Mom Goggles

There is a strange, North American phenomenon that has recently been brought to my attention. Mothers have an inflated and unrealistic view of their children; moms think their kids are the smartest, cutest, and most amazing little creatures to ever set foot on this earth. These mothers are wearing what I call ‘mom goggles’.

These rose-colored glasses cease to exist on the other side of the world.

In Eastern cultures, the glasses are smudged, chipped, and a bit fogged up. In some cultures, parents are not easily impressed by their child’s success. Rather, every “A” is a “why not A+?” And so, I was raised without someone to sing my praises. Am I completely and utterly psychologically destroyed and void of any self-confidence? Absolutely not. In fact, my husband will tell you that I’m a bit of a know-it-all, with enough cockiness to spare.

I often look back and thank my parents for their efforts to keep my head out of the clouds and my feet planted firmly on planet earth. It helped me become a hard-working person; every achievement and accomplishment was not seen as the end, rather it was seen as a stepping stone for even more success.

And, yet, I knew my parents were proud of me. I didn’t have a smother to shower me with compliments, but the tears rolling down her face and the heartfelt embrace I was congratulated with on my graduation day spoke volumes more than a million gold stars would have.

So, as I raise my son, with a South Asian background in North America, I am conflicted. Do I shower him with great jobs to build his self confidence and provide positive reinforcement? Or, do I hold back, hoping to scaffold his learning by encouraging him to continue to strive to achieve success?

Moderation is key. A little bit from column A and a little bit from column B. That’s what my gut says. What do you think?

If you are interested in reading more about the effects of ‘over-praising’, you can read articles by Alfie Kohn and Lauren Lowry

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