Raising Successful Children

Sometimes, experience can be the best teacher.
By Julie Baumgardner
October 9, 2017

Parents often say they want healthy, happy, and successful children. But do their actions actually help or hurt when preparing their kids for these things?

“Many parents micromanage their children’s lives,” says Charlie Sykes, author of Dumbing Down our Kids: Why American Children Feel Good About Themselves But Can’t Read, Write or Add. 

“Between parents who are extremely anxious to make sure their children are always happy and the obsession of the education system about self-esteem, we have this weird stew that profoundly impacts our children in lasting ways.”

How do children become successful and responsible adults if they don’t work through problems, fail, or deal with difficult people?

Many parents hover over their young adult kids. Some even call employers and interfere in their child’s love life.

“Instead of allowing them to experience adversities, parents bubble-wrap their kids,” Sykes says. “This keeps children from developing coping and problem-solving skills. People learn how to be competent adults by working through the bumps and bruises and ups and downs. If parents do this for them, the kids have no immunity to the normal curve balls life throws at us.”

According to Sykes, learning to say no is key for parents who want to help their kids succeed. This means choosing not to enable, be a good buddy, or be constantly concerned about staying on their kids’ good side.

“I think I had wonderful parents,” Sykes says. “I guarantee you they were not obsessed about what I thought or felt about them. They did not freak out when I was unhappy about their decisions. They stayed the course as my parents. Instead of being concerned about how I felt on a particular day, they were focused on the end results.”

Sykes says that insulating our kids from reality and responsibility isn’t helpful.

Instead, picking positive and negative role models and finding out what they do with their children can be used to help you copy what you want to see.

“If you inflate your children’s expectations, every area of life, including work, marriage and parenting will disappoint them,” Sykes says. “Parents who believe it is their job to meet every single ‘want’ of their child run the risk of creating unrealistic expectations. This will probably lead to great disappointment in life.”

So, maybe it’s a good idea for all of us to step back and evaluate what we currently do for our kids. Who knows? We may decide to try something different to help our children successfully move toward adulthood.

Other resources:

10 Things All Dads Need to Do to Help Their Child Be Successful

Is Grit the Secret Ingredient for Successful Relationships?

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