Raising Kids That Give
The culture of “my kids are my entire world” may sound great, but is it, really? Are we doing them a favor, or are we actually robbing them of something better? Some parents are pushing back against the system and evaluating whether in trying to love and serve our families well, many of us modern parents are actually teaching them to be “great receivers and lazy givers,” contributing to the widespread culture of entitlement that really benefits absolutely no one.
Exemplifying, Not Enabling
I think the process of raising kids who give back and impact the world around them for good starts with how we serve and give to them. It’s not as much about what or how much we give them — how nice the toys or expensive the clothing — but the significance and spirit in which we do it. If we’re presenting a one-sided service scenario, we’ll perpetuate the same, likely leading to kids who don’t appreciate what they have or who give to others without ulterior motives.
But when we give to them out of a heart of love and let them know that we’re showing them how we want them to grow to display love for others, we can’t gloss over the fact that work is hard, but neither do we want to diminish the rewards. Teaching kids the Golden Rule and helping free them from the tyranny of the kinds of narcissism and laziness that marks much of our culture will keep them from contributing to the societal problems that we face — and leave them happier and more confident in the end.
Empowering, Not Coddling
Is it a wonder many families have helicopter parents who work extra hours to fulfill their kids’ every whims, while “low self-esteem” continues to be the diagnosis of kids around the country? By over-protecting and indulging our kids, we can actually be contributing to the deterioration of their self confidence.
When they’re babies, perhaps the Thomas the Train mantra of “Safety Is Our First Concern” makes sense, but at some point, we need to become concerned about some other issues, as well, pogressing to that of The Little Engine That Could. Our kids need to feel the weight of responsibility, success, failure, and disappointment — and we need to help them navigate through all of those situations with a healthy, can-do attitude that doesn’t leave them crippled with self-doubt, constant anxiety, self-loathing, or utter despair.
Encouraging, Not Flattering
As we aim to exemplify a serving, giving attitude and empower our kids to do for themselves what they are developmentally able to do, they need our encouragement. Our positive encouragement shouldn’t be so elusive that our kids feel like they’ll never live up to our standards, and yet it needs to actually mean something. If we offer our healthy ten year old a bushel of praise for simply placing his dirty clothes in the laundry hamper, we’re really robbing him of the encouragement he needs to live up to his full potential — which could probably include doing a load of his own laundry, start to finish!
From the Bedroom Source blog:
- One Bedroom, Two Kids, Many Options (Part 1)
- Helping Your Kids Prepare for STEM Careers, Part 1
- Making Your Child's Bedroom Conducive to a Good Night's Sleep
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