Recently I woke my 11-year-old son up for school, and the first thing he said as soon as he opened his eyes was this, “Dad, you’re going to be so proud of me, I got a 94 on my language test.” It was a reminder to me that my kids desire for me as their dad to be proud of them. It’s a part of the way kids are designed to want affirmation and praise from their parents. And it is important that we give it to them regularly.
Here are 3 reasons why our kids want for us to be proud of them.
1. It meets a genuine need.
Children long for the acceptance and approval of others, and especially their parents. They are hard-wired with a need for praise and affirmation. My 11-year-old son genuinely wanted for me to be proud of him and his accomplishment. And he wanted to hear it from my voice and see it in my face. A wise parent will recognize that they get more of what they praise and affirm. When your children do a good job at something or go the extra mile, your recognition and praise of their accomplishments will motivate them to produce more of the same. Sometimes simply saying the words, “I’m so proud of you” can make all the difference.
At All Pro Dad Chapter meetings, there is a time called a ‘pride moment’ where dads get the chance to tell other parents and kids why they are proud of their kids. When you see the kids’ faces light up, you see how much it means for them to hear that their dad is proud of them.
2. It motivates healthy development.
It’s during the young formative years that a person’s self-esteem is being shaped the most. A child who grows up with a healthy sense of who they are and the confidence that others truly believe in them will be a step ahead in life. Not only will this help increase their level of confidence, but it will benefit them relationally and emotionally as well. Even as adults, we know how much it motivates us towards healthy growth in the workplace and among our peers when we are given positive feedback about our performance. So how much more true would that make it for our kids? It’s true that a child’s self-esteem starts at home.
“A child with a healthy dose of self-esteem has the best defense against life’s challenges.”-Ariadne Brill
3. It reinforces your love.
When we intentionally let our kids know that we are proud of them, it reinforces our love. My son often wants to show me how he is doing in his school work because he longs for my approval. I have found that when he knows that mom and dad are proud of him, he feels loved. Even when he doesn’t do so well, but he knows that he gave his best, he stills desires that we confirm our love by giving him a hug and expressing our pride in his efforts. He wants to know that no matter what, our love for him is unconditional. I think that’s ultimately what every child wants. When we intentionally let our kids know that we are proud of them, it reinforces our love.
While your children may not know that these are reasons they want for you to swell up with pride over them, their actions prove it. When a child feels genuinely appreciated and loved by their parents, their self-esteem, their smile, and their level of satisfaction will show it.
Sound off: How could you remind your child how proud you are of them today?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What accomplishment are you most proud of?”