Most of us would like to protect our child from the world and any harm that can come to them. Our job is to teach them how to live in the world as adults and be successful in their own right. Success means different things to different people. For some people it’s money, fame, power, importance, having a family of their own, being a church leader, or simply being happy and healthy. Regardless of what success means to you, all of the possibilities have certain commonalities in order to happen. Successful people know how to make good decisions, learn from bad decisions and do not repeat them, they have high self esteem, they understand cause and effect, and they understand they are accountable for their own life choices and actions. They understand nothing is free, the world isn’t fair, and no one owes them anything. They think for themselves.
Don’t wrap your child in bubble wrap and try to protect them from everything. You are doing them more harm than good. Kids learn consequences and decision making skills from all of those skinned knees and goofy things they do. It’s better they learn as kids in a controlled environment where we as parents can help them pick up the pieces. They gain a little more self confidence with every little good decision they make. Don’t give every kid a participation trophy. It’s important to learn to lose and improve ourselves in order to win. Don’t buy them everything they want. Teach them how to balance a bank account instead. Teach them to take care of things and value what they have. Replacing what they break or lose teaches them nothing. Let them go without for a little while. Make them do chores and learn the value of work. I’m all for letting a kid be a kid. My own is pretty spoiled. But, part of being a kid is learning to be an adult. Kids learn constantly from the adults in their life and by playing with their friends. Honestly, they aren’t just playing. They’re learning even when they appear to just be playing.
Of course we have to keep them on track and make sure things are age and developmentally appropriate for our child. Every child learns and develops at their own rate in their own way. Children are born with a personality unique to themselves. We don’t give them their personality, we can only hope to shape it. What worked for you as a child or works for your friends child, may not work for yours. What works for one of your children, may not work for another one. What has never worked with any child ever is smothering or controlling them to the point they cannot learn.
There is a fine line between making sure your child is talking and communicating with you and giving them no privacy or room to process, learn, and handle issues on their own. My own son processes internally for a while before he will talk about anything. It’s his personality. I’m the same way so I understand the process. If your child is an internal processor, give them some space then be available. Sometimes that space is ten minutes and sometimes it’s ten days. If they aren’t ready to talk, they aren’t going to. They will tell you what you want to hear to make you go away. When they are ready to talk, they won’t talk to you because they already told you to go away. Yes, that’s how that works. Often our kids think and respond to things exactly the way one or both of their parents do. I would like to say that’s all environment, but its not. Part of it is definitely genetic. My son did not see his dad for several years. His dad lives in another state. He is ten years old and has spent less than two months total of his life with his dad around. And yet, he has the exact same body stance and facial expressions when he gets mad. His personality has a lot of his dad’s aspects both good and bad. That’s not an environmental influence coming from his dad because he hasn’t been around to influence him in any significant way. Having said that, don’t ever bad mouth any parent in front of any child. You’re bad mouthing the child when you choose to bad mouth the parent.