A few years ago, I produced the senior video for a private school nearby. I spent a great deal of time with the students and observed drastic differences among them. Some were very respectful of the adults around them and spoke highly of their education and the opportunities afforded to them. Others appeared to be rebels, who prided themselves on saying things for the “shock” factor. For instance, one said, “I know I’m supposed to say great things about my school, but all I learned here was a bunch of BS.” (But instead of the initials, she actually said the word - on camera. Yikes!)
I asked the teachers and counselors what the parents of the students who excelled did, and consistently they said the following three things:
The students, who do well, have parents who are very involved. This may seem like a no brainer, but I know many parents who are very hands-off, wanting their children to make their own decisions. It’s been my experience that the more involved I am with my kids, the more they know how much I love and care about them.
Parents let their children fail. Ouch! This is a tough one. Often, as parents, we want to take away our kids’ pain or lessen the consequences of poor choices. This does not help them. I’m living proof.
When I was in college, I made a really stupid decision. I called my dad, expecting him to bail me out of the situation. Instead, he said, “You’re going to have to figure it out.” This was an invaluable lesson that has served me well throughout my life. As things come up, I know I am responsible for handling the situation myself versus looking to others.
Parents walk the talk. Our kids will rarely listen to what we say, but they will always watch what we do.
Awhile back, I talked to our kids about the amount of screen time they can have. My youngest said, “Mom, you’re on your phone more than that.” Needless to say, I made some adjustments.
For me, this list was quite convicting and certainly caused me to change my approach in some areas.
Parenting is not for the weak at heart. It is the toughest job I’ve ever had and by far the most rewarding. The good news is when we know better, we can do better.