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7 Responses to On Raising a Person, Not a Performer

  1. Teresa

    This article was awesome. I always struggle to find that happy middle too, and this article was interesting to read.

  2. Jenn  

    Wonderful post. I feel like I want to re-read this piece a few times to digest it again. This is such important stuff.

    I’m preparing myself for this struggle with my own son. I could spend all day telling him how wonderful he is because I really feel that way, but I know that there are dangers in doing that. You really nailed it: there’s a fine line that we have to walk between being our child’s biggest critic (whether our intentions are noble or not) and raising a child who needs us to do a backflip after every small victory.

  3. Mama Mo @ Attached at the Nip

    Yes! Wonderful post! I don’t worry so much about over-or under-praising my boys right now… I feel like I’ve got a good balance going. I’m worried about the language to use when they’re school-aged. I truly want them to be intrinsically motivated to learn. Praise the effort not the intelligence, right? But how that looks/sounds on a daily basis? Not sure… I’m also getting concerned about the other people in our lives who are good jobbers. There will come a point when I have to explain to them why it’s not a good idea. I might just have to show them this post…

  4. Melissa  

    This is such an important message, and perfectly stated. I have a hard time not telling my kid how awesome she is all the time, but I’ve been trying to save all of the praise for times when my words aren’t related to something she’s doing. Saying things like, “I’m so glad you’re my daughter!” is one way I hope to make her feel always loved and appreciated, regardless of what she’s doing and how she’s doing it.

  5. stefanie @very very fine

    Melissa, that’s such a good one — “I’m so glad you’re my daughter” (son, obviously, for me, or G might get confused, ha).

  6. Sylvia@MaMammalia

    Great post! It sounds like you’ve overcome a lot and have found a healthy point of balance on the praise continuum. It can be hard to spot the negative side-effects of certain types of praise, but you seem to be very aware and responsive. I think your descriptive praise phrases sound effective and supportive!

    You’ve also raised another important point: sometimes our parenting choices are reactions to how we were raised (e.g “I’ll do the opposite of my parents!”). I admire how you’ve been able to make conscious choices, even though they are difficult on very personal level.

  7. Momma Jorje

    Its amazing how much our own parents can and have screwed us up. And more amazing to see how each generation tends to overcompensate which really just continues the ugly cycle.

    I do try very hard to notice my child rather than praise her. For instance, we do Elimination Communication and at 2 years old, she is completely out of diapers (though we do have occasional misses). When she goes in the potty, I try to excitedly say “You did it!” instead of literally praising her. I alternately thank her for going in the potty, showing appreciation instead of praise.

    I definitely had self confidence issues in my youth, but I think they had more to do specifically with disapproval and lack of affection from my father (which eventually lead me to teen pregnancy). I want confidence for my child and I hope (SO hard!) that I am leading her in the right direction!

    It is all just guesswork after all, right?