"Are you proud of me, mama?" - Mothering Forums
 
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#1 of 11 Old 01-25-2007, 04:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We try our best to avoid a lot of praising or blaming around here. Generally, I use "You did it!" and "Wow!" and so on and so forth. However, DD has recently been working hard to use the potty and having great success. SHE has been obviously proud of herself, and we have been genuinely proud, too. So we've said, "Wow, DD, I'm so proud of you!" or something similar on several occasions.

Well, I don't think we'd ever used the "proud" language before, and DD has picked up on it so much. She clearly wants to hear it again and again. DH probably unintentionally exacerbated things by (since this all started) occasionally asking DD to behave in some way and following it up with, "That would make me so proud if you could _______." We've talked, and he's agreed that that's a slippery road, so he isn't saying it any more...but again, DD has picked up on this very attentively.

So now I have a child who asks me "Are you proud of me? Did that make you proud?" a lot, as though searching for validation. She says it about all kinds of things--sometimes, honestly, whatever it is isn't something that has made me proud. : I just don't know how to respond to this! Now, of course, I'm always proud of her, or whatever you want to call it--no matter what, she is wonderful and loved. So I've tried telling her "I'm always proud of you" but she doesn't buy it. ("But were you proud when I _____?") It's not that she's just playing with the word--she seems to know just exactly what it means and that it's only appropriate at some times.

Help! I feel like I'm in quicksand over here. On the one hand, I don't want to tell her mindlessly that I'm proud about every pebble she successfully steps on. On the other hand, I obviously don't want to get into some dynamic where she is desperately trying to "make me proud" and I am withholding approval. I just want out of this dynamic, but I really don't know how to GET out, and the whole thing is causing me to question myself--maybe we SHOULD be praising more?? Etc.

I should mention that I have never found DD to be anxious, validation-seeking, low on self-worth, or any of that before now.

grateful mother to DD, 1/04, and DS, 2/08

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#2 of 11 Old 01-25-2007, 04:13 PM
 
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Sometimes, you can reflect back her questioning with, "Were you proud of yourself when you did that?"
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#3 of 11 Old 01-25-2007, 05:43 PM
 
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That's a tough one.
I've always said that if ds wants my judgement, I will give it to him.
Recently, he's said a few things that others have said "I'm a good helper" when helping, and "Like a big boy" when peeing on the potty (neither of those ame out of MY mouth! the "big boy" was dp)
So, I agree "yes, you're a good helper" then try to take the focus off that, and on to the real reasons to help- it's fun when we clean together, ds likes to help, whatever.
But with mine, ds is already making a judgement of himself, and I'm agreeing.
With yours, your dd doesn't seem to have a judgement of herself, and is waiting on yours.
Maybe you could try expanding on what she did, to see if she can draw a judgement from it. So "are you proud of me for helping" "You sure did help! It made it much easier for me to clean that up" and go on and see if dd can judge what she did.

I dunno, just an idea. It's probably not the best, and there will be a ton of better ideas to follow...lol

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#4 of 11 Old 01-25-2007, 05:53 PM
 
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Caveat: I don't intentionally praise or avoid praise, so ymmv.

I say something like: "You betcha, we won the baby lottery when we got you."

Doesn't focus on her achievements, just that we're thrilled she lives with us.
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#5 of 11 Old 01-25-2007, 06:48 PM
 
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I would probably give her the validation she is seeking, and would also try to shift the ownership back on her...When she asks "Are you proud of me?" I would probably try to answer along these lines: "Yes, sweetie, I sure am proud of you...and I bet it made YOU feel really proud to do XYZ."..."Yes, I am, and I bet you feel really good inside when you...." "Yes, I am proud, are you?" You get the idea! And maybe even try to suggest something along those lines before she seeks the validation from you...."You did XYZ. I bet you feel proud." Good luck!
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#6 of 11 Old 01-25-2007, 06:54 PM
 
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oh yeah. MountainLovinMama's is way better than mine

Becky, partner to Teague, SAHM to Keagan (7yo), Jonah (2yo)
 

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#7 of 11 Old 01-25-2007, 07:53 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MountainLovinMama View Post
I would probably give her the validation she is seeking, and would also try to shift the ownership back on her...When she asks "Are you proud of me?" I would probably try to answer along these lines: "Yes, sweetie, I sure am proud of you...and I bet it made YOU feel really proud to do XYZ."..."Yes, I am, and I bet you feel really good inside when you...." "Yes, I am proud, are you?" You get the idea! And maybe even try to suggest something along those lines before she seeks the validation from you...."You did XYZ. I bet you feel proud." Good luck!

Yes to this. Remember words of affermation are a real LL for many. (Its my #1) and I know as a child I really did need some verbal feedback. My parents tended to over do the no rewards no "empty praise" thing. You don't want to creat dependecy of words where a child only preforms for the praise so to say but at the same time humans are humans and its okay to let them know yes you are special yes you can feel proud and yes you are awsome. :

Wife to DH since August 01 mom to a bubbly girl October 2002 and our newest gal March 2010
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#8 of 11 Old 01-25-2007, 08:02 PM
 
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You could try, "I'm proud of you for being proud of yourself!" and "Are you proud of yourself? Then so am I!" and see if maybe that helps her shift her focus over time, without denying her the validation she seems to be seeking right now.
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#9 of 11 Old 01-25-2007, 08:31 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MountainLovinMama View Post
I would probably give her the validation she is seeking, and would also try to shift the ownership back on her...When she asks "Are you proud of me?" I would probably try to answer along these lines: "Yes, sweetie, I sure am proud of you...and I bet it made YOU feel really proud to do XYZ."..."Yes, I am, and I bet you feel really good inside when you...." "Yes, I am proud, are you?" You get the idea! And maybe even try to suggest something along those lines before she seeks the validation from you...."You did XYZ. I bet you feel proud." Good luck!
This is the same thing we do.
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#10 of 11 Old 01-26-2007, 10:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the suggestions! I think there is a place both for this:

Quote:
"Yes, sweetie, I sure am proud of you...and I bet it made YOU feel really proud to do XYZ.".
and for this:

Quote:
Sometimes, you can reflect back her questioning with, "Were you proud of yourself when you did that?"
This is because I feel she is sometimes intentionally asking me this when she knows there isn't anything to be "proud" of, exactly. I think turning the question on itself will help her think more about what she is looking for or trying to figure out.

grateful mother to DD, 1/04, and DS, 2/08

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#11 of 11 Old 01-27-2007, 01:26 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by octobermom View Post
Yes to this. Remember words of affermation are a real LL for many. (Its my #1) and I know as a child I really did need some verbal feedback. My parents tended to over do the no rewards no "empty praise" thing. You don't want to creat dependecy of words where a child only preforms for the praise so to say but at the same time humans are humans and its okay to let them know yes you are special yes you can feel proud and yes you are awsome. :

LL?

~Nay

Reneé, 34 year old mom to Antonin 8/04
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