I saw this article the other day and then heard a recap of the same article this morning on the radio. It is probably one of the best parenting articles I have ever read and I wanted to share the highlights with those of you who have not read it.
Three Huge Mistakes We Make Leading Kids...and How to Correct Them!
1. We Risk Too Little
This talks about how modern day parents are incredibly risk averse. We suit our kids up with every safety precaution (knee pads, elbow pads, helmets, etc.) known to man. We don't let them play outside. We don't let them walk to school (I might argue this one though). We ask teachers to not use the word "no" so much because it is too negative. We lobby for safer playgrounds (no monkey bars). The author goes on to say that taking risks, and failing (which is a must), is a huge contributor to developing self esteem. Kids must learn to fail before they leave home and attempt to take on the real world on their own.
2. We Rescue Too Quickly
Some parents do everything for their kids. There are some kids who won't order their own food at a restaurant. I have found that these same kids hide behind their parents when adults speak to them and don't look adults in the eye. Some parents see this as shyness but it's more than that. The author says that rescuing our kids over and over and not letting them have any challenges or hardships is a form of child abuse and it is parenting for the short term, not the long term. These kids will grow up with a sense of self entitlement and think the world owes them something. They will not see that they are responsible and accountable for their own actions.
3. We Rave Too Easily
Okay, I have to say this one hit way too close to home. Guilty, Guilty, Guilty.
Raving too easily (and too often) to your kids would be saying things to them, such as:
"You are awesome!"
"You are smart!"
"You are gifted!"
"You are super!"
Everyone in sports gets trophies now. Everyone who participates in anything gets a ribbon or certificate.
This was a hard one for me to understand. Why is it bad to praise our kids? We just want to build up their self esteem. But I can completely see his point here. By telling our kids these things over and over and rewarding them for average or expected tasks is really just setting them up for disappointment and failure later in life. When Garrison and Ethan move out and go to college or start a job in the real world, Mama isn't going to be there telling them how great and smart and talented they are. They need to learn that they have to work hard in order to be rewarded.
I think a great solution the author had for this problem is that we can still praise our kids but we should use different wording. If Garrison gets a 100 on a spelling test I should say, "Wow, you must have worked really hard for that. You should be proud." as opposed to "You are so great! You are so smart!" over and over.
Definitely something to ponder.
Anyways, I hope this was as helpful for you as it was for me.
To get the full article you can click on this link.