The “look at my kid go” phenomenon never goes away. If anything, it increases thanks to empty-nest syndrome. We get caught up worrying that because we haven’t gotten a promotion, found someone, or had kids that we aren’t making our parents proud after they gave us everything. It’s frustrating, especially because a small part of us will always look for our parents’ approval. Either we want the validation, or it’s just nice to have positive reinforcement because everything is so often the worst. We forget that it’s in these overlooked moments that we make our parents proud:
1. When you make a definitive decision regardless of what anyone thinks.
When you’re growing up, it always seems like someone else “knows best.” That becomes less true as you start to take control of your life and your parents love to see you realize that, even if it means not taking their advice. You always assume the decision your parents will approve of the most is the one reflective of their opinion. Not so. There’s nothing that will please your parents more than you saying, “This is what I want and here’s how I’m going to get it for myself.”
2. When you take one of their rules or beliefs and implement it into your own life, for you.
You will take their values and tweak them to fit in your life. Maybe you make decisions by taking into consideration their beliefs or a lesson they taught you. The best way to show you learned a specific lesson is to let it effect your actions.
3. When you form a relationship with your siblings outside of your relationship with your parents.
As in, the moment your relationship with your sibling stops being forced and becomes something you depend on. When you have a bond that no one else in the family does. It’s more candid than sitting around a dinner table, and not stilted based on the fact that they’re family. Your parents love to see a relationship strong enough to last when they aren’t around.
4. When you use foresight to determine your actions.
Parents will sometimes assume you don’t see an end game. It’s not their fault they had to spend so much time pointing out the ~results of our actions~ when we refused to acknowledge them. When you start to see the repercussions of what you’re about to do, before acting, it doesn’t go unnoticed by your parents.
5. The first time you demonstrate some understanding of credit and/or health insurance.
Let’s be honest, they don’t fully understand health insurance either. They have a better grasp on it than you do, but it’s still confusing as hell to them. It’s gratifying when your parents find you understand what kind of credit it takes to get an apartment. Or when you actually pay attention to the insurance bills that come in the mail.
6. When you step up and take care of your grandparents, even in the smallest ways.
You’re old enough to provide active care for a family member now. Whenever you show your parents that they don’t need to bear the burden alone, they swell.
7. When they visit your apartment and it’s clear you actually made an attempt to clean for them.
They definitely know it’s just a hoax. But it’s nice that you care about them enough to pretend you live in an apartment that always has pristine counters and never has red wine bottles strewn everywhere.
8. When you offer to pay for something, even if it’s just a cup of coffee.
They might brush you off, but they like to see that they taught their kid manners. It’s also consoling that you can, at the very least, afford a $2 cup of coffee.
9. When you start to realize your own beauty.
Everyone’s parent thinks their child is a vision and we grow to hate it. We hate our moles, or the nose we inherited or the shape of our bodies. We despise it all. But when we grow up and get (slightly) more comfortable in our own skin, it makes way for us to see the beauty they’ve always seen. If you could love the way you look as much as your parents do, even briefly, it would make them happy.
10. When you’re forthcoming about the little things.
It’s expected that you’ll call your parents about a new relationship, or an engagement. You’ll call when you’ve been accepted into the program of your dreams, or you got a promotion. It’s the times you didn’t that they still want you to call. They want you to call even if you made a choice they’d disapprove of. They’re glad you care enough to call them in the small moments.