Dr. Tim Elmore, the author of best-selling psychology books, discovered several major mistakes parents often make when raising their children. In the course of his research, he found that parents can reduce their self-confidence from an early age and limit their chances of becoming successful in their careers and personal lives.
To avoid making the same mistakes, we have reproduced them below.
- We do not let our children experience risk
The world we live in, warns us of danger at every turn. The “safety first” obsession enforces our fear of losing our kids. We, of course, do everything we can to protect them. It is our job, but at the same time, we are insulating them from healthy risk-taking behavior, having an adverse effect. If a child does not play outside and is never allowed to experience a skinned knee, Psychologists in Europe discovered that they frequently have phobias as adults. Kids need to fall a few times to learn that it is normal. Teenagers need to break up with a boyfriend or girlfriend to appreciate the emotional maturity that a lasting relationship requires. When parents remove risk from their children’s lives, they will likely experience high arrogance and low self-esteem.
- We rescue too quickly
Young people today have not developed the life skills kids did 30 years ago because adults swoop in and take care of problems for them. We rescue too quickly and over-indulge our children with “assistance.“ We take away the need for them to navigate hardships and solve problems on their own. It is considered parenting for the short-term and misses the point of leadership. Eventually, our kids get used to someone rescuing them: ”If I fail or fall short, an adult will smooth things over and remove any consequences for my misconduct.” In reality, this is not even remotely close to how the world works. It disables our kids from becoming competent adults.
- We rave too easily
The self-esteem movement has been around since Baby Boomers were kids, and took root in our school systems in the 1980s. When you attend a little league baseball game, you see that everyone is a winner. This “everyone gets a trophy” mentality might make our kids feel special. However, research shows that this method has unintended consequences. Kids will eventually realize that Mom and Dad are the only ones who think they are awesome. Then, they will begin to doubt the objectivity of their parents; it feels good for the moment, but it is not connected to reality. When we rave too easily and disregard poor behavior, children eventually learn to cheat, exaggerate and lie and to avoid painful reality. They have not been conditioned to face it and will have a difficult time doing so.
- We let guilt get in the way of leading well
Your child does not have to love you all the time and will get over the disappointment, but they will not get over the effects of being spoiled. It is necessary to tell them “no“ or ”not now,” and let them fight for what they value. Parents tend to give them what they want. When a child does well, we feel it is unfair to praise and reward that one and not the other. This is unrealistic and misses the chance to enforce the point to our kids that success is dependent upon our own actions and good deeds. Be careful when they get a good grade, and their reward is a trip to the mall. When your relationship is based on material rewards, your kids will not experience intrinsic motivation nor unconditional love.
- We do not share our past mistakes
When your teenager is healthy, expect him to want to spread their wings and try things on their own. We as parents must let them. However, this does not mean we cannot help them navigate these waters. Share your relevant mistakes that you made when you were their age in a way that helps them learn to make good choices. (Try and avoid negative “lessons learned” having to do with smoking, alcohol, illegal drugs, etc.) Our kids have to be prepared to encounter slip-ups and face the consequences of their decisions. Tell them how you felt when you faced a similar experience, what drove your actions, and the resulting lessons learned. We are not the only influence on our kids, but we should be the best influence.
- We mistake intelligence,being giftedand influence for maturity
Often, intelligence is used as a measure of a child’s maturity, and as a result, parents assume an intelligent child is ready for the world. That is not the case. When you look at professional athletes and Hollywood starlets, for example, possess unimaginable talent but still get caught in a public scandal. Just because giftedness is present in one aspect of a child’s life, don’t assume it pervades all areas. There is no magic “age of responsibility” or a proven guide as to when a child should be given specific freedoms, but a good rule of thumb is to observe other children the same age as yours. If you notice that they are doing more themselves than your child does, you may be delaying your child’s independence.
- We do not practice what we preach
It is our responsibility as parents to model the life we want our children to live. We have to help them lead a life of character and become dependable and accountable for their actions. We can start by only speaking honestly because white lies will surface and slowly erode character. Watch your ethical choices because your kids will notice. If you do not cut corners, they will know it is not acceptable for them to either. Be an example to your kids and show what it means to give selflessly and joyfully by volunteering for a service project or with a community group. Always leave people and places better than you found them, and your kids will do the same.
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