Saturday, April 26, 2014
Precious Yes, Perfect No
Before I get into the meat of this post I first want to have a disclaimer right up front before someone tries to bite my head off. ;)
I love my children and grandchildren unconditionally and they are my world. Nothing will ever change that.
We live in a time where we are so concerned about "self esteem" in children that we have gone off the deep end and have forgotten what truly having self esteem is all about. I have a real problem with the whole coddling children and making them think they are perfect in every way. No one is perfect, precious yes, perfect no. My biggest complaint are parents and grandparents who feel their little blessings can never be wrong and never teach their offspring that we all have faults, we all make mistakes, we don't always win and we need to learn to be humble and admit and apologize when we are wrong or have hurt someone.
We have raised 3 amazing sons, all of whom have very different personalities, strengths and weakness. Each one of them presented different challenges to my husband and I. Two of these sons are very competitive, not only with each other, but in many situations in life. This can be a huge strength, if channeled correctly or it could have been a huge disaster if we had not taught them that they must be both a gracious winner and looser. To me there is nothing sadder than a gloating "winner" putting down someone else or a sore "loser" claiming it was unfair and getting all upset and throwing a huge fit, especially when those people are grown adults!
As parents, grandparents, teachers, etc. we set our kids up for failure if we do not model and teach truthfulness and humility and hold ourselves and our precious children accountable for our and their own actions. Case in point, my oldest grandson Bradley is "strong willed", much like one of his uncles (who turned out great by the way). ;) He can be the most endearing and entertaining little guy but can also be extremely stubborn when he wants to. Luckily for Bradley, he has parents and grandparents who love him unconditionally and are very clear on what kind of behavior is acceptable and what is not. Bradley is being taught that it is good to be kind, gentle and to apologize when you have hurt someone. He is being taught that people have to share, take turns and that we don't always get what we want when we want it. He has been given the freedom to explore the outdoors, paint, play, create and discover all kinds of new and wonderful things, while learning to be safe at the same time. When he chooses not to behave or be safe, there are consequences. He needs to learn these lessons now so that when he is older, he will not get himself into as much trouble (let's be honest here, we all get into trouble at some point, even as adults). He needs to learn these limits within the safety of his family. Children need to know what is expected of them and what their limits are in order to feel secure. Because our grandson is very much loved by all of us, we are trying to do what is best for him and will set him up for success in life. How many times have we seen children spiraling out of control because they have not been given limits? That is scary for a child and for those around him/her that have to deal with the situation at hand. As my husband says, a child needs to be trained up, not just left to their own devices.
Children need guidance, love, limits and the freedom to be the wonderful people that they are. Investing our time and love into our children, even when it is hard, frustrating and we would rather just give in than continue to do what we know is right and best for the child (ever spent a week in the house with a child who has been grounded and is complaining about how unfair it is...yep then you know what I am talking about)is worth it. Sometimes we feel like we are being punished right along with the child, and is some ways we are, but it is a sacrifice that we need to make for the good of our children. Our children are our most precious gift and they deserve to be given the best chance at having a happy and successful life.