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Hello! My name is Shannon Taylor. I'm a long-time writer and editor living in the woods of Wisconsin with my husband, four children, a black lab, and two crazy cats.


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Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
+ Mahatma Gandhi

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Well-Meaning Parenting Strategies Gone Wild

{Andrew happily playing with pudding, unaware that his mother nearly messed him up for life. Again.}

When I was writing about people trying to take away our awesome the other day, it reminded me of something that happened years ago when Andrew was just a toddler.

The instructor at a parenting class I was attending told us parents to be careful not to compliment our children too much because they could get overly dependent on praise and feel pressured to keep doing a good job just to keep us happy. This would, of course, screw them up for life. Great.

So for a while I dutifully twisted myself into knots trying to keep from expressing opinions about anything Andrew did, or heaven forbid, actually praising him. Did you enjoy building that train track? Boy, you sure used a lot of tracks today. How did that make you feel?

This lasted about as long as my occasional attempts to give up coffee. I went back to saying things like, “Great job! Brilliant! I love it!” I mean, really, if your own mother can’t tell you how fabulously wonderful you are, then who in the world can?

By the way, I’ve heard through the grapevine that this particular instructor has become a mother herself. And I’ll bet you anything she has slipped up at least once and blurted out, “Just look at that amazing pudding art! You’re a genius!” before she could stop herself. And I’m sure her child is perfectly awesome in spite of it.

 

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