Spring in Texas brings flocks of families and photographers to any hillside, highway median or corporate entry that’s sprinkled with Bluebonnets. We used to get all dressed fancy to capture our annual Bluebonnet photos.
Getting dress clothes on these boys is some kind of cruel torture only imparted in extreme circumstances. And really, I don’t mind. I’d rather them be comfortable so they can run and play. So off we went with our mismatched play clothes, flat billed ball cap and tennis shoes.
This was the first time I can ever remember that the boys enjoyed these pictures. They laughed and smiled. They ran and played “Bluebonnet hide and seek” which was hysterical to watch. They posed showing love to our sweet pups. I was so proud of them for acting that mature.
It was one of those “moments”.
I didn’t know whether to laugh with gratitude or cry with a tinge of sadness that they’re getting older. As we were walking back to the car, I caught myself wanting to tell them how proud I was of them and all their great choices. But I didn’t, because I’ve been practicing promoting their own self-concept through encouragement rather than praise.
I read the Love and Logic newsletter every time it comes out. Recently, they talked about encouragement versus praise. They shared how praising our kids for a job well done, reinforces a need for external praise. But noticing what they’ve done and encouraging them to be proud of themselves reinforces their own sense of self.
This was especially profound for me.
I’ve learned a lot recently about the impact of our parent’s words on the shaping of our own inner voice. So it makes sense that we need to teach our kids to be proud of themselves and trust themselves, more often than doting on how proud we are of them. It’s a simple switch from “I’m so proud of you.” to “You must be proud of yourself for the choice you made.” That, along with a regular dose of “If anyone can handle this, you can.” will be a foundation of a strong self-concept for kids when they become adults.
It’s great for our kids, but what about us?
Do you hear the voice in your head reminding you to be proud of yourself for the choices you’ve been making? Or are you longing for the praise of someone else and sometimes disappointed when it doesn’t arrive? Do you believe with your whole heart that if anyone can do this, you can?
It’s not too late to start noticing your own great choices. I’m happy to help today sister.
You must be proud of the choices you’ve made.
If anyone can do this, you can.
to more love,