Get This Out Of Your Toolbox…
Parenting is such a huge undertaking. It’s one of the most difficult things to get right.
In fact, if you’ve been a parent for more than a few years yourself, you probably agree – there’s no way to get it perfect, but there are many ways to be pretty good at it.
For years, we had a trend where the popular method of parenting was to protect your children from any of the harsher things in life.
Instead of rewarding the baseball MVP, all teammates got a participation trophy and a cupcake.
The thinking was that this would make the kids feel good about themselves – even the ones who weren’t so great at participating.
Instead of punishing children or giving them chores, they were treated as equals and talked to when they made transgressions. Again, this was borne of niceness, but the effect was that children felt no obedience to their parents or teachers, and then later, in the workforce, they had a hard time listening to the authority of their bosses.
Instead of letting young children swing and slide and play for themselves, parents stood next to them to make sure they wouldn’t get a splinter or skinned knee. In the end, children stayed safe, but they also were unsure of themselves physically and as a result, they were less confident.
This style of parenting was referred to as “helicopter parenting”, and instead of protecting children so they could grow into the best possible versions of themselves…
It resulted in a generation that’s not sure how to stand on their own two feet.
And instead of a full-scale backlash against the helicopter style of parenting, some parents have gone even further in that direction – mowing down any obstacle in their child’s path.
This is referred to as “lawnmower parenting”, and it extends well beyond the toddler years.
They got a bad grade? Well, you better call the school and negotiate on their behalf.
They didn’t get a spot on the soccer team? Call the league and threaten to expose their unfair try out practices all over social media.
They’re having a hard time adjusting to college? Get on the phone with the dean and see what can be done to make finals easier for them.
You might think I’m exaggerating about this, but I’m not. School principals, college professors, and even hiring managers are now reporting that good ol’ Mom and Dad are calling them to mediate on behalf of their offspring.
This Doesn’t Bode Well For The Future
Instead of a generation of confident young adults who are ready to take on anything life throws at them…
This coddling is creating young people who are less equipped to deal with reality than ever before.
Here’s an example.
Ashley Walters was a guest on my show recently. He’s a British musician, actor, and producer.
He’s well-known for his role in the Netflix show ‘Top Boy’. Ashley also just earned his first producer credit on the popular TV show Bulletproof.
He first entered the British music scene in 2001 and quickly rose to fame with a number one at the age of just 19.
He is now aiming to give back to the community and pioneer a rise in new talent across London and the rest of the UK with ‘Top Boy Academy’.
And he credits a lot of his success to the fact that he had a not-so-easy upbringing.
His father was in and out of prison, often leaving Ashley to fend for himself.
While this is certainly a less than ideal circumstance for any child, it left Ashley with a sense that he could achieve just about anything.
When Ashley was on my show, he told me a story about his own son that demonstrates the stark difference between the way he grew up and the softer, gentler style of parenting.
He related that one time, his son had a funeral to attend on Friday, followed by an important game on Saturday.
When Ashley asked his son how his game went, hoping to hear the play by play in this crucial match, his son simply shrugged and said, “I didn’t go. I was tired.”
That didn’t sit well with Ashley, and he ultimately told his son so. He explained to his son that when you make a commitment to your team, you show up. When you have an opportunity, you take it – no matter what happened the day before.
This probably wouldn’t go over very well with those in the softer side of parenting camps, but it was the right move to make. When kids mess up, we shouldn’t give them a trophy. We should tell them, “Hey, you need to do better next time.”
When they’re making choices of their own accord…
We Need To Let Them Go and Try
Barring any kind of inherent danger, you could even start this as early as the toddler years. ‘’
Let them climb around on the playground, Let them negotiate their own way in the world – if that’s on a team, in school, or even just in a friend group.
We need to rethink the way we raise our kids. If we want them to accomplish, we’ve got to let them try, stumble, try again, and even fail while the stakes are still low.
We need to remove the ideals of helicopter and lawnmower style parenting from our parenting toolboxes and instead let our kids and grandkids make choices that are oriented towards growth, not safety.
Yes, it can be hard. Yes, you will want to step in from time to time… but you’ll have to stop yourself.
Editor, Brian Rose Uncensored