Why You Should Rethink Your Desire to Give Your Children Everything You Didn’t Have

22 November 2023
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In this article you will learn:

  • The different parenting styles and their potential impact on children's development.
  • Some different parenting approaches and the importance of striking a balance between support and independence.
  • Essential skills for children to thrive in a fast-moving world
  • The significance of lifelong learning, adaptability, and leading by example.

I grew up with parents who worked two low-paying jobs.

They believed that doing well in school would lead to a higher education and ultimately a higher-paying job.

Across generations, there have been various societal challenges that have shaped parental thinking models.

Unfortunately, many of these models are unhelpful, and most of them are damaging.

Let’s explore a few of the most damaging parenting styles before discussing ways to connect with and support our children.

Tiger Parents

You have the tiger parents who are known for their strict and demanding approach.

They set high expectations for their children in terms of academic achievement and extracurricular activities, often pushing them to excel.

While this sometimes leads to success, it more often than not creates immense pressure and stress for the child, potentially impacting their mental well-being.

The constant expectations and demands placed on the child can hinder their ability to explore their own interests and develop a sense of autonomy.

Moreover, the overwhelming workload and high expectations can lead to burnout and exhaustion, affecting not only their academic performance but also their overall happiness and fulfillment.

Permissive Parents

We have all met the permissive parents who take a more lenient approach to parenting, avoiding setting clear boundaries or enforcing discipline.

These parents often prioritize their children’s wants and desires instead of teaching them important life skills like emotional intelligence and a growth mindset.

Raising children without structure and accountability leads to a lack of important life skills that can have long-term effects on their lives.

A structured environment where children learn the value of responsibility and develop essential skills such as time management, organization, and problem-solving is not a prison or punishment. It’s a superpower that will change their lives for the better.

When we set clear expectations and enforce consistent rules, we help our children cultivate self-discipline and a strong work ethic.

Instilling accountability in children teaches them the importance of taking ownership of their actions and learning from their mistakes.

These fundamental skills will not only benefit children in their personal lives but also prepare them for success in their academic and professional pursuits, leading to more fulfilling lives.

Authoritarian Parents

Some of us, including myself, grew up with authoritarian parents who governed our childhood with strict rules and high levels of control.

They expected unquestioning obedience and relied on punishment or harsh discipline methods.

It is evident that this particular approach to parenting had a significant impact on our independence, self-esteem, and problem-solving abilities throughout our teenage years and into young adulthood.

The lack of encouragement to explore our own capabilities and make decisions for ourselves may have resulted in missed opportunities for personal growth and the development of essential life skills.

For some of us, it may have limited our ability to tackle problems and overcome obstacles, limiting our potential for success in both our personal and professional lives.

The question we might be tempted to ask is: which parenting style is best?

However, if we truly care about our children, asking that question is misguided.

To create a world full of people who thrive and find meaning in their lives, it is crucial for us as parents to strike a balance between being supportive and involved in our children’s lives, while also giving them the space to grow, make mistakes, and develop their own identities.

Although my children may have come from me, they are not mine, they are independent beings and I feel privileged to walk beside them on their life journey.

Let’s explore how we can empower our children to live their best lives, instead of the lives we think they should be living.

In a Fast-Moving World: Skills is the only true currency

The pace of life has significantly accelerated in the past 30 years.

This acceleration is not only evident in terms of speed and the number of tasks we cram into our schedules but it is also reflected in the rapid pace of change across society.

I believe that as parents, it is necessary to educate ourselves with essential skills so that we can equip our children with the tools to navigate life successfully in the future.

To accomplish this, we need to embody these principles and values ourselves so that we can effectively teach them to our children.

Adaptability and Resilience

To love our children is to provide them with the skills necessary to adapt and overcome challenges.

Life won’t become easier simply by providing our children with the best of everything. It becomes easier when they are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to navigate and thrive in our rapidly changing world.

Having a good education might land our children a high-paying job, but having inner peace, calmness, and freedom will enable them to go much further.

To help our children succeed, we have to model how they can achieve more by combining skills and strengths, in work and in love than they could on their own.

We must teach them the importance of connecting with others who share a common purpose and goal.

It is imperative that we teach them the importance of effective communication and of playing with others who share a common purpose and goal.

What skills do you teach your children to remain calm in a chaotic world?

Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving

Emotional Intelligence and Empathy

How can we expect our children to cultivate the ability to say no, to prioritize empathy and compassion, and to make meaningful connections with others if we do not cultivate our own emotional intelligence?

Children never do what you say, they mimic what you do.

Teaching Resilience and Determination in a Non-Linear Life Journey

Life is full of unexpected challenges, obstacles, and setbacks that test our resilience and determination every single day. That will never end.

If you only pursue instant gratification, that is what you teach your children and you set them up for a life of suffering

Children don’t need to be told what to do.

They need role models in their lives whom they can emulate. They want to feel what you feel, or not.

If you are constantly agitated and stressed out they will distance themselves from your energy.

If you constantly instruct them, they won’t have a chance to discover what to do independently.

Lead by example through actions, not just words.

If you are willing to share how you face setbacks, overcome obstacles, and impart these valuable lessons in a vulnerable way, your children will witness honesty in your actions.

They’ll pick up on your vibe and crave to share your feelings and emotions.

They will respect you, gain new perspectives, and develop resilience and determination.

What legacy do you want to leave behind for your children to remember you by after you pass away?

Show your children that you are willing to reevaluate your goals, refocus your efforts, and find creative solutions to overcome the hurdles that come your way.

Encourage your children and every child you meet, to think outside the box, explore their passions, and embrace their creativity.

Lifelong Learning and Adaptability

In a constantly evolving world, fostering a love for learning and adaptability is the number one skill we can teach our children.

Not good grades or results, but meta-learning.

Learning how to learn, helps them acquire knowledge and strategies that can be applied in all eras of life, not just school.

It enables them to adapt and improve themself and their relationships throughout their lives.

When you practice a growth mindset and promote continuous learning, you instill the same in your children to embrace new knowledge, acquire new skills, and stay agile in the face of change.

They embody the change they wish to see in the world.

Final thoughts

In a constantly changing world, the key to ensuring our children thrive is to go beyond just being parents and instead become coaches and mentors, providing them with essential skills like adaptability, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, and effective communication.

When we ourselves have a love for lifelong learning, we provide them with the tools they need to thrive and excel in any field they choose to pursue.

If we truly want to empower our children to live a purposeful life filled with unwavering passion and meaningful experiences, we need to take the necessary steps to initiate this transformative journey and lead by example.

As parents, if we don’t actively seek personal growth, embrace challenges, cultivate positive relationships, or value kindness, empathy, and making a positive impact on others, how can we expect our children to live differently?

If we don’t find joy in the little things, appreciate the beauty of the world, and seek opportunities for self-reflection and self-improvement, how can we expect our children to do so?

Questions for reflection:

How can I:

  • Practice being a calmer person and parent.
  • Be more patient.
  • Learn how to empathize more with my children.
  • Provide questions for reflection that invite better choices, even in the heat of the moment, instead of reacting harshly.
  • Foster my children’s confidence and independence, without informing my drams and shortcomings on them
  • Connect with my children, even when expressing my needs to them.
  • Encourage my children to talk about their emotions and help them communicate better so I can understand what they’re feeling.
  • Be aware of my own triggers so that I don’t project my own issues onto my kids during times of stress or frustration.

Recommended Reading:

  • Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.
  • Goleman, D. (1995). Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ.
  • Tough, P. (2013). How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character.

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