We tell our children that we are proud of them when they have accomplished something. Our children’s accomplishments are significant, but we should also recognize them for who they are.
The things our children have done, completed, achieved, or produced make us proud of them. As a result of what they haven’t done, we feel embarrassed or disappointed in them. Since I have a problem with comparing myself to other mothers and their children’s achievements, I’m writing these as a way to combat that problem. After all, when my son does anything to be “proud of,” it is clearly a reflection of ME, don’t you think?
As a parent, I used to feel a particular way when I saw someone on social media post about their kid being accepted into a college or landing a great job. I may have felt a sense of envy or wondered whether I was as good as they were as parents. Consequently, since I engage in a great deal of self-reflection, I reflected on why we as parents are only proud of our children when they have done something positive for themselves. Nevertheless, what about being proud of your kid just because of who they are as a person? What do you think about affirming them even when they haven’t done something “proud worthy”? God affirmed Jesus in Matthew 3 by declaring, “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.” This was before Jesus had started his ministry and before he had performed a miracle.
Most of us do not condition our affection, but telling your child that you are pleased with them only when they do something positive may instill the idea that they must achieve greatness to be loved and accepted. I don’t want my son to think that my love is dependent on what he has achieved or done. The act of stating that we are proud of our children only after they accomplish something “proud worthy” fosters competition among us as parents and may be seen as a kind of judgment or criticism.
What do we do when our kids live below their potential and fail to succeed in areas that we as parents are proud of? Suppose your child works in a particular field after acquiring the necessary skills to grow professionally. What happens if they are fired? Would you post that on social media? In all likelihood, probably not.
Because social media puts additional pressure on all of us to perform to the same standards as everyone else, this may be a big subject we could have a lengthy discussion about. Our children must understand that we believe in them as individuals and that we are rooting for them to succeed.
If we are really honest with ourselves, we believe that having our children accomplish something that we should be proud of makes us appear better in the public’s eyes. What do you mean when you mention on social media that you are so proud of your kid for something extraordinary they accomplished? Are you saying it to demonstrate that your child did something excellent or to show that YOU did everything correctly? In some ways, you might be boasting, albeit probably not consciously.
In part, because we, as parents, are comparing ourselves to others, we want to demonstrate that we, too, are deserving and possess something to be “proud” of. In other words, are we implying that the extraordinary things that our children did have made us feel better about them? We naturally want our children to achieve amazing things in life and make significant contributions to their lives as parents. Suppose our kid chooses a path or philosophy that opposes the principles that we inculcate into them. What would we do if this happened? We must continue to embrace and appreciate them for who they are, as well as for their choices and the paths they choose to follow. In addition, it is not improper to pray for God to transform them if they are not living up to the Kingdom ideals that you ingrained in them.
The majority of parents just want the best for their children, I am aware of that fact. This blog post is just a suggestion for more thought on the subject matter. When I see someone posting about their child’s major accomplishment on social media, I can feel the comparison demon creeping in. And, although I recognize that this is something I must deal with and be aware of on my own, I believe that as Christian Mommas, we can all work together to deliberately make an effort to show your children that you love them no matter what they go through in their lives. Instead of posting solely about what you are “proud of,” I encourage you to talk about your children’s experiences and learning processes.
Consider the reasons you are proud of your children and make a commitment to ensuring that our love, acceptance, and respect are not contingent on…well, anything, even as they grow into adulthood and become parents themselves.
Author: Kim Petitt
Kim Petitt holds a graduate degree in psychology. She holds a bachelors in communication and a associates degree in business administration with a concentration in office management. She is the mother of a twenty + year old male.
The journey of motherhood for Kim is quite unique being that she was a teen mom and living with a physical disability. The challenges she faced caused her emotional pain and loneliness, but because of her faith and relationship with God she didn’t give up and continues to overcome through Christ. Her heart’s desire is to reach out to teenage girls and young moms and women from all walks of life to teach them how to overcome their own personal challenges that keep them from loving God and themselves.
You can connect with kim by visiting her blog @kimpetitt09