Every parent makes mistakes, even with the best intentions in mind. Some behaviours, however, are more crippling to a kid’s future. If you don’t want to ruin your child for life, take a look at these seven behaviours to avoid.
The list, posted on Forbes, comes from leadership expert and author Dr Tim Elmore. He says that too much coddling keeps kids from thriving and fulfilling their potential as leaders in the future:
I think both fear and lack of understanding play a role here, but it leads with the fact that each generation of parents is usually compensating for something the previous generation did. The primary adults in kids’ lives today have focused on now rather than later. It’s about their happiness today not their readiness tomorrow. I suspect it’s a reaction. Many parents today had Mums and Dads who were all about getting ready for tomorrow: saving money, not spending it, and getting ready for retirement. In response, many of us bought into the message: embrace the moment. You deserve it. Enjoy today. And we did. For many, it resulted in credit card debt and the inability to delay gratification. This may be the crux of our challenge. The truth is, parents who are able to focus on tomorrow, not just today, produce better results.
Unintentionally we may be:
- Insulating our children from risk. While it’s only right to want to protect them, kids who don’t experience normal failures or pain (a breakup or a skinned knee) can develop phobias, high arrogance and/or low self-esteem.
- Rescuing kids too quickly, not letting them solve problems on their own.
- Over-praising. This can do more harm than good for children with low self-esteem, but the “everyone gets a trophy” mentality and ignoring poor behaviour can also lead to children cheating, lying and not being able to confront difficulties. Praise should be specific and more about effort than ability.
- Spoiling them. “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.”
- Not sharing our own stories of struggle. Talking about your past mistakes and frustrations can help kids become “grittier”.
- Mistaking intelligence and giftedness for maturity. Smart kids tend to seem older, but that doesn’t mean they’re emotionally or otherwise ready in every area of their lives.
- Not modelling how we want kids to be — the “do as I say, not as I do” mistake.
Most of this is common sense parenting, but it’s easy to fall into the trap of short-term parenting instead of thinking of the long term.
Head over to the full article for more insights into each of these areas and how to start coaching rather than coddling.
(Also, don’t duct tape babies to a wall.)