My Son Needs Constant Praise


“Mom, cheer for me really loud okay?”

My son, now five, said this to me last week before baseball practice.

He’s an A-type personality always striving for perfection who needs to be in control. Type A’s need to achieve something to feel their self-worth. He’s a true text-book definition of an over-reactor and as impatient as a five-year-old can be. He needs to feel instant gratification no matter if it’s a thumbs up, a high five, a loud way to go buddy, he needs to hear it … see it.

Every time he does something he turns to look too make sure we are paying attention. He wants our constant approval because much like myself he needs to know he did something right.

As much as it’s cute to see his little personality develop it is also terrifying to watch.

Terrifying why? Because he is my little mini me.

I need to be constantly reminded that I am doing a good job. It doesn’t matter if I’m in the office or at home I feel better when I am being praised for a job well done. 

What happens when those driven A-types feel like they don’t live up to their potential? They always feel like they are not good enough. The anxiety of that reality is crippling. The pressure Type A’s put on themselves is overwhelming as they have the constant need to achieve their goals. 

At the same practice he was upset that he “didn’t hit the ball straight enough.” Even at five he is learning how to be self-critical. He often gets frustrated if he doesn’t do something “perfectly” or cannot figure out how to do something on the first try.  

I know as he grows up he will more than likely struggle with anxiety, fear, and even worry. He will always second guess himself and wonder if he’s made the right decisions. He will try to be “perfect” no matter how big or small the task is. 

It’s almost as if I can see his struggles in the future and as much as I want to prevent him from struggling I know he was made this way for a reason.

He was born to be an overachiever. Someone who takes pride in his schoolwork and who cares about what new skill he’s learning.

He was made to be a perfectionist so I can remind him (and myself) that it’s okay not to be perfect.

He is my daily reminder that I am enough.

So if he needs me to be the loudest mom in the bleachers, the biggest cheerleader, the constant in his life that reminds him daily of what a great job he’s doing then I will get my megaphone ready!