Praising Older Kids

We have two different sub-generations of children in this house. We have a daughter thats 16, son thats 14 and two sons that are 8 . This brings new adventures as well as new challenges. Like most parenting, not every challenge is anticipated before it happens!

We are very fortunate that our daughter is very mature for her 16 years. She helps out above and beyond, she is opinionated as f***, and very wise. As such, sometimes its hard to remember she is one of the children too and our job of nurturing is not over.

As they get more independant, parents are no longer checking kitbags, writing in journals, asking about marks, at least as much as they used to. Its part of allowing the child more independence, however, it reduces the feedback that every child and every adult needs. (Hmm, Maslow, maybe?)

A few weeks ago, I scolded her about the condition of her bedroom. Lets just say its a “busy” decor. As I was lecturing, per the instructions in the parenting handbook, she put up her hand. As I stopped speaking, she said, “Dad, I don’t do drugs, no booze, and you never have to wonder where I am out running around, so how about we don’t worry about my room?” (I said she was outspoken!)

I had no reply to that. She was correct. I cannot expect perfection, and she is pretty close to the mark. My reply? “You are correct. Thank you for being a great kid. Carry on.”

Today as I was drinking my morning coffee at the counter, I looked across the kitchen and spied this, attached to the fridge:

Funny, we seldom have tests on the fridge. What’s more important that the tests themselves us the mark on each one, 87% and 93%. Grade 11 Physics and Math. I considered myself fairly well off with these subjects in school, but never got marks like that.

I thought to myself, “Did I tell her ‘Good Work’ on those?” Not being able to remember, I assume the answer is no. Bad dad.

So, I write this entry, both to publically (my limited exposure) congratulate her, and to remind other parents, your kids are never too old to praise, never too old to hug, never too old to reward and make feel special. Celebrate the wins, don’t fret the challenges, forget MOST of the losses.

Good work, B! Dad is proud of you.