Wouldn't it be great if children were born with a best practices handbook for child rearing? Unfortunately, this is clearly not the case, and while we all want what’s best for our child, that “best” requires parents who are responsible and raise their children with consistency, love, and active parenting.
But within the context of consistency and active parenting, there is a balance. Children who are overprotected and overindulged become young adults who over-rely on their (helicopter) parents to complete their college applications and negotiate health benefits with future employers.
Psychologists and child-rearing experts are concerned with an epidemic we call “Affluenza”—the disease of too much, too soon, with no appreciation. What is the prognosis for a child with Affluenza? A lifetime of entitlement.
Being a responsible parent means that you determine and react to your child’s needs vs. wants. What your child needs is your unconditional love, despite shortcomings and mistakes. Being a responsible parent means that you provide guardrails when your child tests limits and boundaries, and that you allow your child to be unique, while teaching confidence, respect, and how to deal appropriately with emotional struggles. Delaying gratification and caring about the consequences in the choices he makes can only make your child a more resilient young adult.
So, how do you know if your child is already inflicted with Affluenza, and how can we revert its effects? To leverage a change, we must first recognize some of the more noticeable signs:
What is the best anecdote? Finding the right balance between dependence and independence. Parents must make decisions for children that they may not understand or like. A responsible parent knows you cannot always make your child happy. In order for children to learn and grow, they must learn how to face and overcome emotional struggles, so that they can build a strong foundation needed to conquer adult challenges and struggles. It is imperative that parents not allow children to take the shortcuts past the lessons to get to the prize.
In order for parents to raise a resilient, responsible, and respectful child, these are the top ten best practices:
While there are no rule books and best practices for every child and the household, you do know what’s best for you and your child. Take a deep breath and relax. You will have many decades to be a parent and work on getting it right.