This past Saturday while filming Maya and Daddy playing in the living room, I happened to catch an amazing moment on camera: Maya began walking! Our nearly four-month old peanut took her first (assisted) steps.
As you can see in the video below, she puts one foot in front of the other and holds her adorable self up as best she can. 🙂
To us, it was nothing short of amazing (especially since this child has no interest in rolling over, but has been trying to stand (assisted) for a good two months!).
Now here’s the rub … I didn’t realize it until I watched the video a few times, but at the end, you can hear me excitedly proclaim, “We have a wonder child!”
Granted, this was my initial reaction to my baby girl walking; I don’t REALLY think we have some wonder child.
Maya’s amazing, but she’s only three months old — she’s not exactly solving global economic crises or starring in a Broadway production.
But it got me thinking.
Every parent thinks their kid is amazing, right? Isn’t that part of being a parent, thinking your kid is just the cat’s meow? Or maybe it’s just me.
But there’s a downside to this. You hear all about parents comparing and one-upping each other with details of their children’s successes, which often makes other parents feel inadequate. It’s a fine line to walk because, as a new parent, you’re excited about every milestone, even if it’s “late,” and want to share … and what can come across as sharing to one parent can be bragging to another. I try to keep this in mind, but sometimes forget.
Hence, my “wonder child” comment.
With two head-strong, over-achiever parents, Maya’s no doubt going to have her work cut out for her … which means we’re going to need to be extra-careful to encourage her and build up her self-esteem but not put too much pressure on her, either.
Because let’s be real here. Right now, she is too young to understand it … but as she gets older and does more exciting, amazing things, words like “wonder child” need to be spoken with caution. We want her to grow up and be amazing, sure … but no kid needs to feel pressure to be perfect, ever. That’s not what we want for her. We want her to be the best she can be … but on her own accord.
Clearly, there is a delicate balance out there of doting on/encouraging your children and turning them into Type A perfectionists. I definitely don’t want Maya to fall into the latter category and though it was an innocuous comment I’m blowing up into a bigger deal than it probably need be, this YouTube video was as good a reminder of this as any.
The “how,” I feel, is going to be the most challenging part …
How about you? How do you build your kids’ self-esteem without turning them into perfectionists?