Never in my life have I taken a job more seriously than being a mom. There is such a heavy responsibility placed on parents’ shoulders. It is sobering to know that the decisions I make today will have an impact on Claire’s life forever. While that is true, here’s something else that’s true: People have been parenting since the very beginning. Throughout history, families have been started and children have been raised over and over again – without the help of parenting books, babycenter.com, or therapists. Parenting was just part of life. Children were loved and they were also expected to behave a certain way, be responsible, and contribute to the family.
The next few posts on the blog will be dedicated to the idea of overparenting. We love our kids and we want the best for them. But sometimes in our passion to give them the good life, we cross a line and begin to cripple who our children are created to be. We do this by overprotecting, overindulging, and overinflating.
Kids used to be tough. My dad tells stories from his childhood of walking to school in snowstorms, running wild through the hills of the Ozarks with his cousins, and shooting a BB gun with no adults present at the age of 5. I’ll tell you one thing – in those days kids were responsible. If not, they learned responsibility quickly through the natural consequences of their stupidity or by their Daddy’s belt.
I’m not saying every parenting technique used in the past was a good idea. I’m thankful that my parents didn’t buy into the idea that children should be seen and not heard, didn’t beat me with a belt, and told me they loved me every single day.
What I do think is this: For the most part, kids back then learned responsibility, knew what it meant to be held accountable, and learned to stand on their own two feet. They were expected to do their chores, solve their own problems, and grow up to be productive members of society.
Compared to that, kids these days are wimps. And truthfully, many of them are entitled, irresponsible brats. These little ones have beautiful destinies to fulfill, but they never will if we continue to enable this helpless, irresponsible behavior.
Kids need to fall down and scrape their knees.
They need to lose.
They need to learn to work, and work hard.
They need to make their own mistakes and deal with the consequences.
They need to struggle to attain something.
They need to understand that the world doesn’t revolve around them.
They need to know that others depend on them.
They need to solve the problems they create.
When we take these experiences away from our kids, we cripple them. They have to learn these lessons one way or another – as kids, when the stakes are low, or as adults, when the cost is much higher. In order to be successful (and happy) in this world, our kids have to learn responsibility. It’s impossible to protect them from every hardship and every painful situation. We can’t hold them forever – we have to teach them to stand.