Glenn's Weekly Motivational-Letting Your Kids Fail

February 11, 2020

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Here are some stats I recently read:

30 percent of anxiety is genetic

1 in 3 kids aged 3-17 will suffer from anxiety at some point

1 in 5 kids will suffer from depression

For those of you will multiple kids, this means it will mostly likely affect you. How will you be the best parent you can be?

I love my mom dearly, we are super-close, but I’m also aware of some of the pitfalls I unintentionally experienced growing up the way I did. My parents got divorced when I was 8, and being the man of the house now, my mom quickly tried to make up for the other missing parent. I don’t know if she was scared I would leave her too, but she was over protective of me. I couldn’t ride my bike out of her sight, if I was on a playground she would always be right near me in case I would fall or slip. She didn’t punish me, not that I was a bad kid, but there were never any consequences. Whenever there were issues with girlfriends and school friends, it was always their fault. I was too nice, I could never do any wrong, and I was sheltered and began to expect it as I grew up.

I never carried myself with a sense of entitlement, because I have always worked hard for what I want, but I began to believe the hype and if someone didn’t treat me the same way as my mom, I was utterly confused. Being bullied made me rely on her words even more instead of finding ways to be resilient on my own.

My mom did what she thought was right. She is the most selfless, generous, and loving person I know, but protecting your kids from life raises..well.. someone ill-equipped to function as an adult sometimes. I am still struggling.

As parents, so many of us want to protect our kids from danger and hurt. We give them participation awards so their feelings aren’t hurt, our teachers give them do-overs on tests so that their grade don’t suffer. We give anxiety meds to even out their emotions, tell our obese sons and daughters that weight doesn’t matter, micromanaging every aspect of their lives because we care. We overly console, we try and subtlety steer friendships, and try to keep them in a bubble so that they never.... grow.

Even today, when I fail or fall, I have to really work hard to pick myself up. My independent way of thinking is gone, and I become weak and incapable of reasoning effectively. If you are too busy protecting your kids, they will never become functioning adults, and isn’t that our job as parents? To raise functioning adults? The same can be said if we are too hands off, and the great balancing act begins and we get frustrated.

Protect your kids from oncoming danger? Yes. Provide a safe environment for them? Yes. Answer questions, guide, and give advice? Yes yes yes...but let them fail. Give them consequences, but let them draw a bath and soak in their own failures for a bit. Only when we stop the helicoptering, will we raise a society of functioning adults with the tools to overcome anything, instead of over-medicating to cover up our unintentional mistakes. Stress and anxiety are real, but knowing healthy ways to face those things are what we as parents should be focusing on. I’m trying everyday. When I see my kids cry my first instinct is to run to them and tell them it'll be OK. And most things will, but some things won't, and I need to create free-thinking kids who know the difference and more importantly, know how to cope.

All my best as you figure out life and the relationships in it xoxo Glenn