I recently read an article in my local newspaper describing how parents are failing their children by overprotecting them from adversity and allowing them to be quitters. There’s some evidence to back this claim up, but I think there’s a lot of blame to be shared. I think you could begin by asking, “What has led to or caused today’s (many) parents to feel, believe and behave in this way?”
The article by Lisa Paine, Where’s the Commitment, cited another article by the Director of the MHSAA (Jack Roberts) titled Parent Problem. Both articles make valid points. Roberts says this concerning Helicopter-Parents who end up just letting their kids quit, “they not only hover, they also seek to rescue their children from the very situations – adversity – that sports uses to teach life lessons.”
He also wrote about the need for parental guidance sections in their athletic handbooks and communications with parents that was unnecessary years ago. Lisa’s main point was about the sad message parents are sending their children, “Anytime life doesn’t go your way, such as in a team or academic setting, later on in life in relationships, jobs and community settings, you simply walk away and quit. That’s setting everyone up for failure.”
Are Parents Alone to Blame? Not So Fast!
There’s no doubt that some, certainly not the majority, parents are guilty as charged above. They’re easy to spot by any parent, coach, teacher or bystander whose paying attention. However, I believe there’s much more than meets the eye here. Where did today’s parents learn this belief system and behavior? This problem did not exist 3 decades ago when I played ball, so what's different now than back then? Could it be the result of years of exposure to political correctness, everybody gets a trophy and our entitlement-minded victim-celebrated society?
3 decades ago teens learned to handle problems on their own with coaches, teachers and their peers. We had plenty of these people that we didn’t care for, but quitting or crying to our parents never crossed our minds. Most boys and some girls settled their differences or stood up to bullies after school or on the playground. When the coaches made us run sprints for an entire practice after a loss or teachers assigned excessive amounts of homework to show us who was in charge, we didn’t like it, but we “sucked it up” and shut our mouths. And how in the world did we survive those corporal punishments in front of the class for misbehaving (aka Getting Whacked or Paddled)?
Speaking entirely for myself I am grateful for growing up back then. I can't imagine how I could have made it through many of the circumstances in life on my own had my mommy and daddy come to my rescue every time I cried.
We’re now being taught that if you have achieved something, it’s only because you are privileged.
Today we have parents suing school systems for their coaches and teachers who are too strict, hurt their kids feelings by yelling at or looking at them the wrong way or are unfair. Kids are being indoctrinated with things like conflict resolution, social and economic justice. They’re being what to think rather than how to think. They’re taught to demand equal outcomes regardless of their efforts in virtually every aspect of life. They’re taught to sit down and talk with the bully rather than to stand up for themselves. They're taught avoidance and to be non-confrontational.
***Please note that this of course is a generalization and I am by no means condemning every parent, teacher, coach or child....so take a deep breath please. I'm simply expanding on what others are finally beginning to realize and open the topic for debate and discussion. Please share you thoughts on our Facebook page or drop me an email.***
You see, rather than being taught to work hard and fight for what they want and believe in (Competition), they’re taught that they’re entitled to those things (Everybody Gets a Trophy and Social & Economic Justice). If you teach children they’re entitled to a certain life style, things and experiences, what happens when those children have kids of their own? I just wrote about Competition in the article, Is Your Daughter Being Pampered? While I was writing it I saw the article, Where’s the Commitment in the local paper. I knew there was a connection between our articles immediately.
How is the Everybody Gets a Trophy idea forced upon kids any different from the concepts of Social & Economic Justice, which are being forced upon Americans?
The incentive to excel at something is being watered down by the powers that be. Instead, children and adults are being brainwashed that individual achievements are a bad thing as recently pointed out by Dr. Thomas Sowell in his article, The War on Achievement. We’re now being taught that if you have achieved something, it’s only because you are privileged. It's as if we should feel guilty for our achievements. Sadly, even the current president of the united states and many of his supporters believes this nonsense.
You see, kid’s no longer need to overcome adversity on their own.
Why should we expect kids to work hard for something if they know it is going to get handed to them? Why would kids work hard for something if they believe it is owed to them or they deserve it just because? Why should we be surprised when kids quit sports if things like a starting position of their choice isn’t handed to them or the coach makes them run too much? Why should we be surprised about a kid’s attitude who has been passed to the next grade several times, not because he/she had good enough grades, but because the school’s policy encourages this practice with the belief that holding them back will hurt their self-esteem? Why should we be surprised when many kids face any type of adversity that they just want to quit? How is the Everybody Gets a Trophy idea forced upon kids any different from the concepts of Social & Economic Justice, which are being forced upon Americans?
I am certainly not saying that every parent and child has succumb to this ideology. I am saying that evidence suggests the number who has is growing. You see, kid’s no longer need to overcome adversity on their own. As many of their parents have learned, they just have to cry and play the victims they’ve been taught they are in an attempt to get what they want and/or are entitled to. Oh they’re still getting taught life lessons. They’re just different lessons these days.