Proud Parenting

THE Relationship Blog

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I have a kid in college, another is the star of second grade and the youngest is brilliant. I am so proud of each of them. I am filled with admiration and appreciation for the incredible human beings I have the honor of parenting. Pride in children is a beautiful thing. The line between pride in your child and being a stage parent is quite thin. However, when is pride detrimental? When is pride in our kids pathological to the point where our parenting suffers? Where does the line between pride and irresponsibility lie?

A few generations ago, the most affection you saw was Father’s Knows Best. There were no hug just lots of wisdom to the kids ‘monumental problems’. The most a kid could ask for from their parents was pride. Love was not a word that was mentioned much back then. Despite the fact that most of us were born after this time, we continue this deep seated belief that a parent’s love is only secondary to their pride in us. We believe that being unloved is nothing like having your parents ashamed of you.

So, like in every other false belief, we overcompensate. We carry their pictures, we put their pictures on our work desk, we talk of them incessantly, we tell people that ‘our lives are our children’ and other crap like that. We are so proud of them we adorn our bumpers with student of the month stickers and stick figures of the family constellation. Pride has become a no-brainer. Of course, I’m proud of you!

However, what happens if little Benvolio or Starla makes a mistake? Where’s your pride now? Do you lie? Do you tell them, ‘Don’t worry Dumpling, I am still proud of you’? Of course we don’t!  Pride is a fickle emotion and the slightest breeze can upset it. Or you fake it and decide that I will support my wonderful child whatever comes. Pride is fleeting. Pride does not keep you warm at night. And, ultimately, pride makes you lie if you want to continue to be proud because your kid, and mine, are not perfect.

A steady diet of love is a million times healthier than pride. Whereas love creates self worth and safety, pride creates ego and has a child associate their worth with what they do. In other words, if little Zamiel and Shyanne are sports stars, they will have proud parents. If little Zamiel drops a pop fly or Shyanne strikes out, the world is crap and all will die.

Pride is not inherently bad but how we practice it is. Pride is a lot like alcohol, on the surface, it is rather nice and enjoyable, when abused, you find yourself hugging a homeless man who smells of puke and miscellaneous garbage. It’s not pretty. And what about the children? What about Zamiel and Shyanne who forever more will seek validation through their actions and not who they are as people?

I am proud of my kids but most importantly, I love them. Regardless of homeruns or scholarships or clean rooms or perfect posture, I love them. Pride is fleeting and love lasts a lifetime.

One comment

  • I must say, the notion of pride as a badge is a completely foreign concept to me. My parents always let me know how much they loved me, and I do the same with my son. When he was home sick with strep yesterday, he told me he was glad he was home. I said, “Don’t you like school?” Because he’s in first grade, and he does love it.

    “Yes, but even though I like school and I don’t like having strep throat, I love staying home to spend time with you, Mommy. I really love my family.”

    I have a hard time swallowing the fact that more families aren’t like this.

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