One of the immediate precipitants that has led to the scourge of the prevalence of entitlement mentality in today’s kids, teens, and youth , even in many adults, is the shared responsibility of some of us parents who see struggles as evil.

We have in the present generation of children who are born into the world of conveniences, filled with smartphones, internet games, online and internet banking, microwaves. The influence of the present iron age which is full of machines and mechanical dudes is unavoidable though, because every generation is peculiar with its unique social development and improvement over the previous. This invention may have given our kids false belief that physical hand on works are gone for good. PARENTS nonetheless must therefore not lose focus. We must not through our actions give a subtle message that struggles are to be avoided.

We are not going to raise in today’s kids sleeping giants who would only be comfortable on a tottering platform and later cave in at the sight of adversity; rather, we are meant to prepare them strongly to solve the ultimate problems of life which arise due to the law of nature. The battle on ground to take up the mountains for humanity is not for feeble, dependent, weakly, and emotionally brittled adults.

I have seen in most of our young teens, teens , and youth , who desperately want to learn how to be on their own by making own choices , but unfortunately through over functioning, and over parenting, parents wouldn’t let them do that …sometimes we don’t just know when to let them do stuff for themselves which later deprived them of the needed creativity to move on after us. Over functioning in parenting simply is doing much for our children, interfering and removing common struggles they may experience in their days. But we fail to realize that when we remove the struggles from children’s lives, we begin to render them helpless in creative and analytic thinking and by so doing we have taken away from them capacity to own themselves; they lost every moment to be in control or under control themselves, rather they have grown up to learn how to be controlled by us.

As today’s parents who is concerned about the rot in our environment, must strive to stem the flow of entitlement mentality plaguing our society by focusing on making today’s children earn everything they need. Here lies resilience, creativity, and problem solving skills.

Here is a classical example of honey badger in the animal kingdom on how she prepares her kids for the challenges ahead of them;

The honey badger is not the largest, biggest, or wisest animal in the animal kingdom, but it is adjudged as the most fearless animal in the jungle ably supported by its strength, thick skin, and ferocious defensive abilities. It is mostly a canivorous specie that feed incredibly on varied diets that include some downright dangerous animals items on the menu; including wild cats, scorpions, poisonous snakes (cobra) , and , of course, bee larvae, and other several species available for them to devour. The mother Badger knows what lies ahead her kids and wouldn’t spare any moment teaching them on how to safely subdue and kill hazardous food like cobra and wild cats, and also to carefully navigate through the beehive so as not to be stung to death by angry bees is crucial.

Like honey badgers, humans have a very diverse and dangerous diet in the game of life; daily the competition to dominate the sphere and space become intense. The mother badger wouldn’t spare the kids the rigours of training.

Let us look at what happens when we remove struggles from them; we cheat on their capacity and ability for innate creativity when we remove struggles from our kids, we create more struggles for them at adulthood when we remove the struggles, we devitalize and weaken them , and unintentionally deem them incompetent. We ignorantly value the product (success) more than the process. We provide for them at adult and determine the course of their lives for them and make decisions for them, and finally we won’t let them fail, fall, and fight.

Surely we can help our children detach themselves from this miserable existence of depriving them necessary strategies to navigate through struggles to WIN in life.

Permite me to share few nuggets on how we can help them WIN in struggles.

• Stop giving inappropriate praises. Praises are part of affirmation kids need to grow with but misguided praises stunt their WINing strategies and make them more vulnerable when it matters most. We don’t need to tell them ‘they are brilliant, bright, and most amazing kid on earth. No. Just be truthful to their effort and don’t boost their confidence on false praises.

• Regardless of the technology driven environment of ours, kids must be taught the dignity in the value of manual labour. Little ‘hands on’ physical work should be introduced. It is not all the time we allow them use washing machine for laundry. Let them wash manually sometimes. Weed the garden together. Manual work teaches strong work ethic and make kids strong.

• Effective communication of the belief of hard work will make kids appreciate the struggles as more of joy than job. This will give them the understanding that we are pushing them because we believe they have potential to succeed and WIN even in struggle.

• We must teach them critical lessons on how we struggled and still struggling to WIN in life. Kids need parents with more of experiences than explanations. Experiences and circumstances of our struggles will certainly be different, but principles involved are the same.

• Stop being helicopter parents. Stop hovering. Stop stalking. Stop over parenting. Stop over functioning. Stop being paranoia. Give kids breathing space to express and function; allow them to fall and fail. It is a part of learning process. I call this exposure therapy. It doesn’t kill, rather it toughens them to be independent.

Let us keep this conversation going with comments, contributions, and questions.

Thank you for your time.

Akinropo Akinola
CEO, Parenmark School of Parenting

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