You better do these 5 things or you’ll be raising inconsiderate, spoiled, privileged children who aren’t ready for the real world.
We tell our kids, “wait until you get out into the real world.” Well there are two sides to that coin. The real world can be tough on you if don’t have an education and can’t get a job. Yet at the same time, it can be a breeze if you can figure out how to “work the system.”
How do we raise our children to be competent, reliable, accountable adults when the odds are stacked against us and them?
Implement these 5 things and you are much more likely to end up with strong, responsible, and capable kids who grow into compassionate, dependable and ethical adults.
Quit Getting Offended Over Everything
I am so sick of hearing people say they are offended here and there and everywhere. They are offended by something this week that was there last week and it didn’t bother them then! Children need to learn the lesson “We can agree to disagree.” They need to learn from their parent’s example that people do not always agree. Tell them something you and your spouse feel differently about and talk it over with them. Each of you explain your side, and let them make up their minds as to how they feel about it. Show them you can still care very deeply about someone and have a different point of view. If we practice this at home, our children will more likely accept the opinions of others for what they truly are, just “someone else’s opinion.” The mere definition of “Offended” in the dictionary sounds ridiculous. Some of the terms are: affronted, exasperated, disgruntled, put out, irked, galled, irritated, and huffy. We have seen what people who feel like this can do when they go too far and gather together in mass and destroy and harm others. Currently people have died, towns burned to the ground and lives violently changed all because people cannot “agree to disagree.” If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn’t there. So, guess what happens after you get offended? Nothing! That’s it! Now move on.
The school’s keep track when your student is late to class most of the time. I know my son got into the habit last year of going to school well into 1st period. He knows that we are gone to work by then so he sneaks off to school late. After we caught on from my daughter ratting him out, we made a new rule regarding being late to school. We never really had a rule because the teacher never said anything. Losing some privileges on the weekends fixed that quickly enough. But it wasn’t about the behavior of being late to class it was the lack of caring that he was interrupting the class and not concerned about what he had missed while class began without him. Being punctual is such an important quality to have. It shows respect to the person teaching the class, or the boss waiting for you to show up at work. I want to scream when I see one of those bumper stickers that say, “always late, but worth the wait.” No, you’re not. You are being rude and disrespectful of other’s time. Most people feel frustrated and annoyed when waiting on someone who is late. The funny thing is, people who are late, get upset with others if they are waiting on them. Again, show by example that you respect other people’s time and your children will follow your lead.
Spend, Spend, Spend
In my home, there is no such thing as a free ride. Kids want new phones, video games, clothes and everything under the sun. It is not our responsibility to purchase all these items for them. Nowhere does it say, “as a parent you must provide a new cell phone every six month.” One of the greatest things I had my children do, was read Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace. My children are 13 and 14 and they got the message loud and clear reading this book. Go a step further and look for the closest Financial Peace class. Many churches hold them. Go online and find one. Take your children through the course with you. I promise you they will have a different view of money when they are done. When my kids earn money 10% goes into savings, 10% future money fund, (towards their car when they come of age) and they get the rest as fun money. The fun money is put on a debit card and they are required to keep track of how much they spend. My husband gets an alert from the bank if either one of my kids tries to go over their available funds.
I will buy their clothes for school and their school supplies but not that new phone case they think they have, to have. They love going to the dollar store to get stuff because it stretches that dollar. They do their regular chores and then there are EXTRA chores they can do to earn money. My 13-year-old daughter turned into a maid over summer vacation. My 14-year-old son is a sweeper at the elementary school. By getting them into good money habits now and teaching them the proper use of a debit card, hopefully they will carry that knowledge into adulthood and not get themselves in debt as millions of people do. Teach them to budget and spend wisely. As Dave Ramsey says, “If you will live like no one else, LATER, you can live like no one else.”
Too Much Involvement
It’s about not being a Helicopter Parent. Last year we had an issue with my daughter and some teenage drama between her and her friends. The first couple of times it happened I was aware that she got pulled into the principal’s office along with some other girls. I felt as if the situation was handled professionally so I let it go. When it continued to the point of one of the girls called her the “n” word, I felt the mama bear come out. I contacted the school and ask that this individual girl be made aware that this is not acceptable. Nothing was done about it. I ended up calling the mother of this girl and explained the situation to her. She was appalled that her daughter would speak this way. I asked my daughter what more she thought we should do. She indicated that she wanted to just let it go and move on. I was very proud of her and learned a good lesson from her. She didn’t take the incident personally and she didn’t need me to step in and come to the rescue for her. I was offended by that word and felt I needed to support her. My daughter is very comfortable in her skin and she is quite aware that she is a black girl in a white school. This taught me that I need not be involved in every situation that my teens have. Give them the chance to talk with you and work it out by themselves if they can. Simply giving encouragement and letting them handle the situation teaches them that you trust them to make decisions on their own.
Do Your Job
While most people have a few chores that their children are responsible to do I think it goes much deeper than that. Explaining to a teenager that they have a job and responsibilities sometimes brings moans and groans. Let them moan and groan. Later in life, they will have jobs and responsibilities. At 13 and 14, Kobe and Chloe are experts at laundry. They have been doing their own since they were 11. Another job they are required to do is wake up on time for school, get some breakfast and get to the bus stop on time because walking a mile to school in the snow isn’t the funnest thing to do. Their job right now is to do their homework, turn it in on time and organize themselves so they can meet school deadlines. Kobe was really struggling last year to turn in his homework. He went so far as to end up with a couple of F’s on his report card. I tried everything other than doing the work myself. I tried an expensive soficisticated planner, making a special “homework to turn in” folder, and finally a tracker that all his teachers had to sign every day. If he got all seven signatures for all five days of the week, he could go with his friends on the weekend. The principal and teachers created this tracker system. I seemed to work for him as school ended last fall. But then I got to thinking as I was stressing out daily about him starting high school, he shouldn’t get a kudo just getting a paper signed! My heavens, he is 14 years old. As he enters high school this year I am going to back off and make him accountable for his actions. If he gets an “F” he won’t be able to play on the basketball team. That will hopefully be punishment enough. I can’t continue to coddle him through school so that he doesn’t fail. If he fails, he fails. He’ll learn that I won’t always be there to get him organized. *I think this might be harder on me than him*sigh*
Other areas such as helping around the house aren’t as difficult for him for some reason. He doesn’t ever mind helping out at home. He helped his dad build a new deck this past summer. He didn’t get paid for the work, he just helped. He learned to build with his own two hands and he proudly shows his friends the deck him and his dad built. If school could only be this easy.
I know we are not the perfect parents by any means but, our goal is to send our children out into the world where they have a chance to stand on their own two feet and not fear what is ahead of them.
Stop being a helicopter parent and let your children make mistakes. Give them tasks that may seem difficult at their age. They will fail at some things and excel at others. Teach them to keep trying.
To finish I want to add this tidbit from David Wolfe regarding a 75-year study by Harvard.
Children Who Do Chores Are More Successful
“Doing chores gives kids the fundamental building blocks in developing values important at work. It allows them to be independent and learn how to handle responsibility so they are more equipped to do unpleasant, tedious tasks.
They also better understand the value of collaboration. The younger the kids start the better. So help your kids be successful adults while taking a bit of the weight off your shoulder.”