We believe that parenting well means accomplishing these goals:
our kids should be successful
our kids should be happy
we should always be boosting their self-esteem
they should always run with a “solid” peer group
This all sounds good, but when you unravel it, we see that it makes our kids more miserable than happy.
» We want our kids to be successful.
We’re convinced that success hinges on decisions we make just as our babies begin to crawl. We enroll them in good preschools, kindergarten (at just the “right” age), and the best high school we can afford, so that they can get into a great college. So what if they then graduate, get a good job, and make a lot of money—then what?
» We want them to be happy.
We insure this by avoiding conflict, arguments and the word “no.” If we argue or lay down strong rules, we fear that our kids will disengage and we will lose them. So, we let them run the show.
» We should always be boosting their self-esteem.
When it comes to building our kids’ self-image, self-awareness, and self-confidence, we find anything that they are good at, spend money to get them better at it, and traipse around the country to clap on the sidelines.
» And keeping them plugged in with “like-minded” peers?
We send mixed messages to our kids by encouraging them to “fit in” with friends who dress, talk, and act just like them, but then tell them to stand up, “be different,” and say “no” if these same peers pressure them to drink or do bad stuff.
OUR PARENTING DECISIONS ARE BASED UPON OUR FEARS.
So, parents, we must drill down to find our motives for our behaviors. Why do we do all of the above? Is it really because we believe that making a lot of money in the end leads to success, that not parenting makes kids happy, or that cheering on the sidelines really boosts their self-esteem? I don’t think so.
Deep down, we know there’s a different answer.
We do these things because we are afraid not to.
We are afraid not to push our son on the soccer field, lest he get left behind. We are afraid not to push our kids academically because then they may look like losers, and that would feel unbearable. We are frightened to pull them out of the busyness of activities and have them spend more time with us because that’s simply not what good parents do.
I submit that great parents dump their fears and simplify life for their kids. Keep your kids home more. Talk to them. Slow down and get control of your life.
JUMP OFF THE CRAZY TRAIN.
Our kids see right through what we are doing and the good news is they, too, want more of us and less busyness.
Are you ready to own your fears and say, “Enough!”?
You do it, and I promise your kids will thank you.