Pick Yourself Up, Brush Yourself Off, Start All Over Again
While parents in the U.S. are expected to provide an even greater investment in childcare, entertainment, protection, college, and after-college care than prior generations of parents here and elsewhere, there are fewer guidelines for what they might expect in return. Parents may feel hurt or betrayed if they do not get the love and gratitude they look forward to and believe that they deserve, and this may cause strain a relationship with their children.
Independence And Grit
In his blog for Greater Good magazine, Joshua Coleman suggests that a number of major shifts in child-raising and parenting expectations have changed the fabric of the family from that of previous generations.
He suggests that, as a result, parents are more focused on developing greater independence from their children at earlier ages, while at the same time, showing less trust in their children’s ability to successfully handle the independence they are being given.
The result is children who are being brought up to be “mini-me” versions of their parents. Over the years, these children often have developed wonderful intellectual, social, and physical skills. On the other hand, they often, also, lack personal basic common sense life skills because they are not given the space and time to develop them. We have all heard the stories of parental excess in this generation of children by describing them as “snowflakes”, regarding them as lacking the grit needed to be independent.
In her book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Angela Duckworth suggests that a mixture of a student’s SATs, high school ranking, leadership ability, and physical success does not anticipate who will succeed and who will struggle long term. Duckworth suggests that a child’s grit-the ability to persevere in pursuit of long-term goals is a much better predictor of success.
If we are to believe Duckworth’s premise, then we need to admit that, too often as parents, we are not giving our children the room to make mistakes; the space to fail; the opportunity to pick themselves up and dust themselves off.
Trusting Our Children
Colleges, schools, dance teams, etc. are all dealing with parents that cannot let go; cannot trust; cannot allow their parents the room they need to grow. Today, we denigrate a whole generation of children as “snowflakes”, but are we, as parents, providing them with the room to grow?
So, we find ourselves in an interesting time in parenting. We want/need our children to be more independent at an earlier age as the burdens and possibilities of everyday life and work continue to increase; however, we are loath (for lots of good reasons) to allow our children to make decisions and to have to deal with the consequences from that, good and bad.
The result: an uneven, patchwork approach to parenting that leads to confusion and conflict. Parents expect their children to be independent enough to daily perform at a high level in every aspect of their lives but, too often, they are not allowing their children to do it their way.
Conflict is inevitable and destabilizing to the family. Rows focus on the child’s performance rather than on the developmental nurturing of the child for future success.
We’ll Help You Find A Balance
The goal for each family must be that balance between setting reasonable demands of your child for growth without creating a negative counterbalance that impedes this growth. It is a tricky balance and demands constant nurturing. This is where we can help at Confident Parenting by aiding you in establishing goals and the environment for fertile conversations. With these in place, the results will be much more positive for the whole family.
Contact us today! One call can change the arc of your family life.