I don't think that the need for our partner to be proud of us and our accomplishments ever goes away. It is price-less. If our spouses (those who are near us) don't approve/ are not proud of us, it tends to reflect negatively. Perhaps that is also one of the reasons a parents death hits home so hard. Parents are usually our best cheering squad.
The approval and respect of our spouses (and parents) is like nutrition for the spirit. I think that this is one of the reasons women from abusive marriages stay there: they are still trying to get some recognition, approval, etc. Only when they realize that the spouse is the one unable to give, do they have a chance of moving on.
However, if parents/spouse are handicapped by their own emotional problems, we have to recognize that G-d YES appreciates us (if we believe in Him), and we have to appreciate ourselves, understanding that the spouse can not. We have to recognize it as THEIR problem.
One of the greatest gifts parents can give a child is the knowledge that they are loved and valued. [We can disagree with their actions at times, but this must NEVER become a condemnation of their intrinsic self. (The opposite is true ; “You are too good to do something like that....”)] This is not a one-time thing. It is drilled in by daily reactions over twenty years and more. And the self-confidence that these feelings give a child are the WINGS he will fly on. If his parents gave him that support, the child will be able to sustain his flight in life forward, successfully.
I think it bears mentioning that two groups of children are at risk to not get this support:
1 special-needs children
2. children who disagree with us
1. When a child has special needs, we as parents push them, prod them, and challenge them. We do it for their own benefit. Yet we must be extremely careful to let the child feel our approval of them, our valuing of them, no matter how they “do” in therapy/school, etc..
2. When a child chooses a different path in life from his parents, whether religiously, politically, job-wise, etc., we have to continue to let them know we are their parents and we love them and cherish them. This does not mean condoning what you believe is wrong, but noticing what they are doing right.
So let us try and give a bit extra to our children today, to our spouses, and other family members. And to my Mom, who gave me wings to fly on, I can only say “thank-you”!