I know I’m not a perfect mom but there are a few things I’ve taken pride in as far as the rearing of my children. One is that there is never a shortage of compliments traveling from my mouth to their ears. I want them both to know each day, all day how proud I am of them (except of course when Hannah is flailing about on the floor because she has a wedgie. One so bad that if I didn’t know better, I’d think was 23 inches up her tush). But now, I’ve just read, that once again, I’m doing it wrong. I read this article today http://TinyBy.com/7a about how NOT to talk to my kids. The gist of the article was that you shouldn’t tell your kids they are smart. Woooooops! I tell Hannah she’s smart at least 10 times a day because she, well, IS! And I’ve never thought, until now, that there’s anything wrong with her knowing and believing that. The article said that instead of praising our kids for their smarts, we should instead praise our kids for their “efforts” because then they will continue to show effort. If we tell them they are smart, they will start taking the easy way out.
So, this morning on the way to camp when Hannah told me that her new nickname for Luke, “Giggly Goo Goo” is not a rhyme but alliteration, I bit my tongue and didn’t comment on her smarts. And she noticed my lack of comment because she said, “mommy isn’t that a big word I just used? Aren’t I smart?”. And I said, “it’s so great that you are trying to use new big words sweetie!”. That didn’t go over so well apparently because after giving me a confused and slightly offended look, she said, “But aren’t I smart?”. long thoughtful pause “You absolutely are!” I emphatically replied. I am going to believe that Hannah thrives on my compliments and it is BECAUSE of them that she continues to try so hard.
I am someone who pretty much ignores all of the “warning emails” that get sent to me daily. The ones that warn of brain cancer from cell phones, liver problems from Tylenol, rapists waiting for you to remotely lock your car, wolves disguising themselves as Granny’s, etc. I mean it all gets so overwhelming and if I actually listed to them all, I probably would just be better off staying inside and drinking water all day (but not from plastic bottles). So why can’t I ignore these parenting articles as well? When it comes to bringing up my kids, I do try to educate myself but sometimes I tend to overeducate myself. A year or so ago I read that we as parents should not tell our kids that we’re proud of them. We should instead say, “you must be so proud of yourself!”. I understand the rationale here, but I do still think kids need to hear approval from their parents, see the pride in their faces as well as hear it from their mouths. Nothing feels better than praise whether it comes from a parent, a friend, a co-worker, or a stranger.
I mean, as fabulous a writer as I might think I am here in this blog… if I never heard a peep from any of my readers it wouldn’t really matter right? (maybe this is a bad example because actually I hear very few peeps from my peeps and I still love to write) I go back to the American Idol example… obviously the majority of the contestants are proud of themselves for their amazing singing ability but in reality, it’s really Simon Cowell’s and OTHER people’s opinions that matter, right? We just roll our eyes at the contestants who after getting the boot shout into the camera, “Who the bleep cares what Simon thinks anyway!! I know I’m a great singer and I’ll show him when I make it huge ON MY OWN!”. Yeah, yeah… sure you will…
In closing, my daughter is smart. I am proud of her. And as interesting and informative that article may have been… I will respectively disagree.