Perfect Little Children

Princess Perfect and special too.

Nothing ordinary about you.

As you grow older you’ll soon find –

you can do anything with that mind.

You’ll be a straight A girl – in demand.

It’ll all turn out as you planned.

 

Years later and you’re feeling beat.

You tripped over that world at your feet.

Your looks faded, job’s run of the mill.

Now with child, but were on the pill.

Don’t despair, you’re a speciality.

Even thought you see mediocracy.

 

We’ve all got something that makes us stand out.

So love who you are, discard that doubt.

I give my son warmth, love and affection but one thing I’m eager to tell him is that although I think he is the best, kindest, cleverest (insert compliment here) boy in the world; Jo next door thinks little Jo is the best too.  In fact, many parents and grandparents think their children are the best. I’ve said it so much that now when I do tell him he’s the loveliest boy in the town he’ll respond “I know you think I am but all the boys and girls are special to their mums.”

We’re constantly told to praise children to develop their self-esteem and I do praise my child and the others in my care. It’s important to encourage and build confidence. There is a fine balance though. Do we want to raise a child who knows they are loved in order to develop a high self-esteem, or do we want a child who thinks they are better than everyone else at everything? The Guardian wrote an interesting article about this, pointing out that over praising may encourage narcissism. I also believe that when a child does not end up being the best at everything, they may feel like a failure in life. This could result in depression and mental health issues. It’s confusing raising children, but I for one am glad my son doesn’t think he is a little prince.

16 thoughts on “Perfect Little Children

  1. “I also believe that when a child does not end up being the best at everything, they may feel like a failure in life.” Beth, you just described my son…

    “Years later and you’re feeling beat. You tripped over that world at your feet.” Oh man! I LOVE that!

    This whole poem really, really speaks to me as a parent. Well done! Your writing is just blossoming before our eyes!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much. The word prompt ‘Ordinary’ got me thinking that many people view ordinary as a bad thing. Then I wondered, what is ordinary? Most of us are ordinary, but with some special bits thrown in that make us unique. I’m still not sure what mines is haha! I hope your son finds his vibe again and realises that he’s great as he is 🙂

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  2. Reblogged this on Impromptu Promptlings and commented:
    I’m a huge fan of Beth O’Neal’s work. Her poem this morning is thundering through my head right now and ringing in my earths with the truth and common sense of it. She said comments: I also believe that when a child does not end up being the best at everything, they may feel like a failure in life. I believe this, as well. We watched our go through this very struggle. Thanks, Beth, so putting your ideas out there so clearly. And do stop by and check out her blog. She is so easy to connect with!

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      • I agree! Before I had a child I was going to buy wooden toys and books and only at Christmas and Birthdays. I haven’t followed my own common sense all the time though because I occasionally use bribery 😉 However, he loves Car Boot Sales and bids on Ebay and I make sure he knows the value of everything 🙂

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  3. We like to give specific praise. “You’re such a fast runner/so good at drawing/such a creative thinker,” etc. They all see, even within this one family, everyone has their strengths and weaknesses and everyone has something to learn from the others, as well as something to impart.They see the role they play in a select group, rather than thinking they’re all the best at everything and have to prove it.

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    • That’s exactly what we do too. I have one son, but I care for 9 others in my home at different times. I praise/flatter in the same way you do. Sometimes there are tears if someone is better at something than another, but we’ll support them and point out their good points. I’ve yet to meet someone who can do everything perfectly – although my husband beats me at most things 🙂

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  4. I agree with you. There needs to be a fine balance. It’s important to be positive with children, but they need to also face failures and cope with them. That’s what happens in life. Well said. I’m glad I came across your blog.

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  5. Each child has unique needs, which makes it all the harder, especially when you have more than one. You have to appear to treat them both the same, while one may need more help, more attention, more praise, or a firmer hand than another. If I were to describe each of my children in two words, these would be the words I’d use: wise/maternal, brave/gentle, vulnerable/strong, genius/damaged. There is much more to each of them than that, but they’re very different.
    I wish I’d gone to circus school and learnt to juggle…

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