Monday, January 10, 2011

can we fix our kids today?

I read this recently and thought it was very interesting. It comes from Huffington Post, written by Mark Goulston, MD.

How America Messed Up Its Kids... And How We Can Fix Them

In today's world of blame and finger-pointing, we're teaching our kids that accountability and responsibility are slippery slopes that don't mean what they used to. For example, have you witnessed a parent-teen conversation that went anything like this:

Teenager: "Please, Mom and Dad, just let me do this, and I promise that I will take full responsibility for it."

Parent: "Do you realize that taking full responsibility means that if it backfires and goes wrong, you will own up to it, pay back whatever it takes to make up for it going wrong and learn from it so that it doesn't happen again?"

Teenager: "I didn't agree to that."

Parent: "Well, then what do you think taking full responsibility means?"

Teenager: "That if it goes wrong, I will say, 'I'm sorry.'"

If you have witnessed such a conversation, do you agree with the following?

Among our main roles and responsibility as parents is to teach, coach, guide and pass on to our children the character (and I do mean character) traits of self-reliance, resourcefulness, initiative, taking responsibility for one's actions and learning from one's mistakes (see "How to Raise a Self-Confident Child").

If at age 18 they are lacking these, they are going to find success, happiness and life in general a challenge and even overwhelming.

To bring it into sharper focus, consider that at the exact moment that you as a parent bail out your child from facing the consequences of their screw-ups and taking full responsibility for them, literally millions of children in this world the same age as your child are taking full responsibility for their actions and becoming smarter, stronger and wiser. Within the next 10 to 20 years, those children (from China, India and elsewhere) will become your child's boss, and they won't bail out or accept your child's excuses. Instead, they will fire your children.

How Did America Mess Up Its Kids? Click to finish the article.

I know that I struggle with worries on raising my own children. I have one especially Spirited child that I struggle with the most. Admittedly, he is just like me and his attitude is a reflection of mine and we have a lot in common, but I still am unsure. When I look back on my life, my memories, my feelings and thoughts, I don't recall being this spirited. Yes, I do remember that when I made up my mind about something, I meant it and if I said something was done, it was, no matter what anyone else wanted to do! But I don't remember fighting my parents so such a young age. But then again, our minds choose to remember certain things and omit the others, doesn't it? *sigh* I worry that I'll fail in teaching my children (especially said difficult twin of mine!), that I won't be able to instill the character they need, the compassion they need, the responsibility they need to be good young adults. But I do have a good background. I am surrounded by wonderful mentors in my own extended family, we have good teachers at their school who work on teaching good principles as well, and we attend a great church. At the risk of offending anyone, I think that to raise a child well, you really do need to have a belief in something bigger than yourself, some would call it "religion". You need to have a set of standards to base your teaching on. I can't imagine not believing in something, not having that assurity that you're not alone, that you're not doing it all just for the sake of doing it, and not having some sort of guidelines.
But that's just my opinion.
What are your thoughts?


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