21 ways to praise your kids that have nothing to do with their achievements.

These compliments have everything to do with who your kids are, not just what they've done.

I’ve always been proud of my children, just like any other parent.

When they were little, I was always praising them for good behavior and cooperation. When they started school and academics, music and sports became their main focus, and they made me proud in a number of ways with their achievements, hard work, and performance.

Photo via iStock.


But we all know that life isn’t just about what you do. The most precious moments are rarely related to merit or athletic prowess. Instead, character is built in the moments when we see a kid's integrity, compassion, and dignity grow and shine.

But whenever I look back, I realize that what makes me most proud of my kids has nothing to do with their most obvious and impressive accomplishments.

We have many report cards, team photos, trophies, and certificates of merit by which to remember all of those things.

Instead, I remember other things, like the first time they helped someone who was hurt or watching them make courageous choices. And I wish I’d been more specific about praising my kids for those things.

Photo via iStock.

Here are 21 things to compliment your kids about that involve their character, not their achievements:

  1. The first time they help someone who is hurt.
  2. Seeing them stand up for a sibling or friend.
  3. The first time they buy a gift with their own money.
  4. When a child is loving and kind to older relatives.
  5. The first time they are buried in a book.
  6. The first time they realize a song has touched their soul.
  7. When they learn to appreciate art.
  8. When they make the best of a bad day on their own.
  9. The first time a child shows compassion and puts others first.
  10. The first time a child shows mercy and gives someone another chance.
  11. The first time your child genuinely roots for a weaker teammate.
  12. Hearing them offer sincere advice to a sibling or friend.
  13. The first time they take the time to teach a younger child.
  14. When they realize how important friendships are.
  15. The first time they find moral issue with something and take a stand against it.
  16. Their first heartfelt attempt at asking for forgiveness.
  17. The first time they wholeheartedly forgive.
  18. The first time a child tries something new when the odds are against them.
  19. When they know they’re marching to their own beat and they are proud of that.
  20. Not just trying, but trying again and again.
  21. The first time they accept rejection with grace and dignity.

These are the things you often can’t capture on paper or in photos.

When cameras are put away, when there are no grades to strive for, and when there are no coaches or teammates around, the most precious defining moments take place.

Photo via iStock.

I want my children to know that I care about these things — the people they are, not just the things they do.

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