Take a load off

“See, when you mess something up,” I muse, “you learn for the next time. It’s when people compliment you that you’re in trouble. That means they expect you to keep it up.” — from the novel, It’s Kind of a Funny Story, by Ned Vizzini

I found this quote to be a helpful reminder about the hidden consequences of praise—that it actually morphs into pressure for our kids. I know it seems like they love it and they want it, so how bad could it be? Trust me. It’s bad.

Ellen's cool outfit

Ellen's cool outfit

It might help to know that when you cut off their supply, it’s not as though they’ll never get to hear it again. Give them space and time and they’ll start to receive praise from someone much more important: themselves.

Fenner (after building a fire in the fireplace): “My fire is good!”

Ellen: “Mom, my outfit is so cool, I love it!”

Charlotte (about her own paintings): “That was a fail, but this one is awesome!”

Praise coming out of their owns mouths is better than anything I could ever say.

And don’t forget about the old standby: I’m proud of you. That’s a lot of pressure too. I like to remind our girls, “It’s not your job to make me proud. I love you no matter what.”

So kick the praise habit and take a load off … off your kid’s shoulders, that is.

Explore posts in the same categories: Week 7: The Art of Encouragement, Weeks following: Miscellaneous

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2 Comments on “Take a load off”

  1. shrubio Says:

    Mom most of what you post is about LORD! WHY?? IS SHE MORE DELIGHTFUL THEN ME?? ARE YOU CHOOSING FAVORITES?? ugh….i need to refresh myself….please stand by as I retrieve my feelings and emotions that are caused by being a tween as I am….therefore my worst moods make the best of me. Mom please stop writing about Lord…I hate it when she has the spotlight.

    • flockmother Says:

      My lovely daughter, I can see how it might seem that way. I will take your comment into consideration. xo


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