Family Life


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Raising Davis: Do we overpraise our children?

Davis often asks if he is the
best soccer player on his
team. We point out the things
that he does really well and also
his teammates’ strengths. We
wrap it up by saying that he may
not be the best yet, but he is good
and getting better every week.

He is really good at chess,
though. So good, in fact, that
despite trying my best, he beats
me most of the time! The more
often we play, the harder I have
to concentrate to pull off a win.
So when I do win, I break into
a happy dance because I had to
work for it. I also think it is good
for Davis to lose once in a while.
As much as we gloat if we win,
we also are graceful losers.

I don’t believe in the “let the
kids win because it’s good for
their self-esteem” philosophy. I
have been winning my share of
x’s and o’s, Snakes and Ladders
and Crazy Eights since Davis was
about three.

Davis is okay with honesty
and in fact he would see through
any false flattery or my throwing
a game to let him win. At the
same time, he is sensitive and
sometimes needs reassurance.
When this happens, I love to
tell him how wonderful he is
and remind him of all of his

It’s a struggle, and I question
whether I’m hitting the right
balance. I know that I don’t
dote as much as other mothers
and that I give Davis a lot of
independence for his age. I
am aware that I am not as
intertwined in all of his activities
as some of his friends’ moms.
He asked me the other day why
I never volunteer at his school. I
explained the responsibilities of
a working mom and that I can’t
be there in the middle of a work
day. I pointed out the benefits
of him having a mom who does
something away from home so
that I have experiences at work
that he and I can share at the end
of the day. He thought that was
pretty cool.

I think he’s pretty cool, too,
and I tell him all the time. There’s
no danger of him hearing that too

To read more of Meghan’s Mommy
Diaries, visit or
follow her on Twitter @raisingdavis.

Meghan Bradley is a full-time sales
rep and mother of Davis, 6, and stepmother
to Madison and MacKenzy, 15.

Originally published in ParentsCanada, July 2012

a man carrying two children

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