Are We There Yet!
Parenting is a journey to enjoy, not a destination to be arrived successfully at. Bad ideas+ good intentions= parent-child war.
A new survey on mortality and life expectancy in the United States, released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), found that 47,000 Americans took their own lives in 2017—2,000 more than recorded in 2016. That data is a year old; unfortunately, numbers have only increased in last year.
Where and why is this idea of suicide germinating and increasing day by day? Why our generation is more frustrated than ever? Are the seeds laying in our upbringing?
I see a very clear connection between current parenting patterns and low frustration tolerance. Helicopter parents are overpowering the joy and experience of growing up. Unfortunately, lot of these parents are not raising their kids to be a mature adult but micro-managed babies.
Question here is – are you preparing the road for your child or preparing your child for the road?
Gregg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt put forward a great insight in their book,” The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure.
Today’s high aiming parents have all good intentions and likely they are trying to be on top of their kid’s perfect growth. However, where they lack in their effort is- all these bad ideas of trying to control the growth path and make it all beautiful and nice all the time. We are designed to grow naturally to be our unique selves.
Two major bad ideas:
1.Overdose of happiness – Today most of the parents are always trying to do everything possible to keep their children happy. By doing this what they are teaching is- avoiding sadness at any cost and making their kids struggle with resilience. If parents do not allow the child to experience natural consequences, the child will not learn how to deal with it when parents are not there to do the work for them.
2.Micro-management- This is what concerns me most for future of our world. Our children are the future. That is what our world will be tomorrow. If today the parents will not trust their children and micro-manage them all the time, these kids will fail to grow into mature adults. For instance, a lot of parents use parenting control apps on kid’s devices. What are they doing by this control? Stating that the child is not trustworthy, must be controlled, cannot take responsibility. Now transfer that into an adult; what do we get – a control freak, micro-manager, not responsible for their own behavior person, who has very poor self-control and very low frustration tolerance. These kids want to control everything, except themselves and that is what easily leads them to solutions like – suicide.
Parents need to understand that this child of them is not going to a be a child forever and be with them. It will be rather wise to prepare them for what is coming, adulthood. To do so it is mandatory to allow them to experience their journey as is. Goal and focus are important. However, constantly trying to control to avoid mistakes, failures is only going to limit your kid’s experience of reality.
On this journey, parents play their role by offering good framework and let the children figure their way in and around. Kids thrive on discipline and they learn best by examples. Be a good role model, follow discipline in your everyday life. Do not over do happiness and success for them. Teach them to enjoy the ride versus getting anxious for time to destination.
On my recent vacation trip, a tourist guide told during the conversation,” there are many smart kids in the world. However, if they do not apply their smartness, it is of no use.” That is the key. All kids bring their gift into the world. Now it is up to the parents to nurture the child and make him/her aware of their gift that they can offer it to the world.
I am a parent too and I know it firsthand how challenging parenting can be. However, here is a choice that we parents must make – whether to get scared of the challenges or embrace it. Embracing may sound mountainous, but if done the right way, it can make parenting a joy like no other. The three keys to joyful parenting are – courage, connection and compassion. Have the courage to see your child failing and making mistakes. Offer them easy and comfortable connection with you that they can confide in you and look up to you. Love them compassionately for who they are not for what they do.
They do not need parental control on their devices. They need parents to trust them and be available to guide and support if they end up in mess. They need real life situations to put their smartness to use, not dodge parental controls.
May I suggest enjoying the journey of parenthood and stop thinking,” are we there yet”? Like Ann Landers says,” It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves, that will make them successful human beings.”