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When Parents Are Trying Too Hard, Loving Their Kids Becomes Destroying Them

When Parents Are Trying Too Hard, Loving Their Kids Becomes Destroying Them

Parenthood is a constant question with no definite answer. Will this benefit my child? How will my choices and actions affect them in the future? The truth is, everyone is doing their best. And as a parent trying their best, you must understand that your child is also doing their best. In your efforts to push them to success, you may be hurting their self-esteem [1] in the process.

Expectation Isn’t Everything

All parents want what is best for their kids, and for them to have the opportunities that they didn’t. Or perhaps they just want them to follow in their footsteps to achieve the level of greatness that they have, or better. That’s why they choose to instill those values in them at an early age. To work hard, and to do well.

Children absolutely need that encouragement and that support to excel and flourish. But there definitely is a limit. When the need for success is taking a toll on your child’s happiness, [2] parents need to look at the bigger picture here. Their personal well-being is more important than achieving a perfect score. Parents’ needs for their flawless success could be blinding them from their deflating ego. While children need their parents’ support to thrive, they need it even more when they fail.

We all excel in different forms of intelligence.

This unnerving need to succeed, achieve, and win can have some very negative effects on a developing child’s well-being. They will harbor this supposed value throughout their lives, leaving them completely devastated in the event that they inevitably fail. College students especially struggle with this when they are unable to achieve sometimes unrealistic expectations.

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This negative reaction to failure is an indication of low self-esteem, which is a learned reaction that deepens over time. To these kids, it is completely unacceptable and they are less of a person for making a mistake.

What these children never learned, because their parents may have not been aware, is that there are nine types of intelligence’s.[3] Just because an individual does not excel in one area does not mean that they are unintelligent or incapable.

  1. Nature Intelligence
  2. Musical Intelligence
  3. Logical-Mathematical Intelligence
  4. Existential Intelligence
  5. Interpersonal Intelligence
  6. Bodily-Kinetic Intelligence
  7. Linguistic Intelligence
  8. Personal Intelligence
  9. Spatial Intelligence

If your child is struggling academically, look at their strengths and weaknesses. Help them to excel in the areas that naturally “click” with them, and get them extra help where they might come up short. Consider your own strengths and weaknesses, are they similar to your children?

Pressuring the children can cause them not to trust their parents.

Although parents may think they are disciplining their kids for the good, they could actually be doing them more damage than good. Because these children are intimidated by their parents, they are less likely to approach them during a time of need.

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Children may assume that their parents lack all capability of understanding, so instead of asking your permission for anything, they will sneak around. Children of strict parents tend to become masterfully manipulative and deceitful; a well honed skill that they acquired after years of tyrannical oppression.

This lack of trust is incredibly damaging to an emotionally developing individual. They need an environment where they are allowed to make choices, and don’t question if they’ll receive their parent’s support if they make a mistake.

There are some methods to help nurture children’s self esteem.

It can be difficult to watch from the passenger side when all you want to do is grab the wheel. But you’ve raised a very capable little human, and you need to let them fall a few times so they know how to pick themselves back up. Here are a few tips [4] to help them learn for themselves and build up their confidence.

Praise them for their efforts, not their outcomes.

The common term “ya win some ya loose some” takes strong precedence here. Because although it is cliché, the fact that they tried really is the most important aspect of all. What techniques did they use in the process? What are some ways that they overcame obstacles and thought outside of the box? These are the variables that you need to focus on, so that next time they will do better. Praise them for those little accomplishments along the way. Next time they will take them so much further.

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Let them fail and own the consequences.

The best way to learn is by experience. You can tell someone not to do something time and time again, but that curiosity will get the best of them eventually. Instead of sheltering and shielding them, allow them to make some mistakes. Allow them to fail. Let them find their own way to absolve the situation or at least learn from it.

This will help them to build their confidence and self awareness. It hurts to watch them fall, but think of how proud you will be when they dust themselves off and outsmart the odds.

Don’t focus on the negatives, look for the strengths.

Remember what we spoke about the nine intelligence’s? Well, they’re making a comeback. Instead of focusing on what your child cannot do, help them search for what they can. They’re not a failure because they’re not an all-star athlete like their parent. Perhaps they are book smart or artistically talented instead. Help them to identify these strengths and nurture them. You will have a common goal, and it will only bring you closer.

Give them responsibilities.

By doing so, you are putting your trust in them to do a job well done. It is now their personal responsibility to complete these tasks, which gives them a sense of obligation and achievement.

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Home is where the heart is.

Make sure that they know no matter what, home is where they can feel sake. Home is where they are accepted, and where they are loved. Always take the time to show interest and affection to your children. Let them know all of the qualities that you love about them, and ask them to name what they like about themselves. Practicing love and self-love is the best thing you can do for their emotional well being.

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

[1] Cardinal Glennon: Parents can influence child’s self-esteem
[2] KidsHealth: Developing Your Child’s Self-Esteem
[3] Skyview High School: The Nine Types of Intelligence
[4] Developmental Psychology at Vanderbilt: Instilling Self-Esteem in Children

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Jenn Beach

Traveling vagabond, writer, & plant-based food enthusiast.

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Last Updated on May 7, 2019

How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Work in any competitive field long enough, and you’re bound to run into a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It’s a powerful image. A shepherd watches over his flock to protect them from harm. He’d chase away any predator that tried to make its way into the flock. A clever wolf wearing the skin of a sheep as a disguise can sneak by the vigilant shepherd and get into the herd undetected.

The story isn’t just a colorful description–it’s a warning to all of us to beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing. They may seem innocent, but they have ulterior motives. They’ll use different tactics to camouflage their intentions.

The person who is kind to you, but undercuts you when you aren’t around is a wolf in disguise. A wolf in sheep’s clothing might pick your brain for ideas and then pass them off as their own to get a promotion. They’re always looking out for themselves at the expense of everyone around them.

Wearing a Disguise Has Its Advantages

People don’t go out of their way to manipulate others unless they’re getting something out of it. Hiding their intentions gives wolves the chance to manipulate other people to advance their own agenda. They know that what they’re trying to do wouldn’t be popular, or it might cause struggle if they presented themselves honestly.

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    They’ll be able to do what they want with less interference if they put on an act. By the time people figure out their true motives, the wolf has what it wants.

    Signs That Someone Is a Wolf in Disguise

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        1. They live to take power instead of empowering others. A wolf uses people as stepping stones to get the things that they want. They don’t care what happens to anyone else.[1] A wolf at work might make you look bad during a presentation to make themselves look amazing in front of the boss.
        2. Wolves seem sweet on the outside, but they’ll show you their teeth. If wolves revealed their true identity, people wouldn’t associate with them. They develop a friendly or kind persona, but they can’t keep up the act 24/7. Eventually, they’ll reveal their aggressive tendencies. A wealthy person who likes to break the law may make sizable charitable donations to convince people that they are kind and thoughtful. These donations largely keep them out of trouble, but if someone calls them out, they destroy that person’s reputation to stifle the criticism.
        3. They manipulate through emotions to get what they want. Wolves know that they can get ahead by appealing to your emotions. They find out what you want and need, and they give you just enough to keep you quiet and compliant. Imagine that your boss is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and you want to ask for a vacation. She might try to play on your guilt and feelings of insecurity to get you to skip vacation or take fewer days off.
        4. A wolf will charm you first. Wolves are experts at manipulating the people around them. They appear interested in whatever you’re doing, and you’ll get the impression that they care. After they get you where they want you, they do just enough to keep you on the hook. This is the coworker who may start out being your friend, but they end up dumping responsibility onto you. When they see that you are growing frustrated, they’ll surprise you with something to charm you some more. Then, they’ll continue to do whatever they want.
        5. Their stories are full of holes.  Calling a wolf out is the surest way to make them squirm. When this person tries to come up with a story, it won’t make much sense because they are improvising.[2] The classic example of this is the significant other that you suspect has cheated on you. When you ask them why they came home so late, they’ll either become upset with you, or they’ll make up a weak explanation.

        How to Spot a Wolf

          Know What’s Real So You Can Spot the Phony

          Do some homework so that you have as much of the story as possible before you work with them. Research how they respond in certain situations, or give them hypothetical problems to see how they respond.

          A job applicant might tell you that she’s always positive and thinks of herself as a team-player. That’s what every employer wants to hear. During the interview you ask applicants to work in groups to solve a problem to see how they handle the situation. The applicant “positive team-player” is bossy and negative. You’ve spotted the wolf.

          A wolf will tell you something that ultimately benefits them. Gather evidence that proves or disproves their position, and see what happens. Chances are, when you choose the side that supports their agenda, they’ll act like your best friend. If you disagree, they’ll become aggressive.

          Spotting a potential wolf–especially if you are one of the sheep–can present you with some challenges. If your gut tells you that a wolf is lurking among all the other sheep, pay attention, and make sure you take the next step.

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          Ask Questions, the More the Better

          There’s nothing wrong with asking questions to uncover the truth. The safety of everyone in your group is at risk. Since wolves often make up stories, you may be able to call them out when their tales lack details.

          When they state an opinion, ask “Why do you think that?” or “How do you know it’s like that?” They’ll have trouble coming up with enough information to pull off the lie.

          Since wolves are always pretending to be something they aren’t, they don’t usually have a clearly thought-out reason for what they say. In a debate, they won’t understand the root of an issue.

          They may also tell you what they think you want to hear, but when pressed for more information, they won’t have anything to add. Their knowledge is superficial. No matter how much you try to encourage discussion, they will not be able to carry on a conversation about the subject.

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          Wolves Are Everywhere

          As much as we want to believe that everyone has the best intentions, it isn’t always the case. Some people only do things to benefit themselves, and they don’t care who they hurt in the process.

          Wolves in sheep’s clothing can be found in almost every setting. You can’t get rid of them, but if you can spot them, you can avoid falling into their traps.

          Reference

          [1] Association of Biblical Counselors: Three Ways to Spot a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
          [2] Power of Positivity: Beware of a wolf in sheep’s clothing

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