Parents, Teachers & Coaches – When Children Cause Their Own Pain – And Then Get Away With It

Parents, Teachers & Coaches – When Children Cause Their Own Pain – And Then Get Away With It

Parents, teachers and coaches are not terrible people for setting guidelines for our children. We aren’t terrible people for setting limits. We are not unreasonable in how we expect our children to behave. We are not horrible for having expectations of effort and achievement that match the current development of our kids.

Our children 0 – 11, and our young adults 12 – 18, cause most of their own situations and pain. When you mess up you learn from your mistakes when you are corrected and sometimes lose something. You learn when you lose a privilege for a short time. You learn when an adult in your life is honest with you after a poor effort. After an act of laziness. After an act of defiance. A parent, coach or teacher saying “that isn’t acceptable,” should be powerful.

Children and young adults also learn when they mess up and then get away with it. A good lesson they learned? No.

A lot of our problems as parents, teachers and coaches happen because we don’t believe the children and young adults we work with can actually do the simple things we ask them to do. Clean your room. Hard? Get up when your alarm goes off. Hard? Help set the table. Hard? Do your homework without being reminded. Hard? Give a good effort at practice. Hard? Going to bed at a certain, reasonable time. Hard?

The strategy for most children and young adults, to get what they want, is to “wear you down.” Complain enough, whine enough and Mom will give in.” We are smarter than that. Another strategy is to play the “you are making me sad” card. Another is “I won’t love you” if you make me do this or take something away. There is a secret course or book somewhere that each child and young adult learn from on how to get their way. But we are smarter.

Let’s wise up as parents, teachers and coaches about our ultimate goal: creating well prepared young adults for the “drive away” to college and their independent life. When children create their own pain they need consistency from us to not reward or let them get away with it. No, it is not all about punishment but it is a lot about making sure the child, young adult, knows they made a mistake or made the wrong choice.

If they don’t learn these correct lessons from us, do we feel comfortable when they learn these lessons at age 19 (in college), or 24 (in their job) or 30 (in their marriage)?

Giving in to laziness, defiance and poor efforts is wrong. It is bad parenting, it is bad coaching and it is bad teaching. When they choose to cause their own poor situation or pain it doesn’t help them to get patted on the back with an “oh well.” Their college professor won’t say “oh well.” Their boss won’t say “oh well.” Their spouse won’t say “oh well.”

Parenting, teaching and coaching are difficult. But we are strong enough, we are smart enough and we care enough about the development of these children and young adults to believe in what needs to be done. The next time you see them try to wear you down, smile at them because you know what they are trying to do. We can show them the right way. Everything is at stake when we watch them drive away. Will you feel comfortable?

The “drive away” is closer than you think. (If you like this message, share with your friends who are parents, teachers or coaches.) Tom Burgdorf and Gymnet Sports on Facebook

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