I posted an article a few days ago on the 7 crippling parenting behaviors that keep children from growing into leaders. It was a great article that I was excited to share.
But there was one sentence that the author wrote that kind of rubbed me the wrong way.
Yea, I know, Here she goes…
Please understand, I believe this author, while I don’t know her personally, has probably done a lot of really great things in her professional career. She’s educated, that’s for sure. She has struggled, and she’s brutally honest(as far as I can glean from her site). There’s reference to a family, although she appears to keep that separate from her work.
My writing/experience is completely about my family and life. If you’ve visited this blog before, or you know me, you know about my family. They are inextricably entwined.
So we are most likely very different women.
I humbly realize that, while I don’t have a graduate degree in Family Counseling, I have thirty years of marriage and family experience that doesn’t come with a diploma. It’s real life.
So what is the sentence that I kept coming back to, you ask? (hopefully)
“As a parent myself, I’ve learned that all the wisdom and love in the world doesn’t necessarily protect you from parenting in ways that hold your children back from thriving, gaining independence and becoming the leaders they have the potential to be.”
This has all the appearances of a great statement. But…she used the words wisdom and love as seemingly interchangeable. This is where I differ from her.
Wisdom is ‘the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment’…while
Love is ‘an intense feeling of deep affection’
I think these are most definitely not interchangeable. Especially in parenting.
All seven of the aforementioned crippling parenting behaviors are grounded in ‘an intense feeling of deep affection’. Love. They are not grounded in wisdom; experience, knowledge or good judgment.
This is where many parents lose their way. The author, in no way, is justifying the crippling behaviors. My point is that if the behaviors were rooted in wisdom, i.e., good judgment, they probably wouldn’t have happened.
So please heed the difference. It’s critical. Read on.
1. Please, let your children fail. They need to figure out how to appreciate success. One of my favorite things is to wait for the first horrible grade of high school to come home. I usually give them a high-five and put it on the fridge. We laugh about it and then we talk about the plan they are going to put into place to make sure it’s not repeated…often.
2. Let them not get invited to a party. This one is so hard, but don’t intervene. You know they are hurting, and you can’t change it. Growing up is hard and the best thing that they can learn is empathy. Being left out is a great opportunity to talk about the maturity it takes to be a good friend. Bring tissues.
3. Let them get cut from a team… and please don’t call the coach about it. You can’t protect them forever. They’ll be ok. They’ll be ready when they don’t get the job they really wanted or the lead in the play. It’ll hurt and then they’ll grow. My mantra: “I know this sucks, but you’ll come out stronger on the other side.” And they always do.
4. Make sure they know that they’re not great at everything. They will not succeed in everything they try. (Ask my math nerd about his music class…yikes!) If you tell a child they “can do anything they put their mind to” you are setting them up for a huge disappointment. When my son was about 11 he thought he was headed to the NHL, it was my (our) job to let him know that no matter how much he “put his mind to it”, he wasn’t NHL recruitment material. He survived and moved on.
5. Let your kids be mad at you. It won’t last. Please don’t give them everything they think they want. Let them be disappointed, and teach them how to handle it…to persevere. Besides, they always come back when they’re hungry.
6. Teach them that they are not the center of the universe. Teach them to be happy for others when someone else gets to do something fun. Teach your children appreciation. If you hand them everything, they have no idea how to anticipate an exciting event. It’s a great life skill.
Please parent your children with wisdom and please use good judgment. But don’t confuse that with unconditional love. Both are needed, but love comes simply with the gift of being a parent. Wisdom takes experience.