Monthly Archives: August 2012
Let’s face it, by the time our children fall into the drug & alcohol trap, a whole host of other mal-adaptive behaviors are in full swing and unloading on the entire family. Adolescence is a difficult enough time, as it is. Life is much, much different than when we were kids.
How many times have you thought, or even said out loud “I will not allow my own children to go through what I had to go through when I was a kid”?
As parents, we tend to go over board, with the best intentions, when it comes to our kids. Because we don’t want them to suffer, we put ourselves in a position to absorb many of life’s lessons, thereby, inadvertently short cutting the process of growing up.
Let me explain; if my goal is to keep my child from “suffering the way i did”, then I buy, buy, buy, them stuff, every time they stub their toe, see something they want, get bad grades in school, get good grades in school… We are covering up their opportunities to experience real life situations.
We finish their homework for them, we cover for them on the phone when a friend calls they don’t want to talk to, we give them money they didn’t earn, we allow them to blow their money and then we replace it. In essence, we let our kids off the hook!
I can keep going but I’m sure you get my point. .. And let me say, folks, I’m guilty of this too! All parents want our children to have easy going lives, but, now, it’s time for the tough news.
This is the very parental behavior that produces children who are unable to handle life’s little jolts.. In our quest to raise a happy, healthy, easy going kid, we end up manufacturing a child who feels entitled to everything he/she wants, unaware of how to load a dishwasher, clean their bedroom, or worse, complete their own school work.
I come from a family where my oldest brother turned out fine, and, I, on the other hand, struggled quite a bit through my teen and young adult years, for the very reasons I just described. It is possible for some siblings to be unaffected by this parenting and others to go off the deep end.. Which tells me, the kids have major responsibility, here!
What we teach at Justin’s Lighthouse is; in order for recovering addicts to be truly happy and healthy, it’s the ADDICT’S job to become accountable for their own actions. They can no longer blame their parents, teachers, friends, whoever!
We work very closely with parents, spouses, and other family, when possible, to mend all the resentments that have surfaced, and help each family member to get on a new track. Moms actually learn how to say ‘NO’. Clients feel better about themselves and Dads learn how to spend more time on dates with mom!
I beg your forgiveness if I offended anyone, but, please know, I offer this information as a tool. I will always share with you from my own experiences as a parent, not just a counselor. I make the same mistakes you do, for the same reasons!
I hope this helps you better understand some small adjustments we can all make around the house that will lead us to happier, healthier times. Our children must be allowed to fail… That’s right, they must gain the privileged of failing! Our self-esteem comes from failing, picking ourselves up, and then accomplishing.
The next time your child fails at something, let them fail; your job is to support them, love them, assist when asked, but, don’t do it for them, regardless of the consequences. If you cover for them you’ll be robbing them of a precious process of growth.
So often I’ve heard parents say (and I’ve used this one, too); “But if I don’t do it for him, he’ll get an ‘F'”. Then, let him get an ‘F’… That’s how we learn to be accountable for our own actions. Once we become adults, we have no one to bail us out, so unless you’re planning on doing everything for your child until he’s 80 yrs old,you better let them learn a few things the hard way, now.. That’s how we grow! That’s how you grew, that’s how I’ve grown, and that’s how your children will grow, as well… It’s ok to watch them struggle with things. They’re learning, so let them learn.
Rev. Miles K. Lewis, PhD, C-PRSS
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