The most natural thing for good parents to do is try make it easier, safer and less frustrating for their children. Each generation of parents seeks a better life for their offspring. However too much spoiling and pampering leads to weakness.
Here’s an example posted by a loving mother in southeastern Idaho. Families are strong in part due to the rural environment and Mormon church culture. This story is told by Tara Contreras, who lives in Chubbuck.
Conversations with Mateo….
Since I had to take Isabella to work this morning, I stopped and grabbed Mateo his favorite breakfast sandwich.
I notice he is looking at it strange and not really happy at all. Shocked I ask him what is wrong.
He says, “Mom, I like it when the cheese is on the bottom. This has the cheese on top.”
Quick thinking me…..I take the sandwich back, turn my back to him and then turn back presenting him with the sandwich in picture two.
Eyes wide open and huge smile on his face….
“Thanks Mom!!!! Just what I wanted!!”
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What’s the Lesson Here?
Tara fails her young son for many reasons. First, she does for him rather than teaching him to solve problems himself. Second, she takes the sandwich, turns her back, and seemingly does something magical to resolve the issue.
Mateo doesn’t learn to do for himself. Mommie reinforces that he should remain dependent on her for solutions. Additionally, she actually deceives him by pretending to make some mysterious transformation with the sandwich.
Mateo doesn’t learn to be resilient, innovative or solve problems for himself. Her action instead increases his co-dependency on his mother.
I asked a number of people for their thoughts. My wife laughed. She said her Daddy Matt certainly would not have been so accommodating. “Stop the damn whining and eat your breakfast. Be thankful you have something to eat,” she claimed her papa would have said.
Thinking about my father and how he responded in such situation. It’s likely he would have said, “The world doesn’t owe you a living or a perfect breakfast sandwich. Get up earlier tomorrow and make yourself a better breakfast.”
I can truly hear my mother, always the educator, as she spent her career as a first-grade teacher. She seemed to turn every opportunity into a “teaching moment.” She was an intense questioner.
“What’s wrong with your sandwich?”
I like it when the cheese is on the bottom.
“Where’s the cheese now?”
On the top.
“What can you do to change that?”
I don’t know.
“You’re a really smart guy. What can you think of to make it better?”
What if I turn it over?
“That sounds like a wonderful idea. Try it. Does it make it better?”
Oh! Ya, I see. Really cool. Thanks mom!!!
My mom’s method takes more time and a lot more patience. It’s seems as a society we’re in short supply of both. Nevertheless, time and patience is what leads to strong relationships and healthy keiki.
Here’s another example. Stephanie Johnson posts to social media seeking housing for her college-age son. She wants to know if “anyone has a place to rent or pull to get campus housing.” She would assist her son to become more resilient and confident by urging him to do this for himself.
Many of our teens are unable to navigate a landlord-tenant agreement, fill our school forms for housing or create professional networks with others to solve challenges. This is another learning opportunity.
Don’t simply throw your teen “to the wolves.” Give them suggestions. Let them try on their own. Ask them over dinner about their daily quests and activities. Don’t simply give them a fish; help them learn to fish.
We love our kids, but we must teach independence, common sense and resiliency. Too much love encapsulates our children in a protective bubble. Our natural parenting instinct is to protect … yet that many not inspire our children to grow into young teens and adults who can protect themselves in our increasingly demanding world.
Use such opportunities as teaching moments to prepare your offspring to be strong, innovative and problem-solving adults.
Developing Strong, Confident Children and Teens
Kayla Street Saballa, provided a Parenting Tip List
As a pediatric therapist for more than 30 years, I have come up with a list of what I believe kids need and don’t need. I wish I could have a do-over on a few of these.
What kids don’t need:
- Cell phones when they’re in grade school. Over the years, I cannot tell you one good thing that can come from this.
- Unlimited access to social media. There is very little that is healthy on social media for children and it is getting worse.
- So many toys that they can’t even think of something to want at birthday or holiday times. Too much of anything leaves children unable to be full. They become like buckets with holes in them.
- Televisions in their rooms. Rooms are for sleeping. Good sleep hygiene is a dying art for too many children.
- To be able to control the emotional climate of the home. Moody kids should not be allowed to hold the whole house hostage. If a child wants to be moody, he can go to his room and be moody by himself. Everyone else need not suffer.
- Too much indoor time. Our kids have become hermits with social media and high tech games. It is ruining their social skills. It’s also taking a toll on their physical well-being.
- Too many activities outside of school. No wonder this generation is so anxiety-ridden. They are overloaded. If we want to teach them to take care of themselves as they age, we must teach them to do that by our example and by limiting their extracurricular activities. Scripture even recognizes the need to rest.
- To be able to disrespect any authority. Even authority that you as a parent dislike or the child dislikes should still be respected. There will always be an authority in your child’s life even when your child is 50.
- To always call the shots. Children who get to always choose where to eat, where to play, and what the family does end up being brats.
- Constant approval and pats on the back. You will not always be around to do this. Children need to learn to be proud of themselves when they do something good whether anyone tells them or not.
What children do need:
I. Rest. They play hard. Their bodies need rest to grow and develop.
- Uninterrupted family time. The most important people to a child are those under the same roof. Make family time purposeful and protected.
- Outdoor play time where they can explore and create. All kids need free time to imagine.
- Rules and expectations. Be clear. Be concise. And don’t be afraid to give them.
- Consistent discipline. If a rule is broken, a child needs to know what to expect. All fear is not a bad thing. There is a fear that can represent respect.
- Parents who love them and love each other. Security begins here.
- For you as a parent to say “no” sometimes. Your child does not need a lollipop or a new shirt every time you go to Walmart.
- Hugs. Physical touch affects the development of children.
- The ability to share their feelings about anything as long as they are respectful.
- The most precious gift that a parent can give any child is to demonstrate a personal relationship with God and consistently teach that child through your actions what having faith in God really means. In the toughest times of their lives, they will learn in large part to rely on God by the example you display for them.
Post cred: Cindy Ketron
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