“I’m Proud of You Because …”

by Ken Canfield, Ph.D.

Dad, if you’re anything like me, you’re very proud of your kids. Sometimes the simplest things they do can bring a lump to your throat or a tear to your eye. And I know …

Many of us notice our kids’ positive qualities and accomplishments, but we put words to our pride far too seldom.

So maybe the end of the year is a good time for each of us to take on an assignment with our kids in this area. It’s simple and might only take a few minutes, but it could be very meaningful to our kids—and it could start a positive trend for us as dads. Here it is:

1. Think back over the past year with each of your kids in mind, one at a time.

Remember significant events, achievements and milestones. If it’s difficult to remember those key moments and successes, maybe look back over the family calendar or scroll through the photos and videos on your phone. Maybe talk with your kids’ mom about what stands out for her.

2. Decide on one or two and go deeper.

What character traits or virtues has your child demonstrated through those key accomplishments in the past year? Maybe courage, dedication, initiative, loyalty, perseverance, forgiveness, or a growing talent? Fix those in your mind as you prepare to …

3. Say it to your child.

The end of this year is a perfect time to recognize your child for all those things. It doesn’t have to be a formal, drawn-out event—although that can make it even more special for your child in some cases. At the very least, take a moment with your child to talk about the past year and mention what you’ve noticed, and say, “I’m proud of you because …”

Is it natural for you to say “I’m proud of you” to your child? What would help you do it more often? Leave a comment and share some wisdom with other dads on our Facebook page.

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There may be no more important work than turning the hearts of fathers to their children, and that’s what this is all about. We’re seeking to repair, rebuild and restore effective fathering for the benefit of children and families everywhere.