Thursday, May 19, 2011


As we grow up, even in our most rebellious stages, each of us secretly wants the approval of our parents. There is something reassuring about knowing that those authority figures are proud or at least not ashamed of us.

At some point as our children become adults, I now realize the roles sometimes reverse. I want my children’s approval just as much as I may have at a younger age wanted my parents’ approval.

I am somewhat taken aback when they are critical, justifiably or not. It shakes my confidence in myself.

Maybe this is a sign of low self-esteem, the fact that I need the approval of others of any age and cannot simply believe in myself. Or maybe it’s just human nature. Who is really to say?


Blogger lacochran's evil twin said...

I think it's human nature. We're always judging ourselves and we clamor for approval from any and all people that are important to us.

Gotta admit, it was even better once I was an adult to hear from a parent that they were proud of me than when I was a kid.

12:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps another facet of this could be that you care so much about what your grown children think because you now regard them as full adults, receiving your respect and esteem, and so you hope for the same from them; they're more like peers to you now than when they were younger...a thought...


2:11 PM  
Blogger Cyndy said...

It is definitely human nature to want those things, especially as the need to do the exact opposite of what the parents want begins to wear off, or vice versa in the case of the kids. But I think there is also an awkward period of transition as the roles reverse.

My goal as I got older and could handle it, was to be less critical of my parents than they ever were of me. But I think I had a definite head start on that one, hahaha!

Don't worry, your kids will get there eventually. And at any stage, how they choose to treat you, as far as criticism and approval go, will probably say more about them than it does about you.

2:57 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

LA, Cyndy -- My parents (especially my mother) was always a big fan, even when she probably should have been giving me constructive criticism. In turn, I never gave her any negative feedback, even when I might have wanted to. Not exactly the ideal relationship.

However, I'm not so good at taking criticism from my grown children as it turns out. Maybe I should be happy they are at least more honest and in touch with their feelings than my mother was.

Anon -- You raise a good point. Yes, we are all more or less on the same playing field at this point. I still have to mentally get there.

5:32 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Human. Definitely human. It's a good thing that love and respect your children and their opinions and even better that you know that it shouldn't bother you as much as it does.

10:49 PM  
Blogger Steve Reed said...

Definitely human! No one likes to be criticized, and everyone wants to feel they're doing things "right." Even outwardly rebellious people secretly crave approval, which drives their rebelliousness.

5:03 PM  

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