Perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of life is living the life of a parent. We struggle closely as parents with second guessing ourselves and wondering if the parenting approach we are using is the right one or not. Time and time again we ask ourselves if we are doing the right thing. Often times we don’t know what the answer is. More often than not, we find ourselves questioning our decisions almost immediately the next day or the next week. When it comes down to it, we just have to do the best that we can and hope for the best in the long run.
What I want to talk about on this subject is the factor of success versus failure when it comes to our children. I want to talk about how we approach creating success for our children as opposed to allowing them to experience their own failure. The millennial generation is our generation of children. The new generation for those of us who are new parents is also our children. If you are a parent right now with a child who has not yet come of age, you are either parent to a new generation youngling or a millennial. But I want to look at the difference between creating success for your child and allowing them to fail.
This is a pretty huge thing. I don’t feel like it gets enough recognition. We are in a position today where most of us can pretty safely guarantee strong support and survival and the future success of our children. College is readily available, and the job market is wide open. Many would say that millennials have more opportunity than any generation before them in the 20th century. But is it really the right thing to succor and help your child all the way into adulthood and beyond? Is it really the right thing to do everything for them? Possibly not.
Consider Allowing Failure
I would like you to consider for a moment the possibility that allowing your child to experience their own failures and their own hardships in life is actually a better alternative to mollycoddling them and assisting in their success all the way. People are hardened by their failures and they are strengthened and made better for them.
I know this speaking from first-hand experience having struggled with drug and alcohol addiction at a very early age and also from the experience of someone who has worked with thousands of young adults and who has helped see the power and the ability of a young adult who has experienced failure and who jumps back from that and accomplishes far greater things than other young adults who never experienced failure could do. No, I am not saying that you should simply let your young adult suffer from addiction or other serious problems. That would not be very good parenting skills. I am saying that it is important to find some kind of middle ground between doing everything for them and not doing enough. Most parents I feel tend to err on the side of doing everything for their children. They feel that it is their duty and obligation as parents to see their children through long after they achieve adulthood and ensure that their children achieve great success.
Just look at today how many millennials and younger adult still live with their parents and compare that to how quickly young adults flew the nest in previous generations. What we have here today is a situation where parents are too overly protective of their children. This creates rebellion and desire for individuation in the hearts and minds of young adults. What they end up wanting to do is rebel and go off and do their own thing against their parents’ will. This is part and parcel of why there are so many young adults who are now addicted to drugs and alcohol. A sad situation but a very real one.