Allowing Kids To Learn The Hard Way

It’s tough out there as we all know.  It’s even harder when we see our kid suffering because we want to make it easier for them.  We’d take the suffering before we’d allow them to experience it.  But that doesn’t help them when the lessons come harshly by something they’ve done or not done.  And that’s the way they learn about life.

But it’s not easy.  I am a nagger.  I nag my kids until we all hate to hear me, but it didn’t change anything until I got silent.  That made all the difference in the world when I just stopped asking and begging and pleading and reminding them to do what I’d asked.  I let the consequences fall as they fell.

Of course, I’m here to help to pick up the pieces, but I’m done shouldering their responsibilities anymore.  It’s a hard lesson for me because I’m a fixer, but I had to stop.  I felt like I was enabling them and I’m not raising kids who are entitled or so weak that they can’t deal with adversity.  That I know for sure.

It’s been a bumpy ride for us all lately.  But I’m standing firmly.  They know that I’m here for them and to help them.  But I refuse to nag anymore.  I just don’t have it in me.  When they make the assumption that I don’t know what I’m talking about, then the lesson is made more clearly.

Get a job.  Clean your room.  Those are all normal responsibilities.  It’s the bigger picture, like their grades that they are solely responsible for and it’s all on them.  I backed off and although they are hurting because of their decisions, that’s life.  And by protecting them or enabling them so much, I wasn’t allowing them to learn the lessons.

I’ve never been one of those helicopter moms.  Far from it.  But apparently they are taking after their dad and having to learn the hard way because…wait for it…and I am going to write it….

Because they didn’t listen to me the first time.

I don’t mean to sound bratty, but it’s true.  When I tell you a month ago to look for a summer job and you don’t and now you don’t have one because they’re all taken – well, it’s your fault.  It’s not mine.  I totally want to tell you I told you so, but I’m staying quiet for now.    When I tell you that you need to study more to get good grades and you may be in danger of missing a scholarship by a few measly points, it’s not on me.  It’s on you.  When I tell you to drive carefully, but you don’t and get a ticket, that’s on you.  So I’m not paying the ticket.  You are.  And when you have no money because you don’t have a job, then you’ll work it off here at home doing all the yucky jobs that I normally do.  And maybe you’ll think of it as punishment.  And maybe, with a sly smile, I will think of it that way too.  Maybe.  And with a small mom giggle because you’ll learn what keeping a house requires, then yes.  And it feels good to me to watch you have to do what you don’t want to do or like to do.  Because it’s not beneath you.  It’s life.  Sometimes you have to pick up the shit when it’s not yours (hypothetically of course), but that’s life.  And it’s a good life lesson to learn.

We don’t all ride unicorns and sing cheery songs all day.  Sure sometimes things are really great and we celebrate.  But sometimes, we have to experience some distasteful lessons and that’s what makes us stronger.

I refuse to raise weaklings or entitled kids.  Work hard.  Play hard.  Be a person who cares and who does their best no matter what the task is at hand and have pride in all that you do.

That’s just how I feel.  Do you parent in the same way?

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10 Responses to Allowing Kids To Learn The Hard Way

  1. LA says:

    Great post

    Like

  2. A R says:

    You are 100% right for how you are parenting! I always tell my girls that you are NEVER ENTITLED to ONE thing around here. I can’t stand the word “entitlement”. That is what is wrong with our work ethic. Some children are being raised without having to work for things. When they go out into the REAL world, it is a shock for them.
    Great post!

    Like

    • janieleeds says:

      Thanks Ann. I see other kids who act entitled and it just makes me crazy when my kids even hint at that way of thinking. The real world is a shock to them so if we prepare them as best we can, then it hopefully won’t be so hard for them.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. TJ Fox says:

    We harped and nagged and bribed and begged OC until we were blue in the face on so many things. We saw the writing on the wall and wanted to do our best to give him the best possible foundation. We were told by the school and teachers to just let him fail and that that would be all it would take to push him to do more. I think in nearly all situations with other kids, that would have been the case. Not with him. It just didn’t matter. Letting go of the need to pressure and nag, even with the outcome we got, was such a massive relief on us though. Because we realized that, even though we are parents and want the best for our kids, once they get to a certain age they absolutely are 100% responsible for their own actions.

    It is insanely hard to sit back and watch your kids crash and burn, even in the small stuff. Like so many other things with kids, I realized that even this is one of those things that, in the end, isn’t about what us as parents want or need, but about the kids.

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    • janieleeds says:

      Exactly TJ! I am so sorry about what happened with OC. I can’t imagine how difficult that was for you and for him.
      I think we have to do our best to allow kids to grow and to balance the prodding and the letting go in equality according to each individual child’s needs and personalities.
      This parenting business is rewarding but it’s never easy…thanks for sharing xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You are absolutely right giving kids a easy ride does not prepare them for what life will unfold later, you go Janie 👍

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  5. I am with you all the way. I was always the tough love parent. It was one of the things my former husband and I never resolved, he would cave in at the slightest provocation; the interesting thing is that they have chosen to live with me.
    They are young adults now, I have said I will support them through university but I don’t pay their fees or look after their stuff and I don’t do their washing. If they want food other than what I buy and serve then they get it themselves. Some parents think I am hard (others think I am indulgent), I give what I can afford and stay firm as to what I cannot.
    My son had a head tutor who once said, he wanted his boys to learn resilience, “5 minutes of disappointment then get on with it!”
    I often tell the two of mine to keep their eyes on the prize, it’s all the coaxing I do these days.

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    • janieleeds says:

      Jenny I love the way you parent! Kudos to you! I think we have a lot in common. I think it’s important for kids to learn at an early age that they are supported and loved, but not coddled when they are older. Of course, when they are young, yes, but not when they are capable of being adults, nor at the age of being adults. Good for you!! Applause!!

      Like

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