This post has been floating around the social media scene. I’ve seen it shared many times already. I have posted it in its entirety for you to form your own opinion on the piece and it’s message to the parents of the world. However, it’s my belief that this type of post leans towards conditional love in parenting and how we as adults set unreasonable expectations on kids. No, Mr. Merrell, kids aren’t ‘mini gods’ to be worshipped. However, they are human, and deserve to see their value, be respected and loved.
The Original Post
O/P by Walt Merrell, District Attorney: If you raise your child to believe that they always deserve a trophy; or that they always do a great job; or that they never fall short or do a mediocre or less than job; or that they lost the game because the ump stole the game; or that the failed because someone wronged them; or that they don’t have to go to practice; or that the teacher is always out to get them; or that the coach is always wrong….
Then one day when they have a boss who doesn’t accept their less than eager efforts, then your adult child will be frustrated by the constructive criticism… and then they will steep in their own pride of believing they couldn’t possibly do any better because they are always right or they are always the victim, and that their boss is wrong and just out to get them.
And then they will get fired and never understand that you lied to them far too many times, and to their own detriment.
Children are minds and souls to be taught and molded. They are not mini-gods meant to be worshiped.
Don’t build their future in false beliefs, for it will only result in resentment based on yesterday’s lies. Instead… teach them well. End of O/P
A Different Perspective
If parents are overly critical, whom only show affection to the child when the parent feels the child has ‘earned’ it or ‘deserves’ such positive attention, where does this leave the child? What happens when a child doesn’t feel the unconditional love and acceptance from their parent(s). When a child always feels not quite good enough? If a parent doesn’t express pride for the child doing their best even if it is second best or twenty first? How does it affect the child when a parent can’t make a child feel they have value in this world? Isn’t it the parents’ responsibility to help their children find their strengths versus always notating their weaknesses?
The Other End of the Spectrum
As a result, the likelihood of children who grow into adults who have self confidence, are independent and secure, and able to go after their true passions is hindered substantially.
Instead, you have children who become adults who aim to please others. They can grow up to believe they deserve mistreatment, abuse and aren’t worthy of praise, respect, acceptance or love. Furthermore, they have that same negative self talk inside their heads that they heard growing up.
They don’t feel accepted by their peers, colleagues, or partners. These children have grown to believe their family doesn’t even value them. In turn, they don’t feel comfortable being themselves nor do they gain a sense of autonomy in the world.
In conclusion, there is a higher chance that these adults will give up all hope of success because they feel they will fail before they start. Therefore, what’s the point of trying? Another path this could take is they will become perfectionists who pursue external validation from others and are discontent with the trajectory of their life.
As you can see, it’s not all option ‘a’, ‘b’ or ‘c’. It’s child-specific. It’s a balance of reward and consequence.
It’s an ever changing process this parenting game and NO ONE hasthe guidelines or rule book. You can mess your kids up by being hard and strict. Guess what? You can mess them up when you’re parenting style is soft and lenient.
I feel as parents we are often holding our children to unreasonably high standards. In most cases, I would say these standards aren’t even attainable by the adults who are setting them. How many times have have you held the bar above your own capabilities and expected your child to jump?
I have done it. I’ve fussed over my child not keeping their room tidy. Yet, my room may be in disarray. In addition, I’ve told my kids a million times to lose the attitude or even to suck it up. In all honesty, I would catch an attitude or get upset over that same situation if I was the one in their shoes. Furthermore, I’ve given my kids hell over a bad grade or performance. Guess what, if I was the one graded on my work each day, ha! I doubt if I would have ‘A’s’ marked on every single assignment.
Failure is part of life. It doesn’t mean we throw up our hands and say ‘to hell with it’ or don’t figure out how to fix it. We do have to teach our kids to be responsible for their actions, but they will fail. It’s inevitable. My goal is to show my kids that failure is only the beginning of the journey, not the end. This is when they need us to help them to embrace the challenge of getting back up.
Kids are Humans Too
To pretend there is some science behind predicting a child will be hyper sensitive to criticism if never criticized is just as plausible as its counterpart. That being said, is it not as plausible that a child is just as likely of becoming hyper sensitive to criticism after being constantly criticized?
Do they always deserve a trophy? NO. Do they always need to have an excuse or a bad guy to blame? NO. We can teach accountability and responsibility. Meanwhile, we need to also teach finding the strengths within oneself with the ability to identify weaknesses. This is how they learn to improve upon both of those aspects of themselves. We teach accountability and acceptance of their shortcomings. It’s equal parts of both praise and constructive criticism.
It Ain’t Easy
Mommin’ ain’t easy! Being a parent is hard! Regardless if you are a mom, dad, step parent, foster parent, adoptive parent etc…it’s a struggle and a lot of hard work. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows with glitter glue embellishments. It’s the hardest job you’ll ever love. In addition, being a parent is probably also the most underpaid and under appreciated blessings you’ll ever curse at times. There isn’t a one size fits all way to get it right when parenting. The emotional and mental needs of a child are just as unique as we are. While physical needs are mostly standardized, the other facets of parenting are much more complex.
They aren’t ‘mini gods’ to be worshipped but they are people who are deserving of love and respect.
Teach them to be humble and to hustle, while also teaching confidence and character. No worship required, just respect and positive reinforcement that outweighs the negatives the rest of the world will be shoving in their face.
Teach them right, not well.
Teach them they’ve got this, because they’ve got someone who believes in them.