I always thought our goal as parents is to raise good kids. Or at least that’s what we have been told. I never personally thought about that until about 3 years ago when I heard someone speak and he put it this way, “Our goal is not good kids, it’s good adults”. That made a lot of sense to me. The end product is what we want. Yes we want our kids to behave and excel at what they do but ultimately we want them to become good adults that succeed, contribute and pass on those same values to the next generation. That’s what it’s all about.
So, this all got me thinking. Why is it that things have changed so much with kids in the last 10-15 years? Why are they more disrespectful, poor communicators, more entitled, more self-centered and less helpful than ever before? I know this is a general statement but I see kids all day long and it’s more common to be on the bad side than the good. It’s just a fact and any teacher who has been teaching for more than 20 years will second that.
What is the problem then? Do we just have bad kids now? Is it the teachers or schools fault? No and no. It’s parents. Or lack of parenting may be a better way to describe it. We live in a world of wanting to make people happy and feel good about themselves ALL the time. We have now taken that on with our kids. Our goal has went from wanting to be respected to wanting to be “liked” by our kids. Respect is something gained out of sticking to your values, rules and having the integrity to live and expect it from yourself and your family. Just desiring to be liked means you bend the “rules” to keep them happy no matter the cost. And in many cases it means not being a parent but their friend. Is that the goal? Is that even parenting?
With all this being said there are some definitive things that parents are now allowing to happen (whether they realize it or not) that are literally ruining their kids future all in exchange for keeping them “happy” in the short term and hoping they like us.
1. Allowing them to quit – My dad always said if you quit at something you will quit at everything. He is right and that’s why this is so important. Allowing your kid to quit a team or group or whatever makes it acceptable. We now have a world of young adults that don’t truly commit to anything. When things get tough they quit. Jobs, teams, projects, marriages: they quit them all.
2. Letting technology raise their kids – Learning to communicate with technology as being the main source is dangerous. It’s an art to communicate and doing it through a phone on text, snapchat and whatever else is not communication. Along with this same topic social media is dangerous. It has now started to create a false reality for children to see. (and adults for that matter) It has been proven that the more time people spend on social media the more chance of depression they have. Why is that? It’s because that is the most meaningful relationship they have. They don’t develop real relationships. They get their fix from their “friends” and their fake lives that are portrayed. So not only do they have no meaningful relationships but they also think they have to be superficially focused on their body and things in their life to be happy because that’s all they see. These platforms also serve as a place to share in pity parties that do nothing to help a kid’s mental health state. It’s a losing game in all ways.
3. Not expecting them to contribute – Two of the most important basic needs ANY and ALL humans have are growth and contribution. Growth is pretty simple at a young age because they are learning all the time. The contribution portion is what has been lost with the change in culture. We no longer have the family farms around for kids to have to help with, kids are so busy now with “activities” they don’t work and in most cases parents don’t want to “burden” their children more with chores around the home that are expected. Why is this so important? Because that’s how we are all designed. We need to pull our weight in life. Even if it’s small things we NEED it. When we don’t require contribution from our children they lose self-worth and that affects their confidence and that kills their chances of succeeding in everything they do.
4. Not allowing them to lose – It’s part of life. You will actually lose more than you win. Guaranteed. We don’t get what we want all the time and there is no way around it. If you don’t learn HOW to lose early in life you will really suck at it later in life. We have all heard about participation trophies and the controversy people like to make about them. Here’s the issue with them. If a kid is “rewarded” all the time they lose the hunger to achieve and work to get better. Disappointment creates drive. Without drive there is no progress. Without progress there is no success. Learning that connection and seeing it unfold in their life is what gives a kid that taste of real victory…overcoming adversity and succeeding. That moment is crucial and pivotal. It’s also a much safer lesson learned as a child and not an adult. Not allowing a kid to lose will drastically inhibit the odds of this moment taking place. Don’t risk it by keeping your kid “happy” and “feeling good about themselves” in the short term. I have come to conclusion that the less adversity a child faces in their youth, the more adversity they will deal with later in life as an adult.
This is not to make people wrong or feel bad about how they are doing it. We all live in a busy, skewed reality world. The expectations have changed from those around us including our kids. They thing that hasn’t changed are values. Values are what ultimately shape our beliefs and behaviors. With that being said, do what you think is right based on your values and not what others do around you. Social pressures are not the rules. Your values and integrity are YOUR rules. You know what the right thing to do is. Stick to your guns and raise them right. It’s our duty.