Candace Ganger

So You Say My Kid Is Well-Behaved? Well, You Can Thank Me

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I don't want to brag, but my son is pretty amazing. We're similar, but he totally surpasses me with his kindness, thoughtfulness, and manners. He deserves credit for acting the way he does, sure, but not as much credit as I do. I get how that sounds, but as parents we don't always see the fruits of our labor, or congratulate ourselves for the wins as often as we beat ourselves up for the losses. So, you say my kid is well-behaved? Well, I say my son is well-behaved because of me. It's far too easy, as a mother in a culture that sets ridiculously high standards, to feel like I'm failing. So for today, at least, I am going to go ahead and brag about the kick-ass job I'm doing in raising a compassionate, tender-hearted young man.

Now, of course my son is still a young child who throws tantrums, gives me headaches, and squabbles with his big sister. I mean, he's not perfect and neither is my parenting. But those things don't happen all that often (thankfully), so most of the time he's an astute, manner-driven young man. It's really quite precious to witness. I never thought too much on why he's the way he is, either. I guess it's too easy for us all to overlook our accomplishments as parents, and only focus on the ways we feel we're screwing up our kids. Then someone recently pointed out that my son's behavior could be because of me. And, after about two seconds of thought, I have to say: I'm not one to argue.

When someone compliments my children in front of or directly to me, I get this sense of accomplishment that I can't get anywhere else. That feeling is one that should be savored, so that's exactly what I'm going to do. Here's some signs you should take a moment to congratulate yourself for your children's behavior, too. Honestly, parents: we all work too hard not to stop and pat ourselves on the back every once in a while.

Your Kid Reinforces The Rules

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I'm fairly tough on my kids, if I'm being honest. In terms of staying on a schedule or enforcing consequences, I'm your gal. That doesn't always make my kids "happy with me," sure, but I see how my standards have helped them shape their own.

My son, for instance, has taken after me. When his sister talks back, or doesn't do the chore I requested, he marches his little legs into her room to reminds her that, "Mommy said." He's not usually the rule-breaker, so I appreciate having backup when his big sister is. When he's staying at a grandparent's house, I'm told he's the same there, too. Guys, that's awesome.

Your Kid Doesn't Argue About Bedtime

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My son is a great listener. He follows directions and will ask if he needs help or has a question. He doesn't argue about set rules like bedtime (for the most part) and just accepts that things need to be done a certain way. When the time nears to call it a day and head to bed, he simply goes along with the usual instructions without a complaint. While there's times he'll try to extend our reading time, he seems to thrive on sticking to our routines and schedules, just like I do. .

Your Kid Is Compassionate When You're Upset

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Both my kids are extremely empathetic and compassionate, but anytime I'm even slightly bothered, my son has a sort-of Spidey sense and will rush over to comfort me. He's always been this way, so I can only assume it might be from all the times I've done the same for him.

Your Kid's Polite To Others

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The greatest compliment a mother can hear is how well-behaved her child is at school, daycare, at the playground, or when they're visiting their friends. There's never been an instance my son came home and a teacher or friend's mother said he was "acting out" or being anything other than polite and kind.

I watch my son interact with his sister, the cats, and family members, and sometimes I can't believe he's so well-mannered at such a young age. But he is, and it's wonderful.

Your Kid Compliments Their Siblings And/Or Friends

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There's five years separation my daughter from my son, so frequent arguments between the two of them is to be expected. I have a younger sibling, so I know what it's like. But my son is the master at randomly complimenting me, or his sister, with a "you're smart" or "you look pretty." His dad helps enforce these kinds of manners, yes, but ultimately I'm the parent at home all day every day, so I'm the one he interacts with and mimics the most.

How my son treats women is important, so I'm happy to see my words, actions, and examples are making a difference.

Your Kid's Calm When Others Aren't

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While I battle anxiety disorders I try to suppress beneath the surface, my son is calm regardless of what's going on around him. I like to think his ability to stay collected in any potentially stressful situation is because I have faced my anxiety disorders head one, done what I've had to do to take care of myself and my mental health, and have learned to adjust to potentially anxiety-inducing situations.

The hard work I have put into being the parent my kids can rely on, regardless of my anxiety, is helping my son learn how to handle stress in a healthy way. That's an amazing feeling.

Your Kid's Content Playing Alone

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You'd think my son is an only child, he loves playing alone so much. My daughter prefers to have continuous conversations in which she's the center of attention, but my son is just fine hanging out with his Legos.

No, I can't take credit for everything. My kids have a loving father and their natural-born personalities are a big part of why they are the way they are, too. But I know how much work and effort ant time and energy and love I pour into my children every single day. That has to make an impact, right?