Frequently Asked Questions
7 Crippling Parental Behaviors That Keep Children From
Growing Into Leaders
(extracted from K. Caprino’s interview with Dr. Tim Elmore, Forbes Magazine, 1/16/14)
1. We Don’t Let Our Children Experience Risk
When we insulate our children from healthy risk-taking behaviors and they've never experienced a skinned knee, they frequently have phobias as adults. The best teacher of emotional maturity is having lots of opportunities to learn from our own mistakes.
2. We Rescue Too Quickly
When we rescue too quickly we deprive our children from learning how to navigate hardships and solve problems on their own. Our kids need to launch into their adult world equipped to handle real-life issues. When we “over-assist” our children, we in effect are disabling our kids from becoming competent adults.
3. We Rave Too Easily
When we constantly compliment our kids for everything they do, they quickly pick up that the compliments are disingenuous. It may feel good in the moment, but they are able to discern that the complements are not connected to reality. When we rage too easily and disregard poor behavior, children eventually learn to cheat, exaggerate and lie and to avoid difficult reality.
4. We Let Guilt Get In The Way Of Leading Well
We must learn to accept that our kids do not need to love us every minute of every day. They need to be told “no” in order to allow them to fight for what they really value and need. They need to learn that success is dependent upon their own actions and good deeds. If you reward a good grade by giving them money or some other material reward, they will experience neither intrinsic motivation nor unconditional love.
5..We Don’t Share Our Past Mistakes
We need to allow our kids to spread their wings and try things on their own. But that doesn’t mean we can’t help them navigate these waters. Share some mistakes you’ve made over the course of your life and share what you learned from them. Also, kids must prepare to encounter slip-ups and face the consequences of their decisions— so share how you felt when you faced a similar experience and how you ended up handling it and how you reached that decision.
6. We Mistake Intelligence, Giftedness, and Influence for Maturity
Intelligence is often used as a measurement of a child’s maturity, and as a result parents can easily assume an intelligent child is ready for the world. This is not the case. Just because giftedness is present in one aspect of a child’s life, don’t assume it pervades all areas. There is no “magic age of responsibility” that tells us when our kids should be given specific freedoms. If they’re emotionally capable of handling certain situations, by all means give them the freedom to do that. But if they’re not emotionally capable, don’t treat them as if they are.
7. We Don’t Practice What We Preach
As parents, it is our responsibility to model the life we want our children to live. They need to learn to become dependable and accountable for their words and actions. If as parents we tell a little white lie, if we cut corners, if our ethical behavior is at all sketchy, your kids will grow up thinking those things are acceptable for them to do as well.