In the midst of people who drive slow in the left lane, husbands not replacing the toilet paper (who the hell just puts in on top of the old roll?!), and websites that don't offer free shipping, are the parents who praise and/or their child for everything. Every single stupid thing.
I am all about praise when it is deserved. When you do something that is extraordinary, you deserve to be praised. When you do something kind for someone, you deserve to be praised. When you go above and beyond what the expectations are, you deserve to be praised.
You do not, however, deserved to be praised for doing exactly what is expected of you.
The world just simply does not work that way. "Becky, thank you so much for showing up to work every day. Every single day. You are simply amazing." Um, no. That pretty much never happens. And it shouldn't. Showing up to work is something that you have to do. Don't f'in thank me for it. I will think you are either stupid or completely fake.
Another example: we have all been pulled over for going too fast, but I would venture to say that none of us have been pulled over so that the cop can praise us for going the speed limit. Wow, Ms. Bryson. You did an amazing job going 25 and not plowing over the kids in the school zone. Please keep up the great work and have a wonderful day! Riiiight.
So then, why, I ask, do we do this to children? Why do we insist on setting them up to be disappointed in life? While that might not be your intention, overly cheerful super Mommy, it is exactly what you are doing. You might praise little 5 year old Billy every time that he washes his hands instead of licking them after using the bathroom, but guess what? No one else will. What is more likely to happen is simply that he will get in trouble when he doesn't meet the basic expectations.
I literally hear this shit all of the time. "Wow, Lyla, thank you so much for holding Mommy's hand when we cross the street. Mommy is so impressed with what a good listener you are." OH. MY. GOD. Shut up. When I was a kid, it would have been like, "you better hold Mommy's hand or your ass is going home and you are going to sit in your room." Let's see...which of those things more closely resembles the real world? It's a close call (insert eye roll).
Or, "wow, thank you so much for eating your fruit. Mommy loves it when you eat your food." Are you kidding me? You want ME to thank YOU for eating the $5 pint of organic berries that I drove to the store to buy for you while I am sitting here eating the $2.00 pint of half-rotted pesticide-infested berries because I am too broke from YOUR berries to buy good ones for myself? Yeah, don't hold your breath, babycakes.
Ugh..my blood pressure goes up just thinking of these idiotic parents.
The absolute WORST part though... I have caught myself doing it a few times lately. Which doesn't make it any better. In fact, it makes it even more of a pet peeve because I now hate myself.
Moose has been having some trouble laying down on the changing table lately. For some reason though, she did a good job of it the other day and I found myself saying, "Wow, Moose, thank you for laying nicely so that I can change your diaper."
As soon as the words came out, I wanted to punch myself. Yes, Moose, thank you for allowing me the pleasure of changing the shit that has now caked onto your fat ass. I so appreciate the honor that has been bestowed upon me.
No. No no no. She should not be thanked for that because it gives her the impression that she is doing me a favor or that she is doing some out of the ordinary. Talk about the wrong message. The right message is that she needs to lay nicely or there will be consequences.
It literally nauseates me that those idiotic words even came out of my mouth. I have become one of the people I hate.
Wow, Moose, thank you SO much for sitting so nicely in your chair at the beautiful
beach resort that we brought you to while eating the organic food packet that we purchased
for your snacking pleasure. I really appreciate it.
Before you get all judgey on me, let me reiterate that I am all about praise when it is due. I think that, in the right context, it provides great encouragement and security for your child. The right context, however, it not every time that your child draws a breath.
Plus, let's think about it logically, if you praise your child for every little thing, it will start to mean nothing. If you told me good job for every single thing that I did, it wouldn't be special when I actually deserved the praise. The words would become empty.
And everyone in earshot would hate you.
So, please do us all a favor, ESPECIALLY your children. Save the praise for when they do something wonderful. For when they help out, or speak kind words, or do something new. Not for when they do something completely ordinary and expected like not kicking their sibling.