Quit Coddling Your Kids
We live in a society of namby pamby men and women who whine when they don’t get what they want and think they are entitled to all the comforts the world has to offer. What do I blame it on? Bad parenting.
I found a very interesting article by Brett & Kate McKay, in which they relay the lessons they have learned about raising kids.
In an effort to stop the wussification of yet another generation of children, here are six ways young Fathers… can raise strong, resilient, and independent children.
1. Give them some independence
Don’t coddle your kids by keeping them under lock and key and only letting them out if you can keep a constant eye on them. You’re squelching their development and sense of independence. Teach your kids how to stay out of trouble and away from strangers, and then turn them loose to ride their bikes, roam the neighborhoods, run errands, and walk to school by themselves.
2. Let them do unsafe things
Everything today is childproof and fun proof. Have you been to a playground lately? Did you notice what was missing? Teeter-totters, merry-go-rounds, and sometimes even swings are going extinct, replaced by plastic coated, low to the ground, snooze inducing apparatuses. Some playgrounds even have signs that say “no running.” I kid you not. While these changes are often pushed by city managers worried about liability, parents are equally at fault in trying to clear any dangers from the path of their children. They fail to understand that while sticking kids in a protective bubble may keep them in safe in the short-term, it leaves them more vulnerable in the long run.
3. Don’t be their best friend
While many parents applaud such a philosophy, it is fundamentally the wrong way to raise a child. Parents want to believe they can be their child’s best friend because they enjoy such a healthy, close relationship. The reality is that parents want to be their child’s best friend because they’re afraid of their kid not liking them. But parenting is not a popularity contest. Being a true parent means that sometimes you have to lay down the rules, and oftentimes your kid is not going to like it. While “tough love” may be painful for both child and parent in the short term, it greatly benefits both in the long term. Kids don’t need a best friend, they need an authority figure. Deep down, they do want someone to lay down the rules and give them some structure. They want guidance. Best friends are equals, parents and children are not. If you insist on being your kid’s best friend, a situation will inevitably arise where you do finally try to reign them in and make them respect you. But it will be too late; they’ll feel free to toss your advice aside like they would for any friend.
4. Don’t automatically take their side
While it’s natural to think the best of your children, don’t be overly defensive when others criticize them. Teachers and friends typically do not have ulterior motives when sharing a story of your child’s misbehavior. As outside observers, they may have valuable insight into something about your kid that you have overlooked and need to address. Your child needs to earn your trust, just as anyone else does. Don’t give it to them automatically.
5. Make them work for what they get
By encouraging your children to work for what they get, you’ll be teaching them valuable skills that they will carry with them the rest of their life. Not only will they develop an appreciation for work, they’ll learn valuable money management skills, responsibility, and initiative.
6. Don’t praise them indiscriminately
The reality is that there are certain things we are good at, and certain things we are not. If you praise your kids for everything, they’ll have a harder time honing in on their true talents and abilities. Instead of praising them indiscriminately, center your praise on specific achievements. For example, say, “You did a great job on your math test.” Not, “You are so smart and wonderful!”