• It’s ironic because I always hear parents talking about how they want the best for their children and want to provide them with more opportunities than they had as a child. They often go to the opposite extreme of how they were raised in order to do things “differently” than their parents. If their parents were strict, they strive to be more lenient and if their parents hardly supervised them, they want to watch their kids like a hawk. Regardless of the generation in which they were raised, people often feel like they were deprived of some opportunity, which they now want to extend to their children.

    When I see these parents swinging to the other extreme of the pendulum of how they were raised, I have to challenge them and ask what their goals are with their children. Overwhelmingly, their response is that they want their children to be independent, confident, successful and self-reliant. They feel that their children often lack initiative and hate to constantly hear their children complain that they are bored. They just don’t seem to understand how their children can possibly be bored when they provide them with every toy, opportunity and activity possible.

    Then I ask them how they think they turned out? They say that they turned out pretty well but that’s because they had no choice but to figure things out for themselves. They complain that they had little supervision, few toys, few opportunities and often had to come up with their own creative games simply because their parents just didn’t provide it for them. Then I see as the light goes on in their head and they realize the origin of their children’s shortcomings. They realize that if they do too much and spoon-feed everything to their children then they will have no need to figure things out for themselves. Perhaps our parents weren’t so bad after all? Of course, not everything they did worked, but somehow the overall picture turned out pretty good. And it’s not because of luck or chance. We had to figure things out for ourselves and as much as we may have despised it when we were younger, it made us stronger and more self-reliant. We have to learn to be comfortable with seeing our children “go without” sometimes because we understand and can see the bigger picture. So, as much as you might hate to admit it, you should at least follow in your parent’s footsteps a little bit…it’s good parenting!