Last week I talked about naysayers: people who tell you why bother to try something new or go for your dreams. We all agreed (ok- I decided we all agreed) that these people were toxic and we should ditch them.
But there’s another type of person that persuades others to not go for something and to stay in the neutral zone: overprotective parents.
The worst part about this scenario is that the parents truly have the child’s best interest at heart. They really want what is best for their child. Alas, they are operating under the misguided notion that their child remaining unscathed is the best course of action, that never getting hurt is the best way to make a child happy.
We’ve all seen these parents. At certain points, many of us have been this type of parent. They hover. They hand out hand sanitizer and masks when you want to go near their child. When a child trips in the playground they exacerbate the situation by racing over, scooping the kid in their arms and checking for concussion and broken femurs. The crying is usually a direct result of the parent interference as opposed to the boo boo. They begin to do their child’s homework in first grade because they don’t want the child to receive a bad mark, because you know, a wrong answer could permanently damage a child’s self esteem. They are the parent buying 10 year olds participation trophies, because everybody wins….(please don’t let me get started on participation trophies given to children after kindergarten) They have birthday parties of sixty kids because someone might get sad if they are left out, yet they conveniently forget about said child when they are actually at the birthday party and are sitting in a corner because they are either anti-social or being ostracized- because I guess it’s better to be ignored at a party instead of not being invited at all.
And as the child gets older, though the situations change, the parental pattern of behavior remains the same. Don’t try out for that, you may not get picked and then you’ll be sad. Don’t apply to that school, because you may not get in, and then you will be sad. I could keep going, but I think you get the idea…
Here’s the bottom line: your kids are going to be sad and hurt and disappointed no matter what you do as a parent, because sad and disappointed and hurt are a part of life.
Yes. I said it. Bad stuff happens. Every minute of every day. And instead of shielding your children, hiding the reality of from them, you should be explaining things to them, teaching them how to recover from disappointment, showing them how to navigate the crap that makes up life.
Think I’m wrong?
Is your life completely perfect?
Does everything in your life align properly so that you have no worries or stress?
If the answer to the above is YES, please send me the link to your book, workshop or blog, because I would love to know the secret.
Allow your child to have the opportunity to fail at something. Teach them how to recover. It’s that simple.