Monday, April 5, 2010

Life Lessons

“I would do anything for my child(ren).” When I hear those words come out of a parent’s mouth, I’ve learned to run the other way.
Sometimes the best thing you can do for your child is nothing at all.
Your children need your love, your time, your care, your attention, but NOT your blind devotion. Children need to make mistakes and even fail. They need to learn that nothing in life is free; that actions have consequences; that not everyone gets a trophy!
I heard a mother on TV say that she would do anything for her kids. “They deserve to have their lives served to them on a gold platter.” No, they don’t, I shouted to an empty room.
Real life is dirty. It isn’t fair. And the sooner our children understand this, the better off they will be. Children need to fall down, get hurt and pick themselves back up. And we, as parents, need to be there to help them back up – not to prevent them from falling in the first place.
We cannot fix everything in our children’s lives – and even if we could, we shouldn’t. Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. When life hands them a tough break, we should be there to console and teach, not fix and manipulate.
If they don’t make the team, we should explain that there is another team/activity that would be perfect for them. We should not call the coach (and principal, and athletic director and sometimes lawyer?) and threaten.
If they don’t get invited to a party, we should explain that not everyone gets invited to every party. We should not e-mail the parents of the party-giver and berate them.
If they don’t get an A on their paper, we should review the paper with them and offer our help with revisions. We should not call the teacher and insist upon a different grade. And we most certainly should not write their next paper for them!
Today’s generation of parents is often referred to as “helicopter parents” – they tend to hover, starting in preschool and continuing through that first job. In today’s colleges, and even in certain companies, there are people whose job it is to deal with these parents. What is this teaching our children? And what kind of children are we raising?
Do we want to raise a generation that has never experienced hardships?
We all love our children, and we all want them to succeed. What we need to remember is that they need to succeed on their own for them to achieve real success in life!

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