If you want your child to blossom into be a Leader, then be ready to embrace failure. Of the “7 Crippling Parenting Behaviors That Keep Children From Growing Into Leaders”, 5 of them boil down to not adequately embracing failure…
- We don’t let our children experience risk – We live in a world that warns us of danger at every turn. The ‘safety first’ preoccupation enforces our fear of losing our kids, so we do everything we can to protect them. It’s our job after all, but we have insulated them from healthy risk-taking behavior and it’s had an adverse effect. Psychologists in Europe have discovered that if a child doesn’t play outside and is never allowed to experience a skinned knee, they frequently have phobias as adults. Kids need to fall a few times to learn it’s normal; teens likely need to break up with a boyfriend or girlfriend to appreciate the emotional maturity that lasting relationships require. If parents remove risk from children’s lives, we will likely experience high arrogance and low self-esteem in our growing leaders.
- We rescue too quickly – Today’s generation of young people has not developed some of the life skills kids did 30 years ago because adults swoop in and take care of problems for them. When we rescue too quickly and over-indulge our children with ‘assistance,’ we remove the need for them to navigate hardships and solve problems on their own. It’s parenting for the short-term and it sorely misses the point of leadership—to equip our young people to do it without help. Sooner or later, kids get used to someone rescuing them: ‘If I fail or fall short, an adult will smooth things over and remove any consequences for my misconduct.’ When in reality, this isn’t even remotely close to how the world works, and therefore it disables our kids from becoming competent adults.
- We rave too easily – Attend a little league baseball game and you’ll see that everyone is a winner. This ‘everyone gets a trophy’ mentality might make our kids feel special, but research is now indicating this method has unintended consequences. Kids eventually observe that Mom and Dad are the only ones who think they’re awesome when no one else is saying it. They begin to doubt the objectivity of their parents; it feels good in the moment, but it’s not connected to reality. When we rave too easily and disregard poor behavior, children eventually learn to cheat, exaggerate and lie and to avoid difficult reality. They have not been conditioned to face it. [Ed. a fine article on this particular point is “Parents sinking some kids with their puffed-up praise”]
- We let guilt get in the way of leading well – Your child does not have to love you every minute. Your kids will get over the disappointment, but they won’t get over the effects of being spoiled. So tell them ‘no’ or ‘not now,’ and let them fight for what they really value and need.
- We don’t share our past mistakes – Healthy teens are going to want to spread their wings and they’ll need to try things on their own. We as adults must let them, but that doesn’t mean we can’t help them navigate these waters. Share with them the relevant mistakes you made when you were their age in a way that helps them learn to make good choices. (Avoid negative “lessons learned” having to do with smoking, alcohol, illegal drugs, etc.) Also, kids must prepare to encounter slip-ups and face the consequences of their decisions. Share how you felt when you faced a similar experience, what drove your actions, and the resulting lessons learned. Because we’re not the only influence on our kids, we must be the best influence.
For completeness sake, the remaining two were “We mistake intelligence, giftedness and influence for maturity” and “We don’t practice what we preach.”