Creating Strengths Through Hardships
Being able to learn everything you need in order to get though life is an impossible task. One can never be fully prepared for what life may bring them in the future, no matter how hard they try to be. Parents are the people responsible for raising their children in a way where they’ll be able to leave the nest and be on their own eventually; however, with customs and values drastically changing in recent years, parents have begun to stray away from the focus of teaching their children life lessons. Rather, they focus on creating a more lenient environment for their children to try new things and make their own decisions.
While this can be a great thing for children to experience, this way of raising can also cause several issues. Becoming an overprotective and fearful parent can be extremely detrimental to a child’s upbringing. A quote from an article called How Parent-Child Relations Have Changed from Psychology Today reads “At the same time, parents have grown far more sensitive to the risks that their children face, both physical and psychological.” The author, Dr. Steven Mintz, goes on to tell the readers about the drastic changes the average childhood is like in today’s day and age. He compares it to parent techniques in the 50’s, where there was a clear establishment of who the authority figures were within a family. Many families today lean towards more of a friend or acquaintance relationship once their children reach a certain age. The idea of respect also plays a factor on this as well. Children should have a respect for their parents and a trust that they know what is best for them. There is nothing wrong with having a close relationship with their child, in the sense that if they needed anything, the parents would be the first people they go to for guidance. Nonetheless, establishing the defined line of parents knowing what is best for their child, or much like how the famous saying goes, “Mother knows best,” is what the relationship between parent and child should be like.
The main issues that come up when expressing this topic is why would parents even consider putting their children through hardships in order to teach them a lesson. Why not just try to teach them though communicating with them? These are all valid questions, however some lessons cannot just be taught through lecture. Even though some children may be considered visual or auditory learners, it takes real life experiences to better prepare a child for real life. Dr. Steven Joseph in his article How to See Challenges as Opportunities writes, “By avoiding challenges, we don’t have the opportunities to learn about ourselves.” His piece in Psychology Today, expresses how important it is to get out of one’s comfort zone, in order to continue learning. With nothing to keep pushing us to do better, we would cease to grow as individuals. He later goes on to say, “To lead an authentic life, we need to take on new challenges that stretch us and give us more opportunities to be ourselves”. Self growth is an essential skill everyone needs. One cannot gain this skill if they are sheltered from anything that may challenge them. In order to continue growing through life, the desire to be better needs to be something that is engraved into an individual’s being and can be trained through real life experiences.
Much like stamina conditioning in sports teams, coaches have players run or sprint 3 miles a day at practice, so when put into the game it is much easier to tolerate the demanded running. This is essentially creating a skill that can be used later on. In addition to this, having the mind and body go through a difficult task makes it easier to accomplish when forced to do something similar in the future. The idea that needs to be imprinted in every individual’s mind is that when put into a difficult situation unexpectedly, the immediate thought that comes to mind would be “Hey, I’ve gotten through more challenging times, I can get through this.” This type of thinking gives the child a sense of independence and confidence in themselves.
Some life-like situations are more likely to occur than others. For example getting a flat tire or simply being overwhelmed with daily tasks. Most difficult situations can be easy to get through if you’ve already had similar experiences. The underlining challenge this concept brings is how exactly can this be achieved? Creating hardships for a child to go through isn’t a logical thing to do. Rather, guiding them to the better outcome is what needs to be implemented. Giving them their own set of responsibilities and observing how they work with those. Something as simple as pushing them to try a sport or activity and showing them that one must make the first step to try something to see if they enjoy it and if they don’t then there should be no pressure to. Having them cook their own meal for the family once a week can create major benefits in the future, and also reassure the parents that their child is able to properly feed themselves if they’re not there. Doing these small tasks can make a child’s future everyday life effortless rather than a struggle.
Small challenges such as the ones previously mentioned are easy for a parent to allow their children to face. What becomes difficult for a parent to do is allowing their children to face dangers alone. Even though there are many more dangers that come in many different forms in today’s world, one will never learn how to face these dangers if they’ve been sheltered from them their entire lives. Being an overbearing parent can be detrimental to the development of a child or how Dr. Mintz would say, “If it has become harder for some children to cut the umbilical cord and establish an independent identity, and if it has become more difficult for some parents to let go and grant their kids a fully autonomous life, for most, the ongoing bond between child and parent proves to be a crucial source of meaning and personal happiness.” The most important matter to consider goes without saying, it is vital for a child to feel loved and secure within their family. The relationship between a parent and their child is a compelling force.
Each parent is involved in a vital point in their child’s lives and ultimately are what shape their children into the adults they later become. There needs to be a sense of dignity in wanting to prepare your children for life’s unexpected challenges. The hard to swallow reality is that parents are not always going to be there for their children and life is unpredictable. Preparing a child for what may come their way, can reassure the parents that their children will know what to do when life throws things their way. The best thing that can be given to a child, is the ability to make it on their own and become successful independently.
Dr.Joseph, Stephen “How to See Challenges as Opportunities” Psychology Today. 5 Nov. 2016
Dr.Mintz, Steven “How Parent-Child Relations Have Changed” Psychology Today. 7 Apr. 2015