Last week was a long week for me. Aaron and I were both out of town and away from the kids Monday and Tuesday and then he was gone until Friday as well. It was actually a rather slow week because we had nothing after school each day, but just doing it all alone without your helper is hard and just makes things last longer.

One night at dinner we sat down and I began to tell two of the kids something I had seen them do awesome earlier in the day. As I had seen them do these things I made a mental note to praise them later for it in front of everyone. I wanted to give them a boost and thank them for being unselfish and helpful in those moments. I feel like most moments my kids are selfish and only looking out for themselves, so this was a good thing.

I praised them both and told them I was proud of them and that I noticed those little things they did to count a sibling as more important than themselves.

I felt like it was a great mom moment. I praised my kids. We loved on each other. They were beaming with pride.

Then Cayden says to me, “Wow, I thought you were going to tell us what we did wrong because that's what you normally do.”

And there went my moment.

At first I was mad at him for not appreciating my praises. I thought that if you actually acted more like that I would praise you more.  But then I realized that he's only telling what he thinks, and my son was utterly surprised that I had praised him at the table in front of everyone instead of telling him what he had done wrong.

My mommy heart was broken and it was no one's fault buy my own. In my defense I don't always do that. Always is a tough word and isn't accurate, but to my little boys heart that is what it feels like.

It was there at the table that I thought about how much I praise and how much I correct.  I do feel like I correct way more than I praise.  I also feel like my kids are selfish  more than they are not selfish.  But I realized that I need to do a better job or helping them be unselfish.  Of praising those moments when they make good choices and reflect the heart of God rather than their heart which is only for themselves (mine too by the way).


Sometimes your kids truthful words can hurt you deeply, but they can also be a reminder of how we can grow as a parent.  Those word from Cayden were hard for me to hear and a little embarrassing, but they have pushed me to be a better mom.  His words have moved my heart to try and see things differently and to encourage my kids more.  His words allowed me to see the way my kids perceive me, and the last thing I want is for my kids to be surprised when I praise them for doing something well.  That is not a reflection on them, but that is a direct reflection on me.

Matthew 12:34 “…. for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”

I want my words to be joyful to my kids and to be uplifting.  How about you?  Anyone else struggle with finding that balance of correcting your kids and praising them?  Share your tips with us other parents!

Jamie Ivey