Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Am I a mom-hole? Raising up tough-minded kids.

I am so curious your thoughts on this post; mainly, if you think I'm an asshole after reading it.

I heard a quote once that literally changed my perspective on fear and parenting. More specifically, the fear of the obstacles my children will face, the fear of poor decision-making which could somehow lead my kids down the wrong path in life. What can I do to set them up for the greatest opportunity to succeed? I asked myself.  Put them in the right schools? What is the "right" school anyway? How can I make sure every single friend of their's is a good influence? I mean it's exhausting. And OBVIOUSLY, I can really control none of these things.

Then I heard this:
"You can't prepare the journey for the child, you must prepare the child for the journey."

It helped me let go of my need to make sure my kids were constantly in what I deemed the "right" situations.

You've met those parents. The ones that do anything to make sure their child has the edge over other kids in sports, organizations, any type of activity. I recently read an article one mom wrote about kindergarden, saying she won't start her child until they are 6, turning 7. I mean, what about the rest of the classmates who are 5? What are we doing to those children? And listen I think there are definitely situations when younger kids should be held back, after all, I did grow up in Texas where it is commonplace to hold kids back who have end-of-May birthdays. So let me be clear: this not about my opinion on kindergarden, this is about the growing movement of parents to shield our kids from uncomfortable and challenging situations. It's the constant need to keep our children one step ahead (of what, I'm not quite sure).

Our children will face adversity, and people will be better than them physically, academically and socially. THEIR WHOLE LIVES. No matter what we do as parents, there will be tough times for our kids. I know, I don't like it either, but I do not subscribe to the mindset of trying to do all I can to avoid little Sam from ever getting his feelings hurt or not making the team.

That's the reality of the journey folks and it's a tough one. Haven't we heard, "Life is 10% what happens to us, and 90% how we react to it?" We are forgetting to teach this to our children.

Here's what I believe I CAN control: making sure my children have the means to deal with rejection. To laugh it off, to learn from it, to use it as fuel to drive them further towards learning where they excel. I can teach them that most of the time, nothing is really that big of a deal. There is always a solution, a Plan B, and a silver lining.

See these two?

They will do many things well. In fact they will do great things. But, they will be challenged, they will fail, and my proudest mommy moment will be when they realize that it is all OK.

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