Don't Save Your Kids From Sadness & Disappointment
What have we done to our kids? Why do we feel like we need to redirect their sadness. Not getting the job, the date or the trophy is part of life. Feeling like you are lacking in a specific area is the invitation to grow and get better at it. As parents, we redirect them so they don't put a spotlight on it. But they NEED to put a spotlight on the sadness or disappointment so they can evolve through it and heal from it. This is such a primal part of growth. Don’t soften it with a trip to Disneyland.
We are seeing the results of the lack of these coping skills played out in high school and college campuses today. Not everyone gets the trophy. Not everyone will make the Dean’s list. Such is life. These disappointments in life are necessary to reflect on one’s ability or lack of ability to strive in a specific area.
Our kids journey is one of failures, fumbles and missteps. Ours is one of guidance and teaching not enabling and saving. I once had a very wise friend tell me that he believes childhood is like walking a tight rope. As parents our job is not to hold the child on the tight rope and keep them on it. But ours is to walk beneath it. When our child falls, we pick them up, dust them off and put them back on the rope while we walk and watch from below it.
One of the most important character traits we can teach our children is to take accountability for their behavior and participation in their own life’s successes and failures. Often times, I hear of kids getting in trouble at school. Rather than the parent confronting the child, they attack the school or teacher. This confrontation is lethal to your kids’ journey through accountability. It gives them permission to automatically point fingers at the other person rather than take ownership of their own actions. Every situation they are in, they have participated in some capacity. Ownership is required!
We have an epidemic of “low performance, high potential kids” today and this must transform.