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Monday, July 30, 2012



Another cranky re-run

Do we praise our children enough? 

I was grocery shopping the other day and overheard a mommy asking her five year old, “Can you get the box of ‘Fruity Choco-Crap Oats’ for mommy please?”  The child waddled over and retrieved the cereal for mommy. 

“Good Job! High Five! Woo Hoo!”

T h e    c h i l d    r e t r i e v e d    a    b o x    o f    c e r e a l.  Calm down lady.  Wouldn’t a “Thank you” be enough for Christmas sake?

Today’s kids get a “Good Job!” and a high five for everything.  I have even heard the “Good Job!” encouragement for eating.  “Take a bite for mommy.  Good Job!”

Parents: Consuming life sustaining nutrients is not a “Good Job!” it is called freaking living.  Children HAVE TO EAT!  Accomplishing this feat – EATING - does not deserve a “Good Job!” an “ATTA BOY” a High Five or a “Woo Hoo!”

Frig self-esteem.  Our children will earn self-esteem by accomplishing real shit.  Praising children for completing simple tasks like eating, drinking milk, pooping and peeing, or putting toys away will not give a child self-esteem, it will give the child an inflated perception of his/her position in the world.

Children must think, “I pooped and got a ‘Good Job!’? Surely the Sun must revolve around ME!”  OK, the very first potty poop needs a high five, but calm down a bit or your little precious will expect something for everything he does.

This “Good Job,” “Atta Boy,” “Yippee,” “Woo Hoo,” High fiving, fist pumping generation eventually will grow up and earn a living.  How will they react when they do not get “Good Job” comment for everything they do? 

“Gee Mr. Brown, I stacked those shelves very neatly; don’t I get a ‘Good Job!’?”

“Gosh Ms. Prissy I worked really hard on that report; why didn’t you give me a big red ‘EXCELLENT’ and a sticky?”

“Damn Mr. O’Brian; I made it to work on time, where is my high five....and a juice box?”

Every child must learn at some time that the world does not revolve around them.  It is best if they learn this at home.  Benny the Bully, Miss Crabtree the Teacher, or Mr. Douchbag the Boss will not make the lesson easy.  You can gently let them know what the world expects of them, or they can find out from people that don’t give a shit about their feelings.

Parents - teach your children well, encourage them when appropriate, give them love and affection, but don’t give them false expectations.

You can do it.



  1. WooHoo, Mr. Cranky! Good job! High five! Helluva post there Big Guy! Yea!

    Seriously, you're spot on. They'll learn soon enough their reward for doing a "good job" IS A PAYCHECK! That's it! And they're not gonna like "time out" either.


  2. As a school teacher I am on line with your thinking. Excellent advice and well worth repeating......

    Good Job!! >

  3. Love this post. I hate being around over-praising parents. Drives me absolutely out of my mind. Not to mention that it makes ME look like a horrible mother when at the grocery store instead of praising them for pulling a cereal box off the shelf, I send them out with their own carts, they divide up with their own lists of items we need, and meet me back at the check stand in ten minutes. They do NOT get high-fives, nor do they get "Good job!!! Awesome!!!" but instead get to unload the groceries onto the conveyer belt, watch as they are all rung up, watch as I PAY for it all... and then they all help with putting the bags into our van. Then we get home and they all take the bags out of the van and help put the groceries away in the cupboards and refrigerator. Then when it seems like it's all put away, they ask, "Mom, is that it?" and I say, "Yep, looks like we got it all." and they carry on with their day. And then later I cook the food, and they EAT. And THAT is how they get their "high-five's" and their "good job's" by simply knowing they are an important part of a functioning family, and they EAT! Eating is good. (I know. I'm a mean mommy.)

  4. It does seem like the only thing our kids excel at these days is self esteem. Too bad since the rest of the world is focusing on math and science skills.

  5. Keith, a.k.a. BrickyJuly 30, 2012 at 6:05 PM

    Amen. The behaviour you describe seems almost universal, has been for a few years now and I believe it is largely responsible for the burgeoning narcissism in young adults which is becoming evident.

  6. every kid makes the team and every kid gets a participation trophy. also cannot give poor grades in school ...might make the kids feel they are not smart enough and could be too discouraging.

  7. For ages 7 and below, our local soccer association does not allow any score keeping. Everyone is a winner! Both teams WIN!! But you know, the kids keep score. I don't care what any of the "rules" say, those 5, 6, and 7 year olds know when their team has 3 goals and the other team has none. And at the end of the game, they shout, "We won!" and are so proud of their team, but then us parents and coaches have to say, ", no... we aren't keeping score..." and the kids just look so dang confused.

    Yep, everyone is a WINNER! Just like in life.

  8. Wonderful post Cranky and so on the spot! This over praise is something I have noticed that is different from life back in England where children are expected to do these things because it is being helpful and not for some kind of praise or reward...In the UK you are far more inclined to hear a parent say "because I'm the parent and I told you to" when a child asks why they are being asked to do something. Here you get to hear reams of conversation explaining exactly why the child is being asked to do something, followed by the "woohoo" of praise when they do it.

    Once you enter into conversation with a child about why they have to do something or behave a certain way - you have lost......tell them to do it and when they ask why just say "because I said so" . Then when they have done it say "thank you" and move on...

  9. Where did all that come from! It seems that the scale is forever tipping from one direction to the next and never stopping at the "balance" point.

    Kids are SO fragile these days. I'm not a perfect parent (guilty of many things, I'm sure), however, preparation for the real world is a must. I'm constantly telling my kids that your boss is not going to care about your feelings and your excuses. Just do the job and do it well.

  10. ps. Good post... which is not unusual for you. :)

  11. well of course you're right! I think I better remind myself about this while I follow the grandkids around and act "guilty as charged"...yikes