It is common knowledge that your child is an angel, draws like Picasso, plays piano like a virtuoso and is the best player on his team. Even if you can see him like a little monster now and again, you always want to be proud of him and talk about him eloquently and this need of yours makes you act accordingly. Are you too proud, not enough or just enough?
The importance of being proud
For a child to evolve, it is important that his parents focus on his good deeds and his strengths. Already, between 18 and 24 months, we tell parents to place their children’s drawing on the refrigerator. When parents do, children understand that they like them and it gives them the will to practice and get better. These drawings that will become one of their first means of communication are also their first achievements and are as important to them as a professional exploit for an adult. Parental pride leads to self-esteem and this self-esteem becomes a fuel and a source of optimism.
The same principle applies when your child grows up. For everything related to sports, music, social relations or school. Getting your attention and hearing your praises make him want to make an extra effort to maintain this positive communication.
In a competitive context, parental pride can become a source of stress. For example, a child who is top of the class can experience a lot of stress when he cannot understand a notion in class and if it reflects in his exams. This child, although above average, could fear to be loved less by his parents if he is not the one with the best results, especially if his parents insist on the importance of being the best.
Team sports are another good example of activity where children may feel a lot of pressure coming from their parents. Figure skaters whose parents already imagine at the Olympics and invest hundreds of dollars each month to make it happen, hockey players whose parents become aggressive at the arena, soccer players who must practice for hours if they want to be the next Zidane only know too well what failure means to their parents. This kind of pressure is enough for the reassuring and motivating parental pride to turn into a fear and a feeling of helplessness where the child becomes the object of a whole set-up where making his parents proud is as hard to reach as the gold medal.
It is also important to avoid creating an unhealthy competition between children or even between parents. It will be more useful for your child to know that he can learn something from everyone than to teach him to feel superior to others. It will help him develop various skills and succeed in more fields.
I am proud of you!
To find a balance between parental pride and excessive competitiveness, it is important to think often about your child’s strengths and to tell him about it to ensure that every little achievement becomes a source of motivation.
A motivated child who sees his progress will have better self-confidence and, all in all, will be happier. Moreover, the pride that a parent should be aiming for is not to have a superior child that can be compared to a racehorse, but to have managed to raise a happy person.
“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” John Lennon