By now we’ve all seen the news story about parents who influenced the college acceptance process on behalf of their kids. We’ve been shocked by these parents who did so much to help their children get something they didn’t deserve. They we just trying to “help” their kids, right? How much help will this be for those children in the long term? And anyway, isn’t that what we all do for our children?
Time for reflection -- do you give your child more help then he really should have at his age? Is your help with homework really just giving answers? When he doesn’t empty the dishwasher as expected, do you just step in and do it for him? When he doesn’t go to bed on time and is tired the next day, do you bail him out by packing his lunch that morning for him? When he forgets his snack, do you jump in the car and drive to school to bring it for him?
Fortunately for most of us the answer to these questions is all a resounding “no”. Recently, when one our dads was contacted about his child not having a snack, he replied, “Then she will be hungry”. This father is very caring, but he sees the big picture, not just the moment. If we all took that approach, our children would be far more independent and well adjusted. They would learn responsibility and that actions have consequences.
Fortunately, most of our families handle things exactly this way. I experience the joy of seeing this played out in action almost every day. In fact, I would say the times in which parents bail their children out inappropriately is a relatively small portion of the whole. Still, each of us does need to look in the mirror and say, “when do I do this”? The brutal, honest, truth goes a long way towards improvement.
Blessings on your parenting,