Praising other people’s kids

At the beginning of summer, our three teens spent a week with some friends in California. 

After the kids got home, our friend left a voice mail for my husband. While he talked about how much fun the week was, he ended the message with this: “It’s fun to see them grow up, and I’m just so proud of them.”

Oh, man, our hearts were full. After a week of missing them and thinking, “Boy, I hope they behave and use good manners,” that was good to hear! Don’t we all need to hear that sometimes? 

Parenting is hard work, keeping us from falling asleep or waking us up in the middle of the night with worry. We feel the hurt when our kids are left out by friends or when they suffer the natural consequences of their choices. They drive us bananas when they forget to do their chores or when they outright disobey us. And then we question our parenting style and our discipline

Because we are often caught up in the minutia of raising children, it is rewarding that the years of attention (some may call it nagging) are paying off—and that the times when we made mistakes haven’t completely ruined them.

For the next seven days (and then beyond), how about we encourage the parents around us by praising their children. Please know that I am not talking about praise that is the verbal equivalent of participation awards. I’m talking about getting specific when we talk to others about their children—and this applies to every age from toddlers to teenagers.

  • When your son slept over, he cleaned up the table without being asked.
  • She offered to carry other kids’ backpacks.
  • He let everyone else get on the bus first.
  • She was so friendly and polite at the store.
  • He worked so hard on the project.
  • She said the sweetest prayer. 
  • She carried herself so well at the company party.
  • I saw him hug the kid who was crying.
  • She was so patient when you were on the phone.
  • I’m really impressed that she asked my daughter to stay accountable on reading the Bible.
  • He spoke up when kids were starting to get mean. 

Your words will encourage parents to hang in there on the hard days and remind them that their hard work is paying off. 

Finally, be sure to thank their heavenly Father too! Thank him for working in the hearts of these children who love Jesus, and ask him to bless their lives as they let their lights shine!


Linda Buxa is a writer and editor who knows you are working hard and knows you care so much about raising great kids!