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Friday
Feb272015

How To Teach Your Children Character By Simply Shutting Up

Shut up, butt out and mind your own business.  Seriously.

Your kids don't need you defending them at every turn.

You know what that teaches them?  To be self absorbed, demanding, little Mumma's boys (or girls).  Throwing hissy fits whenever they don't get their way.  Brats.  Yup, that's right, brats.  A term that needs to be reinstated as far as I'm concerned.

You know what being left out, picked last, short changed or getting less than they were expecting teaches your kids?  Patience.  Grace.  How to handle frustration.  That life isn't fair.  How to speak up for themselves.  How to handle conflict.  How to handle disappointment.  In short.  It teaches them character.

In a time where children (and dogs for some odd reason - but that's another topic completely), are dotted on to a point verging on worship, we're seeing less and less character in our children.  And we, as parents, don't fail to recognize it.  Many are the conversations I've had with parents frustrated with adult children who fail to "launch".  Suddenly these little idols they once paid homage to so willingly, feel burdensome.  Which only makes sense.  Standing up for a 27 year old who lives in your basement somehow isn't so fun or cute or primal anymore.  There's a point at which the parenting instinct switches off.  A point at which children have overstayed their welcome.  A point at which we're simply - tired.  When we've put in our years and we're ready for quiet evenings and control over the remote.  When we'd prefer to use our disposable income on, well…  ourselves.

But why would they leave?  And more importantly, when did we teach them how to?  (I know I finished a sentence with a preposition.  Get over it!  See!  There!  I did it again!  Wait, is "it" a preposition?)

When they were developing, learning from all we said, did, demonstrated, allowed them to try or not to try, were we teaching them independence?  Were we teaching them character, work ethic?  Were we teaching them how to interact with the world at large?  Or were we coddling them?  Protecting them at every turn?  At every injustice?  Creating a utopia in which the sun rose and set around them.  Sounds great to me!  I'd never leave that place either!

If you want your kids to grow up, actually "grow up."  To become adults that are capable of creating lives for themselves, where they can navigate the ins and outs of the world.  The trials and disappointments of adult life.  Where they can fall down and yet pick themselves up and try again.  Then you'd better let them start practicing that now.  We don't leave the training wheels on until the day a cyclist participates in the Tour de France and expect them to aptly compete.  Let your kids experience disappoint for pete's sake!  It won't kill them!  I promise you! 

I totally get the relief and pleasure there is in seeing the joy on our children's faces when disappointment turns to satisfaction.  The peace that is brokered when the melodramatic fussing stops and they settle down quietly, having been given the object of their desire.   Utopia.  A world in which all their wants are appeased.  Never shall they suffer not being given as many turns as the next kid.  Never shall they be given a failing mark on a test they couldn't be bothered to study for.  Never shall they miss out on a sports camp so they can work a Summer job.

Instead of meeting your child's frustrations with appeasement, how about meeting it with solemn understanding, an explanation of the realities of the situation and an expectation that they figure out how to process the idea that they won't be getting what they want.  If that fails, there's always discipline.  A quaint old custom where children were reigned in and told to  - "Smarten up!"  "Stop it!"  To "Stop crying or you'll be given something to cry about."  

Your children are darling.  Seriously.  I'm not being sarcastic.  Children are adorable.  With their wispy hair, big sparkly eyes and funny little voices.  They're absolutely adorable!  I can easily melt into a puddle around babies and children.  They are also however, capable of being told no and proceeding on without having a complete melt down.  Of being disappointed and yet still going ahead to lead a full and productive life.  They will not die if they get the green lollipop and their sister gets the pink one.  Trust me!  I'm a doctor!  (I'm actually not.  It just sounded really good at the end of that sentence!)  

Stop worshiping your children.  Stop defusing or negotiating every disappointment or frustration that comes their way.  Let them take a few knocks.  They'll survive.  They'll grow up.  And then they'll leave home.  The end.

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  • Response
    Yup i think this is really right about the children. The children must not be pampered all the time because this thing make them more bad kids. Sometime they really need some anger by their parents.

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