Yesterday, NPR reported on the latest in a seemingly never-ending revelation that parents are enabling kids. It apparently goes so much farther than enabling. It’s hard to find the right word to describe the absurd lengths to which parents go these days to insulate their kid’s self esteem. To the enabler, It never seems absurd in the moment; but after taking a few steps back, one just might hear a parent say in probable disbelief, “Did I just do that?” Until she looks at the parent next to her (or him) doing the same thing and she says to herself, “You bet I did. No way are you getting ahead of my kid.”
See? … It’s all because we love them… and want to protect them. We must race in and save – okay win! Their fragile identity is at stake.
Sadly, though, all that love, protection, setting up for victory, padding their way – it’s not working out so well on the other side. See also: bring your parent to work days.
So much for the set-up. Read for yourself Easter Egg Hunt in Colorado Canceled Due to Aggressive Parents. Here’s a snippet:
“Parenting observers cite the cancellation as a prime example of “helicopter parents” — those who hover over their children and are involved in every aspect of their children’s lives — sports, school, and increasingly work — to ensure that they don’t fail, even at an Easter egg hunt.
“They couldn’t resist getting over the rope to help their kids,” said Ron Alsop, a former Wall Street Journal reporter and author of The Trophy Kids Grow Up, which examines the “millennial children” generation.
“That’s the perfect metaphor for millennial children. They (parents) can’t stay out of their children’s lives. They don’t give their children enough chances to learn from hard knocks, mistakes.”
The article goes on to describe the mad dash for eggs, which is enough to make you want to shake your head in disgust and X-out. But it’s Ron last statement that got my ire more than the fact that parents just might be slightly over-involved. Not because he said it, but because he’s right.
“I don’t see any sign of it abating,” he said. “It seems everything is more and more and more competitive, fast paced, and I think parents are going to see they need to do more to help their kids get an edge.”
Is that really what we’re working toward? Wedging ourselves in our kids’ lives so that they can never function without us?
It’s just the opposite. We must do LESS to get our kids the edge.
Have we forgotten who we are and where we live? We live in a country of unparallelled opportunity. What if we put all our effort into teaching the kids how to hunt rather than filling their baskets for them? What if we put our money where our mouths are and let them actually live out the words we shower upon them day in and day out. “You really can do anything you put your mind to… Now go on and try.” What if we sat back rather than jumped in. What if we helped them up rather than never let them fall. Better yet, teach them how to pull themselves up and cheer them on as they do it themselves?
Can we for a moment imagine what a techo-advanced kid equipped with skills to problem solve and critically think, who is not afraid to try and fail and get back up and try again could accomplish?!!!
Now that’s American Dreaming.
Thanks for walking the equipping road with me.
Hard not to throw in a little Churchill when you are talking about success and failure – here is one of his many insightful quotes on the subject:
Success consists of going from failure to failure
without loss of enthusiasm.
How will the next generation ever know failure ultimately
reinvigorates, it does not devastate.
Thanks for commenting, Kathy … so well said.
Kay, I was talking with someone just today. She was telling me how her son has trouble waking, and she half jokingly said “I may have to hire someone to go to college with him to help him get up in time!”
I desperately wanted to suggest that she let her son miss classes and fail, if that’s the behavior he chooses. Let him get a taste of it, and allow him to feel the consequences.
I keep worrying about this generation entering the workforce. Nobody is going to hold their hand, and they just might fail. These kids are going to be confused. They won’t understand how or why this happened….and I suspect they’ll look to their parents to help them get their next job. When does it end???