Daddy, Are You Clapping?

The "Audience of One" that Matters to Your Child

Every child wants their father’s approval – a child of 3 wants this and a child of 33 wants this. It is an absolutely foundational element in building healthy self-esteem in the child. And that helps determine both how much the child later achieves and how happy the child is throughout life’s journey.

Here’s how one girl expresses this deep need in every child. “I stand before the mirror, a 15 year-old girl, and belt out a song. Alone in that adolescent haven, my bedroom, I shed the self-effacing posture that is my daily accessory, throw back my shoulders, toss back my hair, and sing my heart out. ‘I’m the greatest star, I am by far, but nobody knows it.’

Behind the singing teenager’s reflection, there is a silent audience of one, one who, unlike all others, appreciates my starlike qualities. Here, in the cherished privacy of my room, I entertain a fantasy, and acknowledge before the mirror my longing for his applause.

Sometimes, now that I am grown and speaking of such things, I still find myself wondering, at the end of a chapter for instance, ‘Daddy, are you clapping.’”

Every child wants to hear – needs to hear – father’s applause, no matter what age.

Daddy, are YOU clapping?

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