3 Things to Teach Your Child to Avoid Raising Another Millennial

Branded the most entitled and self-absorbed generation in human history, millennials get a bad rap at just about every turn. You obviously need to take responsibility for yourself at some point, but the way you’ve been parented still plays a big part in how you show up in the world.

In an interview that subsequently went viral, Simon Sinek makes some key points about millennials and the ‘failed parenting strategies’ many of them were subjected to.

Unfortunately, it’s only once they’re thrust into the real world that the repercussions really begin to show themselves.

Mom can’t get them a promotion, coming last yields nothing and they can’t have everything they want just because they want it.

It’s a harsh wake-up call when you’re used to having everything handled for you.

As Julie Lythcott-Haims points out in her TED talk How to raise successful kids without over-parenting, self-efficacy —which this generation is clearly lacking— is built when one sees that one’s own actions lead to outcomes.

In Japan, children are taught from a young age to be independent and take care of themselves. We need to follow their example.

By equipping your offspring with the necessary life skills from the get-go, you’ll succeed in raising kids who feel capable, empowered and ready to head out into the world.

THE IMPORTANCE OF DOING CHORES

The science is clear: children who do chores are more successful adults. Along with teaching children responsibility, doing chores instills a mindset that says my effort will contribute to the betterment of the whole.

Chores also help children appreciate the effort it takes to make a comfortable life. When someone washes their dishes, does their laundry and makes their bed, they have no way of grasping this.

Don’t assume they’re too little, either. Even toddlers can help out with chores. As they get older, their responsibilities can increase. Get them into the habit of making their own bed, cleaning up after themselves, preparing meals, etc.

TAKING RESPONSIBILITY

Parents are responsible for their child’s safety and wellbeing, that’s a given. However, there is still plenty of room for children to take responsibility for themselves, as well. By doing their homework, completing their assignments and making excuses for them when they forget to do something, you’re telling them their actions have no consequences.

Responsibility extends beyond school work and chores though. Kids need to learn to take care of their belongings. If they want a puppy, for example, you need to make it clear what that entails. If they’re careless, don’t just automatically replace something they’ve lost or broken.

Remember, kids model their behavior on you. If you want them to behave responsibly, then you have to set a good example. You can’t expect them to be on time if you’re always late. And if you want them to treat others with respect, you can’t behave like a buffoon.

LOSING IS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR GROWTH

Parents are so intent on preserving their children’s self-esteem nowadays, that they’ll do just about anything to avoid their offspring feeling ‘less than’ for not coming first. Not surprisingly, this approach is making children soft.

According to C. Robert Cloninger, a doctor at Washington University in St. Louis, protecting kids from the agony of defeat blunts their competitive edge and never teaches them to properly deal with adversity. Participation prizes have also been proven to negatively affect work performance later on.

Cloninger also make makes the very valid point that we have to get over the notion that everyone has to be a winner. It’s statistically not possible and the sooner our children comprehend that, the better off they’ll be. They’ll realize that having fun is more important than winning and they’ll be able to see where they need to improve in order to perform better the next time around.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

45 comments

Angela J
Angela J2 months ago

Thanks

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Steve McCrea
Steve McCrea2 months ago

Amanda M. - Well done - sounds like you have great kids! And I'm disappointed to hear that anyone would criticize you for having your kids do chores - I find that bizarre! That being said, I want you to know that you're far from alone in raising your millennials in a healthy way. I think the most important point is giving kids the freedom to make mistakes and learn from them, along with supporting them in their passions and accomplishments. There are plenty of hard-working, responsible millenials, and they are created the same way every generation's good citizens are created - by hard-working, responsible parents doing their jobs well.

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Angela K
Angela K2 months ago

Thanks for sharing

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Amanda M
Amanda M3 months ago

I hereby dedicate this article to all those helicopter parents and "entitled" types who snarked on me because I *GASP!* make my kids do chores, am a semi-free range parent, and have taught them life skills to help them become self-reliant, hard-working, responsible adults capable of making a solid contribution to society!

And guess what? My teenage daughter is an honor student at school and has plans to work in the field of computer game/website design. She's also taking as many college level/AP classes as she can in high school to help offset the cost of college tuition and is trying to find a part-time job in our area to help with the bills and save money towards college costs. My younger daughter aspires to become a veterinarian specializing in small animal care and wildlife rescue/rehabilitation. She has some minor learning disabilities so she has to work hard for her grades (remember "The Cosby Show" when they talked to Theo about how "hard C's" were better than "easy A's" because he had to work harder for them with his disability), but she's got a mind like a bear trap and the drive to match! They'll both go far in this world because of the values and discipline we are teaching them.

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Stephanie s
Stephanie s3 months ago

Thank you

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Elaine W
Elaine W3 months ago

Noted.

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David C
David C3 months ago

noted, thanks

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Richard B
Richard B3 months ago

Thank you

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Ellen G.
Ellen G.3 months ago

Oh spare me! I am a Baby Boomer, you know what they called us? The ME Generation, because apparently we felt "entitled" and we were "indulged" because our parents (the "Greatest" generation, according to Tom Brokaw) had gone through hell, struggled through the Great Depression and World War II and they wanted to give us everything they had been denied and sacrificed for. Every generation since has been labeled spoiled, self-indulgent, lazy, etc. ad nauseum. You know what? Experts (ha ha) have been complaining about the younger generation since Socrates. I have three millenial children who are doing GREAT, are involved and engaged in the world, are figuring out their own path, are successful, are compassionate, caring and loving individuals. Look to your own issues, Simon Sinek.

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Sonia M

Interesting article thanks for sharing

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