Dr. Rich Patterson

Creating Relationships with Kids – III

As I have worked with kids and families for over 40 years as an educator, I have noticed that parents have trouble holding their kids accountable.  You know your child better than anyone and you know how hard you can push them, yet many adults get tired and let kids slip by without doing their best.  The second of Search Institute’s Relationships Framework (www.search-institute.org) is Challenge Growth.  I have a friend who has three boys of varying abilities.  This first son was smart but not real ambitious.  His second son was super smart, dependable and pushed himself almost without any prompting.  HIs third son really didn’t have the same abilities as his other two brothers and was extremely social.

This father believed in pushing his boys by expecting them perform at their full potential.  For the first son it was a bit of a struggle but then he would get going.  The second son pretty much was able to achieve on his own and for the third son it was a real struggle.  He pushed him, ensured that he sat down and completed homework–supervised if necessary.  He helped him analyze where he was falling short.  It was hard work and a constant struggle.  If he would earn poor grades, his father would kick in the self-discipline pushing him to do better.  If he would slack off, his dad would get him in gear again and again.  He was basically a slightly above average kid but this kid earned an appointment to one of the military academies and graduated.  This absolutely would never had happened if his father had not taken the time constantly to hold him accountable, to push him, to stay with him in such a way that he produced the best quality work he was able to.

What am I saying?  I am saying expect the best from your kids in everything.  Work with them, tell them why it is important to be your best.  Explain to them that by doing their best everyday they are creating a reserve toolbox called determination, perseverance and stick-to-it-tiveness.  This reserve toolbox will come into play when you aren’t around.  When they really face adversity, difficult times, opposition, put-downs, when the going is really lonely, they will pull through.

Examine this in light of your kids and your situation.  Be willing to disrupt the household for their own good, for their accountability and follow-through.  Be willing to pay your dues up front in terms of effort as a parent in order that you won’t have to pay when they are older and all confused on what they want to do in life.  Help them create it now, to see it come alive so they know it is there when they need it.

You’ll be glad you did!