I’m not a big fan of bragging about my kids. My parents had some close friends when I was growing up and all they talked about was how amazing their kids were. It was annoying.
As a parent now, what I do want to make sure I do is encourage my kids, without prideful statements. As a Christian, I value humility. But don’t get me wrong, I struggle with pride myself, and have to make a conscious effort to kill it every day.
It seems the Lord has given me particular talents that make this harder. I’m an actor, a speaker, a writer, and a leader. All these things are prone to increase my pride and often requires self-promotion (hate that word) when I need to market myself or my books.
And let’s not forget, I’m male…and men struggle with the sin of pride anyway, even without talents and abilities. It’s in our nature. I could blame it on testosterone, but it’s deeper than that.
Maybe I’ll blame it on Adam. I love pointing fingers!
At any rate, because I struggle with pride, it’s hard not to see it in others too…especially my middle school-aged children. But this is when they need to be bragged about most. I see it in their eyes, that longing for approval and esteem.
Middle school is hard for kids. They are stuck between childhood and adulthood. There’s so much pressure to be liked and approved of among peers. They come home exhausted from the social interactions alone.
So when they brag about themselves, it’s because they are desperate for it and I’m probably not doing a good enough job reminding them how awesome they are.
Last week, one of my daughters begin talking about how good she looked. I caught myself getting ready to share the importance God places on modesty and humility, but I stopped. She just needed Daddy to mention how incredibly beautiful she was, without turning it into a lesson on humility.
Yesterday, my other middle school daughter wrote an email to the school dean asking him to reevaluate a teacher’s decision to give a bad grade. She never asked her mom or me to do it for her. that would be helicopter parenting (but that’s a topic for another post). She was confident enough to take this upon herself and she did well. The email was mature and professional and contained no teen angst that might normally disqualify her complaint. There was no whining. Not once did she include “It’s not fair!” or “Mrs. X hates me.”
I was proud of my child and I told her. Later, I brought it up again, letting her know I was still pondering it and how impressed I was with her maturity.
Lest you think I’m a better dad than I am, let me tell you: I don’t make a practice of this like I should. Most times I think it, but don’t say it aloud, for fear I’ll create a prideful teen. Silly, I know.
Sometimes I suck at parenting. But I’m trying.
How about you? Do you agree it’s ok to encourage your kids? What about in public, among others, where it could be considered bragging? How does this fit into your family if you’re followers of Christ? Where’s the balance? Share your thought in the comments.
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