Are we setting our children up for failure and not as future leaders?
Today’s society seems to embrace the mentality of “everyone gets a trophy”. Go to any kid’s end of the season soccer game and the whole team gets a medal or trophy. For dance recitals, bouquets of flowers and dance trophies are awarded to children, purchased by parents. If one sibling gets a toy because it’s his birthday, the other sibling also gets a toy. Does buying into this philosophy benefit or harm today’s children?
In an article published by Forbes called “7 Crippling Parenting Behaviors That Keep Children From Growing Into Leaders”, Kathy Caprino discusses mistakes that parents make in the future success of their children growing into leaders. She advises that parents are too overprotective, not allowing them to reach their full potential as a leader. Parents don’t let their children experience failure or risk, they over-indulge their children, or they don’t set an ethical example. Being a parent to two children, I know how easy it is to fall into these traps.
We want our children to feel loved and valued. However, being able to cope with real world situations as an adult begins in childhood. As a parent, it is my responsibility of ensuring my daughters have an understanding of the reality necessary to be successful as adults. This translates to not only when they reach adulthood, but also during their journey to reach that point. The public education classroom is rife with opportunities and disappointment and if we don’t begin teaching our children when they’re young how the “real world” operates, we are doing a disservice to them.
As a classroom teacher, I encountered too many parents who went to bat for their children without any substance. While I firmly believe in parents being an advocate for their children, I also believe many parents take liberties. They don’t want their children to receive the “F” on their paper because it hurts their feelings, even though they didn’t study for the test. How does this way of thinking prepare children for the workplace? What happens when they become adults and someone else receives the promotion over them? How will they handle the rejection if they don’t know how it feels to get their feelings hurt?
On the other hand, parents need to be cognizant of too much “tough love”. Some parents may take the opposite approach of the “everyone gets a trophy” mentality. I know I have been guilty of pushing my daughters too hard because I expect perfection from them. I constantly monitor myself trying not to overindulge them and at times can be too harsh with my expectations because I want them to be prepared and not be a victim of the “crippling parenting behaviors”. This has backfired on me at times and has created anxiety in my girls because they want to be strong and show those leadership qualities. This is where their father steps in as the voice of reason and tries to balance me and my projections onto my girls.
Parenting is one of the most important jobs in the world. How we raise our children affects the future. It is a never ending balancing act on the part of parents and children and how we prepare our future leaders.