You’re Making Them Hungry

It does work. We have to concede that. For generations, some parents have tried withholding praise, withholding pride, withholding approval so that their kids don’t feel entitled to it. The idea is that this will make them hungry, make them really work for it. No participation trophies here! You’ve got to earn it in my house!

We have to concede, this approach works. It doesn’t necessarily make anyone into a champion or a conqueror, but it does make them hungry and that hunger can translate to achievement.

The problem, of course, as anyone who has experienced it themselves can tell you, is that it makes a person insatiably hungry for pride and approval and affection. Worse, it makes you seek it everywhere. Because you didn’t get it from mom or dad, you want it from your boss. Because you didn’t get it from mom or dad, you need it from spouses and romantic partners. Because you didn’t get it from mom and day, you need it from the crowd, the audience, strangers on the street.

Again, sometimes this contributes to success in the world but just as often it’s a debilitating weakness that prevents success. Because just as important as hunger and need can be as a motivator, confidence, independence, a sense of self are critical variables to doing things well. Thirst and desperation? This makes a person vulnerable. It makes them miserable!

You’re not spoiling your kids by praising them, you’re making them secure. You’re setting them up for success. By withholding what they deserve most (the feeling that their parents believe in them), you’re not giving them motivation, you’re giving them an achilles’ heel.

We think this idea—that you have to be your kids’ biggest supporter—is so important that in The Daily Dad book, the entire month of August is on the theme. The month of August in ​The Daily Dad: 366 Meditations on Parenting, Love, and Raising Great Kids​ is titled, “Always Be A Fan”—it is, ​as we’ve said​, the greatest gift you can give your kids.

Sign Up to get our FREE email.
One piece of timeless parenting advice, delivered daily.

Sign Up to get our eBook

“20 Things Great Dads Do Everyday”



Recent Posts



We’re going to tackle all the big themes of our time and of all time: Grit. Resilience. Curiosity. Compassion. Character. Unconditional love. Finding purpose. Dealing with stress. Masculinity. Female empowerment. Loss. Stillness. Truthfulness. Initiative. Creativity. Passion. Family. Fun.

Join Daily Dad now and tap into a community of dads all over the world dedicated to becoming the very best dad they can be. you’ll get a daily meditation on the above themes and more.