My mom wants you to stop messing up your kids!

My mom wanted me to give you a message... stop messing up kids!

We know kids in my family. My mom was a 1st-grade teacher for 27 years, my dad was an elementary school principal, my grandmother was a high school teacher, my grandfather taught before becoming a minister, even my great-grandmother was a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse in rural Alabama. 

WE KNOW KIDS! 

Every time I go down to my parent's house we get into a conversation about generations now. My parents, who are true Baby Boomers, admit to being really confused by the Millennials, iGens, and even GenZ. I feel like I spend a lot of time trying to explain these new behaviors. However, they've taught me a good bit about the comparisons between school "then" and school "now". One of my favorite examples she shared is today's lesson.

When adults interrupt play we rob kids of the ability to learn hard interpersonal lessons.

Let's look at some then and now examples:
1) Do you remember that 8 ft slide that was made of metal that was so hot in the sun that it would seriously burn your skin off? Remember how it was YOUR choice to decide to slide down that thing or jump off it? Remember how if you did break your arm you didn't tell anyone for 3 days because that stupid decision was on you? 
Now think about today (and really the past 20 years). Children are watched constantly and they don't get to make the decision about jumping/sliding anymore, adults make it for them. Anything potentially dangerous was removed. 8ft slides have been cut to 4ft. If a kid does jump an adult immediately runs up to tell them how dangerous that was and makes it stop immediately. 
Did the kid learn the lesson about decision-making consequences there or did they learn that the person in charge of you is supposed to make decisions that will make everything work out ok? Can you see that translating into your own workplace? Do you have young employees who ask for approval on EVERY SINGLE THING before moving on? Do they refuse to RISK IT? Hmmm.. wonder why?

2) Do you remember when you went over to your friend's house to play and they wanted to play something and you wanted to play something else? What happened? Either you fought about it and someone won or you got mad and left. Either way, you solved the problem on your own. 
Now think about today? We hear two kids arguing so we, the ADULT, come in and intervene. We say "ok you can play this for 30 minutes and then he/she can play this for 30 minutes". We don't let them learn how to resolve it... WE RESOLVE IT FOR THEM. 
So kids miss another powerful lesson here. Sometimes you don't get what you want. Sometimes you don't get to play your thing/idea/concept for 30 minutes or EVER. Sometimes the boss says this is what we're doing and there's no getting your own way. No matter how much you whine, pout, or call your mama. LET YOUR KIDS RESOLVE IT THEMSELVES! Teach them privately how they should solve the problem, but don't interrupt it all the time. Let them deal with the consequences of not giving in and not having anyone to play with because they HAVE to have their way. 

3) Do you remember when you would go to a playground (even a McDonalds play place) and you didn't know anyone what did you do? You figured out how to make friends. You figured out how to greet someone. How to say hello. How to find things in common. ALL. ON. YOUR. OWN. 
Now I want you to think about how it's done today. We, the parent walk our kid up to another kid around their age (and probably their parent) and introduce them. "This is Billy", we say, "Billy likes trains, do you like trains." Then the other mom replies, "Oh yes Johnny likes trains."  Then instead of just leaving them to now figure out if they like EACH OTHER the parents walk around together pointing out commonalities and coming up with ideas for play for them. 
WHAT?! Do you see how this has made the younger generations worse at meeting one another? Do you see how this is part of the reason WHY when they walk into the office and don't speak to a soul? Hey, yeah, WE DID THAT!!

Ok, there you go! Three tips from my Mama, on how to stop screwing up your kids! And maybe a little lesson on HOW we might have messed up a little bit that needs owning! 

What did you think? Are you going to apply some of these lessons in your life?

Kristin