Mistakes do have consequences, but not always. Occasional slip ups usually don’t matter--but consistently doing the wrong things, giving the wrong advice, or not engaging with your children can cause serious issues in the success of your children. The social consequences vary with each child and sometimes great parents have troubled kids and inept parents can have very successful children, but those are merely outliers.
Here are some areas where many parents have made mistakes, often thinking they are doing the right thing for their children, other times not really thinking it through.
- Too much making rules and not enough enforcing rules.
- Too much protection and not enough exposure.
- Too much explaining and not enough letting them figure it out.
- Too much mom and not enough dad.
- Too much punishment and not enough discipline.
- Too much reaction and not enough patience.
- Too much helping and doing for them and not enough instruction.
- Too much routine and not enough special times.
- Too much getting and not enough giving.
- Too much 'unearned' praise and not enough challenges.
- Too much idle time and not enough constructive time. (Some families)
- Too much activity and not enough family time. (Other families)
- Too much giving what kids want and not enough giving what they need.
- Too much saying and not enough doing.
- Too much media and not enough discussion.
- Too much trust and not enough verifying.
- Too much fixing and not enough prevention.
- Too much enabling and not enough character building.
- Too much day-to-day and not enough one-on-one.
You might guess by this list that I believe we are coddling our children too much. By us, I mean decent, well-meaning parents. That’s exactly what I am saying! Not all of us are guilty of each charge, but in general, we are guilty of all. I must add that these apply differently to different children. “Too much” for one child may not be “too much” for another. The same can be said for “not enough”. But you can overdo or underdo your parenting no matter the characteristics of each child.
A worse problem is the child that gets neither! Neither praise nor challenges, neither mom nor dad, neither enough protection nor proper exposure to those things that will help them grow. These children have no one at their back and it’s truly tough for them to get ahead. The parents of these kids have no business having children.
First, children need loving and involved parents. Loving is active love while love alone is just an emotion. Kids don’t know you love them unless you do things that show it, which includes mentoring and discipline. Involvement is not just reacting to a problem. Involvement is teaching, observing, preventing, and correcting. It’s tough and involved work being a parent and too many people go into it without a clue or a desire to get a clue. Think it over.