From the moment they take that 1st breath & let out that eagerly anticipated scream, our children are off to conquer the world! Accomplishing 1 thing after the other - Their 1st smile, rolling over, crawling, talking, walking, & the list goes on & on - Its just miraculous to witness. As parents our hearts can't help but swell up with pride with each step forward made as our babies unavoidably begin "growing up".
ust this past Wednesday my 34 month old Aidann, once a small 35 week old preemie with no hair to be seen, graduated a level in swim class. As they handed her that bright green ribbon I have to admit I had to wipe away a tear or 2. No more mommy & me swim time, now she was moving on to the big stuff.
I almost literally had to glue myself to my chair as I watched my lil' baby venture to the "deep" end of the pool. The new teacher would have her jump in & swim to her, have her dive down for toys, & the whole 9 yards. I tried to hide my look of borderline terror as the teacher "trusted" her to just hold on to the side of the pool when it was time to attend to the other swim student in her semi-private class. I wanted to shout out, "Remember she is only 2!?!". But it was all good & I was soooo proud of Aidann & her huge accomplishment!
It is very important that no matter how big or how small, we acknowledge ALL our children's accomplishments. Whether it be them graduating from preschool, them remembering to make their bed without being told, or them simply covering their mouth when they cough. Kids hunger for approval. They want so badly to make us proud. BUT while this acceptance is VERY important, we also need to make sure we teach our children that first & foremost they need to be proud of themselves. The sense of pride and satisfaction a child should feel inside when they have worked so hard towards reaching a goal is priceless. The inner drive to press forward & "make things happen" is such a valuable trait we need to nurture - harness. We must help our children achieve a healthy balance between being proud of themselves and merely people-pleasing. Trying to constantly appease & please others is only going to leave them constantly feeling disappointed & needy, never experiencing that moment of well deserved self-satisfaction. This sense of self-accomplishment is especially important to cultivate in our children who tend to be perfectionist. We must teach our children to focus on the accomplishments (their successes and whole-hearted efforts) rather than imperfections and "shortcomings". Praise your child's efforts and encourage them to always do their best (and to continue trying/working at it). Brag about their accomplishments to others. Display their artwork, schoolwork, incentive charts, ribbons, certificates, trophies, and treasures. And as parents, in modeling for our children, we too must focus on (and give more attention to) the successes, accomplishments, and whole-hearted efforts!
When Aidann received that ribbon, of course, I was "over the moon" & kept telling her how proud I was of her, but I also had to stop myself & take the time to ask Aidy "Are you proud of yourself?". And you bet, we have t
hat ribbon proudly displayed on our fridge as we speak!
Aidy Feeling Accomplished!