RULE NUMBER ONE : STAY IN YOUR OWN LANE
Everyone has an important role in order for a child to develop fully, and the professionals will know their role. It’s really only the parent that needs any coaching, and it is important for parents to listen to this coaching, and learn from it. In the first two years, and really all the way until they turn 12 years old, your child is absorbing everything they hear or see or experience. When parents do not know their actual role, they may get suckered into the role of “maid”, or “go-fer”, or “personal bodyguard”, which will actually stunt the growth of their child1. In their confusion, parents may even try to take on someone else’s role, and be the “teacher” or the “coach” or the “counselor”, and risk eventually getting called out or smacked down by their own kid, or even worse, the kid chooses not to speak up, and eventually just burns out or quits an activity rather than face the stress of confronting the parent. In order to not get fired from their own job, parents will need to choose a sustainable role; one for which they can secure a lifetime of successful employment. Good luck, Parents! We are all counting on you.
1 Examples of lessons your kid desperately needs to learn:
- Kids need to advocate [or speak up for] themselves. If you step in, your kid misses out on how to do this.
- Kids need to fail, and learn how to handle it. Let them fail occasionally. If they fail too much, We will work on a solution together.
- Kids need to take care of themselves. They don’t need a “fixer”, a “go-fer, or a “personal assistant” just yet.
- Kids need boundaries. Stop letting your kid run you. “Yes” cannot be the answer to every question. Maybe try flipping a coin sometimes at least.
- Kids need to feel the sting of unfairness. How else can they learn to cope with it?
- Kids need to find their “place”, or where they “fit in”. The rest of the world will teach them this, stop getting in the way of it.
- Kids need to know they can come to you. Let them come to you. Remind them they can come to you if you are feeling neglected [#It’sNotAllAboutYou]
- Kids need to be bored once in a while. It lets them possibly think versus mindlessly suck in content from a video screen.
WHAT ARE ACEs?
“Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) come in many forms, from physical and mental abuse to neglect and household dysfunction. Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are stressful or traumatic events, including abuse and neglect. They may also include household dysfunction such as witnessing domestic violence or growing up with family members who have substance use disorders. ACEs are strongly related to the development and prevalence of a wide range of health problems throughout a person’s lifespan, including those associated with substance misuse.”
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Physical neglect
- Emotional neglect
- Intimate partner violence
- Mother treated violently
- Substance misuse within household
- Household mental illness
- Parental separation or divorce
- Incarcerated household member
Amazingly, 40% of Us have experienced at least 2 of these growing up. Over two thirds have had at least one. Any of these will put children on a path to poor health outcomes at the very least, and since health care will now be something We all pay for together, We can no longer allow these issues to occur. Studies have reached two important conclusions:
- Much of what make Us who we are [or what We learn or absorb] is formed in the first 2 years
- Two thirds of children will have some kind of life-altering trauma that will stunt their development
OUR CONCLUSION: If We are to disseminate fair education, and grow sustainable people, We will need to assist, support [and when necessary] monitor and advise parents from the first day their child is born.
Helicopter parent (n) – a parent who takes an overprotective or excessive interest in the life of their child or children.
Snow plough parent (n) – a parent who feels the need to clear away all obstacles (real or imagined) in their child’s path to success.
Bulldozer, Bubble Wrap, Tiger and Lawnmower parenting: micromanaging or overprotecting one’s children.
Free Range parenting is letting your kid take care of themselves. Ironically this has become a derogatory term, most likely used by overprotective parents to describe those less protective types.
“Outsourcing” means paying someone to do all the parenting for you.
WORDS OF WISDOM
“Being special takes hard work and can’t be trusted to children. Hence the exhausting cycle of constantly monitoring [a child’s] work and performance, which in turn makes children feel less competent and confident, so that they need even more oversight…Never before have parents been so (mistakenly) convinced that their every move has a ripple effect into their child’s future success…Paradoxically, by working so hard to help our kids we end up holding them back.” – Madeline Levine
“Books on the subject: “The Narcissism Epidemic,” “Mean Moms Rule,” “A Nation of Wimps”; These books are less how-to guides than how-not-to’s: how not to give in to your toddler, how not to intervene whenever your teen-ager looks bored, how not to spend two hundred thousand dollars on tuition only to find your twenty-something graduate back at home, drinking all your beer.” – excerpt from New Yorker article entitled ‘Spoiled Rotten’, by Elizabeth Kolbert.