If I won the lottery, sorry kids, but I would not be ensuring you are set up for life. I would be doing you a disservice if I did. If you knew you had a couple million dollars sitting in a bank, would you really try to reach your whole potential or would you wither the years away waiting till that money showed up in your account and you could do anything you wanted? Now granted a couple million wouldn’t get you too far these days if all you did was spend but it would be enough to make you lazy.
As parents, we all want to do better for our kids. My Mom and Dad wanted better for me and my brothers. No different than their parents wanted better for them. And no different than I want for mine. Maybe it’s my age that has me thinking that the future work force is looking a little scary. I have read a number of articles that say this up and coming generation will offer society the least amount of inventions. They will not have anything new to add to society. That is rather scary. And what does that say about us as parents?
Kids are no longer allowed to play outside without supervision because ‘something’ might happen. The news and social media have blown events out of portion so much that we live in a constant state of fear. Gone are the days of leaving first thing in the morning and returning home when you got called for dinner. No, not a phone call on your cell phone calling you for dinner, but your mom yelling out the back door that it was dinner time. No longer are kids encouraged to explore their surroundings. Parents hover at every turn telling their kids don’t touch that, don’t play there, put that down, don’t talk to strangers, and on and on. No longer are kids encouraged to find their artistic side. With so many schools cutting out programs like music and art to make room and the budget available for the ‘important things’ like Math and English. Yes, those are important but more important than allowing a child to blossom with their creativity?
So many of the sports that we played as kids for fun are a chore now a days as well! We have hockey and soccer academies. Kids can be enrolled to take 2 core subjects a day then spend the rest of the time on the ice or on a field. It’s ludicrous to me to even begin to understand why a parent would do this. Ya sure, your kid has talent but you’re probably the parent up in the stands yelling at him or her to do better, be better, work harder. For what?? To peak in a sport when they are 15-16 years old?? Even the Great One himself, Wayne Gretzky, has spoken out on this. Read The Great One’s message to parents here.
I read an article a while back in Maclean’s magazine that reported there is a crisis on campus with the number of cases of depressed students. The suicide rates are up. Click here on Campus Crisis to read that article. What the heck parents?? What is our generation of parents doing to this generation of kids?? Parents that hover have the best of intentions but it had been proven over and over again that these intentions are not turning out for the best. The next generation is a broken one. And we caused it. We are so busy trying to get our kid to be the best at what WE deem necessary that we have forgot that kids learn by PLAYING. They don’t solve their own problems anymore because they are so conditioned to get an adult to intervene. They don’t take chances anymore because they are too worried about getting in trouble. Or told that the adult in their life can do it better, so just get out of the way… the parent will do it. When my oldest son was in Kindergarten, I was in as a parent helper. I was stationed at the Mother’s Day gift making station. It was a project that required cutting something out of construction paper, gluing it together then telling the parent helper what was special about their Moms. I was to write down why they thought their Mom was so special and they were to sign their names to this gift. Well, all the pieces had been cut out for them so they didn’t need to do that part. They just had to glue it. Even at that, the kids wanted me to do it because I ‘glued it better’. Most of them didn’t want to sign their names because their printing was ‘too messy’. So who was making this Mother’s Day gift?? Well they met their match with me because I refused to do it. I would rather get an over glued, uneven cut picture with a messy signature than the most expensive gift you could buy from any one of my kids.
By not allowing our kids to practice these adult skills, how are they ever going to learn?? How will they ever get good at being an adult if we don’t let them play at it BEFORE they are an adult? Why do you think they make toys to imitate the ‘grown up real version’ of things? Are we really too busy keeping up with the Jones’ next door that it is easier for us to do everything because it will take less time? Are we really that low on self-esteem that we need our kids to be great to prove that we accomplished something in life? Are we really that afraid of other people’s opinion on what our kids turn out like WE are going to be judged? WAKE UP PEOPLE! We have raised a generation of lazy, unproductive, competitive, “tell me I’m special” kids! They are all special… but no more so than the kid next door or the kids sitting next to them in their class or the kid that is in whatever freakin class you have your kid signed up for. Just another one of my beefs. Kids signed up for too many extracurricular activities (this coming from the Mom that told her 13 year old that “no, I don’t think you need to play basketball, rugby AND wrestle. You need to pick!)
Kids are not supposed to be good at EVERYTHING! No different that we are not supposed to know everything. Some kids are good at running. Some are good at public speaking. Some are great at hockey. Some are good at math. Others excel at wood work. And some are damn good gluers!
STOP hovering over your kid. STOP living your life vicariously through your kid. STOP expecting your 2 year old to be the next Einstein. START giving your child the chance to mess up then let THEM figure out the solution. See that your child has their OWN greatness. Know that your kids WANT to make you proud, let them.
If we start loving them for what they can accomplish rather than what we hoped they could accomplish, don’t you think that would drastically bring that rate of depression and suicide down? They are, after all, only trying to please us…