they mess up--need to work on that!) often...maybe I say my opinion too much. (lol!)
But I will keep this advice in mind if my kids do ask!

great job on the writing Jay!

amy said...

This is good advice. Thanks for giving me a great idea for building my girls esteem. :-D

Kari said...

I try to tell Charlotte that I am proud of her a lot. Not excessively. But when she does accomplish something! Like pottying...or putting her shoes on the right feet...she just beams up at me! She is only 2, but she seems to understand it. When she is able to understand being proud of herself, I will have to start using your example. That is an awesome way for them to become aware of their accomplishments and know their self-worth at a young age! You are one-classy mommy!

anymommy said...

A lovely post from a thoughtful mom.

Michele said...

Thanks for the advice. My older daughter always seeks my praise. I don't know if it is because she is now competing for attention with her younger sister. I will try this. Sarah had some issues with her writing and she has come so far. We are so proud of her but I want her to be proud of herself. Thanks for writing this. It makes you look at this a totally different way.

Dionna said...

Very interesting idea. I like asking them back if they are proud of themselves. But I also feel that my children need to hear that I am proud of them. Maybe there can be a balance between both.

Lisa said...

Yay Jay! And I'm proud of you for what a good mama you are!!!

PS - was in Chicago for the weekend & thought of you. Are you from the city or a suberb?

Mama Smurf said...

What a wonderful idea.

Im2Sexy4MyVan said...

I hear what Stephanie and Tiaras & Tantrums have to say. Similar upbringing --- always strived to do something meaningful that got my parents' positive attention and praises. Never really got there. No matter what I accomplished there was always higher expectations. Made me an insecure woman that seeks approval from others. I work on that all the time. Also made me a super hard worker that usually sets the bar a notch higher than necessary.

Hear you too. How wonderful to foster the feeling of pride in self. I remember vividly the 1st day my dad said he was proud of me. And it wasn't what I thought he should be proud about. I was a senior in HS. Defining moment for me. Not because he finally was proud of me. But because I realized I had done way more meaningful things that deserved pride in self.

I have had to fill my own cup as an adult woman my whole life. You know, I sense he is proud of me now. But he doesn't use those words.

Everything in moderation, right?!

I love this post! Thanks for sharing. You are a fabulous mother with phenomenal kids!!!!

Noob Mommy said...

I look forward to these mommy moments :)

 

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