“My son’s the best: he got straight A’s again and is the basketball team captain!”

"Sacred" Einstein by Mimi Stuart
Live the Life you Desire

It’s fine to express your pride in your kids with your family and close friends. But telling other people about their many successes can be annoying, uninteresting, or cause others to doubt their own parenting skills.

We’re all happy when our children succeed, but too much emphasis on their successes could indicate that our own identity is tied too closely to their achievements. That’s not to say that their achievements shouldn’t be enjoyed, but beware of seeking confirmation for your own value through being the parent of a “successful” kid.

Also beware of letting your children hear you bragging about them too much. Sometimes we think accolades will boost a child’s self-esteem. But excessive praise sends the message that the child’s accomplishments are all that matter.

Too much emphasis on achievement can have the effect of minimizing other worthy qualities, such as kindness, effort, and a sense of humor. It may be preferable to recognize a child’s effort and compassion rather than praising results only.

Often it is better to relate to our children without constantly judging them, either positively or negatively.

Rather than comparing our children to Einstein, both parents and children can be inspired by Einstein’s wise words: “The life of the individual has meaning only insofar as it aids in making the life of [other] living things nobler and more beautiful.”

by Alison Poulsen, PhD

Read “Encouraging Effort in your Children.”

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