Parenting Behaviors that Cripple Kids

This is a great article.  Here is the link and article highlights

1. We don’t let our children experience risk
We live in a world that warns us of danger at every turn. The “safety first” preoccupation enforces our fear of losing our kids, so we do  everything we can to protect them. It’s our job after all, but we have  insulated them from healthy risk-taking behavior and it’s had an adverse effect. Psychologists in Europe have discovered that if a child doesn’t play outside and is never  allowed to experience a skinned knee, they often have phobias as  adults. Kids need to fall a few times to learn it’s normal; teens likely need to break up with a boyfriend or girlfriend to appreciate the  emotional maturity that lasting relationships require. If parents remove risk from children’s lives, we will likely experience high arrogance  and low self-esteem in our growing leaders.

2. We rescue too quickly
Today’s generation of young people has not developed some of the life skills kids did 30 years ago because adults swoop in and take care of  problems for them. When we rescue too quickly and over-indulge our  children with “assistance,” we remove the need for them to navigate  hardships and solve problems on their own. It’s parenting for the  short-term and it sorely misses the point of leadership—to equip our  young people to do it without help. Sooner or later, 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.” When in  reality, this isn’t even remotely close to how the world works, and  therefore it disables our kids from becoming competent adults.

3. We rave too easily
The self-esteem movement has been around since Baby Boomers were  kids, but it took root in our school systems in the 1980s. Attend a  little league baseball game and you’ll see that everyone is a winner.  This “everyone gets a trophy” mentality might make our kids feel  special, but research is now indicating this method has unintended  consequences. Kids eventually observe that Mom and Dad are the only ones who think they’re awesome when no one else is saying it. They begin to  doubt the objectivity of their parents; it feels good in the moment, but it’s not connected to reality. When we rave too easily and disregard  poor behavior, children eventually learn to cheat, exaggerate and lie  and to avoid difficult reality. They have not been conditioned to face  it.

4. We let guilt get in the way of leading well
Your child does not have to love you every minute. Your kids will get over the disappointment, but they won’t get over the effects of being  spoiled. So tell them “no” or “not now,” and let them fight for what  they really value and need. As parents, we tend to give them  what they want when rewarding our children, especially with multiple  kids. When one does well in something, we feel it’s unfair to praise and reward that one and not the other. This is unrealistic and misses an  opportunity to enforce the point to our kids that success is dependent  upon our own actions and good deeds. Be careful not to teach them a good grade is rewarded by a trip to the mall. If your relationship is based  on material rewards, kids will experience neither intrinsic motivation  nor unconditional love.
5. We don’t share our past mistakes
Healthy teens are going to want to spread their wings and they’ll  need to try things on their own. We as adults must let them, but that  doesn’t mean we can’t help them navigate these waters. Share with them  the relevant mistakes you made when you were their age in a way that  helps them learn to make good choices. (Avoid negative “lessons learned”  having to do with smoking, alcohol, illegal drugs, etc.) Also, kids  must prepare to encounter slip-ups and face the consequences of their  decisions. Share how you felt when you faced a similar experience, what  drove your actions, and the resulting lessons learned. Because we’re not the only influence on our kids, we must be the best influence.

6. We mistake intelligence, giftedness and influence for maturity
Intelligence is often used as a measurement of a child’s  maturity, and as a result parents assume an intelligent child is ready  for the world. That’s not the case. Some 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.

7. We don’t practice what we preach
As parents, it is our responsibility to model the life we want our children to live. To help them lead a life of character and become  dependable and accountable for their words and actions. As the leaders  of our homes, we can start by only speaking honest words – white lies  will surface and slowly erode character. Watch yourself in the little  ethical choices that others might notice, because your kids will notice  too. If you don’t cut corners, for example, they will know it’s not  acceptable for them to either. Show your kids what it means to give  selflessly and joyfully by volunteering for a service project or with a  community group. Leave people and places better than you found them, and your kids will take note and do the same.


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