There is little in life more challenging than raising children. Are we too firm? Not firm enough? Too accommodating? How should we discipline our kids?
The whole process is messy because every kid is unique. Even with the greatest plan, the same process might help one child but not another. Sometimes we default to hoping for the best. When we feel we have been "successful", we take all the credit. When things do not go so well or as we had hoped, we feel guilty and try to figure out what we did wrong. In the end we come to realize that our kids have a will. Go figure. And sometimes that will doesn't want to follow us as parents, no matter how many good things we try to do.
Still, we don't stop trying. We will never simply leave our children's lives up for grabs. We can't, because we are parents. We love them, want the best for them, even if our 14-year-old thinks otherwise. And we we will never leave our children's lives up for grabs because there are too many more influences infringing on them today who want nothing but their own prosperity and power at the expense of our kids.
Growing up, we were not without our influencers. We had peer pressure and Madison Avenue and a few TV stations and of course, music. Today, there is all that plus a few million more influencers on the internet from TicTok, Podcasts, Instagram, Snap Chat, Facebook (Meta), chat rooms, blogs, text messaging, a thousand TV channels with endless advertising, all telling our kids what will make them happy and the way they should think, act, and look. We're streaming music and videos, thousands of apps and a not-so-little industry called gaming. Oh yeah, we can also gamble away our allowance online now, too.
What can we do? A lot. Setting clear priorities and living them out will go a long way to helping our kids sort through the quagmire of information being fed to them.
Margot Machol Bisnow's book titled, Raising an Entrepreneur: How to Help Your Children Achieve Their Dreams - 99 Stories From Families Who Did, describes the results from her research and numerous interviews of parents of highly successful children. Among many stories she found four things these parents never said to their children. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvRESgJOORs)
"I reviewed your homework and fixed the mistakes for you."
"We're increasing your allowance so you can buy what you want."
"No after-school activities until your grades improve."
"I'll give you money if you get good grades."
What they did do instead was to stress the importance of responsibility and accountability. They helped their kids take ownership, fix their own problems, and learn from their mistakes so they grow more confident as they get older. They all taught their kids the value of money and even kids from affluent families worked for their spending money. They gave their kids room to pursue their passions and supported them whether they were great students or not. Of course, at Paradigm we are convinced that the pursuit of passions requires a child to develop competence and mastery in all subjects around that passion. That is doing well "at" school.
They were taught to always try to improve and do what they are passionate about whether it brings more money or not.
Raising kids. It takes a lot of work and emotional energy. We can help them by not leaving them up to the agendas and priorities of video games and TV., but instead employ a few life principles so they can grow up knowing what it means to be people with agency who succeed, not because of money, but because of joy in what they do...oh so well!