Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Who are you parenting for?

Big sister teaching little brother how to play Mancala, a new-to-them game.
I just listened to a podcast (from that link, scroll down to Podcasts to find it, it's called "How Good Parents Ruin Their Kids") from our church in Missouri where we attended when we lived there and where we are greatly looking forward to reconnecting to again in just a few short months.  It was on parenting.  They used the article How to Land Your Kid in Therapy as a springboard for discussion.  This is not a new article, and Adam and I have been talking about some of the topics for awhile now.

The article and podcast are somewhat lengthy, but I definitely encourage you to listen and read them both.  The article isn't written by a Christian author, but many of her points are quite sound.  The speaker in the podcast is a Christian and he is very candid about things (not to mention funny and enjoyable to listen to).

The article is that basically, simply by coming to our kids' rescue and "saving" them from every hardship and unhappiness they run into, we are ruining them for the real world as adults.

Guess what?  Your boss at your new job won't say bravo and great job at every little single thing you do!  You won't be praised for tying your shoes right and blowing your nose!  Sometimes you will meet people you don't like and you'll have to deal with them.  No one will come and tell them or their parents off for you.  It's up to you!  Your boss won't think of you as special and talented when you show up to work every morning and you won't receive a trophy (or a paycheck, in the case of "the real world") because you participated in work.

(This all reminds me, if you haven't seen Parental Guidance with Billy Crystal and Bette Midler, you are absoluty missing out on a hilarious film, not matter what the "critics" say.  See it at your first chance!!)

I grew up in a (very good) home where I was often told that my opinion didn't count.  Seriously.  Those were the words used.  And it used to make me mad, but I got over it.  And now, as a parent, I find myself using those same words and you know what?  It makes my kids mad, too.  But they'll get over it.  And I hope they'll be better for it, as I hope I am. 

I'd like to think that most of what we do here in our house is sound and not over-accommodating, but I'm not sure.  I want and need to start asking myself the question that was asked in the Podcast, "Am I doing this for me or them?"

Today is All School Ski Day at our school.  The kids are divided into their school teams at the beginning of each year.  Each team has kids k-12 in it, typically only one kid per grade on a team.  Today they will ski with their team.  Puck, who is a Kindergartener, is competent on skis, but certainly not at the level that most of his team will be.  I worried about this and finally told Adam last night.  He (oh, he who is so wise and I am very thankful to have him as my partner in this parenting gig!) smiled and said not worry, that Puck would have fun, that they've (they, as in the school staff) all thought about ability levels and how they will work it out.  See?  I didn't intervene and email his teacher (although I seriously considered it and would have if I hadn't spoken with Adam, which I why I usually try and talk with him about things before I open up an email) and he will have a fun day.  He may have to work harder then he has before, he may fall more because he's not used to some of the runs they'll go on, he might not have the best day even!  And that's ok!

Today will teach him about falling down and brushing himself off.  Today will help him understand fun is about being together, not just doing exactly what you want to do.  Today will let him see how a team works together and holds each other up.  Today is for him, not me.

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