My mother was never one to give out praise or compliments. She was only really happy if I brought home 100 on a test. If I got a 95 and told how bad the other smart kids did on the test she would always answer, “Don’t look at the ones who did worse than you, you at the ones who did better. I recall my brother brought home a report cards where all his grades were over 90. Most mothers would see a straight A report card, my mother saw room for improvement. On the space for parent’s comments she wrote something like, “Vincent did a good job, I’ll see to it that he does better.” When we saw her remarks we both busted out laughing till we were in tears. My brother still has that report card and even if we think about it we will still crack up over it.
When I had my own children, I knew I was going to give them lots of praise for a job well done. When they accomplished something, I complimented them on it and made sure they heard me tell their father, uncle or grandparents about it. I didn’t praise them for every little thing either because then, when the praise was warranted, it would not mean anything to them. A little praise goes a long way too. I saw them try harder, and knowing I wasn’t easy to please, they took my words more to heart. To this day, both girls have a strong work ethic and have achieved much success in everything they have applied themselves to. I don’t think you can praise your children too much, if it’s truly deserved.
My parents were both very affectionate. There was no shortage of hugs and kisses in our house. I knew I would be the same way with my kids. I think it’s important to show kids lots of affection. They are never too old for it or too “cool” for it either. It’s like a “vitamin for their emotional health and well being. Hugs and kisses always make a person feel good, feel loved, feel wanted, feel worthy and builds a strong sense of security. So what if my girls make a face, or say they are too busy? I do not walk away until they get their hugs and kisses! And I add plenty of I love you’s too throughout the day…in words, in texts, in IMs, on the phone, anytime is a good time to say I love you.
I am so thankful that my parents were demonstrative. All that love and affection meant a lot and made up for the lack of praise. It costs nothing and yet it’s effects are priceless.
Give a hug today!