I was having a deep conversation with some friends not too long ago in regards to child-rearing. We began by discussing a variety of layers of the topic, but the one that we became emotionally vested in was the belief that we were spoiling our kids.
So the conversation began with me group texting my friends about a “lazy” thing my oldest daughter did earlier in the week. The text then snowballed into an hour long “daddy confession” texting dialogue. My friends confirmed that they too were facing some of the similar situations with their respective kid(s).
So we came to the conclusion that we were basically raising “Generation Lazy.” As parents I believe at times we tend to overcompensate and provide our children with the things that we didn’t have. So much so that we often forget to provide them with the things that we did have. There are some teachings that I received when I was younger that I consider to be priceless: responsibility and work ethic. Don’t get me wrong, I think my kids are amazing and they excel in all that they do, but they do lack in some areas where I may have failed them.
For example, I tended to go overboard with the rewards at times. Got an A—reward. Cleaned your room—reward. Took a bath—reward (You see where I’m going with this). I was basically rewarding them for the things that they should be doing. I soon realized that I was actually setting them up for potential failure. As an adult, I now understand and know that the “real” world will not reward you for all that you consider to be good or positive. I’m all down for positive reinforcement, but it got to a point when they expected the rewards for every little deed that they did. This philosophy they developed resulted into them making statements such as, “Dad I washed my dish—can I get five dollars?” “Dad I did my homework—can we go eat McDonalds?” “Dad I made my bed this morning—can you order me something from Amazon?”
I should have known that these statements were leading to the word that I tried my best to keep out of not only my conscious, but my kids—entitlement. When you have a sense of entitlement, you tend to get lazy in your approach to certain things. It’s almost as if there is no distinct difference between good and great.
For example, in youth sports today, kids tend to receive trophies regardless of their performance or effort. When we create this false “world” where everyone wins, we’re robbing them of their ability to learn to deal with failure. If you were to ask any successful person in their designated creative space, they will tell you that they’ve experienced more failure than success. I fear this generation coming up will have a rude awakening if they hold on to that “entitlement” mentality.
So, have you experienced this in your parenting efforts? What did you do to overcome it? How do you create that balance?
(Photo Credit: Motherhood.com)