Raising kids has never been so challenging with all the conflicting advice. How do you help your children become good enough?
Where is the limit?
My former manager was boasting about how she signed up her daughter for a private international school in which every year a child learns a new foreign language. Of course, my ex manager didn‘t even know how to speak English properly and had questionable education. I had a degree in languages and thought “What a waste of money“.
In my country (Southern Europe) there is a kid aged five who goes to English, French, and Italian classes, as well as taekwondo, balet, dancing, and sport.
Another one attends swimming, acting, and 4 other activities. The third one goes to mental arithmetic and English, ballet, dancing, and sport. Their parents are people in high places and want the best headstart for their offspring.
How much do our children need to do to become good enough?
Why do we expect so much from them?
Because we are raising special children
- Because you discovered very early they have so much talent.
- Because they can reach their full potential. You didn‘t have that privilege.
- Because you want them to have a better life than you.
It‘s easy to get into the trap of working for your kids‘ education with all the talk about early child development. But those who are members of the tutoring multi-billion-a-year industry somehow forget to tell you that
Most of us are average and our kids are, too.
I heard this eye-opening sentence from Madeline Levine, a Stanford psychologist and a New York Times bestselling author, in her interview for Big Think.
Ms Levine says students are so stressed nowadays because their parents think their children‘s lives depend on their grades. They give wealth to provide the best education. But a Yale research says smart kids do well wherever they go to college.
Levine explains – parents are obsessed with education because Americans are competitive in general. Therefore, they need others to see them as special and not vulnerable. Because when you are special, you are good enough. Of course, they feel their kids are special, too.
But they are not far away from their parents, speaking of their intelect. And most of their parents didn‘t really win a Nobel prize.
So, a lot of parents get lost along the way of raising their kids.
The key to good parenting is thinking that your children are just good enough
I came across this tweet which sums it up best:
Another thing with kids who are treated as special is that they are egotistical. They think they deserve better than other children. When they are small, they grab toys from other kids, boss around, and make a scene then they don‘t get a ballon or have to walk. The problem here is that mommy and daddy won‘t be around forever to protect their child from a “bad“ friend, a “lousy teacher“, or an “unfair treatment“. What happens when they grow up?
The risk of raising children as very special is that they get into trouble eventually because their parents don‘t correct their behavior when needed. Snežana Golić, a Serbian educator, warns:
“We cannot say what kid will become problematic, but we can say whose…
A child whose parents put him on a pedestal unfounded (because at that age there is no other way), later has a problem to get off that pedestal, and society has zero tolerance for quasi princes and princesses, which is painful.“
Later consequences can range from depression to crime.
So, it‘s ok. Your kids are good enough just the way they are. With 1 extracurricular activity, maybe 2. Because if they are not passionate about what they do, there will always be someone who will outdo them later on. So, it‘s not much use to raise them to be the best.
They‘re good. Your children will be fine and make it if you love them and believe in their potential. Let them grow.
Give them a lot of love and some realistic lessons about what life is really like. And then they will surely become better than you are. They‘ll be good enough.
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