Sorry, Mom. I didn't listen.

News all parents could use.

You aren’t that good at this; and that’s OK

You’re at a party. Not a children’s birthday party (for a change) but a party with only grownups. Some of the guests are talking about politics, others are talking about their new hobbies or careers and still others are discussing literature. You find yourself chatting with a person who has lived an extraordinary life. As they continue talking you learn how they have had success at sports, in the business world and in their family life. They tell you about the places they’ve traveled to. The person tells you about the wine that you are drinking and can tell you everything about the place you’ve chosen to take your next vacation and wants to solve all your problems for you. That’s right: You are stuck talking to the person who is good at everything.

But here’s the problem: No one is good at everything. And the people who think that they are good at everything are horribly boring to talk to. We know this as adults, so why are we forgetting to teach that to our children?

By now you’ve probably seen the study on how we are all raising narcissistic children by overpraising their talents. We know that their little egos are fragile and we want to bolster them up, but we need to learn how to do this without letting them think they are better than everyone else.

So how do I tell my son that I value him – that he is special to me – without letting him think that he is special to the whole world? Here’s my plan.

  • Let him see the bad days, too. I have good days at work and I have bad days. On bad days I usually try to push it all away so I can focus on him, but I think I need to let him know that not every day is perfect and that is OK.
  • Praise specifically. I am definitely guilty of telling my son what a good boy he is, when I should be more specific with my praise and tell him he does a nice job helping me clean up around the house or that I like the way he colors in the lines.
  • Point out our differences. I am a pretty good storyteller, so if my son wants someone to make up a story with him, I’m his go-to gal. But if he wants to build a space ship out of Legos, he is better off asking Daddy who is much better at engineering and design.

What are you really truly good at? Go ahead and brag a little in the comments.

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