Friday, March 9, 2012

Parenting Is More Than Saying "Yes" (Why Failure Is Essential To Growing Up)

My daughter is 7 years old. She has responsibilities and chores. There are things expected of her. Nothing is just given to her, she has to earn anything she gets. She does her chores, she helps out around the house, she works hard at school, and she enjoys spending time with her friends.

Now, I imagine a lot of people will say "yeah? and?" because you would think that most kids would get that kind of treatment. But the hard truth is that kids (for the most part) are being given everything they have with no effort put forth. There is no incentive to be a good person and to help your family and friends, because no matter what, you're going to get that Nintendo DS (or whatever).

How is a child supposed to learn to accept that some things are not free, and that failing at parts of life is just part of life? Children can no longer be held back in elementary school, no matter how poorly they score. There are "participation" ribbons for all participants of children's games, no more winning or losing. That is ok, in theory. But at the same time, these kids are going to grow up thinking that they will never lose anything, they will always get exactly what they want, and they never need to work for anything because it will just be given to them.

You don't really want a kid like this, do you???
My fellow parents, your children do not control you. They are children, they need to learn the truth about the world, and how to live in it. They need YOUR help to succeed and to learn how to cope with failure and mistakes. Children NEED your guidance and your support, not for you to just give them everything. They are the future, and they need you to teach them everything that they need to learn about life.

No matter who you are, or how you parent, it is up to you to mould your child into the productive member of society he or she will become. It is up to you to ensure that they know how to take care of their belongings, and how to treat other people (child and adult alike). It is up to you to emulate the behaviours that you want them to embody.

There is no bad time to start helping your child, whether newborn or teenager. There is no bad time to start teaching them that life can be hard, and frustrating, and sometimes it's downright depressing. But there's also no bad time to show them how beautiful and amazing life can truly be.

Being a parent is one of the hardest jobs out there, but it is a job that cannot be ignored or pushed aside. We all have to work together to help our children become the adults they deserve to be.

Sorry if this rant or rambling offended anyone, but I'm so tired of seeing spoiled children who treat their parents like dirt and scream like pigs if they don't get what they want. Children should NEVER get everything they want, they will never appreciate it.

Now, don't take this to mean that my daughter doesn't get things that she want. She certainly does. She gets Christmas gifts, and birthday gifts. There are also times that my family or WonderWife's family will just buy her something just for the sake of it. But she also has to be respectful, and courteous. She isn't a little Stepford Wife in training, but she can darn right use her please's and thank you's when asking questions.

Not what I want for my daughter

She also earns a bit of an allowance, that recently allowed her to buy about 10 shirts and 4 skirts. Clothing that she wanted and bought with her own hard earned cash. Next, I believe she is saving up to buy herself a Nintendo DS. Goals and hard work are something that I believe in, and she deserves to feel the satisfaction of acheiving them.

So what it comes down to is... be a parent to your children, and they will learn and grow with you. Be a pushover and give them everything they want no matter what, they will walk all over you and be a boon on society. Harsh words, maybe. But true.

That's the way I see it.

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