Have you ever found a butterfly cocoon and tried to help the butterfly get free? The butterfly died because it needed the struggle of escaping from the cocoon to mature. Are you trying to save your kids from struggles and causing them harm?
Tim Elmore, founder of Growing Leaders, believes that “preparing tomorrow’s leaders today means equipping young people to do things without help, which translates into well-balanced adults and successful professionals at work.”
Tim Elmore suggests that over-parenting can do more damage than under-parenting. Parents can motivate kids by equipping them more than entertaining them. However, sometimes a parent’s well intentioned behavior actual slows down maturity.
As a parent, are you practicing these over protective behaviors that can stifle your teen’s maturity?
1. Keeping kids from risk
It’s a dangerous world, and parents want to protect their kids. However, healthy risk-taking behavior is a necessary part of growing up. Kids who don’t play outside, never experience skinned knees and a few bruises are more likely to develop phobias as they grow older. Kids need to fall down to learn balance. Teens need to break up a few boyfriends or girlfriends to understand the emotional maturity that lasting relationships require. When parents remove risk from children’s lives, kids can grow into adults who possess a high level of arrogance and low self-esteem.
2 Rescuing kids too quickly
Kids today have not developed that same life skills are their peers did 30-40 years ago. Parents tend to solve and take care of problems for their kids instead of letting kids make tough choices and make mistakes. When parents consistently rescue their kids, kids become accustom to the rescue. Instead of learning disappointment and overcoming obstacles, kids sit back and wait for someone else to help them.
3. Praising too lavishly
Parents want to develop self-esteem in their kids. However, many parents and mentors push this over the top. Instead of letting kids experience loss and failure, teachers, parents and coaches lean towards giving every child a reward of some sort. For awhile kids do feel special, but as kids grow, they begin to observe real world interactions. They learn that only mom and dad think they are wonderful, and develop a lack of trust in their parent’s judgments.
4. Not enforcing boundaries
Sometimes it is easier to give in to a kid’s tantrum, but in the end this leads to no good. When kids learn they can yell and avoid consequences, obedience and family life falls onto the back burner. Don’t be afraid to say ‘no’. Set goals and expectations and stick to them. Let you kids know the consequences of disobedience. And last, don’t reward your kids when they meet expectations. Thank them for listening, praise them for good grades, but don’t buy presents or overreact when kids obey and meet the expectations. It is what they are supposed to do.
Want to learn more? Visit Tim Elmore-Growing Leaders