A while back, I was chatting to someone and something they said triggered a real moment of thinking for me. She was telling me about how successful someone she knew was (let’s call this person, Jake) because Jake was buying a house, drove a really flashy car and wore really expensive jewelry. Now here’s where the moment came in, you see, I knew Jake, and he was an asshole. Fair enough he was an okay person to talk to, but he was arrogant and extremely self-absorbed. This got me thinking as to how we measure our children because here we have a highly successful individual who everyone thinks is great purely on the basis of his monetary accomplishments in comparison to his poor character.
I have mentioned before that I hate it when people compare children, especially when they match them up against each other, when A talks better than B, or when C dresses better than D and so forth. Now in the same breath, I see that people are so focused on the achievements of others that it overshadows their character. Case in point, our friend Jake.
Which brings me back to my original statement, I no longer measure my kids. Instead of only praising them on the big stuff, I will be praising them on the little stuff, like having good manners, baking a dirt cake, blowing a bubble, bringing me flowers, things that will enhance their characters first.
We have so much pressure in society today to be successful, Cupcake is 3 and already he is offered so much in terms of sports and academics, which is brilliant, and I am all for personal development, but I feel that we need to let go of this immense pressure on our children and place more stock on who they are as people. Kids are battling with stress and anxiety at such a young age these days and it is so totally unfair.
During my schooling career, I was very blessed to do well on an academic front, viz. first in class, awards, prefect, etc. that this came with such immense pressure from teachers, peers, and family members, that I often suffered from intense migraines that would lead me to black out or puke. (TMI I know)
That is why I would love to take a different approach, see, my parents never did pressure me, but everyone else did, especially when they used me as an example for their kids to step up, as a kid, you feel the need to not disappoint them and it does carry through thoughout one’s life. My parents were really not aware up until I started talking to them about it as I got older.
So here’s my thinking going forward, praise the child regardless of the size of the accomplishment, don’t allow . Shift focus from what your kids earn over what they learn, teach them to be self-sufficient and look after themselves first. What they feel? How they feel? Their mental state? Is that much more important than how many A’s they bring home or what they can afford to buy when they older.
Don’t measure their success, measure their happiness. 🙂
Always with Love & Peace