Congratulations, you’re standing still

“Mommy, look what I’m doing.” My daughter crouches down on one leg.

“Neat, dear.” I smile in her direction.

“No, Mommy. You didn’t see. Look what I’m doing.”

I look up from my magazine in her direction again. She is still crouched in that position with one foot slightly raised off the floor.

“Cool, baby. You can balance on one leg.”

“NO MOMMY! That’s not what I’m doing.”

(My best guess is shot down. How was I supposed to know that was not what she was doing?)

Ever been in this situation? Where your child does something so minor that you don’t even know what he/she is trying to show you?

Happens to me all the time.

I like to think of myself as an involved parent. I engage with my kids. I play with them. I get involved in the things that they are interested in. I understand their need to show me every last little tiny new skill they gain. I get it. I really do.

But sometimes the things they do are (sorry for saying it) nothing. They aren’t doing anything other than just standing there and I get yelled at for not noticing that they are JUST STANDING THERE. What is that about?

I cannot count the number of times my daughter or son has done nothing—I literally mean NOTHING—they have just stood still and called out to me to “show” me what they are doing.

How am I supposed to respond? Well, of course I respond in an interested way with some comment like, “Wow, that’s great honey!” Or I ask them, “What are you doing?” Giving them the opportunity to explain their “new trick”.

But really, sometimes, my magazine is just way more interesting.

I don’t mean to minimize the new things my kids are learning. I just think that in generations past, kids didn’t point out every single new accomplishment to their parents and then when they did point something out to them, their parents were genuinely impressed and proud.

My generation congratulates kids for everything. And that can’t be good. Our kids will expect to be congratulated for doing things that they are supposed to do, like wiping their own bums (can’t wait for that day to come).

Do you think kids should be congratulated  for every little thing they accomplish (even if the little thing is so little it’s not noticeable)?


4 thoughts on “Congratulations, you’re standing still

  1. shoes

    I think that the complimenting and praising of our children has gotten a bit out of control. The kids then expect more for doing less and real true accomplishments become more faded and blasé.

    I think it is great that my four year old enjoys hopping down the hallway on one foot but I don’t think I need to clap and cheer him on. And he most certainty does not need a metal or trophy for it!


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