Tag Archives: kids

Is Rewarding Mediocrity Ruining Our Youth?

I will always remember a line from the movie THE INCREDIBLES. They keep creating new ways to celebrate mediocrity!” My husband and I always laughed at this, because as the parents of three grade-school boys, we knew this to be very true.

I’m not only talking about all those graduation ceremonies for moving from the three-year-old room to the four-year-old room in daycare. I’m talking about things like getting a trophy just for participating in sports, even if you come in last place. I’m talking about that school somewhere (I can’t remember where) who decided to stop naming someone valedictorian because it makes the other kids feel bad they didn’t “win”.

Huh

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but many kids these days grow up believing they are “entitled” to what they want. I think this is the result of all the coddling they get in the early years of their lives.

Seriously… Why work your butt off, sweating in your sports game if at the end the winner is going to get exactly the same trophy as the team that ends up in last place?

This reared its ugly head for me personally this morning.  My husband called me to let me know that the middle school had called. Middle Dude had to be taken out of homeroom because he did not make the soccer team. He was devastated.

My heart broke.

The more I thought about it, the more angry I became— not at the school or the coaches, but at all the previous schools and coaches Middle Dude has encountered.

They dropped the ball in preparing my kid for the real world.

The truth is, the real world is not all rosy. When he graduates college, chances are he will not get the “dream job” he’s been fantasizing about. If he does get a job, he will be expected to over-preform, not under preform… and if he doesn’t do his job, no one is going to pat him on the back and say: “that’s okay, we’re going to give you a raise anyway. Don’t feel bad.”

This was a big wake-up call to me. Middle Dude had no conception of the possibility of not making the team. Up until now, everything had been handed him on a silver platter.  Probably the only people who have said “no” to him were his parents, and no matter how many times we tell our kids what “the real world” is like, they always just grin and shake their heads at us…

Because the real world gives them everything they want, and celebrates their achievement of nothing.

In their minds, we, as parents, know nothing.

It makes me sad. Really sad. It is fine for Middle Dude to be upset about not making the team. I remember in high school how I felt when I didn’t get the part in the play that I wanted. BUT I ALWAYS UNDERSTOOD THERE WAS A POSSIBILITY OF THE PART GOING TO SOMEONE ELSE.

It is a different day. I applaud many of the things that government and schools have come up with to protect our kids physically and emotionally. But there is such thing as over-protecting them.

The world has not changed. In fact, it is probably a much worse place than it was when I grew up. But my kids don’t believe that.

They are the generation of entitlement. And I am so afraid for them.

The real world entitles no one.

JenniFer_Eaton Sparkle__F

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Apparently, I’m Weird. Who Knew?

Apparently, I’m weird. Okay, Okay I’m not talking about the little blue alien living in my computer. I’m talking about real-life stuff.

Have you ever had someone tell you that your life is implausible, and would never happen?

I’m writing a MG Contemporary, and to keep myself from going off the deep end and blowing stuff up, or having a sea dragon pop out of the ocean, I am grounding the story in my own personal experience.

This is how I found out I’m weird.

I have critique partners telling me that no kid could sail a boat on their own.

Ummm. Huh?

Sail Boat

Sail Boat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I grew up living in a house on the water. We sailed every weekend. We went fishing for our supper. My father loved the water and everything having to do with it.

We all learned to sail from the time we could walk and get a life-jacket slapped onto us. Now, that’s not to say that I, personally could have sailed a boat. I much preferred to catch fishies and scoop up crabs. But my brothers and sisters could sail, and not just small Sun Fish sailboats. Big sucker sailboats.  But apparently, my family is weird.

I was also told that a mother that is afraid of the water would not allow her family to be totally in to boating, leaving her discluded from family activities.

Ummm huh?

My mom could not swim. She was terrified of the water. Did that stop us from living five steps from a dock with boats? Umm, No. It was a very rare occasion that she would step foot on the docks, and even more rare for her to get on a boat, but she did it for my dad once in a while. (But he had to go really, really slow or she’d scream bloody murder)

So Mom and Dad were weird, too.

I suppose I am a product of weirdness.

Everyone says write what you know.

This is what I know.

A Nonsuch 30' under sail

A Nonsuch 30′ under sail – much like the boat I grew up on (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But apparently what I know is weird.

Have you ever come across this? —

People thinking something you’ve written is implausible just because they were raised differently?

JenniFer_EatonF

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Dealing with a child with behavioral issues: Our Journey with the Total Transformation #6

Deep breath.  It’s going to be a bumpy week.  This week is an overview of concepts of behavior management.

My Son’s most common saying:  “It’s too hard”

OMIGOSH.  I just found out something that I think I already knew.  My kid is super-smart.  It makes sense.  His brothers are super smart.  So what’s the problem?  His brain works faster than he can “compute”  Ugh…. I wish I could explain it, but it took me an hour to understand myself.

So… something gets him angry.  His brain gets that anger trigger so quickly that it can’t hop the hurdle to “I should calm down before I do something dumb and get in trouble”  Instead, he just lashes out.  He doesn’t have the “problem solving skills” to get past the anger.  No, that still doesn’t explain it…

Let’s try another way.  He sits down to do his homework.  He argues with us for 30 minutes because he doesn’t want to do it.  When we actually do it, it only takes ten minutes.  He doesn’t understand what a normal person understands… that you do the homework – just get through it– and then you can do the fun stuff.  His mind just hits a road block.  He doesn’t have the problem solving skills to get from point A to point B.

This is also the reason he’s had trouble learning to read.  Learning to read is a problem.  You get past the problem with practice.  He couldn’t process the idea of “practice.”  He couldn’t get past the point of “I can’t read”

So what do you do about it?  We need to stop coddling him.  “I’m sorry that you don’t like homework, but that is what we need to do now.”  Period.  End of conversation.  No arguments.

This is a biggie that my husband and I need to deal with.  Don’t invite an argument.  It’s hard.  Really hard.  As a parent, I want to explain myself.  I can’t with him.

It feels mean when I do this, and it has to be done properly (they explain how in the program and workbook)

I feel a little like a loaded weapon.  The program says to expect resistance, and after the first night I dang well got resisted.  They said to stick with it.  Change will happen fast.  I can only hope.  There was a whole lot of screaming when they went to bed tonight (At the correct time, without negotiating.)

I feel like a totalitarian dictator, really I do.  But this is the hard part I expected — the time when the parents take back the household.  It’s kind of like war, isn’t it?

This is not easy.  But each step to “understanding” I believe is helping me to cope with how to solve issues as they arise.

swish swivel squiggle

Our Journey with the Total Transformation:

Week One post #1

Week Two Post #2 and Post #3

Week Three Post #4

Week Four Post #5

Week Five (This week) Post #6