Sunday Snippet: Let Go To Grow
From time to time we have explored the challenges we parents face when trying to do what is best for our children. We want them to grow, learn, achieve and succeed. Interestingly, a number of parenting styles have emerged that on the surface look like a great approach for our child, but in actuality, stand in their way to achieving true successful development. Does helicopter or bulldozer parenting come to mind?
Parenting is certainly about guiding, helping, and loving our children as they grow up to be contributing adults. But we often see parents failing to let go and not stepping aside to allow their children to spread their wings on their own. By hovering over (or ruthlessly clearing the way for!) their children, these parents deny their children of opportunities to effectively grow and succeed on their own.
HuffPost Parent contributor, Mickey Goodman shared a post entitled Are We Raising a Generation of Helpless Kids? where she explored the pitfalls of overprotective parenting. She asks (and answers!) the question, Where did we go wrong?:
We’ve told our kids to dream big – and now any small act seems insignificant.
We’ve told our kids that they are special – for no reason, even though they didn’t display excellent character or skill, and now they demand special treatment.
We gave our kids every comfort – and now they can’t delay gratification.
We made our kid’s happiness a central goal – and now it’s difficult for them to generate happiness — the by-product of living a meaningful life.
But Goodman goes on to offer what she refers to as The Uncomfortable Solutions:
“We need to let our kids fail at 12 – which is far better than at 42,” he quotes Tim Elmore, founder and president of the non-profit Growing Leaders.
Kids need to align their dreams with their gifts.
Allow them to get into trouble and accept the consequences.
Balance autonomy with responsibility.
Collaborate with the teacher, but don’t do the work for your child.
“We need to become velvet bricks,” Elmore says, “soft on the outside and hard on the inside and allow children to fail while they are young in order to succeed when they are adults.”
Growing Leaders founder, Tim Elmore offers some additional steps to helping our kids become successful and acquire health leadership qualities as they grow and succeed:
Help them take calculated risks. Talk it over with them, but let them do it. Your primary job is to prepare your child for how the world really works
Discuss how they must learn to make choices. They must prepare to both win and lose, not get all they want, and to face the consequences of their decisions.
Don’t let your guilt get in the way of leading well. Your job is not to make yourself feel good by giving kids what makes them or you feel better when you give it.
Don’t reward the basics that life requires. If your relationship is based on material rewards, kids will experience neither intrinsic motivation nor unconditional love.
Affirm smart risk-taking and hard work wisely. Help them see the advantage of both of these, and that stepping out a comfort zone usually pays off.
Fortunately, an experience at WeHaKee Camp for Girls goes a long way in helping girls and young women discover, experience, and practice these very things. They can ‘practice growing up’ in the supportive and empowering environment that is camp. They learn how to choose what activities they want to try, how to schedule their days, what clothes they’ll need for that particular day, what they want to eat during meals, and what kinds of friends they want to make at camp. As they practice these activities, they are learning critical soft skills so needed in today’s world – and the best part is they’re having tons of fun doing it!
Have a great week everyone!