Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids' Self-esteem

After spending 20 years as someone's child I've learned a thing or two about how much a parent can impact your life far beyond year 18. And I'm not talking about financially. I'm talking about the way their behavior and treatment can impact your transition into adulthood.

I can honestly say that although my mother and I have our differences, I thank God every day for the way she raised me. She taught me to have thick skin, to be kind and courteous, and to speak my mind. My mom pretty much nailed the parenting thing (not flawlessly, but who does?).

Over the course of my first few years of college I have learned that not all people have been so lucky. Sadly, I've heard stories of parents belittling their children, having high expectations of perfection, and constantly hovering over every decision they make. 

In life we are all faced with some pretty tough choices and unfortunate circumstances. We struggle through loss, growth, and change. But if we are constantly controlled by our parents we will never learn how to stand on our own two feet and face problems with courage and the proper coping mechanisms. And we sure as hell aren't going to learn self-confidence by hearing the people who are supposed to love us most tell us all the things that are wrong with us.

And for the record, I can't really speak for kids who have parents who pay for their education. I don't know what that pressure is like, but I do know that it isn't fair to use that to control your children into adulthood just because you like the taste of power. Because I will tell you one thing for sure, if you are constantly pushing your kids down and holding things over their heads then you aren't a parent at all - you're a bully. Parents are supposed to be providers of unconditional love above all else. They are supposed to support their children, even when it might be difficult. 

And if all of this doesn't say enough, just remember who picks your nursing home. 

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