COMMENTARY: This mom has an important lesson to teach her daughter before high school graduation

My daughter, Maddy, will graduate from high school June 1. And while I know it in my head, my heart can hardly believe it.

It feels like I just dried my tears from dropping her off for her first day of kindergarten. Now I need a whole new pile of tissues for this.

Her dad and I are so proud. Our girl has worked hard and accomplished the big goals she set for herself all the way back in eighth grade.

But it’s not her GPA or class rank or ACT score that matters most to me.

What matters most is the young woman she has become. She’s hard working, determined and caring. She’s strong, and she’s not afraid to stand up for herself.

Maddy might not realize I feel that way.

We have spent so much time talking about all those other things – the exams, the standardized tests and the scholarship applications – that I worry she might think those are the things I value the most.

“Parents sometimes fall into the trap of emphasizing achievement above all else,” Dr. Brian Kurtz, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, told me. “The child learns I can only be worthy of respect by others if I succeed in reaching some achievement, whatever that might be.”

Is that what I’ve done?

Insiders can read more what Kurtz has to say about the importance of unconditional love and how May wants to make sure her daughters know they have that.

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