“Are you so proud of me for putting my clothes on all by myself?” My little girl inquires with a smile on her face and my reflection in her brown eyes. If she displays a unbecoming behavior, she may ask, “Are you disappointed in me?” I remember when I was younger and how I lived for the praise of my parents and was so disappointed in myself if I disappointed them. I was such a sensitive child and wanted nothing more than to please my parents and can see that same sensitivity and desire to please when I look at my daughter and listen to the inflection in her voice.
There’s such a thin line between overly doting over a child and giving him or her the praise necessary to thrive, feel loved, reinforce positive behaviors and be successful. With this in mind, I often wonder if I’m on target with my daughter and if she knows how proud I am of her. Even as an adult, I often look for the approval of my parents, and while I seldom receive that phrase, “I’m proud of you!” from my father, I’m blessed that my mother has always demonstrated it because her praise and support has helped to shape me into who I am today.
Gratefully, Quinn has a father and mother who acknowledge her efforts and offer her positive reinforcement. Though there may be times when she may do something that upsets us or that we do not agree with, I hope she always knows how proud of her we are and how much we love her. I pray that as she gets older she will also be proud of herself and who she becomes in life.
All the best,