For years, parents were taught that the key to raising happy children was to do everything we could to build up their self-confidence through praise. It’s not working.
Now psychologists are realizing kids who aren’t used to struggling and overcoming failures aren’t happy. surprise surprise
The popular parenting theory was to rationalize to your children. Just discuss and explain everything to them, and they will agree with you and make the right choice. Unless they don’t. Then you must honor their own decisions- even bad ones- and support them.
We wanted our kids to feel secure so we did everything we could to make, and keep, them happy.
We wanted them to have high self-esteem so we praised them all day long. And when their behavior frustrated us, instead of teaching them to respect their parents, we gave ourselves time outs and counted to 1000.
Finally research is coming around: Angela Duckworth has been researching life success and happiness, and discusses how the term “Grit” seemed to be the defining factor:
According to recent research, “grit” appears to be the determining factor of success and happiness. That ability to overcome failure and continue to strive until you’ve mastered that subject, job skill, or task.
Want your children to be hard working productive adults? Patiently teach them chores, cooking and other hard jobs to master when they’re young. They will feel responsible and strong when you praise their hard work and valued contribution to the family.
Want your children to be healthy and contribute to their family and society when they become parents? Lovingly train them from a young age to give up their own agenda for others. Teach them self-discipline to make wise choices in eating and sleeping habits, to do their homework diligently to their best ability. Show them how to make good use of their time.
Parents, this is not a new idea. The Bible has much to say about steadfastness. We’ve always had God’s Word encouraging us to prayerfully train up “gritty” children.
“The way is hard that leads to life.” (Matthew 7:14)
“By your endurance you will gain your lives.” (Luke 21:19)
I love it when popular theory has to admit its failings and revert back to the Truth. 🙂