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Raising a Successful Child Is a Curse for Every Parent

Raising a Successful Child Is a Curse for Every Parent

It’s tough being a parent. Parents do their best to make sure the kids live healthy and happy lives. Despite the good intentions, sometimes parents miss the mark. One of the most common mistakes that parents make is that they hang their hopes for success on the kids without realizing it.

The well-known movie Little Miss Sunshine, is an example of this. The movie is built around a family’s journey to take their little girl Olive to a pageant. The family’s happiness seems to hinge upon Olive’s ability to perform in this pageant. That’s a lot of pressure for a seven-year old to bear. While Olive marches to the beat of her own drum, many of the other contestants’ parents are hyper-aggressive. They’ve set a standard that’s nearly impossible for a child to uphold.

    These kids’ happiness isn’t coming from a joy of competing. In many cases, though, their parents’ happiness comes from the success of their children. It’s wonderful to want our kids to be the best at whatever they do, but we must ensure that they’re doing these things for the right reasons.

    For the best of the kids?

      I don’t know a parent who doesn’t want their kid to have more opportunities and have a better quality of life than they had. Parents sign their kids up for classes, put together special outings, and demand that they have the best education. Parents want their kids to grow up to be the smartest, most artistic, most athletic, most compassionate adult that they can be.

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      When parents get into the mindset of raising “winners”, they run into trouble. Where there are winners there are also “losers.” It’s one thing for a child to feel competitive, but when parents become competitive, it can take the fun out of any activity.

      For example, if someone says that kid A plays the piano more beautifully than kid B, kid B’s parents might decide that he needs to practice more. Kid B attends more intensive piano lessons for longer hours so that he can improve. Just to assure that his musical superiority is without question, kid B’s parents also get him violin lessons.

      When kid A’s parents host the coolest birthday party of the season, kid B’s parent’s try to outdo them. They add more entertainment and invite more children so that kid B can have the most friends. In reality, kids A and B probably don’t care about fancy parties. This is about their parents.

      The unspoken war between parents

        Parents can be cruel to one another. When a parent doesn’t push their children to be involved in many activities, other parents may judge them. They may say things like, “Why aren’t they nurturing their kid’s interests by getting them into more activities?” or “Why are their kids so quiet? It’s like they don’t know how to interact with others because they never do anything.”

        The people who are saying those judgmental things may be genuinely worried, but the criticism may also highlight their insecurities about parenting. In response to this judgement, parents start to care too much about what others think of their children. They may feel that how people view their kids is a reflection on them.

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        The self-conscious parent judges themselves based on what people say about their kids. “She said my daughter lacks social skills. Is that my fault? Is it because I keep to myself so much?” We forget sometimes that kids have personalities all their own.

        The self-consciousness and judgement have nothing to do with kids’ happiness. This is only about parents feeling secure. It seems like the better a kid does, the more parents feel like they are doing the right things as parents. They place their value and self-worth as adults on the shoulders of their children.

        An endless chase to get ahead

          Growing up is hard enough without added pressure. Being a parent is already stressful without having impossible standards. Kids and parents suffer when they are locked into unrealistic expectations.

          Children are extremely sensitive and intuitive. They pick up on everything their parents do, and they genuinely want approval. If they place more value on pleasing their parents than on doing what they love, they’ll never be happy.

          When kids are forced to focus on their parents’ expecations, they don’t get the chance to think for themselves. It feels good to get attention and recognition when you are the best at something. Kids who can’t meet the standard will always feel unfulfilled and unhappy.

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          Parents who only take pride in their kids for their victories—whether those are sports trophies, good grades, or other awards—are missing out on a huge opportunity. Instead of teaching a child not to be afraid of failure, they show kids that their worth is outside of themselves. Their self esteem is built off external validation.

          Of course this is bad for the kids, but think about what it does to the parents. They run themselves ragged trying to make sure that their kids are always ahead of others. Children miss out on a childhood, but parents also don’t get to experience the joys of raising a child.

          Set an example by self-focusing

          Parents are often taught to sacrifice everything to ensure that their kids have the best opportunities. There’s nothing wrong with making sacrifices, but parents must remember that they have an identity outside of their children.

          Parents who are hyper-focused on their child’s success are unintentionally modeling a need for external validation. Instead of showing kids how important it is to be yourself, they make kids’ self esteem dependent on what other people think.

          Nobody intends to teach a bad lesson. Luckily, kids can bounce back from this sort of pressure if parents recognize that they are behaving this way. Parents can teach kids what true happiness looks like by making time to do the things that they want to do. Model balance and stability for kids, and you’ll be amazed at the good that can come from it.

          Let them fall, and let yourself fall

          When parents relax, they learn to take failures in stride. They can take some of the pressure off themselves and their kids.

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          We’re going to mess up and fail sometimes. We can’t learn unless we make mistakes. How great is it that kids can make mistakes in the safe environment of your home? They’ll be better at handling failure in adulthood if they haven’t spent their whole childhood being the best at everything. When children make mistakes, everyone learns too. Their mistakes can make you a better parent. You may have to help them problem-solve or learn a new skill to deal with the problem.

          For parents who’ve been living through their kids’ successes, changing this pattern can come as a real blow to the ego. Kids have to learn how to pick themselves up after falling down, and they have to learn that they won’t always be the best at everything.

          You might have been afraid to let them fail because you didn’t want them to be disappointed, but now you can teach them about resiliency. You can show them that they still have value–even if they fail. That inner strength will carry them through any challenges that life brings to them. It will teach them to pursue the things that they want rather than do what someone else wants them to do.

          You have the power to shape your child’s self-esteem and self-worth. As Mr. Rogers says,

          There’s no person in the whole world like you; and I like you just the way you are.

          The best thing that you can do for kids is to nurture their interests without losing sight of your own. Understand that they will make mistakes, and be there for them. Teach them what healthy competition looks like, but show them that they are more than the sum of external successes and failures.

          More by this author

          Anna Chui

          Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the Chief Editor of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

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          Published on June 24, 2020

          How to Be a Successful And Happy Stay at Home Mom

          How to Be a Successful And Happy Stay at Home Mom

          I can’t think of a more rewarding job, nor a more challenging one than being a Stay-at-Home-Mom (SAHM)! There is no shortage of opinion, however, as to the pros and cons of going on active duty until your kid/s turns 18 and flies off to college.

          When you choose a career such as this, you’re in it for the long haul. But by the end of your journey, you’ll be decorated with every possible medal of honor. And may I say, indisputably deserved.

          Think about it: a SAHM is a queen. She has one of the most important jobs of all—managing the castle, all that it entails, and its inhabitants.

          For most of you, your home is your castle. It is where your most valuable possessions reside—your loved ones, your pets, your memories, and the special items you’ve collected over the years. It is where you feel comfortable, uninhibited, and free to be yourself. It is where you dine, sleep, and relax. It is everything!

          Being the queen of your castle is like being the president. What other position carries as much clout other than being the president?

          Taking care of that castle and its occupants is no easy task; it is a highly-ranked position that deserves every available merit.

          Yes, staying at home can be a big decision, especially if you have a career and have been used to praise, socialization, and a regular paycheck. You might even think that if you decide to stay home, it is a “step down,” a demotion of sorts. But nothing could be further from the truth.

          Why Being a Stay-at-Home Mom Is an Important Career

          Being a SAHM requires wearing a litany of hats. You’re a full-time babysitter, a Lyft driver without tips or 5-star ratings, a nurse, a chef, a behavioral therapist, and most importantly, a teacher.

          Teachable moments abound. You get to teach your children all the important things you want them to learn. Sure, there are no days off or summer vacations in store for decades, depending on the age of your little one/s, but imagine what amazing human beings you are helping to create!

          Being stellar SAHMs are big shoes to fill. Not just anyone is up to the task; not everyone has the patience or the stamina it requires. Think triathlon here, but more—much more.

          To put it simply, being a SAHM is one of the most important careers in the world. Let’s take a look at why this is so.

          1. Your Child Is Always With Someone Who Loves Them

          When your children are home with you, they are loved 24/7. They are happy and comforted.

          In a daycare facility, the most important person in your life will be with someone who is just doing their job. They’re there for the paycheck, not because they love your child.

          As you know, there are good and bad employees. You won’t necessarily know if your child is with a great employee or with one who is half paying attention to one of the most highly-treasured people in your life.

          2. You Don’t Have to Deal With Office Stress and Deadlines

          Working outside of your castle generally demands that you be present wherever it is you work—a hospital, a warehouse, a car dealership, an office, etc.,—when they want you to be there.

          There are petty fights, nasty gossip, stressful projects, bad bosses, jealous co-workers, etc. You might often find yourself looking at the clock and waiting for the weekend.

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          If you’re a SAHM, you make the rules! That alone should cause you great joy.

          3. You Get to Witness Each of Your Child’s Milestones Firsthand

          Think about how many milestones working moms miss. As a SAHM, you get to be there. You get to take those pictures, those videos, and see your little one grow up—in person, not via Nanny Cam! And if you’re children are middle-school-age and older, you get to keep an eye on them when they get home from school.

          In an article in the American Journal of Nursing Science, it states that:[1]

          “Economic and social pressures are forcing more parents into the workplace at a time when children appear to most need adult guidance and supervision. These children, in turn, face a growing number of problems such as physical and sexual abuse, crime and delinquency, depression and suicide, drug and alcohol abuse, emotional and behavioral problems, learning difficulties, school attendance problems, domestic violence, pregnancy, abortion, and venereal disease.

          Many “latchkey” children experience stressful and even dangerous situations without ready access to adult guidance and support. It is estimated that as many as 10 million children care for themselves before or after school. Many latchkey kids begin their self-care responsibilities at about 8 years of age.”

          4. Your Child Gets to Grow Up in Their Castle With a Queen Who Loves Them

          When you’re home with your child, you provide love and comfort. That makes for a happy child and eventually, a happy adult. True, some adults were raised with their queen and don’t fare well, but in those rare cases, there are other factors involved, too numerous to list here.

          In general, children do better when they know they are loved and cared for. And for children, the presence that would create stability and warm-fuzzy feelings is Mom!

          5. Your Child Will Grow Up Feeling Happy, Safe, and Secure

          Personally, I grew up with a SAHM. My mom was always around. We knew we could count on her for anything. She’d keep the house clean, cook great meals, and take us swimming in the summers.

          I have very happy memories. I always felt secure and loved. And when my dad would get home after work, the family was complete. Fun times! If you are a good, caring mom, the best gift you can give your children is YOU!

          Creating happy children is one of the biggest successes you can experience.

          6. Your Child’s School Performance Will Improve

          Research shows that there are excellent benefits to children staying at home, such as an increase in school performance. Those benefits extend way beyond the early years of that child’s life.

          Did you know that homeschoolers generally score 15 to 30% points above public school students on a standardized test?

          In the article, Does Being a Stay at Home Home Benefit Your Kids?, it states:[2]

          “A British study in the ‘Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health’ reported that children of stay-at home-mothers are more likely to participate in organized sports than those whose mothers worked, possibly because their mothers had more time to take them to sports practices.

          Other studies have found that children of stay-at-home moms were exposed to fewer germs and suffered from fewer illnesses. In addition, stay-at-home moms can have more time to prepare healthier foods and they rely less on convenience foods, partially for financial reasons.”

          It’s Normal to Feel Iffy at First

          Even after having read the six above-mentioned amazing reasons to stay at home, you might still feel iffy about it. Not because you don’t love your children but because you feel you will lose yourself—your identity.

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          It’s understandable to feel that way. Shifting your perspective is key here. Staying at home doesn’t have to go hand-in-hand with losing your identity. You simply add to it; it’s another layer, another facet of who you are.

          In the beginning, you may need to make some adjustments, but isn’t life, in general, an adjustment? Things are happening every day that oblige us to change course and go with the flow.

          How to Be a Successful Stay-at-Home Mom

          If you decide, that yes, you are going to stay home with your child but aren’t sure how to navigate the new waters without completely losing yourself, allow me to offer you some ideas that will make your experience an exceptionally happy one.

          By following through with the suggestions below, you will feel successful, happy, and ready to tackle anything that comes your way.

          Here are some tips on how to be a successful stay-at-home mom:

          1. Wake Up Early!

          Some SAHMs complain that they don’t have enough time for themselves. Valid point. Try getting up early, before the kids do.[3] This is the first thing that you should keep in mind if you want to be a successful stay-at-home mom.

          Being up before everyone else offers you alone time to get some personal things done. The house is quiet and peaceful—the perfect setting to do what you need to do. That could be taking an uninterrupted warm shower, reading passages from your favorite book, having a cup of coffee while streaming one of your favorite shows or movies, writing emails, etc.

          Waking up early offers you many opportunities to do what you need to do so that you don’t feel as though you’re missing out.

          2. Dress Up!

          No, I don’t mean dress up like you’re going out dancing, but you don’t have to be in your pajamas or sweats all day, either. How you dress makes a difference in your mood—on how you feel. So, dress casually but nicely.

          In an article by Corina, How to be a Stylish Stay at Home Mom Without Compromising Comfort, she writes, “You don’t need a ton of clothes! Stick with what fits you well and makes you feel pretty without much fuss.”[4]

          You can be at home and still dress to impress. You will feel so much better about yourself.

          3. Exercise and Have Fun With Your Kids!

          Taking care of your little ones doesn’t mean you give up on yourself. Take some time during the day to exercise. It will keep you strong, toned, and happy.

          Have the children join you, and make it amusing by playing some fun workout music. They’ll use up a lot of energy and enjoy the time with you simultaneously.

          Here’s an example of a mom who’s having a lot of fun with her kids as well as entertaining her audience. Watch Sophie Ellis-Bextor on YouTube.[5]

          What a fun thing to do with your kids!

          4. Schedule Weekly Outings!

          To add excitement to your week, plan a weekly outing to the zoo, the botanical gardens, the library, the park, etc.

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          Of course, at this point, the outings depend on personal safety and each state’s guidelines, so you’ll have to check on that. But bike rides around the neighborhood and picnics will work just as well.

          If it’s too difficult to get out for whatever reason, there are many fun things you can do at home, pandemic or not. You can schedule a Stay At Home FUN DAY! Making a fun environment for your children is important in being a successful stay-at-home mom.

          In an article by Andrea Browne Taylor, 16 Free or Cheap Things to Do With Your Kids During the COVID-19 Pandemic, she lists many activities to do with your kids.[6] Even I want to do these!

          5. Establish a Break

          During the day, it’s important to set aside some time to do something quiet; perhaps set aside 20-30 minutes to read, color, etc.

          During this break, each person can do something they personally enjoy. Encourage your kids to get creative. Research shows that creative activities, such as art, are wonderful for children.

          In her article, Why Art and Creativity are Important, Paula Bernstein states,[7]

          “Fostering creativity won’t just increase your child’s chances of becoming the next Picasso. You’re also helping him develop mentally, socially, and emotionally, says Ecklund-Flores.”

          And for you, pick up that hobby you put on the back burner. Whether it is painting, crocheting, knitting, writing, whatever, use that time to get some creative YOU time in! You are going to feel so much happier and accomplished afterward.

          6. Make Your Castle a Beautiful Living Space!

          Decorate your home in a way that is soothing to you. Choose the colors, the decor, the furniture, the pictures, the artwork, the plants, etc. that make you feel at peace in your own castle.

          Play music that is both calming and energizing. Living in a space you love and find comforting makes all the difference in the world. If you create a happy environment, you’ll feel happier, and so will your children.

          For ways to make your home a happier place, check out Olivia Heath’s article, 8 ways to make your home a happier place.[8]

          7. Set Up a Routine!

          Most people respond well to a routine. For instance, from 8 – 9, breakfast and cartoons; from 9 – 12. chores and homework; from 12 – 1:00 p.m., lunch. After that, nap time, if appropriate, or personal time.

          The routine, of course, will be based on the age of your children and your own personal views. According to a Skilled at Life article:

          Setting up a routine “creates structure in our lives. a daily routine provides structure and a logical sequence in our lives. It provides the framework within which we live our lives and conduct our daily activities. Soon we become familiar and comfortable with what we have to do each day. It allows us to experience a flow to our day.”((Skilled at Life: 18 Reasons Why a Daily Routine Is So Important))

          As a SAHM, you’ll benefit from the routine and take comfort in knowing what to expect. This is the time for you to incorporate anything into your daily routine that makes you feel relaxed, happy, and stress-free.

          8. Meet Up With Other SAHMs

          Meeting up with other SAHMs will provide you with support. Additionally, the kids get to socialize with other children and you with other like-minded moms.

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          Not working outside the home sometimes can feel isolating, so talking to other adults is a nice treat. Below, I included a link to help you find just the group for you! Check it out.

          9. Hire a Babysitter!

          Sometimes you might like to go out with friends, get pampered at a spa, or what-have-you. A babysitter or a trusted family member can help with that.

          These little breaks can be the fuel you need to keep going. It’s like getting a mini-vacation. It’s revitalizing. Once you get home from your spa treatment or the movie you saw with your friends, you will have renewed energy. You can now refocus on your castle tasks. And remember, a happy mom, makes for a happy child!

          Final Thoughts

          As a SAHM, you might make the mistake of thinking that if you don’t bring home a paycheck, you’re not valuable or helping with the household expenses. You’re actually helping more than you think.

          You don’t need a paycheck to add value to who you are. You are already one of the most valued members of society. You’re watching over human lives—your children—making sure they are safe, healthy, and happy. And as far as expenses go, you will be saving on daycare costs and transportation expenses.

          If after reading all these amazing things about being a SAHM, you’re still conflicted, don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s not for everyone.

          As I mentioned above, staying at home can be challenging. And in all honesty, it can have its drawbacks. That’s also why I provided you here some tips on how to be a successful stay-at-home mom.

          For example, being at home with your children all the time can make you feel a little depressed or bored. You might not feel like you’re being stimulated by life or adult-like situations. Maybe some of the hobbies you used to enjoy get neglected, or you might feel financially dependent on your husband.

          Furthermore, you might think you’ll lose all your abilities; the opportunity to utilize the educational training you received. Or maybe you miss the ritual of getting dressed, driving to work, and being around other people who are doing similar things. That’s all valid.

          Only you can make that decision. While you’re thinking about it, though, let me remind you that as a SAHM you will be missing some things. But you’ll be gaining so much more.

          Doing a presentation at work may get you kudos and accolades, but hearing the words, “I love you, mommy” is priceless. Watching your children grow up before your very eyes? Priceless. Making sure they’re safe and sound with you loving them all day? Priceless.

          There is no other job in the world with those kinds of benefits. As a SAHM, you are the heart and soul of your castle.

          Remember, too, that your children will grow up. You won’t have to wait until you’re 65 to retire. And although your job as Mom will never be done, you’ll be able to do many things that you didn’t get to do while on active duty.

          When you are “done,” you will have the satisfaction of having accomplished an amazing feat. You can feel proud because success like that isn’t easy to come by.

          The title of Stay-at-Home-Mom, despite what any group might say, is a powerful and inspiring one.

          Are you up to the challenge?

          Want to know more about being a successful stay-at-home mom and its benefits? Check these out:

          More Tips for Stay-at-Home Moms

          Featured photo credit: Alexander Dummer via unsplash.com

          Reference

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