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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i have been making a conscious and successful effort in weeding out empty praises from my language (no 'good girls', etc).

99% of the time i just state the fact and / or point other person's reaction.

"you shared. look how happy Max is."

on occassion, when she makes a great effort (no matter if she succeeds or not) i would tell her that i am very proud of her.

now i have been reading here how this kinds of statements might make a child feel that they are responsible for others' emotions, and the flip side of the statement is that i am not proud of her at other times.

as i am writing this, i am thinking that if you occasionally say that you are proud of your child for making an effort, this is not the same as being proud of them for a certain behaviour. naturally, i would NOT be proud if she did not make any efforts. i would love and support her, would not disengage, but if she just sat there, not trying? would i / should i be proud?

just trying to think about this. (overanalysing :LOL )

what are your personal experiences with 'i am proud of you'?
 

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In case you didn't get this idea FROM the book, you should definitely read Unconditional Parenting - he talks about this stuff at length.

One interesting thing I read last night in the book is about the distinction between approving or disapproving of the child versus the child's behavior. Kohn says it's very popular to tell kids we love them but we don't love the behavior. Unfortunately, according to him, this is mostly lost on kids. It's probably the same with saying "I'm proud."

For me, I don't think saying that is going to make or break anything, but there are just so many other great things to say, that I never choose "I'm proud of you."

"That must be so satisfying!"
"Did you get it just the way you wanted it?"
"Wow, it can be a really good feeling to xyz"

blah blah blah... you'll get the hang of it.

ETA. since you were talking about when your dc makes a great effort, things that come to mind are:

"That was a huge effort!"
"It takes a lot of persistence to accomplish xyz, and you did it"
"It takes a lot of [strength, courage, insert your virtue] to xyz"
 

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Since reading UP, I've been trying to make it about how my daughter feels about what she's done rather than how I feel about how she's done. So rather than, "I'm so proud of you" I might say, "You look very proud of yourself" or "You must feel so proud!" So the tone of your voice would naturally convey pride, but the point of the issue is how she makes herself feel, rather than having her judge something's value -- or even her own value -- by how it makes us feel. I don't know if I'm saying that clearly or if it makes sense because it's early yet and I'm tired
But that's kind of what I'm going for.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by mamazee
Since reading UP, I've been trying to make it about how my daughter feels about what she's done rather than how I feel about how she's done. So rather than, "I'm so proud of you" I might say, "You look very proud of yourself" or "You must feel so proud!" So the tone of your voice would naturally convey pride, but the point of the issue is how she makes herself feel, rather than having her judge something's value -- or even her own value -- by how it makes us feel. I don't know if I'm saying that clearly or if it makes sense because it's early yet and I'm tired
But that's kind of what I'm going for.

I think you hit the nail squarly on the head.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
that's a good point 'you seem so proud'.
UP is on hold for me in the library. i have read many of his articles.

i TOTALLY agree that 'i don't like the behaviour, but i love you' is lost on kids. to them them and their behaviours are fused together, most of the time. this is one of my problems with Secret of Parenting by Wolf, btw.

dd, however, shows very little pride or excitement at her accomplishments. she has always been this way -- very matter of factly. this confuses me, kwim?

the several times that i told her i was proud of her was when she accomplished something difficult, but was still a bit overwhelmed by the situation -- handled an annoying stranger very well, but was still a bit upset over the situation. so to me to say 'you seem so proud' did not really fit, yet i wanted to convey my feelings.

i have never 'praised' her in a mainstream way, so i wonder whether she does not react with excitement to her accomplishements is because of that.

what do you do when your child is so matter of factly about the accomplishements? it seems wrong to tell them 'you seem proud'. 'you should be proud' is even worse.
 

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Those are some great suggestions!

I get the sense from my 3 year old that she always feels that we're "proud of her," though - I think we don't really present much of a negative flip side. We also use more specific praise as well, that focuses on the task or her own or others' reactions. Still, though, she loves "I'm so proud of you" and says it right back to us. E.g. I didn't know whereabouts her dad was the other day, and he called out that he was in the bathroom. Right away, dd piped up "I'm so proud of you, daddy!" She also comes up and kisses me and tells me she's proud of me and that I'm her best friend. I'm not sensing she's too traumatized by our using it right now, although that's probably also because of context and everything else we do.
 

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if dd persists with something challrnging, i'll often coment that, 'we sometimes have to try things a few times before we can get it. that's called persistance. you persisted with X, even when it was tough/you were frustrated, and you did it!'

my mother said, 'you *make* me proud/mad/happy' and i sometimes still allow myself to feel responsible for her emotions and reactions.

i also avoid, 'you must feel proud'-in case she doesn't, so she doesn't worry she's not feeling what she *should*. i will say that i feel proud if i persist at something and succeed or try something new, etc.

i think i overanalyze, maybe, who knows. i'm a much better parent in my head than i am irl these days, it seems
:
 

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Wow, first let me say that I have gone over a DECADE without hearing my parents say "I'm proud of you"!! I really wish I heard it more often but I'd only take it if I knew they were honest about it...

I found a lot of good suggestions in the book "How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk". I haven't read Unconditional Parenting but it sounds similar. The "how to talk" book was really great with example after example of great phrases and general semantics and outlook.

I think that wording things carefully really does help, but don't forget that anything manipulative, no matter how worded, will eventually backfire. I think we are all parenting in a combination of avoiding things that damaged us, and hoping that our children will turn out a certain way as well. I think wording things carefully is helpful, but only if it brings out what is in your heart and brings joy to your family and your life. Hipocrisy was big in my family, honesty and openess were severely lacking so I'm making amends in those departments.

On a fun note, the honesty thing really works - I've looked my piano students in the eye and said straight from the heart that I thought they were truly amazing for accomplishing all of the things that they do on top of their already really busy lives. They just lit up, really, just glowed like a light got turned on inside. And on the flip side, I had a group music class with some 8-year-olds that did horribly on some basic flash card review. When we finished, they all held their breath to hear what I said, and they grinned wildly when I said, "that was TERRIBLE! I think we better do it again".

Really, keep working on the words but don't forget the heart!!!
 
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