Do You Let Your Child Shine?

This week Mum Turned Mom offered ‘Shine’ as the topic of The Prompt. This made me think about how I raise my children. How my friends raise their children. We want our children to do well. Many want their children to excel. But how much? Do you want your child to be the star of their class? The prima ballerina or the black belt in karate? Perhaps you just want him or her to be the best person they can be. Whatever that means.

But what happens when they do shine? What do you do when little Wilfred or Freya is the best student in their class? Do you make a Facebook announcement? Do you send an email to your family and friends? Or do you just keep the knowledge between you and your partner, and gush about your little darlings in the evenings? Recently, parents were announcing their children’s GCSE grades on Facebook. Although I did not grow up in the UK and am not overly familiar with GCSEs, I didn’t think that some of the grades were very good. Parents seemed thrilled nonetheless.

And what about your child? Are they allowed to tell everyone that they are a candidate for Mensa or even that they can now ride a bike? Or are you teaching your child to be modest and self-deprecating? A few weeks ago, my six-year old daughter was mentioning how clever and beautiful she is. Husband was aghast to hear such outspoken self-admiration, such high esteem. But shouldn’t children have healthy self-esteem? How are they to succeed if they do not think highly of themselves? How can you shine if you are not confident in your intelligence or your abilities? I understand that too much self-esteem can lead children thinking they have greater abilities than they do, but I think we need to find a balance. As parents, we should give our children the confidence to feel that they can shine. How do you find the right balance?



11 thoughts on “Do You Let Your Child Shine?

  1. Interesting post! I’m all for promoting self esteem in children, and my husband and I do praise our kids a lot (within reason!) But I tend to focus praise on things I value like kindness and being loving and caring rather than being the cleverest or best at something. My oldest son was listing the people he loved recently and included himself because he thought it was important to love himself too. I agree.

    Social media can promote a lot of ‘showing off’. If I’m feeling really proud I tend to gush about it with my husband then phone my mum! And I tell my kids how proud I am too. I don’t think the world needs to know though. I think it’s lovely that your daughter has good self esteem. Great post. #theprompt

  2. I think you are absolutely right that we need to give our children the confidence to shine, and to help them find their own way to shine. But, there does need to balance, ego versus confidence! But, that will come, young children should have high self esteem, they should believe that they are special (they are!) and that anything is possible. Thank you so much for sharing with #ThePrompt x

  3. Mm, different take on this week’s Prompt Elfa! It must be interesting from your point of view to take in the cultural differences between us Brits as opposed to more forthright Americans. I think it is part of the British psyche to be self-deprecating and anything else will always seem like bragging. Which is unfortunate really because it would be nice to give ourselves the green light to show off our achievements once in a while! I guess it all depends on the forum in which you publish your or your child’s achievements. I guess I’m thinking on your blog is perfect, but on Facebook is a no-no because our blogs are all about us and if someone is there reading then they are already engaged with us and invested in our lives and our happiness, whilst someone coming across your status update on an FB newsfeed is seeing it all out of context and I think that’s just bad karma. That’s just my opinion! 🙂 X #theprompt

    1. I definitely feel like I probably have an American slant to things, as I often feel like British people want to hide their light under a bushel. But yes, it’s tough when you are proud of your kids but don’t want to brag. I probably need to practice my humble bragging. 😉 xx

  4. Very thought-provoking. I do share some of my little one’s achievements on fb especially the little milestones. It’s good for children to have a positive self image but perhaps encouraging them to see good points in others too (without feeling compared) may help balance things out. Am still a little way off needing to find the balance just yet with my two still being so little

  5. Ooh, this is a tricky one, isn’t it? I tend to not shout out about my kids’ achievements, but I think it’s a very Northern Irish thing to reflect more on your negatives than your positives. We are possibly the most self-deprecating culture of all! Sometimes though I think I should chat more about why I’m so proud of them – after all, if I don’t, who will?! A great post Elfa xxx

  6. I think it’s a tough balance. I had zero self esteem growing up – my parents were always telling me I was beautiful or clever or lovely etc, but something inside me just couldn’t like myself very much. I’d hate for my son to feel like that, but I also don’t want him to be arrogant. I think it’s about appreciating individual strengths rather than being a comparison to the highest or lowest common social denominator xx

  7. I think parents are usually competing with each other rather being proud of what their child has achieved. We are always so happy to post on social media or chat in the playground when our child has done something wonderful but we forget to mention that little Johnny was a nightmare last night and was sent to bed early.

  8. I personally find public announcements quite annoying, though I’m not averse to children doing well and being acknowledged for it! I feel we’ve gone a bit overboard with ‘conscientious’ parenting and overdone the praise, even when it’s quite undeserved. Loads of psychologists talk about the undoing of children because they can’t differentiate between achievement and entitlement. Love, acceptance, acknowledgement that you’re loved despite achievements is the indicators needed for self esteem in my humble opinion 🙂 Balance is key, but parenting per se is a journey you can never balance right…your emotions are too tightly involved. 🙂 xx

  9. Great post! I remember when I lived in Orange County all my American friends had load of trophies and certificates and got a lot of A grades for every paper…. but here in the UK we didn’t get much of that- well not to that extent anyway! Maybe the UK is becoming more like that these days….it’s been a while since I was at school! but I know I will always encourage my son to shine. He is only 14 months, so I haven’t really thought about it, but I know that encouragement and making learning fun will be at the centre of my strategy- not pressure or showing off….well maybe a little bit of over the top mummy love 🙂 x

  10. High self-esteem is a good thing for children to have. They’ll have plenty of people trying to wear down their confidence as they grow up, so having an abundance to start with is good. Kids should be proud of their achievements. It’s all a delicate balancing act, isn’t it?

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