i am proud of you

10 Ways to Say “I Am Proud Of You” to Your Kids

Each month, my kids and  I have breakfast with a group of other dads and their kids. As each dad takes their turn going around the table speaking about their kids and what they’re proud of, I watch their kids. They perk up, their eyes wide open in anticipation, as their dad shares why he’s proud. Their reactions are priceless and my kids have the exact same response.

The “pride exercise” is the highlight of each breakfast, and one of the foundational pieces at each monthly All Pro Dad’s Day Breakfasts. Every single dad and kid at the breakfasts love it. But part of me wonders, as great as this exercise is, how often do we do this when we are not at an All Pro Dad’s Day breakfast. Do we let our kids know that we are proud of them enough? If we only do it once a month, then the answer is no.

We may want to, but sometimes the busyness of life works against us and we don’t realize we could encourage our kids more. How great would it be if we did the pride exercise on a regular basis. Here are 10 ways to say, “I am proud of you.”

  1. “You did a great job cleaning your room!”
  2. “That was hard work, but you finished the job!”
  3. “You are an amazing brother/sister!”
  4. “You’re showing great leadership (at school, on your team)!”
  5. “It makes me proud to say ‘that’s my son/daughter!'”
  6. “You must be the fastest kid on your team!”
  7. “You’re a really a great reader.”
  8. “How did you know that answer, that’s amazing. You are so smart!”
  9. “You are very mature for a __-year old kid.”
  10. “That was a tough situation, but you handled it like a champ!”

One of the best ways to let your kids know you are proud of them more often is to intentionally catch them doing something good. When they play sports, look for the good. When they are practicing an instrument, find their improvement. When they interact with their siblings or friends, be on the lookout. The more we search for something, the more likely we’ll find it. [Tweet This] Look for reasons to say, “I am proud of you…” to our kids and follow through on it.

Sound Off

What's the one thing that has made you the most proud of your kids?

Jackie Bledsoe

Jackie Bledsoe is an author, blogger, and speaker, but first and foremost a husband and father of three, who helps men better lead and love the ones who matter most.

  • D-man

    For those of you who do this exercise at the breakfasts, is it ever awkward when some dads stand up and say “I am proud of my kid for getting straight A’s on their report card” or “for being MVP in the tournament” and then the next kid’s dad can’t say anything close to that? I realize being proud of your kid for “being so caring to help their friend when they were sad or down” or for “helping grandpa with yardwork and being a friend to him” is just as good or better than being the MVP, but probably not for the kid who might feel down that they could never get straight A’s or be the MVP. We have a young child with a disability who is almost 2 and is now evidently far behind in his development. At home, we are happy when we can block out the world. It gets toughest dealing with it though when we are around other kids his age where it becomes apparent how much he is struggling and behind developmentally (ie, they are running around, talking, eating without issue and our son is struggling to just sit without falling and hold a few blocks). I think it is so important to share with your kids how you are proud of them, but I’m wondering if standing up at the breakfasts to announce what you are proud in public of might present a bit of the same thing as my example above, maybe to a lesser degree?? Anyone with any thoughts on this?

    • Saying you’re proud doesn’t have to always use the word “proud.” When a child does something good in your eyes, just tell them that. I prefer quiet moments rather than public ones. In fact, unless I’m bragging to their Grandma (my mother), my “proud moments” are generally alone with my kids or family. I think it’s more effective that way. “Good work on that homework. Way to go.” “I appreciate it when you’re nice to your sister.” “When you speak up like that, you’re being a real leader.” “Good focus on that project.”

      Straight A’s is a good thing to be proud of, but one A is a proud moment for a C student. What’s most important is for your child to feel like you think highly of them, and that you have confidence in them. There’s nothing like the feeling of knowing your parent is a fan. It feels good, whether you’re a child or an adult. And they remember it for a long time.

      • Agreed, Barry. Letting our kids know we are their fan is huge, and something that will stick with them. Thanks for sharing.

  • Sean Chambers

    I’d caution men against expressing performance based praise. You can unintentionally send the message that your affection lies in their success rather than in their character. Praise your kids’ efforts, their conscience, their hearts. These are what are enduring, and the traits you want to foster.

  • I agree with Sean. I’ve made this mistake a bunch, both with my own kids and working with you. The advice I got a few years ago (that was backed up by research) was along this lines:

    Don’t praise talent. Praise hard work, persistence, & strategy.

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