Praising in America - an observation of two Dutch boys, aged 5 and 9.

Today, while walking from the car to the swimming pool, this conversation took place between my two sons:

Youngest son: 'Everything I do at my swimming lessons is always great, at least that's what the teachers say. If I am doing so great, then why didn't I get all of my patches (rewarding system that the pool uses) yet?'

Oldest son: 'Only if you do a super duper great job or if they say nothing, you will know if what you do is really great. If they say it is good, it's not really good at all.'

Youngest son: 'They just say that to make you feel good, but actually they are lying'.

Oldest son: 'That's what teachers around here do too. You always have to listen very carefully at how they say it. It's because they are afraid of what the parents will say or do. Then they can be sued. But at home the parents do say what they really think about something. Those are big contradictions for the children. Seems kind of hard to be an American child'.

Youngest son: 'I am happy that I was born in the Netherlands. Our parents are often very annoying, but at least they are honest where ever they are'.

I just listened and didn't say a word...because I was still over-thinking what they said and I wasn't sure what to say.  Were they right or not?

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