My friend Adina Soclof is a parenting expert, blogger, and all-around good person. Today I’m over at her site, parentingsimply.com, blogging about the Deification of the Children, which originally appeared on my “other blog,” jfxramblings.blogpost.com.
An interesting trend is emerging in the way some parents recognize
their children’s milestone events, that I believe is
generation-specific: Facebook birthdays posts, for instance: have you
ever seen friends post happy birthday messages to their “awesome,
accomplished, talented” kids (who are turning 5) who have “taught me so
much, inspired me” and thanking them for the “honor and privilege of
being your mom”?
Which leaves me to wonder what exactly has a five-year-old
accomplished on this earth that hasn’t been facilitated by, organized
by, paid for and dutifully recorded digitally by his parents?
Hmmm….on the one hand I totally agree that parents are far too doting and scared to correct children nowadays. On the other hand, I have written in my journal that my 2 yr old is awesome, inspiring, taught me so much, etc. He was diagnosed at 15 months with various development delays and I have watched him work his patootie off in therapy for over a year now. He IS an inspiration to me. He has overcome challenges at 2 that most people never face in their lives. He also has shown me how strong *I* am, how strong our marriage/family can be and how precious and wonderful life (all life) really is. I do think it is a privilege to be a parent to him – and to his little brother as well. I see what you mean about directing that appreciation and thankfulness towards God, but I also think it's important to let Jacob himself know how proud I am of his hard work and everything he has accomplished.
You know, Becca, I absolutely agree with you. Two points though:
There's a big difference between writing it in your journal and tweeting it to the world, and also, I think there's a big difference between a child that truly struggles in life…and other kids.
Also: there actually is a metaphysical truth that reflects what you are saying: that a child enters the world, among other things, to spiritually impact his family and give them opportunities to learn certain lessons and grow.
Thanks for the reminder. May you and Jacob always learn much from one another…
I live in a place where all the other moms I meet seem SO patient, SO kind, SO calm, SO gentle. I am bursting with love for my kids but I'm just not so fuzzy-warm, instead I'm fast-paced and results-oriented. In my case I think I err on the side of being too impatient and critical with the kids, noticing their faults (which, uhhh, resemble my own sometimes…), so I want to remind myself to praise them more often.
But that praise should be an expression of my love and for the specific accomplishment, if I'm remembering my parenting rules–"Thanks so much for remembering to do that, it is so helpful that you were on top of things," or "Wow, that is some hard math homework, good job on sticking with it for so long," or "It is so nice to hear you laugh like that!" But if I'm tired I forget the 'rules' of productive praise just say, "Great!"
It makes sense to me that parents are crazy-in-love with their kids, this is how it should be and kids should be very secure in that love and even excessive adoration. But obviously there needs to be a reality principle too. They are a lot like other kids after all–funny, loud, cute, obnoxious. My own challenge is balancing high expectations with acceptance of flaws and expressions of my adoration that let them feel my affection even if I'm not always gentle and patient.
Where do you live, Lake Wobegon? 🙂
And oh, my, did you just describe me in your mom-bio there. Wow!
I've found that aside from egregious parenting errors like abuse and neglect, most parenting mistakes that I encounter derive from being, as you put it, "crazy-in-love" with one's kids – love is blind, remember? But parents like us have the other side of the seesaw to weigh down – more ignoring of errors, more nurturing, more giving just because. (Not to say I've never been guilty of the deification mindset…it's just not my default.)
Good point and thanks for the link.
I grew up with Rav Twersky's Artscroll books and he could never overemphasize the power of self-esteem.
So while I agree that over the top compliments to a 5 year old (who'd probably rather have a candy) is exaggerated, I do believe some good can come from overly complimenting kids (if at least somewhat justified)
Right. Because self-esteem is developed via *genuine and deserved praise*. Praise that is exaggerated and not aligned with reality leads to low self-esteem later in life, when the child realizes that the whole world is not projecting quite the same message as his/her parents did.