What does it mean to “parent for success?”

randk 8In The Patch for Hartford Connecticut, I ran across an article called Parenting for Success! by Daniel BlanchardIt made me reflect on my own parenting and what I valued at one time had absolutely nothing to do with successful parenting at all. Here’s the opening of Blanchard’s article:

What does parenting success really mean? What about the whole child? Find your answers here!

So, what does parenting for success look like and what does it mean? Does it look like a little league MVP trophy sitting on their shelf above their perfectly made bed? Does it mean that our children get straight A’s in school? Does it mean they play the piano in a way that melts all of our hearts and reminds us of how precious music and children really are, and how we can’t live without either one of them? Nope! Nope! And NOPE!

Successful parenting is parenting the WHOLE child, not just the parts that we want to. It’s not our place as parents to paint our kids into a corner by making them do things that we like to do, or at least used to like to do when we were younger. It’s not fair to expect our children to be an imitation of us, or even a new and improved version of ourselves. We need to push our egos aside and do what’s right for our children, instead of what’s easy, comfortable and familiar. In the end, we need to help our children become better rounded, authentic, versions of themselves by helping them develop whatever part of them comes out on that particular day.

Yikes. This hit home. I was very concerned with straight As, valedictorian status, fast swims — and yes, piano. I was thrilled listening to my son’s piano and sat nervously at his recitals. But, those things didn’t mean my kids were successful, nor did it make me successful at parenting. What matters more is my kids are kind, considerate, not selfish, aware of those around them and compassionate. I can’t say I had a hand in all that. I don’t know if it was nature or nurture — or a combination of both.

I’m proud of the people they are today. I’m no longer focused on their immediate successes or accomplishments — whether it was getting to the next level swim meet or now, getting promotions at their jobs. I want most of all for them to be happy and secure enough to have caring and loving relationships.

randk

Here’s a bio of Blanchard, the author of the Successful Parenting article: Daniel Blanchard is a New Britain Schoolteacher who is also a bestselling and award-winning author, speaker, educator, and TV Host. Learn more about Dan at: www.GranddaddysSecrets.com.

What does “Parenting for Success” mean to you?

 

How to Raise Successful, Happy Kids

 

 

10400458_1163243325061_5149557_n

What I neglected to teach my kids, they learned from swimming.

Yesterday, while driving to the mountains to escape the summer heat of the desert with a friend, we talked about how different our childhoods were and how our parents were much less hands-on than we have been with our kids. It was fun to reminisce about the good old days. It’s also kind of sad to think about how sheltered our kids are today and that they didn’t get the chance to ride their bikes for miles and miles and play in the street with neighborhood kids.

For example, we both recalled our first day of kindergarten when our mothers took us to school. The second day, we were walking on our own! Our kids were chauffeured everywhere, every single day by good ol’ mom.

Here’s an interesting article that gives nine somewhat scientific steps to raising successful kids. There are some good tips in it and I agree strongly with several–like kids need to play outdoors more and have chores. Here’s tip number three from “Want to Raise Successful Kids? Science Says Do These 9 Things:”

 

“3. Send them outside to play
This research applied specifically to boys, but it’s common sensical for girls as well. In short, smart parents will advocate for their kids to get a significant amount of unstructured recess time during the school day–and never to have recess withheld as punishment.

Unfortunately, researchers say we’re more likely to do the opposite in schools now: overprotecting kids, trying to keep them safe from all physical dangers, and ultimately inhibiting their academic growth, because lack of physical activity makes it harder for them to concentrate.”

I had a ton of chores growing up. I’d cringe coming home from school or on weekends to my mom’s difficult-to-read handwriting filling every line on a legal yellow pad with chores to do before “we played” or “watched TV.” We had to weed the garden, sweep the steps, vacuum the entire house, cook dinner, clean the game closet, etc.

I wasn’t as good as my mom at making my kids do chores. They were so busy with school and the pool that I felt they didn’t have the time for more work. I know that was a mistake. I had attempted having them do the dishes every night, but that turned into more trouble than if I did it myself. Also, my daughter developed a unique allergy to dishes. Her legs and arms would break out in blotches whenever it was her turn. I couldn’t let her off the hook while making my son wash dishes, right?

Another thing that’s not on the list but should be is letting my kids fail and suffer the consequences. It’s a nice reminder to let kids fail while they’re young and you’re not paying $30k for a year of college. Consequences are what make them steady, reliable adults. I should have let my kids fail when they were younger so they could learn the consequences. I took way too many trips to school with forgotten homework or lunches.

All in all, despite me, they’re happy and hard working. I think that swimming taught them about hard work since I failed in the chore department. Also, swimming taught them how to turn a missed goal or failed swim into motivation to try harder. So, despite my not being a perfect mother, letting them experience life with the swim team taught them life lessons that I neglected to teach them.

How do you parent differently than your parents?

38050_1556243309815_8302301_n

Ribbons and medals received for hard work from her coach.