Tip for Parents #12
ESTABLISH A HIGH BEHAVIORAL CEILING
Your kids will only behave as well as you do. You have the control over how positive the behaviors your kids will use will be. If they see you treating people well, they might do that. If they see you pick up garbage, they might do that. The same is true for following traffic laws, using table manners, and giving someone the last piece of pie.
…And this is not all. You must also use consequences when your kids fall short of reaching the behavioral ceiling that you establish with your own behavior.
Tip for Parents #13
DON’T TRY TO MAKE YOUR KID “WELL-ROUNDED”
Many parents suffer from “Captain America Syndrome”. It’s very much a part of our culture: a happy, successful kid is supposed to be Steve Rogers: great athlete, math genius, writer, scholar and poet. The problem is that almost no one has all of these talents, and trying to push our kids to be great at everything creates unnecessary frustration which can cause kids to start to not like school (even the subject that they are good at) and extra-curricular activities (ditto).
The truth is that highly successful people do not tend to be really good at everything. Highly successful people tend to be great at one or maybe two things and they maintain minimal proficiency at everything else. Think about it: How good are Wayne Gretzky’s math skills? How nice is Jeff Bezos’s penmanship? How skilled is Bill Gates at soccer? The answer is that it doesn’t matter.
You can help your kids to excel at the things at which they are excellent, and help them to do what they are able at the things with which they struggle.
Tip for Parents #14
MAKE YOUR KIDS FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE
It’s so important to make your kids feel safe: if your kids know that they will not be shamed for failure or missteps, and you ensure they are protected from lasting or serious physical harm, they will feel safe enough to take risks.
However, when kids take risks, they will be uncomfortable, and these risks are what create growth. Allow your kids to feel this uncomfortableness, and allow them to fail miserably, and allow them to pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and get after failing better and bigger next time.
Tip for Parents #15
YOUR KIDS ARE NOT SPECIAL
I know that you think they are special. I’m just telling you, they’re not.
I love my daughter. She is everything to me and my wife. AND, I recognize that all of our kids, all humans, really, are unique and different.
We love our kids. We value our kids.
But our kids aren’t special.
Saying that kids are special is either absurd or elitist. I know that’s not what most parents mean to do by using this word, which is why I’m posting this.
“Special” is defined as better, greater, or otherwise different from what is usual. If we agree that all kids are different from all other kids (of course, this is self-evident) then, there is no “usual” kid, so saying that a kid is “unusual” is absurd. “Unique” is a better word (see below).
Therefore, all that is left of this definition is that kids are “better” or “greater” than other kids. Therefore saying “All kids are special” means that all kids are better than all other kids, which is also a perfectly absurd statement.
Telling kids that they are special can be fine if they take it to mean that they are unique. However, since the word can certainly mean other things (“special” is a synonym with “exceptional” and “outstanding”) kids could take this to mean that they are better than other people. I know this is not the intention of parents, but I think kids can take it this way. If your kid is actually older, and has truly become exceptional and outstanding at something, great, tell them that they are excelling well at that certain thing, but God help you if your kids think they are exceptional or outstanding just by virtue of being alive.
I think parents should tell their kids that they are unique, and that there has never been, nor will there ever be a person just like them. I think parents should also tell their kids that that it is up to them to make themselves special, outstanding, and exceptional.
Tip for Parents #16
JUST WAIT FOR THE MEETING
You are an adult and you have enough things to do in your busy life. Explaining your actions and rules for your home to your children should not be on your “To Do List”. Kids need exactly as many explanations as they are given. When your kid wants an explanation about why something is the way it is, just let them know that as soon as they have moved out of the house, you will have a meeting with them during which all mysteries, rules of the house, and all family history and lore will be revealed. After that, any requests for explanations should simply be addressed with:
“Just wait for the meeting.”