Kids & Family
S5-Ep30 - My Favorite Phrase on Parenting
Kids these days have it easy! At least that’s what the old generation thinks and says. Of course that’s not true. There are harder things. There are easier things. Life changes, and we adapt. But there are some truths out there that keep popping up over and over again. I hope this podcast addresses those – though we could do a better job on identifying or organizing them. One of the universal truths out there is that our kids look up to us. And obviously more so at the younger of the ages. Which is why this is one of my favorite phrases on parenting that I’ve heard. Here it is: Kids are what they think you think they are.
So what does it mean?
And I think we have to say it quite a bit slower, and dissect it some to really get it. Kids are – what they think – you think they are.
Maybe taking it backwards is best. We think our kids are something – maybe it’s good baseball players, or star students. And they know this about us, they know what we praise. Therefore they are that. They are this praise we pile on them.
And I think it goes two directions here. One direction of parenting advice is that we need to impress on our kids that they are successes. They are the students we want them to be. They are the kind hearted, forgiving kids that we hope they become. And of course there’s room for improvement, and failure happens as well. But my main point is that we need to be aware that it’s more than our words. In fact it’s probably less in our words than actions. And I write about actions, or in my case, my tone of voice, because it’s the area where I struggle so much. My words are instructional, but my tone is influential.
The other direction of parenting advice is that just saying “good job” is lazy praise. I’m sure I’ll write and talk more about that in more depth at some point later on, but it doesn’t teach kids much. A lot of articles will say “it doesn’t teach them anything”. I think that’s a lie – they are humans and aim to get that same praise – but if they can get a good job by picking up their room after being asked, it’s a hell of a lot easier than working for a semester for good grades – which is only going to get them a “good job!”. The quick answer is that we need to praise the process, the focus, or the compassion, not the outcome.
It is Free