We baby our kids like infants; we coddle them like delicate crystal; and we pamper them like they’re totally incapable of surviving on their own. I can just hear the refrain, “Whatever you want, dear.” Are you preparing your kids for the real world?
If our kids confront adversity, we clear a path for them. If they lose by a mile, we give them trophies for trying. And, when they have trouble coping in the big bad world, it’s never our error for overprotecting them or their fault for being helpless — we condemn the system instead. That way, there are no losers.
Are we doing our kids a favor by making their life unrealistically easy? Or are we making it impossible for them to succeed when they go out into the real world — and reality hits them right between the eyes?
What happens when our kids encounter a competitive showdown, struggle with a personal tragedy, or face a challenge with impossible odds? Will you tell his opponents to take it easy on him because he’s fragile? Will you tell her teammates to pull a little harder because she needs a break? Will you tell his manager to promote him, not because he’s the most deserving, but because it’s his turn? Seriously! We fight their battles, protect them from meanies, and pretend they do no wrong — even when actions should have consequences. “What do they learn?” you ask. Nothing! What will they do when there’s no one to grease the skids for them or to get them off the hook? These little darlings will be unable to cope. And there won’t be anyone to protect, defend, or catch them before they fall. That has disaster written all over it.
Teach Your Children “How to Fish”
Are you preparing your kids for the real world? Here are 13 guideposts for your kids to follow through life:
- Be self-reliant. Don’t allow yourself to become overly dependent on others. It can’t be done for you; it must be done by you.
- Own your life. Make good choices and accept responsibility for your actions. Your life is determined by the sum of the choices that YOU make.
- Face the facts. Every day isn’t filled with rainbows. Be prepared to accept the good with the bad — even roses have thorns.
- Establish realistic expectations. You don’t get what you want; you get what you deserve. Period.
- Get your hands dirty. You’ll start at the bottom and remain there until you demonstrate you can handle more.
- Learn a thing or two. Allow your mentor to guide, but never to perform, an activity for you. This will instill confidence and ensure that learning takes place.
- Take it slow. Don’t bite off more than you can chew at first. Build confidence and momentum through small wins.
- Don’t blame — learn. Make mistakes when the consequences are small. That way, you’ll know exactly how to handle things when it matters most.
- Don’t baby yourself. Show some grit when you’re confronted by challenges. Determination is habit forming; so is quitting.
- Take one for the team. Work hard. You’re expected to pull your own weight, not to weigh down the team.
- Invest in yourself. Education and experience are precious. Everything you learn makes you more valuable, and the benefits will remain with you through life.
- Accept “no” as a gift. People who don’t indulge your every whim are teaching you “how to fish.” They’re giving you the gift of confidence, strength, and self-reliance.
- Work hard; work smart. Nothing is accomplished without hard work, dedication, and commitment. It takes many years to become an overnight success.
Preparing Your Kids for the Real World
If you want the best for your kids, give them a good education, instill good values, and set them free. It’s not easy to let go of the reins because we don’t want our kids to get hurt. But, if you’re preparing your kids for the real world, saying “no” to your children can be an act of love. Sure…they’ll hit some bumps along the way, but they’ll grow confident and resilient over time and will be forever grateful for your loving gift. When they were young, many of their books ended with the phrase, “They lived happily ever after.” I have a feeling that if you follow this formula, your story will have a happy ending, too.
Are You Preparing Your Kids for the Real World?
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