Do We Keep Score on the Wrong Stuff?


Should parents protect their kids a little less and prepare them a little more? Dr. Tim Elmore offers parents a different kind of "scorecard."

Many of us as parents have a new score card we use to evaluate our success. How we keep score, however, makes all the difference:

1. Parent scorecard: A win is providing ease and comfort for our kids.

We never had instructive models or memories ourselves.

It may be that we tend to do this because it’s the only way we know. Perhaps we never had a good role model in our own parents — they weren’t strong in preparing us for adulthood. If we’ve not seen examples of “good training,” we intuitively nurture and coddle our kids. Our scorecard is simply providing well for our kids.

2. Parent scorecard: A win is having our kids love and adore us.

We are insecure about our kids love; we want them to cherish us.

It could be we yearn so much to be loved by our children that we dare not upset them. We’re insecure and need their approval; we don’t want them to turn on us. This means we make life easy for them. It’s all about earning their love. Remember: if you have a need to be liked by your kids, you won’t parent well. That need will skew your perspective.

3. Parent scorecard: We win if we survive the day or the week.

We don’t have the energy or insight to train them.

Many of us relate to this: we get to the end of a day, and we’re just plain tired. We slip into survival mode, and training or preparing our kids to do something is the last thing on our mind. And even if we did think of it, we wouldn’t know how. We can’t see past today. We’re just happy to make it through the week.

4. Parent scorecard: A win is knowing our kids feel enough love.

We fear our kids will need a therapist because we didn’t do enough.

I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve found many parents who fear their kids will be seeing a therapist as adults because they didn’t get enough “love” or nurture. This blinds us from their future needs. We constantly react to their needs today, and as a result, we do more protecting and less preparing.

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