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Do you tell your kids they're special/great/nice/pretty, etc?

SpringcurlSpringcurl Posts: 8,002Registered Users
I always used to say to my daughter, "You're pretty, you're smart, and you have a good heart."

Right now my friend's daughter is visiting her grandmother in another state. And the grandmother sent my friend and email and among other things she said this regarding raising children:
You know, one thing I've come to believe, you can't do much more than keep the kids alive, how they end up isn't as much in your control as you'd like. There's way too much anxiety related to wanting your kids to be the success you expect them to be and sometimes they do more than you could have imagined but you still had no control over what they decide to do. I would just say, don't enable too much of a sense of entitlement.
FJ needs to get a sense of "you're not so special, learn to deal with life"
or else your life becomes a hell

FJ is 11 years old. I think that's a pretty horrible thing to think-- that you should tell a child they're not special.
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  • AmnerisAmneris Posts: 15,117Registered Users
    I think it's a balance. Of course I tell my kids that they are wonderful and special TO ME. But I also agree with your friend that I don't want my kids to feel more "special" than everyone else, so I also teach them that other peoples' feelings matter, that they have obligations to others, and that they aren't perfect and can and should learn from their mistakes. I wouldn't use phrases like "you're not special" because I think little ones can misunderstand that - I think you show the child an example of consideration for others and helping others and talk to them about that and it stops them from feeling entitled. You need to build your child up, in my opinion, because if they don't feel loved and feel good about themselves, they can't see the good in others to love or help them.

    Because my kids are Black, I also feel I have to work extra-hard to make them like themselves because my eldest has already started making comments that show he thinks "white skin is better" and so on... so I definitely tell him how beautiful his skin and hair are and how he should be proud of his history and so on, but I also tell him that all people are created equal, are children of God and that we need to be respectful of everyone around us.
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  • SpringcurlSpringcurl Posts: 8,002Registered Users
    Yeah, I'd tell my daughter she was special, but that everyone is special in there way. Special, but not better than anyone else.
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  • GuardianBGuardianB Posts: 1,818Registered Users
    I don't say it in a just because or a praising sort of way. I often have conversations, normally when they are or have not been as successful as possible telling them they could be greater. Especially the last few years with the younger one.
    If he applied himself... he could do anything.
    If he practiced more... he had the talent to be the best.
    If he took advantage and cared about this or that a bit more... he would have such a positive reaction from others.

    I use them as motivational prompts.
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  • irociroc Posts: 7,890Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    I tell my children they're smart. I tell them they're pretty. I tell them they have beautiful hair, that they're good at math, that they draw well, whatever compliment applies at the moment.

    If they mention a comparison to someone else, whether they think that person does better, or worse than they, I explain that everybody is good at something, but not necessarily everything. You may be better at reading, (insert other name) may not be a great reader, but may be better at math.

    I think its important for their parents to compliment them and bring up their self worth. I don't think it makes kids feel superior, but if your parents don't make a big deal about you, who will?

    I don't treat my children like royalty, but I want them to know they make me proud.


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  • spiderlashes5000spiderlashes5000 Posts: 17,495Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    I disagree w/ grandma. I think the things you say to your kids can make a world of difference in how they turn out.

    Of course I tel my kids they're great!

  • sleepymekosleepymeko Posts: 1,002Registered Users
    I don't have children, but I did do it with the kids I was a nanny for. I think there's a difference between doing it until a kid is entitled and doing it when they deserve it.

    Such as, they draw a picture. I would say to the 2 year old girl: "Oh my! You're such an artist! You are so good at drawing!"

    Do I think what I did was wrong? No. There is nothing wrong with encouraging them and praising them for doing good things. She liked to spin around in circles while singing mumbo-jumbo and I always told her she was a good dancer and an amazing singer. She would get excited and would always sing for me, which I thought was hilarious because she was making words up.

    I don't think there's anything wrong with telling children they're beautiful or smart or worthy of being treated well. Everyone deserves that. I think people focus too much on the negative things of children. I believe that focusing on the positive brings the best out of them.

    And what's wrong with a child feeling confident anyway?! I would rather raise a confident adult than one who had a low self-esteem.
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  • fraufrau Posts: 6,130Registered Users
    edited

    simple answer: yes
  • KilajoKilajo Posts: 786Registered Users
    I unapologetically tell my kids this every day. My parents NEVER told me these things as they were very humble and were trying to raise their kids to be. I had super low self esteem and I was quite shy. I still have social anxiety issues but my self esteem is much better now. I've tried a different approach with my kids. They have excellent self esteem and are self assured leaders but they are also very humble and respectful of others. They get along with everyone. I only worry about my daughter though because she is super shy like me. But so far she doesn't have any of my other childhood issues.

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  • MunchyMunchy Posts: 5,206Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    Amneris wrote: »
    Because my kids are Black, I also feel I have to work extra-hard to make them like themselves because my eldest has already started making comments that show he thinks "white skin is better" and so on... so I definitely tell him how beautiful his skin and hair are and how he should be proud of his history and so on, but I also tell him that all people are created equal, are children of God and that we need to be respectful of everyone around us.

    I agree with your whole post, especially this. My daughter is becoming really sensitive about her hair not being long like the other girls, and the fact that it grows outward more than down.
    Other kids at school have been calling her names, like "poofy head" which is terrible for a four year old. She cries when I try to style her hair without ponytails. It makes me sad for her, so I always tell her how beautiful her hair is (along with other parts of her personality/person).
    Funnily enough, she is approached so often by adults saying how beautiful her hair is. Kids are so mean. Sorry for the semi-side rant.
  • NejNej Posts: 2,444Registered Users
    I kind of agree. I grew up feeling very entitled with ad inflate sense of myself but with low self etseem.

    I was always bullied and never worked hard in school. I honestly believed what my parents told me that I was Better than them and they teased me because they were jealous.

    Add to that that I was a very sick teenager and always got special treatment an attention. Anything bad thy happened to me was always someone else's fault.

    As an adult I've worked hard to get out of this mentality unfortunately my brother is still very much stuck with an inflated ego and thinks the reason he is successful isnt because everyone is stupid.

    I think kids need to have to confidence to be okay with making mistakes an failing, that's its not the end of the world if someone doesn't like them or is a jerk. They should feel special and pretty but not at the expense of anyone else. It is about balance.

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  • YomYom Posts: 1,146Registered Users
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  • damsel_flydamsel_fly Posts: 457Registered Users
    I've heard it takes 15 positive comments to make up for 1 negative comment.

    I think kids need to hear encouraging comments at home.
  • Jenny CJenny C Posts: 1,195Registered Users
    I praise my kids, but I don't lie to them. For example, my dd loves to sing - but lets just say that American Idol is not in her future. I'm not going to lie to her and tell her what a great singer she is, but I do tell her that I really enjoy hearing her sing, which is true.

    I try to find an honest compliment rather than just throwing out a 'that's great!' And if it's something that she can get better at with practice I'll tell her to keep working on it. The pride she feels when she finally does something she's been trying to do is great. I get super excited right along with her, and I think that's way better that me just telling her it was great from the start.
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  • adorame06adorame06 Posts: 572Registered Users
    Wow, Grandma sounds a bit grouchy in her e mail. Makes me appreciate my kids grandparents a bit more than I already do.

    Yes I always have/ will tell my four boys they are special in many ways. I feel that parents need to praise their children, and also let them know when they could study more or practiced more for doing work in school, sports, or other things that they do. I feel it helps them set goals and possibly strive to do better at something they could actually have done a better job at. I feel that there is a big difference in giving a kid a complement on something they do to making them feel that they are better than others. Giving honest complements is not going to feed their head and make them have a Superior complex.
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  • SurlycurlySurlycurly Posts: 156Registered Users
    I absolutely do! For all the reasons others have already said, plus, my DD has special needs. Because of that, she's been told by FAR too many people who should know better what she is and isn't capable of. I feel that one of my jobs as her mother is to let her know that she's only incapable of doing something if she thinks she is, and that she is exceptional (that's actually what our school district calls the 'special education' program; I think it's awesome!)!
  • Finch00Finch00 Posts: 190Registered Users
    I don't have kids, but I do wish my mom said this to me more often because now I have pretty low self esteem. My mom had six kids so I think she raised us with that same "just keep them alive attitude, it's good enough." I think as a result most of us, except maybe the youngest, have problems with self esteem. I know at least two of my siblings have been on anti-depressants.
  • CurlyminxCurlyminx Posts: 5,581Registered Users
    I don't have kids but my sister has two young boys and one on the way. I tell them how awesome I think they are. I think it's important to love a child. And to make them feel good and comfortable in their own skin. I had a girlfriend that, when I stayed with her and her family, complained that I was spoiling her nephew (a newborn) by holding him so much and talking to him too much. Wtf?!? How is that possible? A child gets enough negative from the outside in school that I think it's important to build them up early to be able to handle.

    I personally have self-extreme issues. Based mostly on the idea that my parents liked that I was ALWAYS good. Perfectionism is a killer. [/end side rant]
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  • LadyV69LadyV69 Posts: 3,397Registered Users
    I had low self-esteem for as long as I could remember mainly because my parents did not do this enough when I was a child. It wouldn't take much for them to tell me how screwed up I was, though. I would have had a much easier time dealing with bullies and other negativity in the outside world if I had confidence and pride instilled in me.
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  • PartyHairPartyHair Posts: 7,713Registered Users
    I don't remember my folks telling me I was awesome, but I do remember them telling me they loved me and hugging me, holding my hand, etc. I also remember them encouraging me when I doubted myself and my abilities. They also were always supportive when I wanted to try something new.

    I've always been a very self-assured person and I'm pretty sure it's all thanks to my parents and how they parented me.
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  • roseannadanaroseannadana Posts: 5,632Registered Users
    I tell my sons they are awesome, of course! But I don't tell them they are better than anyone else.

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  • SusieSuzeSusieSuze Posts: 524Registered Users
    I think over praising kids is a very bad mistake. The Disney princess mentality is a horrible thing to do to a child. Believing that the Cinderella story is going to happen to her, will totally screw up a girls life.

    Unrealistic expectations fed by undeserved praise is a sure fire way to create a spoiled brat who expects the world to bow to him or her. What a perfect prescription for a hell of a lot of suffering...mental illness, addiction and criminal behaviour.. and a ruined life.

    I believe in being kind, honest, positive, and age-appropriate.... and I also believe in being REALISTIC!!!

    I believe in praising positive character aspects- Like Honesty, and responsibility, and respect and politeness... things that really make a person's character... I want to reinforce the good things. ... but I will also talk at great length about character flaws-- not only theirs, but everyone's, including my own.. things that everyone needs improving.. I hope I am doing so in a kind gentle manner that will sink in and make them think about their own behaviour.
  • subbrocksubbrock Posts: 8,212Registered Users
    I tell my kids they're amazing all the time. I praise them constantly. I do it because I realize that I can't predict what type of people they will grow up to be, but I want them to be able to remember a time when they felt like they were the greatest thing since sliced bread. I tell them how great they are because I want them to be self fulfilling prophecies. The deck is stacked against them, but they don't know that and they don't have to.

    I could go on and on about this subject but ultimately I tell my girls that they are special, beuatiful, smart, capable people and they act accordingly. My 5 yr old knows she's awesome, believes she can do anything and I'm perfectly okay with that.

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  • SpringcurlSpringcurl Posts: 8,002Registered Users
    Most of our outside world on a daily basis makes sure we know we're not so special. I fell like home should be the one place where kids have soft places to land.
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  • irociroc Posts: 7,890Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    Springcurl wrote: »
    Most of our outside world on a daily basis makes sure we know we're not so special. I fell like home should be the one place where kids have soft places to land.

    I agree totally.

    I also think, if parents don't praise and encourage them, they wont expect respectful treatment from the people in their lives as they're older.


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  • LAwomanLAwoman Posts: 2,949Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    Ok I do not have a child, but if I did, I would tell them how beautiful and special they are every day. Heck I tell my dog and cat every day and they can't even understand me.
    I think over praising kids is a very bad mistake. The Disney princess mentality
    is a horrible thing to do to a child. Believing that the Cinderella story is
    going to happen to her, will totally screw up a girls life.

    Unrealistic
    expectations fed by undeserved praise is a sure fire way to create a spoiled
    brat who expects the world to bow to him or her. What a perfect prescription for
    a hell of a lot of suffering...mental illness, addiction and criminal
    behaviour.. and a ruined life.

    I was an only child born after MANY unsuccessful years of my parents attempting to conceive. So yeah, I was praised, admired, encouraged from an early age.

    And NO, today, I do NOT think I am a special Disney Princess Snowflake. But I am self assured and know that I am worthy of respect. Is that a bad thing? I'd say not.
  • AmnerisAmneris Posts: 15,117Registered Users
    I agree that the Disney princess mentality is bad for girls (because it's not generally used on boys) but that's a totally separate issue than praising and building up children.
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  • itsKelCeeEeeitsKelCeeEee Posts: 1,084Registered Users
    I don't have children, and I've never really wanted any. However, I know if I were to have kids I would make sure I told them every single day how special they are/how awesome they are/etc. I would make sure


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  • itsKelCeeEeeitsKelCeeEee Posts: 1,084Registered Users
    *they also knew that everyone's equal and has traits that make them special, but I would never want them to go through the self esteem/bullying issues I dealt with growing up. Not to mention I knew my family loved me, but it wasn't something that I was told much my teenage years.

    This daggone phone...


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  • kairo1821kairo1821 Posts: 126Registered Users
    If it truly takes 15 positive comments to erase 1 negative I don't see what's wrong with building a child up at home. The world will tell them enough that they can't do something or aren't good enough. Plus kids are mean to each other. I remember plenty of times that kids were awful to me and I didn't say anything to my parents but when my mom or dad made mention of something wonderful I did it made me feel a lot better. I think part of the problem with the world today is that people forget the power of words, good or bad they can change someone's life.


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  • CurlyminxCurlyminx Posts: 5,581Registered Users
    I have a question.

    Does that 15 thing count for adults too?

    If so, I need to find someone to tell me I'm great for the next couple of hours.
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