Yesterday was a new experience for me in the world of fatherhood. I picked up our 6 yo for school, and she asked if one of her school buddies (a boy) could come over to our house. So we get home and all 3 kids are playing nicely together. We decided to head to a park to enjoy some sunshine and fresh air. The boy really likes to play on the skate park, and naturally our 6 yo follows suit. Everything is going smoothly. I had to deal with a sharing issue with our 4 yo. Once that was resolved, all hell breaks loose. The boy wanted to play with a golf ball, which our 4 yo had and they played together. This action of changing playmates, caused the 6 yo to become quite JEALOUS. I look up and she was gone, she was hiding from all of us. I found her and I could see she was upset. The boy kept trying to talk to her, but she was having nothing to do with him. She kept running away from him, and giving him the cold shoulder. If this is any insight into her dating life, i feel sorry for the boys who piss her off. I hope she always knows that daddy will be here to guide her, listen to her, and protect her. Anyway, we get home and watched a movie, by the end of the movie the friendship was restored and all was well.
Andy has a puzzle he bought of the New York Skyline. The buildings and river with lights reflecting on it is easy but once you get to the sky which is just shades of blue… it ain’t easy!
I’m that person that compares shades and frankly, once it gets to the point were we are working on this sky… I’m done.
Andy amazes me by showing his infinite patience by trying piece after piece in different spots until finding the right one. He can work on the puzzle for hours!
This is true of his parenting as well. I can only handle about 2 second of whining but Andy can slowly but surely work our children around to being “normal” again when they have a break down. It’s amazing…
Is this why we marry opposites?
I stumbled across this article from Forbes.com on Facebook this morning. It has some interesting points. I think the mistake I make is coming into quickly to settle a dispute between our 5 & 3 year old’s. I need to step back and let them find a resolution to their conflict. There are also times I tend to lose my temper with them, but I will always go back and hug them and let them know I still love them. It allows me to have good one on one conversations with my girls. What are your thoughts? What are some areas that you can improve on?
While I spend my professional time now as a career success coach, writer, and leadership trainer, I was a marriage and family therapist in my past, and worked for several years with couples, families, and children. Through that experience, I witnessed a very wide array of both functional and dysfunctional parenting behaviors. As a parent myself, I’ve learned that all the wisdom and love in the world doesn’t necessarily protect you from parenting in ways that hold your children back from thriving, gaining independence and becoming the leaders they have the potential to be.
I was intrigued, then, to catch up with leadership expert Dr. Tim Elmore and learn more about how we as parents are failing our children today — coddling and crippling them — and keeping them from becoming leaders they are destined to be. Tim is a best-selling author of more than 25 books, including Generation iY: Our Last Chance to Save Their Future, Artificial Maturity: Helping Kids Meet the Challenges of Becoming Authentic Adults, and the Habitudes® series. He is Founder and President of Growing Leaders, an organization dedicated to mentoring today’s young people to become the leaders of tomorrow.
Tim had this to share about the 7 damaging parenting behaviors that keep children from becoming leaders – of their own lives and of the world’s enterprises:
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 frequently 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.
Why do parents engage in these behaviors (what are they afraid of if they don’t)? Do these behaviors come from fear or from poor understanding of what strong parenting (with good boundaries) is?
“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 Moms 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.”
How can parents move away from these negative behaviors (without having to hire a family therapist to help)?
Tim says: “It’s important for parents to become exceedingly self-aware of their words and actions when interacting with their children, or with others when their children are nearby. Care enough to train them, not merely treat them to a good life. Coach them, more than coddle. “
Here’s a start:
1. Talk over the issues you wish you would’ve known about adulthood.
2. Allow them to attempt things that stretch them and even let them fail.
3. Discuss future consequences if they fail to master certain disciplines.
4. Aid them in matching their strengths to real-world problems.
5. Furnish projects that require patience, so they learn to delay gratification.
6. Teach them that life is about choices and trade-offs; they can’t do everything.
7. Initiate (or simulate) adult tasks like paying bills or making business deals.
8. Introduce them to potential mentors from your network.
9. Help them envision a fulfilling future, and then discuss the steps to get there.
10. Celebrate progress they make toward autonomy and responsibility.
How are you parenting your children? Are you sacrificing their long-term growth for short-term comfort?
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The author is a Forbes contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.
When a father first lays eyes on his little girl he loves her more than anything on this earth,
When a daughter grows older her father is the first man she will love,
And the last one her father will have trouble letting go of,
In her eyes he is the closest thing to God, in her eyes he is a King,
To her father she means the world, she means everything.
When a daughter grows up to be an adult and mature,
Her father will always be there anytime she still needs dad to help her,
To give her advice or just-for anything she will ever need,
The bond between father and daughter is the most important bond indeed,
It cannot be broken when she finds a man, and become his wife,
It cannot be broken even in the ending of either ones life,
A daughter will always have the memories of her father, her best friend
This bond has a beginning, but there is never an end.
The bond between a father and daughter is so profound
The love shared is well renowned,
From the beginning of his daughters life, he is a changed man,
At that moment his life really just began.
From the moment their eyes meet,
two souls instantly become complete.
Of course I feel the same about both of my daughters. It’s amazing to me how love never runs out no matter how many children you may have.
My daughters like to dance. Well, jump, spin, sway and twirl around the room and act like they are dancing! My three (almost five now) year old always wants me to dance with her and pretend she is the Bell of the Ball. This morning was no different, but I was late and trying to get out of the house to class. But the lyrics to Stephen Curtis Chapman “Cinderella” kept going through my head:
So I will dance with Cinderella
While she is here in my arms
‘Cause I know something the prince never knew
Oh, I will dance with Cinderella
I don’t want to miss even one song
‘Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight
And she’ll be gone…
One day she will be all grown up and will be gone, and these moments of joy will be a distant memory. I have to take all the precious moments I can, especially now that I am busy being back in school.
So, dad’s take these lyrics to heart and always treat your little girl’s as if they are the Bell of the Ball! Don’t let a hectic schedule prevent you from creating life long memories with your daughter.
I wrote this blog almost two years ago, just thought I would repost it.