Please Don’t Raise a Pansy
Parents it is time to wake up. It is time to stop letting your children think everyone wins, everyone has to be nice and things are always going to be fair. That is not reality. You are raising a generation of children who are going to grow up completely dependent on other people to fight their fights, who can’t cope with rejection and who think they are entitled to whatever they want.
I have been a dance teacher for 25 years. In that time I have worked with thousands of kids and I have had the honor to learn from some amazing, strong, adoring parents. I have watched parents encourage their children when times got tough. I have seen big hugs and cheers. I have witnessed acceptance and pep talks when failures happen and stern talks about expectations, work ethic and listening skills. These parents end up with young adults who are successful, hard working and happy.
On the flip side of that coin, I have also watched parents coddle, make excuses and look for quick fixes. Too many times I have had my mind blown listening to a parent blame other kids, teachers and circumstances for their child’s own short comings. These kids grow up to be adults who blame everyone else for their situation. They expect the world around them to support them, both emotionally and financially, unconditionally.
Why is it two kids can go through the same education system, be at the same social and financial position, both come from safe, healthy homes and be given the same opportunities, but one grows up to be a thriving young adult and the other grows up and the only thing thriving is the score on the video game he plays? My theory is… one is a pansy one is not.
How do you know if you are raising a pansy? Here are a few questions for you to self reflect.
Do you teach your children to be resilient? When your daughter does not make the cheer team at school do you make call and demand she get a place because “that’s just not fair, she worked so hard. She is just as good as Sally. How is it possible that Sally made the team but my kid didn’t”? Parents, your kids need to know life is not always fair, but it is still awesome. Teach your child that sometimes you work hard and still don’t get what you want, but you can still be happy. Tell your child to work harder and try again. When the goal is worked for the success is so much sweeter.
Are you teaching your child to make goals and work hard for what they want? Or do you call the teacher and yell at them for “giving” a bad grade. News flash, grades are not given they are earned, especially the bad ones!
Parents, your child is not “devastated” because he did not level up in karate, or make the all star team. He is disappointed and sad, of course, but make sure your kids have some perspective with their sadness. True devastation is when you lose a family member, when your home burns down or when parents get divorced.
So where do you go from here? How do you train yourself and your child to be strong and ambitious? How do you teach them to have a fighting spirit?
Here are 5 basic non-pansy things I want my own children to grow up knowing:
- There are people in this world who are going to be mean to you, rise above it. Be strong enough to not be defined by what other people say about you.
- Self reflection and tolerance. If someone is treating you badly use some self reflection; think about what you may have done or said that may have hurt their feelings and be honest. Practice tolerance; understand that maybe they are going through a tough time in their lives. Maybe you got the brunt of their bad day, frustration or insecurities.
- Don’t give people a reason to make you a target. Constantly posting selfies and talking about yourself and how wonderful you are will make people annoyed with you. Self promotion and being self centered is never attractive. If you genuinely care about the people around you they will care about you. The old adage treat people how you want to be treated still applies today.
- You will practice really hard, you will try your best, you will put all your heart and soul into your goal…you may still fail. That’s ok. Failure is only negative if you let it stop you from trying again.
- You do not fart rainbows. In more graceful terms, you are of course the apple of my eye, but the rest of the world is not as enamored with you. Don’t expect the red carpet to be rolled out for you everywhere you go.
This all may seem a bit harsh but I think I am on the right track. My daughter is 12 and one of her many activities is equestrian. Since she loves it so much and I am sucker, that’s a different story all together, we recently acquired a thoroughbred for her. During one of her lessons my daughter started giving her horse the wrong cues and stopped using the good technique her coach had taught her. Things went bad pretty quick and my daughter was tossed from her horse going about 25 miles per hour. Please notice I did not say the horse was not listening, my daughter had a bad day or her trainer was at fault. My daughter fell off her horse was her own fault.
When she hit the ground I jumped to my feet but resisted the urge to hop the fence and run to her. She got up very quickly and at that moment I knew she was not broken, so, I sat back down. Yes you read that right, my beautiful 12 year old baby girl was thrown from her horse going 25 miles per hour and I did not run to her. I sat back down and let her coach do her job. Within minutes my daughter was back on her horse. She was scared out of her mind and it took a few months for her to get her confidence back but she did it and she did it on her own and in her own time
My daughter had a huge failure that day but she made her own decision to accept her failure, dust herself off and get back on the horse, both literally and figuratively. I am really proud of my kid. She has guts, she has character, and I am very confident she can handle herself in any situation that comes her way. And if she fails I know she has strong enough self-confidence that she will be able to power her way forward and not let it get her down. My daughter is not a pansy.
Most importantly, she knows she does not fart rainbows.