Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Are you proud of me?

Colin, my younger son closed a door for me.  I said "Thank you for helping me today!"  and he asked "You proud of me?"  At school, his big brother had his behavior card moved down to the white- the color coded cards took a bit of getting used to, but white is your warning before consequences happen.  It wasn't anything serious, but Aidan was distraught.  He cried and said "I'm sad because now you won't be proud of me."

My heart hurt when the tears ran down his face.  Had we made being proud of him too important? Were we sending the message that we value his behavior and choices more than we valued him?  I kissed his head and told him it would be okay, that he could try again tomorrow.

It's been on my mind since, how I talk to them about their behavior.  Lynn G. Robbins said 

"In helping children discover who they are and helping strengthen their self-worth, we can appropriately compliment their achievement or behavior- the do.  But it would be even wiser to focus our primary praise on their character and beliefs- who they are."

I never wanted them to think that their actions changed their value to me- maybe I needed to change the way I spoke to them about their actions.

In the car driving home, Aidan and I talked about how he could make better choices, try again the next day.  We discussed apologizing to those affected by his behavior.  Then his voice, a little shaky, asked "And then will you be proud of me?"

I am grateful for the Inspiration to respond by saying "You are my son.  You are a good boy that I love, and I am always proud of you.  When you make good choices, it makes me happy, but because you are my son, I am always proud of you, and I will always love you."  

He smiled, and the tension in his shoulders seemed to relax, when he whispered "Thanks, Mom."

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