In thearticle entitled: ‘7 damaging parenting behaviors that keep children from becoming leaders’, Dr. Tim Elmore is quoted as saying:
Monday, January 27, 2014
Positive Parenting 2
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.”
‘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.’
This is such a generalisation. ‘Today’s generation of young people...’. Are we discussing Gen Y (aged 20-35) who, as a group, seem to be somewhat arrogant and self-opinionated, self-interested, ‘go-getters’ with little allegiance to others, such high expectations of everyone? The most entrepreneurial generation yet! Or Gen Z (under 20), who seem to be equally self-opinionated, and self-absorbed, dedicated to an online life, and success, with little in the way of moral, religious or ethical hangups, and with nearly as much leadership potential as Gen Y.
Perhaps Dr. Elmore is discussing 5-6 year olds, who (understandably) have quite a long way to go to develop their life skills, many of whom do struggle with the early intellectual and social learning challenges of school.
OK, I admit, I have met some anxious parents of 5-8 year olds who are nervous about their children taking physical and social risks, and do ‘swoop’. But they are in a minority as far as I can see. The majority of parents still have the ‘good parenting’ skill to walk alongside their children, exploring risks, and explaining ways of managing risk. They allow the child to walk on a low wall, holding their hand – until such time as the child says: “I can manage!” Even then they hover, ever able to steady the child if necessary.
As we well know, there are many parents at the other end of the spectrum – they do not have the experience, the inner trans-generational knowledge, or the time and energy to worry much about their kids, so they let them run free.
Of note, our research into conduct disorder, depression, anxiety, and self-harming and suicidal behaviours, has shown repeatedly that it is the ‘overcontrolling’ parents, jumping in to criticise all the time, who are most likely to cause problems. The child is not allowed to learn, because the parent always knows best, and expects them to follow the rules. Within this, ‘highly caring’ overcontrolling parents may cause less damage, but ‘highly critical’ overcontrolling parents seem to have kids who get into more trouble than even the neglected children. Elmore says: “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.” That is not the issue I see clinically time and time again. It is the intrusive hypercritical not-letting-the-child find ways to get on in life that is dangerous.
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.”
Again, the children I see with a serious range of problems, are the ones who ‘fail or fall short’, and are jumped all over by tired niggly parents who wish the kid would get out of their hair. There are ‘too soon’, ‘too harsh’, ‘too idiosyncratic’, and ‘too changeable’ ‘consequences for misconduct’. The child never learns how the rest of the world sees these supposed difficulties, and would shrug their collective shoulders, allowing the child to sort it out for itself.
If you want confidant children, then from the beginning you have to love them, enjoy making them laugh, read stories with them, take great enjoyment from each and every success, and guide their pathway to adulthood. You have to be clear about your own set of personal, moral and social rules, and stick to those, gently repeating how you expect your child to behave – and why! You have to be able to gain their respect because they can see you living by your own personal, moral and social rules. If a child sees this repeatedly, they will absorb all the skills for a successful life.
More in a couple of days....