September 21

20 comments

8 Ways to Raise Kids Who Can Cope (even if you can’t)

By Blair

September 21, 2015


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You want them to be happy.

Don’t you?

Oh, and culturally, socially and academically successful, too. (Of course.)

You want them to be perfect pillars of well-roundedness.

That’s just the parenting age in which we live!

And we’re a great generation of parents, in so many ways. We fill our children with joy. We work to shield them from harm, disappointment, sadness, failure, and boredom.

You work hard to help your kids to sail through life.

Your intentions are good, but the problem is, that’s not real life. Every single child will face failure and negative emotions.

Are we doing our kids any favors by manipulating reality and try to hide all the nasty parts?

No.

We may even be doing them harm.

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So, what can we do to avoid raising a generation of teacup children that grow up to be entitled adults?

How do we raise kids who can cope with life’s twists and turns?

The answer lies in awareness.

Here are 8 ways you can help your child learn to cope with life.

1. Only Liars Lie

Sometimes, reality bites.

Don’t pretend that your son’s best friend is going to the dentist when he’s really going to a birthday party that your son wasn’t invited to.

Take the opportunity to explain that everyone doesn’t get invited and that’s just life.

Be honest! You’ll be surprised at the inner strength he displays – given the chance.

Do something special for him that day to keep his mind off it.

Twenty years later, when he isn’t invited to a dinner party or a round of drinks after work, he’ll brush it off without a second thought.

2. Losers Lose.

Beat her. (No, not like that!) Just don’t let her win all the time. Even chess masters don’t win all the time.

She’ll learn to live when her adrenaline is pumping and she’ll desperately want to win… but she won’t. Someone else will.

They will beat her fair and square and that’s how games (and life) go.

Teach her to say, “good game!”, with a smile plastered on her face, and move on.

Life is full of losing hands.

Don’t dwell.

3. Kill the Copycat

I know, you feel like sh*t that your kid’s buddy from school goes skiing in Vail every Christmas, has summers at the beach house, and plays travel soccer for two grand a season, but that doesn’t mean you should break the bank attempting to do the same.

Show your kids that some people have more material things and some people have less. It’s an opportunity to learn gratitude for what he does have.

It’s an opportunity to understand that things aren’t the baseline for happiness.

Someday, he’ll know better than to finance a Beamer on 35k right out of college.

Raising Kids Who Can Cope | LiesAboutParenting.com

4. Believe in Boredom

Parenting today focuses on keeping our kids busy. Playdates, lessons, sports, and weekends are packed back-to-back, and beside carefully planned family activities.

In our quest to keep our kids happy we forget that it’s good to be bored.

Wonderful ideas are born out of boredom. You aren’t outfitted with a personal jester that pops out of the hall closet to make you laugh whenever you’re bored or lonely.

Your kids don’t need one either.

You don’t have to do that for them.

You shouldn’t do that for them.

They will learn to be creative, dynamic, and independent by filling their own days on occasion. Take 5 and read a book.

5. Honesty Is the Best Policy (I Swear!)

Grown-ups learn that we suck at certain things, even though we may love to do them (I’m looking at you, Karaoke). Drunk people will lie and say we have talent but we know better.

Newsflash- it’s not good to lie to kids about their weaknesses. You are not being cruel by being honest with your child about where their current talents do (or don’t) lie. If they are pitiful at basketball and devastated time after time when they don’t make the team, they have two options. Dedicate more effort and find a different sport.

They will learn to play to their strengths and understand that sometimes despite their best efforts, there are natural abilities that we are not all blessed with.

Like singing voices. And slam dunks. We can’t have it all.

6. Oh, the Places You Will Go, Kid! (even if you don’t want to)

Find yourselves avoiding things that you would actually really like to do because you know your kids won’t be excited about it? Stop it!

Love a morning yoga class but find yourself skipping it all the time because your kids hate the gym childcare? Too bad!

Your days are chock full of doing sh*t you don’t feel like doing, but you do it.

And odds are that most of your days revolve around them, so let them take one for the team and return the favor from time to time.

Get your dog on, and tell the kids they just need to deal.

8 Ways to Raise Kids Who Can Cope | LiesAboutParenting.com

7. Sharing Sucks

You’re at a playdate and Johnny has a sweet new Tonka that he just scored for his birthday and has promised to never let go of.

Your little dude wants in on that action!

It’s tempting to let Johnny’s mom force the handover to your sobbing tot. Don’t let her.

When your coworker shows up with a shiny new Apple Watch and you’re dying to put that sucker on, do you throw yourself on the floor crying until she lets you have it?

Of course not! If that worked IRL, life would be one big pile of temper tantrums and tears.

We are not entitled to other people’s possessions just ‘cause.

If Johnny wants to share, cool. If not, too bad, so sad little guy.

Pick a different toy.

8. Timberrrr!

Most kids have one stunt that they pull repeatedly, leaving their parents begging them to be careful and to just stop. Maybe it’s scaling scary stuff or swinging from the monkey bars.

You know your kids will completely ignore you even when you’re hyperventilating and reaching for a Xanax.

Hold that thought, pop that Xanax (if you’re not driving), and let them fall.

The case for letting children climb is strong. The case for staying out of their way on the playground is even stronger.

And if they fall? Lesson learned.

Maybe then they’ll realize you’re telling them to be careful for a reason and not just to piss on their parade.

Probably not, but it could happen.

8 Ways to raise kids who can cope | LiesAboutParenting.com

About the author 

Blair

Associate Editor of Lies About Parenting, Blair finds stories in her everyday, ordinary life and likes to over think them to death so that they no longer seem everyday and ordinary. She shares it all because she thinks it’s good to be imperfect. It’s human. By sharing the missteps, the screw-ups, and the eventual insights, she thinks she can make another imperfect somebody out there appreciate their own story a little more. You can find her at ByBlairArmstrong.com.

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  1. Great article! I love this website! I enjoy reading articles that are written about real life issues, in real life terms. Articles that speak the truth, no matter what, especially those that include humor, are my kind of articles! I find humor makes for a more interesting and real read!
    I just graduated with my BS in Psychology and I also minored in adult education. I’ve been thinking a lot about how much I enjoyed writing papers during my four years of college and how much I miss it already. So much so, that I am extremely fascinated by the idea of writing for a living. Writing about real life issues/situations such as the ups and downs of being a single parent to teenager girls, growing up being EXTREMELY shy and finally coming out of my shell after being diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 33, and basically sharing the knowledge I have learned and the experiences I have had in my 38 years of life so far. Any suggestions on where to start would be great! Thank you! I’m so glad I found this website!

  2. Hello!

    I absolutely love liesaboutparenting website! No joke. Definitely the honest base direct approach to raising children. I am a mother of two kids and the articles I read on this site is exactly the method I instill into my children everyday. It’s no walk in the park parenting, but is the most rewarding.

    Honesty, hard work, and appreciation will help the children to adapt/cope in all walks of life!

    I look forward to reading more articles about parenting and children here. As well as the chance to write articles for LAP soon. I am working toward BS in Psychology and would the opportunity to research and discuss reality.

    Thanks a munch. Great reads:)

    April Bradley

  3. I’m a new fan of liesaboutparenting.com and I really love how insightful and straight forward it is in your article.
    Anyway, I’m totally agreed with you on honesty. It’s necessary for improving and development. You can’t protect children by lying to them.

    1. Thanks, Catherine! We try hard to be direct without being insulting and manage it… most of the time 🙂 And it’s so true what you say about how lying to kids is NOT protecting them. It’s just recognizing what they’re capable of absorbing and what they don’t need to hear. Simplify Parenting is a great book about this subject.

  4. I like this article and think it makes some valid points.

    I do disagree with the sharing point though. Of course as adults we know we can’t help ourselves to everything, but when children are young they do need to learn to share, that when friends come over we let our friends take a turn with a toy as well. If they never think they need to share or compromise then they grow up self centered and entitled and think everything is about them and is “mine”….sharing teaches patience and compromise. If a toy is very special or expensive then put it away when friends come over, but if you have a guest over and your child is hogging the coolest toy all day then parents should encourage their children To let their friends have a turn.

    This also applies to situations at the playgrounds and parks when one kid is on the swing or slide and they want to keep extensibg their turn and not get off because they got there first, but tons of other children are also waiting to try it.

    Bottom line, there are important lessons to learn in teaching our kids to share.

    1. Hi, Melissa! Thanks for your comment. You bring up some valid and interesting points. Like you mention, putting away toys your child doesn’t want others to use is important. This article is talking more about how parents will rip a toy out of their child’s hand in an effort to be “nice” and share. Also, the constant monitoring for “fair play” sets kids up to expect adults to intervene. In our home, we usually let the kids work it out. I find the sharing fights escalate when the children know adults will enter the fray. It’s amazing to watch the kids work things out on their own. As for playgrounds, like you mention, I totally agree. Parental involvement in these cases is a slippery slope, isn’t it? Observe a Montessori classroom and you’ll see they have an interesting concept of community. Basically, they encourage children to resolve differences on their own and self-police (my words, not theirs) their group. Once the idea is rooted, it blossoms into respect for others and patience in waiting for their turn. Really interesting to watch it develop. Thanks for your comments and thanks for reading!

  5. Great post Blair – thank you! I needed a little pep talk today. I especially liked the tip about boredom – I often find myself trying to be the jester but as you say when kids are left to their own devices they’re imaginations and creativity run wild. And also made me feel less guilty about letting my son occasionally take one for the team!

    1. Thanks for commenting, Tracy! I remember my dad always saying, “Intelligent people are never bored.” Man, did I hate that phrase!!! What do I say to my daughter now?

      “Intelligent people are never bored.” (Groan. I have become my parents).

      Boredom cultivates intelligence, which seems counterintuitive. Parent jesters do not (unless you’re one of those super funny, cool parents…in which case I’m coming over ’cause I want to be funny one day, too!)

      Thanks for reading. Have a great day!

  6. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom and with us today at LAP! I will step away from the monkey bars and remember to pop that Xanax. Twist my arm. 😉 [insert screaming helicopter parents here] Which tactic has helped you the most with your family? Just curious. For us, I’d say #4 – Believe in Boredom. All hail the sullen looks!

    1. Cheers to sullen looks all around! I would say, #6- Oh, the Places You Will Go, Kid! (even if you don’t want to). That’s been top notch for me. One, because I have found that it helps me drag the kids to the gym without feeling bad about myself (and no mom needs MORE mom guilt!!!), and two because it gives them the opportunity to do something nice for me! It makes them feel good about themselves! Or at least that’s what I tell myself when I’m getting my sweat on.:)

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