pixielady's picture

Constant compliments

Do any of your DHs constantly compliment their kid? Was spending time w DH, DS11m and SS8 when I noticed that DH was giving SS all sorts of compliments to him and about him (every 10 or so minutes, about his hair his 100 on an exam his patience his blah blah blah. Was over the top in my opinion and not something I plan on doing w DS as I think the “you’re so awesome!” Parenting is BS. Is it a guilty Dad thing (especially as we are long distance)? That they need to prop up their COD constantly? I had noticed on previous occasions that DH has given SS some BS compliments (“you’re a good walker!” Barf) but yesterday was way beyond.

twoviewpoints's picture

For as little amount of time

For as little amount of time your DH now sees his son, I don't find it out of line to mention some complimentary statements towards the child as "oh, gosh, oh golly, you're just sooooooo awesome'.

Face it, the man barely knows his child anymore. Commenting on his hair or whether or not the kid has developed a knack of athletic ability could be simply Dad noticing changes in his son. Kids don't stay the same as the day one up and moved away from the kid. Good, the kid got a 100 on a test. Should the Dad, when told, instead say 'Well, that's what I expect you to get as a grade, nothing special about that'? Pfffft, as if this father has anything to do with the kid's academic accomplishments.

While I will agree a parent who regularly sees and spends time with their child may not notice changes and/or always acknowledge something as routine as a class test, but I certainly would not call the examples you gave as overinflating this kid's ego unnecessarily and/or to extreme extents.

Why does the man seem to compliment the kid every ten minutes instead of perhaps holding a normal father/son conversation? Well, it may have something to do with how little the father actually knows the child any longer. He's not involved in the daily life, not the weekly, not even on a regular monthly level...he doesn't really know what to say to his child. Would you feel better if they discussed the weather? Last evenings baseball game? How cute the baby is?

Ok, so you don't intend to compliment your baby as he/she grows up as you see a compliment as somehow telling a child they are just tooooo awesome and therefore the kid may develop an over bloated superior complex. Ok. I get it. You don't want your baby to think he is the best thing since sliced bread nor anything 'special'.

Is what your DH is saying to his son because the child is a COD? Nope. While some children of divorce do indeed only see their other parent on a very limited basis, fortunately it's not the norm. Most children of divorce see the opposite parent on a fairly steady basis. Your husband moved away from his child. I 'get' that too. Some parents need to move for their careers and financial reasons. It happens. But that doesn't mean a parent should consider it bull sh*t to tell your kid he or she has done well in something or notice they are growing and changing and that they are proud of their child.

You won't find it so much "barf" *rolls eyes* when you some day hear your DH tell your then growing baby how well he played in t-ball, or compliments the kid for getting straight a's on his/her report card. Nope. You're going to think Dad is being supportive and taking pride in his little junior.

pixielady's picture

Um it’s not that I don’t ever

Um it’s not that I don’t ever intend to compliment my child- just that I don’t plan on doing it constantly. It was the sheer quantity in a short amount of time. He FaceTimes him several times a week to catch up and chat about his life in between visits, so it’s not like he’s not keeping up the best he can. I would hardly make that out to be he hardly knows his child anymore. Yes, a 100 on a test should be acknowledged, not they way he does some mundane thing like hold a bag for his dad for a minute or two.

Disneyfan's picture

I did it with my son(26)

I did it with my son(26) because that is the way I was raised(49).

In my opinion,it doesn't have a thing to do with guilt. I believe kids( especially girls) who receive praise and compliments from family, are less likely to be needy and seek constant affirmation from friends and peers.

As long as the compliments aren't for simply inhaling and exhaling, I think they can be a good thing.

"Some of you nonstepparents should have disclaimers in your signature lines. Disney isn't a SM any more, but her's could read, "Was a SM. That shit is for the birds! I don't hate all SMs, though. I'm cool."" LadyFace

fakemommy's picture

I agree. Giving compliments

I agree. Giving compliments builds confidence and makes kids more sure of themselves. This means they'd be less likely to tolerate a toxic relationship, they are less likely to be bullied and less likely to be assaulted and more likely to report assault.

"Who cares if she gets mad. She can just get unmad." -notasm3

TwoOfUs's picture

Well...except that, for the

Well...except that, for the most part, the exact opposite has been proven to be true. Too much praise is damaging for kids, more often than not, both harming their self-esteem and turning them into narcissists who can't function:






kidsaplenty's picture

It is positive parenting. If

It is positive parenting. If employed correctly it will make any times that correction is needed that much more effective because it is a deviation from the usual. I don't blame your dh for wanting to shower his infrequently seen child with love and affirmation. If you saw your son infrequently how would you spend the little time you did have?

witch.hazel's picture

I agree it's annoying because

I agree it's annoying because I know how it feels, but it's good for the child.

My ex who had a daughter used to call her a "knockout" which hurt me because he never used that language with me. He also called her pet names which were 100% stronger in meaning than the one he used with me.

My current partner has a daughter who is a great child, but I find myself getting annoyed when I hear him tell her she's pretty, etc. But it's just brought on by leftover hurt from the previous relationship.

As an adult, I still recall the very few compliments my mother ever gave me and the one time she called me "honey". I can count them on one hand. I know that had an effect on my self esteem, which is low to this day.

They may not admit it, but kids care the most of all about what their parents feel about them, and they do need to hear it.

Willow2010's picture

I get it. My DHs go to was

I get it. My DHs go to was .. "Im so proud of you son" ALL THE TIME. Which is ok at face value but DH did it constantly and said it for really stupid reasons. Things I have heard DH actually say he was proud of...

SS, Im so proud that you got a D and not an F on that test.
SS, Im so proud that you only got in one fight today.
SS, Im so proud of you that only got in trouble once in school today.
SS, Im so proud of you that you gave back that stolen phone.

You get the point. lol. I just let nature run its course on this and actually this year, SS24 finally asked DH to stop it. He was making SS uncomfortable by saying how proud he was of him over and over and over for stupid things.

My advice...just ignore as best as you can.

Pharlap's picture

Here it was "good job!!" For

Here it was "good job!!" For brushing his teeth or putting his plate in the sink. That might be fine for a 3 year old but we were talking about a 7/8 year old. That kind of praise and compliment is just as harmful as not giving a child any at all. Now any menial task completed gets a grand announcement so praise can be showered upon him for being a functioning human being. It causes issues in school since all the attention isn't on him and he doesn't get praised for doing the work that is expected of him everyday.

Kes's picture

Over praising and over

Over praising and over complimenting is imo, just as bad as never praising or complimenting at all. It gives the message that compliments are worthless as they are over-liberally applied.

My DH used to praise SD20 for eating her dinner until she was about 16.

Veteran disengaged SM of 14 years. Underestimate me, that'll be fun.

DirtyDiane's picture

I get the positive parenting

I get the positive parenting and I think praise is good, but this seems over the top. Telling an 8 year old what a great walker they are is just weird.

strugglingSM's picture

I think kids should be

I think kids should be praised for things that required effort, not for just existing or for putting in the bare minimum.

One of my SSs thinks DH is "mean" to him because he isn't constantly acting like this kid hung the moon - like BM does. This leads to DH avoiding actual parenting discussions - like telling SS that he expects homework to be handed in - because he's afraid his son will be upset (because BM loves to tell DH how "sad" he makes SS because he isn't offering constant positive reinforcement).

IMO, the kid expects praise for putting in minimal effort and usually that's where his effort stops. It's hard to keep praising someone who always seems to be phoning things in.

I don't have children of own, but I'd probably praise them to try to encourage the type of behavior I wanted - like being nice, being respectful, being patient, trying hard. That doesn't mean I wouldn't tell my kid they looked nice every once and a while, but I would want my child to know that looks aren't the most important thing.

I think positive praise can build confidence, but if a child is being praised for something not worthy of praise, that confidence could become obnoxious arrogance.

Goodluck's picture

while giving compliments is

while giving compliments is important. Too many parents over compliment. Sorta like everyone receives a trophy.

There needs to be balance. HEY son, I am proud of you for helping our neighbor with her grocery bags. It is important to be kind and thoughtful to our seniors.

Doing his hair...? Maybe for a 4 year old..

Proud of you for getting an A, you brought it up from a C....NICE!!!!

The second type of triangulation is a cross-generational coalition in which one parent forms a coalition with the child against the other parent. This is the type of triangulation involved in the pathology traditionally called “parental alienation”.

notarelative's picture

Interesting article on

Interesting article on parenting and praise:


thinkthrice's picture

Nouveau parenting. There's a

Nouveau parenting. There's a difference between idle flattery and compliments. In my day you were only told about something if you were doing it wrong.

Incessant flattery loses all meaning after awhile--everyone gets a trophy. Today, adults who were raised this way expect everyone else to be full time cheerleaders for them. Not pretty.

Author of "The Guilty Parent Trap"--Amazon Kindle

strugglingSM's picture

Yeah, it's so frustrating

Yeah, it's so frustrating that now even constructive criticism is taken as an insult.

One of my SSs plays football. DH played football, so he was offering helpful tips, including "when you're on the sideline, make sure you pay attention to the game" and "when the coach is talking, make sure you're listening", because SS would just goof off when he wasn't in the game and then would wonder why he didn't get playing time. In response to these comments, SS said "why are you always so mean to me dad?!" "You never say anything nice to me, dad!!" It was all I could do to not lay into the kid and say, "are you serious? don't disrespect your father in that way!" Instead, being a good SM, I just kept my mouth shut. There have been times when I've stepped in and said something - like when this same kid blames other people for his mistakes.

BM is always telling him how wonderful he is and telling him whenever something is hard that it's not his fault and other people just expect too much from him.

SS has such a fragile little ego and thinks any time something goes wrong for him it's someone else's fault. When he's an adult, I'll have little tolerance for the excuses I expect to hear from him.

blueskies4me's picture

Let him fall on his own face.

Let him fall on his own face. If you say ANYTHING blame will be shifted to YOU.

Actions have consequences and skid’s sniveling and weakness will catch up to him and hopefully he will realize it’s all on him.

Post-Traumatic Skid Disorder

blueskies4me's picture

I’m really careful what I say

I’m really careful what I say to my kids. I try to avoid language used for adult women with my DD so I usually say “you look nice.” I also tell them “Good job, I’m proud of you and your hard work” when they accomplish something important. I think it’s important they know you’re proud of their hard work and accomplishments. We also reward for really hard work.

I also try to be encouraging “ I know you can do it!” When they doubt themselves.

Post-Traumatic Skid Disorder