Three Huge Mistakes We Make Leading Kids…and How to Correct Them

February 15, 2013 — 1,111 Comments

Recently, I read about a father, Paul Wallich, who built a camera-mounted drone helicopter to follow his grade-school-aged son to the bus stop. He wants to make sure his son arrives at the bus stop safe and sound. There’s no doubt the gizmo provides an awesome show-and-tell contribution. In my mind, Paul Wallich gives new meaning to the term “helicopter parent.”

While I applaud the engagement of this generation of parents and teachers, it’s important to recognize the unintended consequences of our engagement. We want the best for our students, but research now shows that our “over-protection, over-connection” style has damaged them. Let me suggest three huge mistakes we’ve made leading this generation of kids and how we must correct them.


1. We Risk Too Little

We live in a world that warns us of danger at every turn. Toxic. High voltage. Flammable. Slippery when wet. Steep curve ahead. Don’t walk. Hazard. This “safety first” preoccupation emerged over thirty years ago with the Tylenol scare and with children’s faces appearing on milk cartons. We became fearful of losing our kids. So we put knee-pads, safety belts and helmets on them…at the dinner table. (Actually I’m just kidding on that one). But, it’s true. We’ve insulated our kids from risk.

Author Gever Tulley suggests, “If you’re over 30, you probably walked to school, played on the monkey bars, and learned to high-dive at the public pool. If you’re younger, it’s unlikely you did any of these things. Yet, has the world become that much more dangerous? Statistically, no. But our society has created pervasive fears about letting kids be independent—and the consequences for our kids are serious.”

Unfortunately, over-protecting our young people has had an adverse effect on them.

“Children of risk-averse parents have lower test scores and are slightly less likely to attend college than offspring of parents with more tolerant attitudes toward risk,” says a team led by Sarah Brown of the University of Sheffield in the UK. Aversion to risk may prevent parents from making inherently uncertain investments in their children’s human capital; it’s also possible that risk attitudes reflect cognitive ability, researchers say.” Sadly, this Scottish Journal of Political Economy report won’t help us unless we do something about it. Adults continue to vote to remove playground equipment from parks so kids won’t have accidents; to request teachers stop using red ink as they grade papers and even cease from using the word “no” in class. It’s all too negative. I’m sorry—but while I understand the intent to protect students, we are failing miserably at preparing them for a world that will not be risk-free.

Psychologists in Europe have discovered that if a child doesn’t play outside and is never allowed to experience a skinned knee or a broken bone, they frequently have phobias as adults. Interviews with young adults who never played on jungle gyms reveal they’re fearful of normal risks and commitment. The truth is, kids need to fall a few times to learn it is normal; teens likely need to break up with a boyfriend or girlfriend to appreciate the emotional maturity that lasting relationships require. Pain is actually a necessary teacher. Consider your body for a moment. If you didn’t feel pain, you could burn yourself or step on a nail and never do something about the damage and infection until it was too late. Pain is a part of health and maturity.

Similarly, taking calculated risks is all a part of growing up. In fact, it plays a huge role. Childhood may be about safety and self-esteem, but as a student matures, risk and achievement are necessities in forming their identity and confidence. Because parents have removed “risk” from children’s lives, psychologists are discovering a syndrome as they counsel teens: High Arrogance, Low Self-Esteem. They’re cocky, but deep down their confidence is hollow, because it’s built off of watching YouTube videos, and perhaps not achieving something meaningful.

According to a study by University College London, risk-taking behavior peeks during adolescence. Teens are apt to take more risks than any other age group. Their brain programs them to do so. It’s part of growing up. They must test boundaries, values and find their identity during these years. This is when they must learn, via experience, the consequences of certain behaviors. Our failure to let them risk may explain why so many young adults, between the ages of 22 and 35 still live at home or haven’t started their careers, or had a serious relationship. Normal risk taking at fourteen or fifteen would have prepared them for such decisions and the risks of moving away from home, launching a career or getting married.

2. We Rescue Too Quickly

This generation of young people has not developed some of the life skills kids did thirty years ago because adults swoop in and take care of problems for them. We remove the need for them to navigate hardships. May I illustrate?

Staff from four universities recently told me they encountered students who had never filled out a form or an application in their life. Desiring to care for their kids, and not disadvantage them, parents or teachers had always done it for them.

One freshman received a C- on her project and immediately called her mother, right in the middle of her class. After interrupting the class discussion with her complaint about her poor grade, she handed the cell phone to her professor and said, “She wants to talk to you.” Evidently, mom wanted to negotiate the grade.

A Harvard Admissions Counselor reported a prospective student looked him in the eye and answered every question he was asked. The counselor felt the boy’s mother must have coached him on eye-contact because he tended to look down after each response. Later, the counselor learned the boy’s mom was texting him the answers every time a question came in.

A college president said a mother of one of his students called him, saying she’d seen that the weather would be cold that day and wondered if he would make sure her son was wearing his sweater as he went to class. She wasn’t joking.

This may sound harsh, but rescuing and over-indulging our children is one of the most insidious forms of child abuse. It’s “parenting for the short-term” and it sorely misses the point of leadership—to equip our young people to do it without help. Just like muscles atrophy inside of a cast due to disuse, their social, emotional, spiritual and intellectual muscles can shrink because they’re not exercised. For example, I remember when and where I learned the art of conflict resolution. I was eleven years old, and everyday about fifteen boys would gather after school to play baseball. We would choose sides and umpire our games. Through that consistent exercise, I learned to resolve conflict. I had to. Today, if the kids are outside at all, there are likely four mothers present doing the conflict resolution for them.

The fact is, as students experience adults doing so much for them, they like it at first. Who wouldn’t? They learn to play parents against each other, they learn to negotiate with faculty for more time, lenient rules, extra credit and easier grades. This actually confirms that these kids are not stupid. They learn to play the game. Sooner or later, they know “someone will rescue me.” If I fail or “act out,” an adult will smooth things over and remove any consequences for my misconduct. Once again, this isn’t even remotely close to how the world works. It actually disables our kids.

3. We Rave Too Easily

The self-esteem movement has been around since Baby Boomers were kids, but it took root in our school systems in the 1980s. We determined every kid would feel special, regardless of what they did, which meant they began hearing remarks like:

  • “You’re awesome!”
  • “You’re smart.”
  • “You’re gifted.”
  • “You’re super!”

Attend a little league awards ceremony and you soon learn: everyone’s a winner. Everyone gets a trophy. They all get ribbons. We meant well—but research is now indicating this method has unintended consequences. Dr. Carol Dweck wrote a landmark book called, Mindset. In it she reports findings about the adverse affects of praise. She tells of two groups of fifth grade students who took a test. Afterward, one group was told, “You must be smart.” The other group was told, “You must have worked hard.” When a second test was offered to the students, they were told that it would be harder and that they didn’t have to take it. Ninety percent of the kids who heard “you must be smart” opted not to take it. Why? They feared proving that the affirmation may be false. Of the second group, most of the kids chose to take the test, and while they didn’t do well, Dweck’s researchers heard them whispering under their breath, “This is my favorite test.” They loved the challenge. Finally, a third test was given, equally as hard as the first one. The result? The first group of students who were told they were smart, did worse. The second group did 30% better. Dweck concludes that our affirmation of kids must target factors in their control. When we say “you must have worked hard,” we are praising effort, which they have full control over. It tends to elicit more effort. When we praise smarts, it may provide a little confidence at first but ultimately causes a child to work less. They say to themselves, “If it doesn’t come easy, I don’t want to do it.”

What’s more, kids eventually observe that “mom” is the only one who thinks they’re “awesome.” No one else is saying it. They begin to doubt the objectivity of their own mother; it feels good in the moment, but it’s not connected to reality.

Further, Dr. Robert Cloninger, at Washington University in St. Louis has done brain research on the prefrontal cortex, which monitors the reward center of the brain. He says the brain has to learn that frustrating spells can be worked through. The reward center of our brains learns to say: Don’t give up. Don’t stop trying. “A person who grows up getting too frequent rewards,” Cloninger says, “will not have persistence, because they’ll quit when the rewards disappear.”

When we rave too easily, kids eventually learn to cheat, to exaggerate and lie and to avoid difficult reality. They have not been conditioned to face it. A helpful metaphor when considering this challenge is: inoculation. When you get inoculated, a nurse injects a vaccine, which actually exposes you to a dose of the very disease your body must learn to overcome. It’s a good thing. Only then do we develop an immunity to it. Similarly, our kids must be inoculated with doses of hardship, delay, challenges and inconvenience to build the strength to stand in them.

Eight Steps Toward Healthy Leadership

Obviously, negative risk taking should be discouraged, such as smoking, alcohol, illegal drugs, etc. In addition, there will be times our young people do need our help, or affirmation. But—healthy teens are going to want to spread their wings. They’ll need to try things on their own. And we, the adults, must let them. Here are some simple ideas you can employ as you navigate these waters:

  1. Help them take calculated risks. Talk it over with them, but let them do it. Your primary job is to prepare your child for how the world really works.
  2. Discuss how they must learn to make choices. They must prepare to both win and lose, not get all they want and to face the consequences of their decisions.
  3. Share your own “risky” experiences from your teen years. Interpret them. Because we’re not the only influence on these kids, we must be the best influence.
  4. Instead of tangible rewards, how about spending some time together? Be careful you aren’t teaching them that emotions can be healed by a trip to the mall.
  5. Choose a positive risk taking option and launch kids into it (i.e. sports, jobs, etc). It may take a push but get them used to trying out new opportunities.
  6. Don’t let your guilt get in the way of leading well. Your job is not to make yourself feel good by giving kids what makes them or you feel better when you give it.
  7. Don’t reward basics that life requires. If your relationship is based on material rewards, kids will experience neither intrinsic motivation nor unconditional love.
  8. Affirm smart risk-taking and hard work wisely. Help them see the advantage of both of these, and that stepping out a comfort zone usually pays off.

Bottom line? Your child does not have to love you every minute. He’ll get over the disappointment of failure but he won’t get over the effects of being spoiled. So let them fail, let them fall, and let them fight for what they really value. If we treat our kids as fragile, they will surely grow up to be fragile adults. We must prepare them for the world that awaits them. Our world needs resilient adults not fragile ones.


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  • Bill

    Tim’s words are articulate, clearly born out of his experience with college students. Young adults are the ‘score cards’ for current parenting patterns. We are creating a generation of cocky, scared, frozen, self-absorbed young adults who are concerned primarily about protecting themselves and are afraid to step out and change the world. This must be changed, but it can only begin in the home. Moms and Dads – It’s essential to parent with the long term view in mind. It is not our task to raise happy children. It is our job to rear healthy adults!

    • Tim Elmore

      Great point Bill – healthy adults not happy children is the highest goal. Thanks for taking time to comment!

      • Max Nichols

        We should not equate “happy children” with the mistakes you’re describing in your article, Tim!

        I firmly believe that a kid with strong self-esteem, actual accomplishments, and a willingness to take risks is going to be a happier child AND a healthier adult. These are not mutually exclusive, or even divergent, goals – they’re the same thing.

        • Adam

          I agree that they not mutually exclusive, if you raise kids to be great adults they are going to be happy kids. It is just that when parents focus on the happy kids, rather than the great adults, they often end up with unhappy kids, and useless adults.

          • 11_nev_11

            Exactly!! Very well said.

          • Davis Brown

            I’m Davis brown from USA. My wife left me for no reason on 13th of June 2010. She moved in with another man, I felt like killing myself and I’ve tried so many spell casters but all to no avail. My life was very bitter and sorrowful. Then one day, a friend of mine told me about this spell caster called DR OGBIDI who helped her on her own situation when her husband left her. But at first i didn’t believe it because i’ have tested so many of them and it didn’t work. she begged me further so I decided to try this spell caster called DR OGBIDI . I contacted him and i told him my problems and gave him all the necessary information he required. He just laughed and told me never to worry that my WIFE will call me back in less than two days and i believed, and after he has finished casting the spell my WIFE called me and started begging. She apologized and came back to me crying for a second chance. Today i and my wife and my two lovely kids are living happily like never before. I can really say that this spell caster is powerful because of his work my wife is home again. I’m now a very happy man and ever since she has shown me love like never before. Thank you DR OGBIDI I will forever be grateful to you. You can reach him on his email:
   or he will solve any problem you are facing now. Just contact him and see his work. once again thank you DR OGBIDI,,…

        • Taylor

          If children never experience what it’s like to be unhappy (or dissatisfied), will they ever truly know happiness? I think it’s important to differentiate between an “unhappy child” and a child who experiences moments of unhappiness.

          • Davis Brown

            I’m Davis brown from USA. My wife left me for no reason on 13th of June 2010. She moved in with another man, I felt like killing myself and I’ve tried so many spell casters but all to no avail. My life was very bitter and sorrowful. Then one day, a friend of mine told me about this spell caster called DR OGBIDI who helped her on her own situation when her husband left her. But at first i didn’t believe it because i’ have tested so many of them and it didn’t work. she begged me further so I decided to try this spell caster called DR OGBIDI . I contacted him and i told him my problems and gave him all the necessary information he required. He just laughed and told me never to worry that my WIFE will call me back in less than two days and i believed, and after he has finished casting the spell my WIFE called me and started begging. She apologized and came back to me crying for a second chance. Today i and my wife and my two lovely kids are living happily like never before. I can really say that this spell caster is powerful because of his work my wife is home again. I’m now a very happy man and ever since she has shown me love like never before. Thank you DR OGBIDI I will forever be grateful to you. You can reach him on his email:
   or he will solve any problem you are facing now. Just contact him and see his work. once again thank you DR OGBIDI…,,,,,

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        • Jeff S

          I worry about the “great job your awesome” parent because the child is not stupid, but confused when that comes from not really doing anything greater than average. Be sure to express what is good, why, and what would be best. The fake “you’re awesome” parents can hurt development a great deal.

          • Clifford Mary

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        • Davis Brown

          I’m Davis brown from USA. My wife left me for no reason on 13th of June 2010. She moved in with another man, I felt like killing myself and I’ve tried so many spell casters but all to no avail. My life was very bitter and sorrowful. Then one day, a friend of mine told me about this spell caster called DR OGBIDI who helped her on her own situation when her husband left her. But at first i didn’t believe it because i’ have tested so many of them and it didn’t work. she begged me further so I decided to try this spell caster called DR OGBIDI . I contacted him and i told him my problems and gave him all the necessary information he required. He just laughed and told me never to worry that my WIFE will call me back in less than two days and i believed, and after he has finished casting the spell my WIFE called me and started begging. She apologized and came back to me crying for a second chance. Today i and my wife and my two lovely kids are living happily like never before. I can really say that this spell caster is powerful because of his work my wife is home again. I’m now a very happy man and ever since she has shown me love like never before. Thank you DR OGBIDI I will forever be grateful to you. You can reach him on his email:
 or he will solve any problem you are facing now. Just contact him and see his work. once again thank you DR OGBIDI…

      • John White Jnr

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        (1)If you want your ex back.
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        (4)You want women/men to run after you.
        (5)If you want a child.
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        (7)You want to tie your husband/wife to be yours forever.
        (8)If you need financial assistance.
        (9)If you want to stop your Divorce
        10)Help bringing people out of prison
        (11)Marriage Spells
        (12)Miracle Spells
        (13)Beauty Spells
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        (17)Kissing Spell
        (18)Remove Sickness Spells
        (21) Charm to get who to love you.
        Contact him today on: HOMEOFSOLUTIONS@OUTLOOK.COM


      • Davis Brown

        I’m Davis brown from USA. My wife left me for no reason on 13th of June 2010. She moved in with another man, I felt like killing myself and I’ve tried so many spell casters but all to no avail. My life was very bitter and sorrowful. Then one day, a friend of mine told me about this spell caster called DR OGBIDI who helped her on her own situation when her husband left her. But at first i didn’t believe it because i’ have tested so many of them and it didn’t work. she begged me further so I decided to try this spell caster called DR OGBIDI . I contacted him and i told him my problems and gave him all the necessary information he required. He just laughed and told me never to worry that my WIFE will call me back in less than two days and i believed, and after he has finished casting the spell my WIFE called me and started begging. She apologized and came back to me crying for a second chance. Today i and my wife and my two lovely kids are living happily like never before. I can really say that this spell caster is powerful because of his work my wife is home again. I’m now a very happy man and ever since she has shown me love like never before. Thank you DR OGBIDI I will forever be grateful to you. You can reach him on his email: or he will solve any problem you are facing now. Just contact him and see his work. once again thank you DR OGBIDI,,,,,,

      • Joes Candra

        I am joes candra, I promise to share this testimony all over the world once my boyfriend return back to me, and today with all due respect i want to thank DR.OSAUYI for bringing joy and happiness to my relationship and my family. I want to inform you all that there is a spell caster that is real and genuine. I never believed in any of these things until i loosed my boyfriend, I required help until i found a grate spell caster, And he cast a love spell for me, and he assured me that I will get my boyfriend back in two days after the spell has been cast. Three days later, my phone rang, and so shockingly, it was my boyfriend who has not called me for past 6 years now, and made an apology for the heart break, and told me that he is ready to be my back bone till the rest of his life with me. DR.OSAUYI released him up to know how much i loved and wanted him. And opened his eyes to picture how much we have share together. As I`m writing this testimony right now I`m the most happiest girl on earth and me and my boyfriend is living a happy life and our love is now stronger than how it were even before our break up. So that`s why I promised to share my testimony all over the universe.All thanks goes to DR.OSAUYI for the excessive work that he has done for me. Below is the email address in any situation you are undergoing a heart break, and I assure you that as he has done mine for me, he will definitely help you too. OSAUYILOVESPELL@YAHOO.COM that is his email address bye or you can call is hot line on +2347064294395

    • sgtbilko

      This must be true–people have been saying it for centuries.

      • Davis Brown

        I’m Davis brown from USA. My wife left me for no reason on 13th of June 2010. She moved in with another man, I felt like killing myself and I’ve tried so many spell casters but all to no avail. My life was very bitter and sorrowful. Then one day, a friend of mine told me about this spell caster called DR OGBIDI who helped her on her own situation when her husband left her. But at first i didn’t believe it because i’ have tested so many of them and it didn’t work. she begged me further so I decided to try this spell caster called DR OGBIDI . I contacted him and i told him my problems and gave him all the necessary information he required. He just laughed and told me never to worry that my WIFE will call me back in less than two days and i believed, and after he has finished casting the spell my WIFE called me and started begging. She apologized and came back to me crying for a second chance. Today i and my wife and my two lovely kids are living happily like never before. I can really say that this spell caster is powerful because of his work my wife is home again. I’m now a very happy man and ever since she has shown me love like never before. Thank you DR OGBIDI I will forever be grateful to you. You can reach him on his email: or he will solve any problem you are facing now. Just contact him and see his work. once again thank you DR OGBIDI,,,..

    • Jones Nicole

      My husband is back!!! I had a problem with my husband 8 months ago,which lead to us apart. When he broke up with me,I was no longer myself,I felt so empty inside .Until a friend of mine told me about one of her spells that helped her in same problem too that she found on a television program. i emailed the spell caster and I told him my problem and I did what he asked me. To cut the story short,Before I knew what was happening,not up to 48 hours,my husband gave me a call and he come back to me and told me he was sorry about what has happened, I’m so grateful to this spell caster and i will not stop publishing his name on the internet just for the good work he has done for me.If you need his help,you can email him at ( tel +2347051705853 and he will also help you.

    • Cayla Mella

      I was searching for help on the internet to get my ex lover whom will got divorced 5 months ago, i came across this wonderful man called Doctor Kasee of who did a nice job by helping me to get my divorced husband back within 48hours.. I never believe that such things like this can be possible but now i am a living testimony to it because Doctor Kasee actually brought my lover back, If you are having any relationship problems why not contact Doctor Kasee for help via email: or call him at +2347051705853. Then i promise you that after 48hours you will have reasons to celebrate like me.

    • Vera Morgan

      I have just found the right one and the greatest spell caster on earth who has brought back my happiness and turned my world around by helping me get my ex partner and helped me get back my life cause i was totally frustrated after 6years of hardship and pain, a friend of mine buzz me on my email saying i should cheer up cause solution has come. At first i was like what are you saying, then she mentioned the name ‘EBOEHI’ and i must thank my savior Great DR EBOEHI who has play a very vital part of my life making me a great person and the most happiest person today you are a great man who is bless by powers with traditional healing spell caster, after Great DR EBOEHI has help me get my ex back he also help me recover what i have lost in past years i must thank him (Great DR EBOEHI) the life he has restored back for me and my happiness. Now i am doing well in my work and also with my partner, Great DR EBOEHI is a very great spell caster you need to know just meet him and with your problem and it will be over.. Email him via: ( …

    • solie

      I was married to my husband for 15 years without a baby of my own it was a sad marriage we had alots of fightings and even divorce until i met this great spell caster who helped me get my husband back and made me pregnant i dont know how he did it he just told me to go and have sex with my husband and the next month I missed my period and that is all i know I am a mother of triplets now thanks to dr Azima you can contact him now and say good bye to the spirits of barriness. Dr Azima of He is really powerful and i hope he helps you. save your marriage today ABLELOVESPELL@GMAIL.COM

    • Miller Moore

      OMG!! This is certainly a shocking and a genuine Testimony..I visited a forum here on the internet on the 20TH OF JUNE 2014, And i saw a marvelous testimony of this powerful and great spell caster called DR OSAUYI on the forum..I never believed it, because i never heard nor learnt anything about magic before.. Not a soul would have been able to influence me about magical spells, not until DR OSAUYI did it for me and restored my marriage of 8 years back to me and brought my spouse back to me in the same 24 hours just as i read on the internet..i was truly astonished and shocked when my husband knelt down begging for forgiveness and for me to accept him back.. I am really short of expressions, and i don’t know how much to convey my appreciation to you DR OSAUYI you are a God sent to me and my entire family.. And now i am a joyful woman once again.. here is his website: Email:(OSAUYILOVESPELL@YAHOO.COM) Mrs Miller Moore from England City.

    • Johnson Dsouza Mercy

      Greetings to every one that is reading this testimony. I have been rejected by my husband after three(3) years of marriage just because another woman had a spell on him and he left me and the kid to suffer. one day when i was reading through the web, i saw a post on how this spell caster on this address dr.iyarespelltemple@gmail.
      com, have help a woman to get back her husband and i gave him a reply to his address and he told me that a woman had a spell on my husband and he told me that he will help me and after 3 days that i will have my husband back. i believed him and today i am glad to let you all know that this spell caster have the power to bring lovers back. because i am now happy with my husband. Thanks for Dr. iyare. His email:

    • Derek Natasha

      Hi, my name is Derek Natasha. I have been in great bondage for almost 2 years suffering in the hands of a cheating husband,we were happy and leaving well until he meant his old time girl friend and he started dating her outside our marriage before you knew he stoped caring and taking care of his own family it was to the extent that he was planning to get married to her and divorce me his own wife, i have cried and reported him to his family but he never listened to any one but to cut my story short i came in search for a real spell caster who could destroy their relationship and make him come back to me and our 2 kids on my search i saw people making testimony on how their marriage where restored by Dr.Trust i pick his email and i narrated my story to him and he agreed to help me and after performing a spell on the second day both had a quarrel and he beat his girlfriend up and he came home begging for i and my little kids to forgive him that his eyes are clear now that he will never do any thing that will hurt his family again and promise to be a caring father and never cheat again.I am so so happy that i did not loose him to the girl. all appreciation goes to Dr.Trust for you are a Great spell caster and to whom this may concern if you have a cheating husband or wife or you need your ex lover back again. you can as well email him on ( or or you can call him +2348156885231. web site

    • eriannamoric

      I want to testify of the good work done by a faithful Dr Akim, a spell caster. in my life I never thought there is such thing as love spell intercession. my problem started nine months back when the father of my kids started putting up some strange behavior, I never knew he was having an affair outsfide our matrimonial home. it dawn on me on that faithful day 19th of April 21st 4:23pm when he came to the house to pick his things that was when I knew that situation has gotten out of hand and he then told me he was quitting the marriage which I have built for over five years, I was confused and dumbfounded I called on family and friends but to no avail. two months after I started having problem with my kids welfare rent-age and all of it, I really went through hell. until a day I was browsing on the internet and I happen to meet a spell caster I never believed on this but I needed my man back so I gave the spell caster my problem at first I never trusted him so I was just doing it but you know a problem shared is half solved after a 2 days my husband called me telling me that he his coming back home and that was all. now we are living him on this email:(

    • David Eric

      I am David Eric,I want to say thank to for everything he did in my life. To everyone who doesn’t believe in spell, I was one like you at first. I wasn’t quite sure if I wanted to do this since I’ve tried others so-called spells casters and they did not work and was a waste of my time and money. However, when I read so many testimonials of dr.tust how he help people to get back their ex lover. dr.tust answered all my questions and was very nice about everything, I decided to give it a try. I figured it would be my last try to get my ex girlfriend back. i email and tell him everything.he let me know which spells would be most appropriate for me and I chose the one that was to get her back to me and stay with me and to marry me.As soon as he finish the spells, my girlfriend came back into my life! It was a miracle to me and I’m so thankful to him, that is why i am sharing this testimony to those who need his help. Things have been going well, and pretty much according to what said would happen. I’m very happy for the love spell have done for me, my ex girlfriend is now back to me and we are living so happy. if you asked me or my friends if I would have anticipated how things were right now…no one would believe it! contact is email address ( or tell +2348156885231) his website:

    • Mullar Sharron

      Hi everyone act there.. my name is MULLAR SHARRON i am from germany. i will never forget the help DR.TRUST render to me in my marital life. i have been married for 5 years now and my husband and i love each other very dearly and deeply. after 3 years of our marriage my husband suddenly change he was having an affair with a lady outside,i praying for divine intervention the thing became more husband just came home one day he pick up his things and left me and the kids to his mistress outside. i was confuse and i did not no what to do at first. i was searching for help in the internet, i saw so many people sharing testimony on how help them with their relationship problem. i email him and tell him how my husband left me. And he assure me that my husband will be back home within the next 48 hours .To my greatest surprise my husband came home on his knees that i should find a place in my heart to forgive him,i was truly astonished and shocked when my husband knelt down begging for forgiveness and for me to accept him back.. I am really short of expressions, and i don’t know how much to convey my appreciation to you dr. trust you are a God sent to restore broken relationship. And now i am a joyful woman.Email: (ULTIMATESPELLCAST@GMAIL.COM OR ULTIMATESPELLCAST@YAHOO.COM) tel +2348156885231 .

    • Morgan Keri

      My name is morgan keri.i want to give thanks to for bringing back my ex husband.No one could have ever made me believe that the letter I’m about to write would actually one day be written. I was the world’s biggest skeptic. I never believed in magic spells or anything like this, but I was told by a reliable source (a very close co-worker) that Trust is a very dedicated, gifted, and talented person,It was one of the best things I have ever done. My love life was in shambles; I had been through two divorces and was on the brink of a third. I just couldn’t face another divorce, and I wanted to try harder to make our relationship work, but my husband didn’t seem to care. and he brake up with me again.I was confuse and do not no what to do again,rather them to get in contact with He did a love spell that make my husband come back to me. we are now very much happy with our self. make him to realize how much we love and need each other.This man is for REAL and for good.he can also help you to fix your broken relationship. I had my husband back! It was like a miracle! He suddenly wanted to go to marriage counseling, and we’re doing very, very well,in our love email( or tel:+234186885231)..

    • Davis Brown

      I’m Davis brown from USA. My wife left me for no reason on 13th of June 2010. She moved in with another man, I felt like killing myself and I’ve tried so many spell casters but all to no avail. My life was very bitter and sorrowful. Then one day, a friend of mine told me about this spell caster called DR OGBIDI who helped her on her own situation when her husband left her. But at first i didn’t believe it because i’ have tested so many of them and it didn’t work. she begged me further so I decided to try this spell caster called DR OGBIDI . I contacted him and i told him my problems and gave him all the necessary information he required. He just laughed and told me never to worry that my WIFE will call me back in less than two days and i believed, and after he has finished casting the spell my WIFE called me and started begging. She apologized and came back to me crying for a second chance. Today i and my wife and my two lovely kids are living happily like never before. I can really say that this spell caster is powerful because of his work my wife is home again. I’m now a very happy man and ever since she has shown me love like never before. Thank you DR OGBIDI I will forever be grateful to you. You can reach him on his email: or he will solve any problem you are facing now. Just contact him and see his work. once again thank you DR OGBIDI

    • Sheila Anne

      My name is Moore Alice. After 9 years in marriage with my hubby with 3 kids, my husband started going out with other ladies and showed me cold love, on several occasions he threatens to divorce me if I dare question him about his affair with other ladies, I was totally devastated and confused until a old friend of mine told me about a spell caster on the internet Dr. Trust who help people with the relationship and marriage problem by the powers of love spells, at first I doubted if such thing ever exists but decided to give it a try, when I contact him, he helped me cast a spell and within 24hours my husband came back to me and started apologizing, now he has stopped going out with ladies and he his with me for good and for real. Contact this great spell caster for your relationship or marriage problem at Goodluck or tel: +2348156885231,,.

    • Lisa Castellie

      Hello everyone am Lisa Catellie i want to share a live testimony on how Dr Trust was able to bring my husband back to me, myself and my husband were on a serious breakup, even before then we were always quarreling fighting and doing different ungodly act.. My husband packed his things out of the house and we had to live in different area, despite all this i was looking for a way to re_unite with my husband, not until i met Dr Trust the great spell caster who was able to bring my husband back home, and he assured me that my husband will come back to me within 48hours hours after he has finish the preparation of the love spell.I am very glade today to tell the world that Doctor Trust is truly a man of his word because my husband came back to me and fell on his knees begging me to forgive him and accept him back….Today my family is back again and we are happy living fine and healthy, with Dr Trust all my dream came through in re_uniting my marriage, friends in case you need the help of Dr Trust kindly mail him on( or or call him on +2348156885231, Sir i will forever recommend you!!!

    • Joes Candra

      I am joes candra, I promise to share this testimony all over the world once my boyfriend return back to me, and today with all due respect i want to thank DR.OSAUYI for bringing joy and happiness to my relationship and my family. I want to inform you all that there is a spell caster that is real and genuine. I never believed in any of these things until i loosed my boyfriend, I required help until i found a grate spell caster, And he cast a love spell for me, and he assured me that I will get my boyfriend back in two days after the spell has been cast. Three days later, my phone rang, and so shockingly, it was my boyfriend who has not called me for past 6 years now, and made an apology for the heart break, and told me that he is ready to be my back bone till the rest of his life with me. DR.OSAUYI released him up to know how much i loved and wanted him. And opened his eyes to picture how much we have share together. As I`m writing this testimony right now I`m the most happiest girl on earth and me and my boyfriend is living a happy life and our love is now stronger than how it were even before our break up. So that`s why I promised to share my testimony all over the universe.All thanks goes to DR.OSAUYI for the excessive work that he has done for me. Below is the email address in any situation you are undergoing a heart break, and I assure you that as he has done mine for me, he will definitely help you too. OSAUYILOVESPELL@YAHOO.COM that is his email address bye or you can call is hot line on +2347064294395

    • Jesse Stella

      i want to thank Dr Trust for bringing back my ex husband, we broke up for more than 4 month and he told me that he never want to see me in his life again. i love him so much to the extend that i could not do any thing again, i was confused and depress due to the love i had for him.i did everything i could do to have him come back to me but all went in vain. so i decided to contact a spell caster, i did not believe in spell casting i just want to try it may be it would work out for me. i contacted Dr Trust for help, he told me that he have to cast a love spell on him, i told him to start it. after 3 days my husband called me and started to apologize for leaving me and also he told me that he still love me. i was very happy and i thank Dr Trust for helping me get back my ex husband back to my hands. his spell is the the greatest all over the world, it was the love spell he cast on my ex that make him come back to me. all you ladies who want back your ex husband back i want you to contact DR TRUST at the following email address and get all your problem solve..No problem is too big for him to solve..Contact him direct at ( OR ( and get your problems solve or you can call his cell phone on +2348056391583

    • carina gomez

      I want to use this medium to thank Dr shiva for helping me to get back my husband back after he left me and the kids for over 5 months to suffer.When he left,he told me that he dont love me again and he has found another woman which he loved.I cry everyday because i love him so much and i decide to go to the net for help when i saw a lady’s post of how Dr Shiva help to get her husband back who divorced her and i just say to myself let me give this Dr shiva on ( a try and indeed he is wonderful he help me to get my husband back within 2days and my husband return to me and promise to love me forever and beg me for the pain he cost me. I will forever be greatful to you Dr Shiva and i will not stop to publish your name on the internet for people to see because you are so great.You can also email him at ( and he will also save your marriage. ..

  • Nick Christian

    Great message, Tim. Reminds me of a time when there was a small man-hunt near my home for a suspected criminal. I was 10-12 at the time and asked my dad if I could go ride my bike around the country block (I could see the Sheriff’s cars traveling slowly down the country roads I would travel). When I got back, he realized he probably should not have let me go, but did not seem too concerned.

    Your eight steps are great suggestions that lead to maturity rather than cowardice. Thanks!

    • Tim Elmore

      Thanks, Nick. Great example of something that would rarely happen with kids today – for better or worse?

      I do agree we want to produce maturity, not cowardice in our kids.

      • Davis Brown

        I’m Davis brown from USA. My wife left me for no reason on 13th of June 2010. She moved in with another man, I felt like killing myself and I’ve tried so many spell casters but all to no avail. My life was very bitter and sorrowful. Then one day, a friend of mine told me about this spell caster called DR OGBIDI who helped her on her own situation when her husband left her. But at first i didn’t believe it because i’ have tested so many of them and it didn’t work. she begged me further so I decided to try this spell caster called DR OGBIDI . I contacted him and i told him my problems and gave him all the necessary information he required. He just laughed and told me never to worry that my WIFE will call me back in less than two days and i believed, and after he has finished casting the spell my WIFE called me and started begging. She apologized and came back to me crying for a second chance. Today i and my wife and my two lovely kids are living happily like never before. I can really say that this spell caster is powerful because of his work my wife is home again. I’m now a very happy man and ever since she has shown me love like never before. Thank you DR OGBIDI I will forever be grateful to you. You can reach him on his email: or he will solve any problem you are facing now. Just contact him and see his work. once again thank you DR OGBIDI..,…

  • Amy Mathews

    Thank you for not stopping at the list of 3 generational gaps – the 8 tips at the end were so useful. Some of these we are doing great at as parents, but others need attention. I like the advice about risk-taking and encouraging calculated departures from the comfort zone. Looks like my toddler will be skydiving this summer (kidding).

    • Tim Elmore

      Haha! Thanks for the feedback, Amy! I do try to offer not just analysis of problems but also solutions. Glad you found it helpful.

      • Davis Brown

        I’m Davis brown from USA. My wife left me for no reason on 13th of June 2010. She moved in with another man, I felt like killing myself and I’ve tried so many spell casters but all to no avail. My life was very bitter and sorrowful. Then one day, a friend of mine told me about this spell caster called DR OGBIDI who helped her on her own situation when her husband left her. But at first i didn’t believe it because i’ have tested so many of them and it didn’t work. she begged me further so I decided to try this spell caster called DR OGBIDI . I contacted him and i told him my problems and gave him all the necessary information he required. He just laughed and told me never to worry that my WIFE will call me back in less than two days and i believed, and after he has finished casting the spell my WIFE called me and started begging. She apologized and came back to me crying for a second chance. Today i and my wife and my two lovely kids are living happily like never before. I can really say that this spell caster is powerful because of his work my wife is home again. I’m now a very happy man and ever since she has shown me love like never before. Thank you DR OGBIDI I will forever be grateful to you. You can reach him on his email: or he will solve any problem you are facing now. Just contact him and see his work. once again thank you DR OGBIDI,,…

    • Jenni

      Needing to add (kidding) to your comment makes another point – You WILL be judged for letting your kids take risks; for telling them when they’ve done wrong and letting them fail. There’ll be a whole pile of people out there eager to let you know you’re a bad parent; and it takes a huge amount of courage to go against the flow. … I have a friend who did take his toddler on a tandem skydive last year by the way!!

      • Davis Brown

        I’m Davis brown from USA. My wife left me for no reason on 13th of June 2010. She moved in with another man, I felt like killing myself and I’ve tried so many spell casters but all to no avail. My life was very bitter and sorrowful. Then one day, a friend of mine told me about this spell caster called DR OGBIDI who helped her on her own situation when her husband left her. But at first i didn’t believe it because i’ have tested so many of them and it didn’t work. she begged me further so I decided to try this spell caster called DR OGBIDI . I contacted him and i told him my problems and gave him all the necessary information he required. He just laughed and told me never to worry that my WIFE will call me back in less than two days and i believed, and after he has finished casting the spell my WIFE called me and started begging. She apologized and came back to me crying for a second chance. Today i and my wife and my two lovely kids are living happily like never before. I can really say that this spell caster is powerful because of his work my wife is home again. I’m now a very happy man and ever since she has shown me love like never before. Thank you DR OGBIDI I will forever be grateful to you. You can reach him on his email: or he will solve any problem you are facing now. Just contact him and see his work. once again thank you DR OGBIDI,////////////

  • Gary Zulinski

    Tim You are right on! I see what your saying everyday in my college students. We have become a nation of babing our kids at our own expense! When they are no way shape or form ready to become the leaders we need.

    • Tim Elmore

      I know you see this firsthand, Gary. I hope it’s encouraging to know that there are many who are dedicated to turning this trend around.

      • warpeace

        you do realize all you did was just talk, nothing good will ever happen, my dad just told me im.not allowed to go out of the house alone with my friend to study in a caffe, and im 16 -.-

    • Jim Too

      Sir, you teach in an institution of higher learning and can’t take the time to spell “babying” correctly? This is another sad reality of the educational system…failing to teach attention to detail.

      • Guest

        As well as using the wrong ‘your’. It is you are or you’re. As in, I see what you’re saying…!!! We have become a nation of accepting mediocrity by, among other things, not paying attention to the finer details. I.E. Changing the definition of literal, to essentially not mean literal anymore. As well as getting upset at Wheel of Fortune for not allowing a winner when they mispronounce a word because it has become common to mispronounce it (like saying ‘Expresso’ instead of Espresso). Allowing these little things to become unnoticed, creates an intrinsic hole in our core, or a cancer that won’t stop growing. I think this is the consequence of trying to make everyone happy. Which, in my experience in life, it’s literally (the true meaning of literally) impossible to make everyone happy. We need to reset the bar high, keep it there, and HELP people to reach or exceed that bar. Instead of lowering the bar until everyone is at or above it… By the way, good article Tim.

      • 11_nev_11

        I also noticed his use of the wrong “you’re” (your). Scary to think Gary is teaching and proof reading our student’s work. eeeek!!!

    • Melinda Todd

      We see this too. My husband works in a shop and he sees this every time they hire someone very young. They come in expecting that they somehow do not have to do grunt work or move up the ladder. They don’t last long in the real working world where physical labor is required and there are no short cuts to move up the ranks.

    • Tracy Birch

      I have a very difficult time believing you are a teacher at a college. Your grammatical errors are so obvious it scares me to think you might actually teach kids. I agree with those who think this is deemed acceptable in our mediocre society today and why so many 25-30 year old “kids” still live at home and then have kids of their own they can’t begin to know how to raise to be responsible, intelligent and stable adults.

  • Sharah Frierson

    Thank you, Tim. My college leadership experiences were invaluable, but as my kids are getting older, I, even more so, appreciate your insight on leadership with students/children.

    • Tim Elmore

      Thanks, Sharah! So glad to hear that you are finding it helpful.

  • Connie

    I agree wholeheartedly with this article. My parents were so wise in raising my four brothers and me. They let us fail, and we had to suffer the consequences of our bad choices. We came from hard working parents who didn’t have much money, but all of us have been successful in our work. I hope that this trend with today’s parents turns around soon, for the sake of future generations.

    • Tim Elmore

      Your parents set an example all of us can learn from. Thanks for sharing!

      • Needsleep

        I too liked the article. But isn’t the comment “Thanks for sharing” a little like everyone getting a trophy? Not every comment needs a response. I may need more sleep.

  • carl

    as a high school assistant principal I seem to always be talking about the same things, responsibility for your own actions and telling kids that failing at things is actually a great learning tool – they are so fearful of making a mistake that much of their life is not lived…they seem to miss out on a genuine journey….great points to use when working with students, thank you…

    • Tim Elmore

      Thanks, Carl. Appreciate you taking time to comment.

    • dropping the ball

      As a teacher, I am frustrated that our education system has become all the things this article warns against. Administrators want the path of least resistance and parents always prevail. Getting an education is more than book knowledge. Our educational leaders have to stand up to the parents and allow us to teach responsibility, consequences, and perseverance.

      • Arnika

        There’s Thomas Gordon’s Teacher Effectiveness Training – either in form of the training, either in form of the book (on Amazon). More information about it is on www . gordontraining. com

      • meg

        Totally agree the parents do not make their child take any responsibility! When I grew up you were scared to death if the teacher had to call home…now kids tell you “call my parents my mom/dad with have your job!” And the sad thing is …they can now get it!

      • teacherZ

        Right on target, especially with item 2, the Rescue Mission.
        Or is it the Rescue Missionary in the classroom! That is one of the most harmful and insidious razors of the education movement, forever rescuing the student rather than encouraging and guiding the student to work through problem solving. We now have a generation of young adults who can’t read the pictures on the cash registers, let alone can’t count the change due back to the customer. And it is getting worse!

        • calma1

          This is due in part to emphasis on test scores and the narrow curriculum devoted to achieving high scores at the expense of problem-solving.

          • panicoaldiscoteca

            No it’s not due to testing. It started about a decade or so earlier and it’s due to disappearance of practical math application like shop, home ec, drafting and other lab style measurement focused curricula.

            Teaching math without hands on measurement and construction is like teaching English without reading books.

          • Heidi Del Muro

            I agree the absence of application is a problem in our educational system. Unfortunately, with budget restrictions and teachers with their hands tied behind their backs when it comes to curriculum development there isn’t room for experiential learning in most traditional schools. Theory is only part of the learning process and for some children not nearly enough. Teach the test, teach the test, every minute of every day is aligned with this goal so they can get the scores needed to keep their job. At least in CO that is the main problem. Many parents will argue that school is not for character building, it is strictly for learning – and mostly information memorization is what they are referring to without realizing it. We need education that teaches children how to learn, not just regurgitate facts.

    • calma1

      I’d like to see less emphasis on standardized test scores as the be-all and end-all proof that students are educated. This emphasis eliminates many opportunities for students to develop divergent thinking and creativity.

      • panicoaldiscoteca

        The problem isn’t with the testing, it’s with the fear that the teaching establishment has fostered amongst themselves.

        • CTed

          No, it’s mostly with the testing.

    • Sebastian

      I have no intentions of being rude, but as an assistant high school principal, I am appalled at the lack of grammar (even basic grammar) in your comment. I am currently in medical school at NYU. I came from a high school where test scores were dramatically low, and I believe that some of it can be blamed on lack of certain things from the faculty an staff: lack of responsibility, not speaking or writing while utilizing the English language properly, just handing out ridiculous amounts of worksheets, not pushing students, the list goes on. As one of the higher ranking officials of the high school, you should be setting an example. Just reading that comment gives me a first impression of that high school.

      • hohopig

        You know .. the points made in a post is way more important than the grammar and sentence structure of the said post. Ask yourself, will you prefer an logical and sensible senior administrator who possess a working but imperfect command of English or will you prefer an administrator who is an oratory genius but have his/her head up in the clouds?

        Now it will be nice if everyone have perfect command of their first and second language, but that is NOT gonna happen.

        This post is not about grammar or command of language, so let’s focus on the important thing here. There is a time and place for the language Nazi, but this is not one of them.

        • danigmu

          I was waiting for someone to say that!

      • shevrae

        I find that people responding to a blog post or sending an e-mail off to a friend often ignore grammar rules. Sometimes they don’t even bother to spell-check their message! Perhaps it’s because they feel like they are engaging in an informal format which does not require the strict adherence to rules that is expected in a resume or an official school communication, for example. That’s OK with me, not every trip out of the house is a trip to the prom. :)

  • Tiffany Hammond Christian

    So true! I only hope the parents that need this most will read it. As with other commenters, I see the results of making these mistakes in my college classroom. It’s not an exaggeration at all! As a parent that tries to implement this, it is amazing how many elementary/middle school teachers don’t understand. I have often had to explain why I don’t check to see if a 10 year old or 12 year old has done their homework completely. I want them to experience the consequences of their work ethic when it doesn’t have lifelong consequences! So, what’s an F in 4th grade, compared to 11th grade,or college. Or worse, not meeting a work deadline.

    I will be sharing this with some many of my friends and with my own teenage children. As a parent, if I can help them understand why I do what I do, it works for us.

    • Tim Elmore

      That’s a great point, Tiffany – allowing students to fail early and learn from those mistakes when there are not lifelong consequences involved is great. Those teaching moments will build resilience that lasts a lifetime.

      • Mary Healey

        This type of thinking is exactly how students learn to “blame ” others for their mistakes. A parents duty is to guide their children and instill life-long habits that will lead to success. The failures a child makes should not be confused with “letting parents and other adults off the hook” for their parenal duties.

    • Alici

      It upsets me that the teachers and schools will not fail children anymore in primary grades. My daughter was born in Dec. and is lacking behind other students. All they do is give her an IEP (individual education plan which many students are on), which makes school much easier and pushes them to the next grade. They should work at their grade level, if they need to be held back, so be it. Where is the fear, if they don’t do well they will have a consequence? Not, if I fail it doesn’t matter because I will be moved ahead anyway. Just like if I don’t participate on my team, I will still get a ribbon or a trophy. Drives me crazy!

      • Meg

        Same as kids that are labeled ADHD!! The are normal. When we were young we were told to shut up and shit down! Now its “my child is on meds he/she can’t help it” BS! My son I know (as I am a Special Ed. teacher) is ADHD and ya know what…I told him shut up, sit down and pay attention or you will not have video games, movies, or anything fun….He is pull straight A’s all year and no meds!!

        • Melodi Whitaker

          Wow. Are you saying that you can just yell at a child with ADHD or threaten them and their symptoms will improve? Does that work with depression too? how about diabetes? I am shocked at the number of people who still think that ADHD is a behavioral issue. My son also has ADHD and would not havve graduated high school without medication..not because he was spoiled or indulged, but because he has a “different” brain that does work in a regimented manner. My son tested out at college level in all subjects in the 5th grade yet barely passed from grade to grade until being diagnosed and put on medication. The only reason he moved to the next grade each year was because even though he never completed class assignments or homework and was constantly in the Principal’s office for talking in class or disrupting class, he scored 100% on every test given at the end of the year. It was not until he was a sophomore in high school that he was finally diagnosed and from then on he was a straight A student and he graduated on the Honor Roll and received the principal’s award for 1000 hours of community service as well as 2 scholarships. There are many children out there just like my son who spend their academic years being punished rather than treated. I feel very sorry for those children.

          • Evan Pierce

            Not every kid is the same (just as it is with adults or teenagers), what works for one will not necessarily work or be anywhere near as effective with another. You have to find the system that works for them, obviously with the person you replied to the kid just needed to be told to behave himself, whereas your son obviously performed much better once he received medication……everyone is wired differently, just because something worked for you or someone you know does not mean that it always works and always works for everyone. It’s by no means bad to make suggestions based from your own life experiences, advice is part of how we learn and make our choices, but don’t assume that your method is the only way or that it’s guaranteed to work for everyone.

          • Mary Healey

            Are we not all aware that the Medical Profession is 50-50 on this so called ADHD illness?

        • Amber

          This comment is ridiculous. So glad you’re not my kid’s special ed. teacher. Not every child learns the same way.

        • Jennie McLaws

          I agree that children need to be able to work with in the “normal” structure. There is much teaching and training that goes into that – medicated or not! There are so many different approaches and thank goodness because there are so many different kids. Meds or “Shut up & Sit down” approaches are both valid, but neither is complete by itself, I imagine that both of the people making comments on meds or SD&SU DID NOT stop at that, I am sure there is much more to the success of the child in each story that we are unaware of. Parents are the ones to help their children, they do have the best knowledge and insights into their own children. I hope parents will trust themselves more and use doctors and teachers as resources, & guides NOT the ultimate authority on their individual child. It takes TIME, TEACHING, TRAINING, and PRACTICE – all of which require diligent parents. Great article, helps parents to look beyond now & to get a vision of great work of building the next generation that they are engaged in.

          • Catherine

            “It takes TIME, TEACHING, TRAINING, and PRACTICE – all of which require diligent parents.” We can not “cure” anything over night… it does take time, and it requires us to be mindful of every choice we make.

        • michaelsanchez

          Treating someone with ADHD like that will only hinder their learning. You may change their behavior so it’s easier for YOU, but inside, they become even more distracted and scatterbrained due to frustration in the amount of effort it takes to sit still. That’s why giving them rocking chairs has shown to be helpful.

        • panicoaldiscoteca

          Meg, I agree.

          Not every precious flower gets a learning program dedicated to their own underdeveloped learning style. The point is to overcome your limitations and learn to adapt to the world around you, thus building your self esteem and confidence

          My dad has dyslexia and managed to get an engineering degree and an MBA without an special “program” to attend to his learning style. He learned to adapt, to check his writing multiple times and to persevere.

          He instilled in his son a no-excuses approach to solving his own problems and allowed him to build his own confidence through trial and error, while still requiring accountability for grades and judgement.

          The ADHD/ADD parents are doing the exact opposite thing that this article suggests: coddling, excusing, and handicapping development. You get children who know how to manipulate the school environment for success, but can’t function upon graduating when there’s no one who cares about their personal struggles.

          • Alice Barrus

            Who says that all parts of every person’s life after school are the same? For some people, the life they seek to lead after they leave school will involve an environment where they are required to have mastery of the skills that would be needed in a school program without accommodation. For other people, the life they seek to lead after school will finally be free of what, to them and their life, were artificial obstacles they had to get past in order to get through school. The idea that there is some canonical ‘life after school’ that every person will live is a myth. Yes, maybe in a particular person’s life after school there will be a lot less people who “care about their personal struggles” but there might be even _less_ people who need a book report from them.

            I think that a far better answer is for developing children and the caregivers in those children’s lives to work to understand that child’s strengths and weaknesses, to keep in mind that applied effort _can_ (but isn’t guaranteed to) change strengths and weaknesses, to be able to articulate at any moment current strengths and weaknesses and to recognize how those strengths and weaknesses can apply to different situations. It may be important for one child to realize that their life’s passion may rest on how well they can develop their upper-body strength, while for another child that may be of trivial importance in much of their life. Both children, however, would be well served by caregivers who help them learn how to assess what traits ease access to a goal, to assess how important a particular goal is to them, and to perform cost-benefit analysis on the development of particular traits to ease the path to particular goals.

          • Stephenie

            As a teacher, each year I see more and more projects being “done” by the parent b/c their writing is neater or b/c they can make a coil pot better than their child. I would rather see a freaky looking coil pot that I know my student made and is proud to have done on his own. He has learned a very important lesson. He may not have as nice a coil pot as his mother but his mother’s not in his class. Children need to struggle, fall, fail, scrape knees, get into fights, and learn how to stand up for themselves instead of having the parents of both parties attend a resolution meeting. Do my kids need mental and emotional band-aids ? Yes, on occasion, and I’m proud to say that I did not prevent their failure or pain b/c I know that it’s a lesson they have to learn. If I hadn’t been allowed to take risks growing up, there are so many decisions that I would have made differently out of fear of failure. So, let the kids fall, pick them up, dust them off, and send them back out into the world to learn how to survive!

      • Ann

        Who says public schools don’t fail kids anymore? Every year there’s at least 2 kids in my kid’s grade level who have to repeat the grade.

        • Suzann

          Mine too.

        • Catherine

          But if you saw what it took on the teacher and administrations side to hold that child back… it wasn’t a matter of them failing. The teacher, intervention specialist, tutor and likely the parents busted ass to give that child as much assistance as possible to learn. Holding a child back is a LOT of work.

      • Some Teacher

        A good summary of research on retention can be found here:

        Schools don’t choose not to retain kids just to spare their feelings. Schools try to make informed decisions based on solid research. The body of research on retention says that, overall (and there are exceptions), retention doesn’t result in long-term higher achievement. It’s not about coddling kids, nor should it be about punishing them for not learning as quickly or as easily as their peers.

      • CTed

        They do not give your child an IEP for ‘being behind’. There are stringent requirements for your child to have an IEP – including a diagnoses by a doctor that YOU brought them to, not the school. A school can not put your child into special education (only children in special education and covered under the IDEA law have an IEP) without your express consent.

        You are misleading people when you try to say that somehow the school district “gave” your child an IEP. You were at the PPT meeting (which is mandatory) you can say no.

      • KBarker

        If you feel your daughter is too young, is struggling, etc. then don’t wait on the school to fail her or hold her back a grade – hold her back yourself! My parents held me back in fifth grade for similar reasons and it was the best thing they ever did for me.

    • Jelena Stewart

      Thumbs up on sharing the article with your teen. I plan to do the same – we parent as straight forward as possible.

      • Tim Elmore

        Thanks Jelena for sharing!

    • kylad818

      That’s a great perspective! My only concern would be that a fourth grader may not care enough about something like getting good grades to make sure to always complete their homework, I would think some kind of fear of something getting taken away or some kind of reward or something would be necessary. Mine is only 3 right now, but this is definitely something I will consider when he gets older!

  • Richard Stanford

    Absolutely agree – the one caveat I’d mention (since there are many teachers in the comments) is that I’d like to see primary school teachers help by not rewarding parent-made projects with higher grades. My kids are young but some of my friends have shared pictures if the excellent (age-graded) work their kids do looking terrible in a sea of homework projects obviously done by parents. If that doesn’t stop, we will continue to see it.

    I especially love advice #3 although it’ll take some deep breaths. I’d guess we’ve all made plenty of shareable mistakes. And if we hold back so as not to feel stupid in front of the kids, how will they feel when they inevitably make similar mistakes “when we didn’t”?

    • Tim Elmore

      Parent-made projects are a great example of one of the mistakes parents make too often today. Thanks for sharing!

      • Luna

        I made the last project for my second grader when a friend told me how I was damaging her(my daughter). I was upset at my friend initially but grateful later on because I was very happily surprised when the next project came around, and although I helped her a little, her project was incredibly imaginative. She is now in college, has lived on her own in two different countries, speaks three languages, plays the violin and the cello and pays for her own college.

        • Luna

          All of this before the age of 20.

      • FrustratedTeach

        It is for that reason that NO work done at home gets formally assessed at my school anymore. We do all of our projects in class. Teachers need to see what the STUDENTS know and can do, rather than overbearing adults who have already had their chance in the system.

      • Nunya Biznez

        I’ll never forget it. When I was in 3rd grade (back in 1988) my mom helped me with a science fair project. I got the blue ribbon for 1st place but it was a hollow prize because all the kids talked about was how I had help and how unfair it was that I won. That was back in the days when parents weren’t helping out.

        Sometimes helping your kids isn’t helpful at all. My mom was very proud of the blue ribbon, though. lol

        • Erica M.

          When I was in elementary (90’s) my school liked to have seasonal craft projects for each grade, make a valentine, pumpkin decorating contest, etc that would be judged and you would win a ribbon ad get your picture taken for it in the yearbook. Most kids liked getting to be creative and trying to win but there was one girl in my class and her mom always made her projects. It was really obvious to us kids that she never did the work herself and we would just roll our eyes about it.

          The really bad part is that we all stopped participating because for some reason the teachers would always reward her with the winning ribbon! If we could see she was getting help, why couldn’t they? Or maybe they did see it and didn’t care and still rewarded it? We never knew, but it discouraged us enough to not bother trying anymore. Why try if we already knew who was going to win? It felt rigged and we felt cheated.

          I know there is always a few parents like this for every grade in school and by the time I was about to go into middle school they stopped having the contests because there wasn’t enough kids participating in it. None of us wondered why, but we were sad to see it go and that others wouldn’t have those fun times too.

          • Catherine

            I have actually SEEN parents doing homework for their child (seated right next to them) in the cafeteria during morning breakfast.

      • Ann

        Last year one of the grading criteria for projects was “Student did work by himself”. My kid’s teacher complimented one of his projects, saying, “It’s really nice, and I can definitely tell he did the work himself!” Lol.

    • Renee

      Thank you! For the past 2 years, my poor 6 year old has had the ugliest homework projects on display because she was one of only a few students who actually completed the work on their own – the other parents obviously saw the projects as an opportunity to show off their scrap-booking and creative skills. But you know what? She’s oblivious to how her work looks compared to the others – she’s so proud of what she’s done, and she loved doing it. And to those parents, I would be embarrassed to be pitting my work against that of a 5 or 6 year old!

      • Andrea Merchant

        Our sons always looks “bad” too, but you know what? He does them on his own.

    • morri85

      on fb I have got a mom who seems to do the projects for heir kids and then complains about it too. i was say what isnt it the kids homework project not yours. luckily western europe isnt that bad and no principal woud discuss a grade with a parent. its true the that the tide has turned, itused to be that all parents sided with the teacher now you get more siding witg the students.

    • Amy

      I teach preschool. Some have special needs and some are typically developing. I asked the parents to work with the children (actually I think I asked them to have their child draw a picture of themselves). I got back some really elaborate drawings! Come on…you can’t even let your 3 year old take a risk and draw! I know they won’t actually look like them, but I wanted to see what the child could do, not what the parent could do! They just can’t let it look like a 3 year old did it! Put the crayon in their hand and let them scribble! Let them do it on their own!!!

  • Joy Woods

    I am a mother of 2 grown sons and gma of 8, this was such a good read and on target for this generation of kids/parents. I wish all would read for those that apply, but, as we all know, this will not happen. Somehow, along the way we as parents have lost so many skills to pitying our kids, doing for them, buying love, and the list goes on, what are they doing? Ruining our children and the next generation of responsible adults.

    • Tim Elmore

      Thanks, Joy. I know that for many this drift has been small steps over a long time but I hope to sound a wake-up call for parents everywhere. We must lead our kids better.

  • Robin Joseph

    Great article! Have to say I enjoyed the fact that you explained everything in a warm non judgemental way. I am extremely familiar with seeing the results of children who live a life of instant gratification. I understand that most parents would like to give their children everything they did not have. In the long run though it causes the parent financial hardships and the children no work ethic with little to no appretiation. Truth of the matter your 7 year old does not need a $500 tablet to make them happy. Teaching them that they have to work and save to buy elaborate things is more beneficial to them. One day they will have to pay bills teach, them about money now and they won’t be bankrupting your retirement. Also it is OK to say no to them sometimes just to say no. Let your children understand that they can not always get what they want, and that there is not always a reason they can’t have it. If your child is yelling or throwing a fit because they want something you are the problem. Thank you so much for shedding light on some of the largest issues of parenting!

    • Tim Elmore

      Great points, Robin! Thanks for adding to the conversation.

    • Guest

      I agree with your sentiments about rearing children, Robin. But I WILL say, just because a child throws a fit does not mean the parent is to blame. I feel that sometimes a parent is overcome with guilt when their children throw fits, and because they want to “fix” it, they give in. It’s a child’s natural tendency to misunderstand and become frustrated when they’re told “no”. My two-year old started throwing fits recently. We have never sheltered her or given her whatever she wanted, but two year olds will do this. A parent doesn’t need to hear that they’re the “problem” IF their child throws a tantrum. They need to hear encouragement about what to do WHEN the child throws a tantrum. A great many friends of ours feel that we’re too mean and abusive to put our child in a “time out” when she throws a fit at this age, or to take away a privilege or toy (for example, my daughter loves to play with a bauble ring she got out of a gumball machine, but she likes to put it in her mouth. We warned her about the risks of her choking and told her that putting objects other than food in her mouth is a “no-no”. She understands the word “no”, but to test us, she put it in her mouth again. Thus, my husband took it away from her permanently, as he had warned would be the consequence. She’s learning to respect the word NO). I want her to steadily learn that throwing a tantrum or disrespecting your parents or elders won’t be tolerated, either at home or in public. But I fear that blaming the parents for their children’s misbehavior will only scare them out of trying harder. Kids come into the world feeling that they are the center of the world. Toddlers will throw fits. They’ll want to eat ice cream for dinner. They’ll disobey as they learn. These things aren’t the result of poor parenting. These things REQUIRE parenting.

      • Jess

        We started giving our son time outs right before his first birthday. They work like a charm, and his behavior is better for it. He also has his own (age appropriate) chores, and has already learned that when he makes a mess it’s his responsibility to clean it up. I find it’s a balance between giving him the freedom to make his own choices, and setting boundaries. Seeing other kids without the freedom or boundaries makes me so sad!

      • Kathy

        Your child will not be throwing a “fit” in junior high (like I see almost daily in our schools) because you are teaching her the consequences of her choices – now.

      • kylad818

        I am astonished that some people consider it mean/abusive to put a child in time-out! I myself still believe in the occasional spanking. I’m not suggesting going back to belts and wooden spoons (which my mom and her siblings got, and they all turned out just fine), but I think to call an occasional spanking child abuse is going too far to the other extreme, and is an example of the coddling and babying that many people are talking about here. I’ve seen articles and things about how to raise your child without them “fearing you.” While I agree that they shouldn’t fear true physical abuse, they do need a certain amount of fear as to what will happen if they do something wrong. Otherwise, what will stop them?

        • Claudia Sievers

          And I am shocked, that Tim Elmore didn’t intervene at that comment. In my understanding punishment (I count spanking as a punishment, just as time outs) produces fear, not introspection. I don’t ever want my child to fear me!!! Respect – yes, but not more than the respect I feel towards my child or any other person.

          Through time outs and other forms of punishments that are no direct/natural consequences children are more likly to learn how to avoid the punishment, how to not get caught for example rather then to reflect their own behaviour. I want my child to avoid a certain behaviour based on understanding and insight not based on fear. No child sitting in a time out really reflects its behaviour, they all count the minutes until it’s over and how to manage to escape the punishment the next time. They fear the punishment, they fear you, but they don’t come to a true understanding of the good or bad in their action.

          Where as natural consequences are ok. My child forgets its lunch – Don’t bring the lunchbox, it will go through school hungry and after forgetting it a couple of times it will be more attentive to that.That’s a logical and healthy consequence without need of fearing!

          I’m with Maria Montessori (I’m european, I don’t know how present her thesis is in the US): She teaches: Help me to do it myself! Starting from Kindergarten up to Graduation we should encourage our children to trust in their own abilities – which grow step by step. Risks are part of life and growing. I totally agree with the 8 points in the article.

          A german mother

        • TenLongFingers

          I agree. Anyway, as I look back at spanking, I realize that they never really hurt; it was the shock and the humiliation, and that’s really what punishments do, anyway. My dad never spanked us or did anything physical, because he was very strong and lived in terror of his children fearing him, so my mom did most of the spanking. And hers never hurt.

          My mom tried to raise without spanking. However, once her third kid cam along, she just couldn’t wrestle a child into time out and make sure he stayed there. There needed to be a quick and immediate consequence so that everyone could just move on. I think it’s an effective form of punishment, as long as you’re careful.

  • Jerry DiPalma

    You are right on. I am 81 years old and I am a substitute math teacher at the local high school. It is so differcult to get most of the students to get out of their comfort zones and work with me in developing a solution to a problem. But, it’s not their fault. they’ve been taught to never take a chance just in case they may look bad. (or perceived stupid. Although most of the other students don’t know how to solve the problem either.) But, there is a silver lining. If you are able to convince the students that you have their best interest at heart and that you are not there to judge them but to help them learn (i.e. gain their trust). They will open up and then the educational process begins. I’ve had this happen and it makes it all worth while… Jerry

    • Tim Elmore

      That’s encouraging, Jerry! Gaining trust is such a critical part of the educational process. It’s exciting to hear that you are able to connect with your students – that truly does make it all worthwhile!

  • mary

    Amen Tim! These are exactly the same principles we use to raise our boys. I am so SICK of this completely paranoid, coddling culture our kids are living in right now. My 8 year old son admonished me for throwing a snowball at him on school grounds, as apparently they aren’t allowed to throw snow-balls!!! WTF?! We are denying our children the rights of passage they need and deserve. Thank you for your article. Every parent should read it.

    • Tim Elmore

      That is an amazing example of over-protecting our kids. Thanks for sharing. Glad to hear that you are using these principles to raise your boys.

    • maestracarrie

      As an educator, I understand the logic behind the “rule” about snowball throwing at school; and while I tell my students it isn’t allowed on school grounds, I also tell them I hope they have a great snowball fight at home with their neighbors and siblings.

      • Tim Elmore

        I also understand the logic behind why this rule would exist. With a culture that is quick to take legal action, it’s unfortunate that we create rules that protect the school system from lawsuits but remove opportunities for our kids to grow up.

        • Carolina.

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      • wlaraway

        Yes, my son’s grade school is also terribly to blame for ridiculous rules that make sure they don’t burn off energy, resolve their own disputes, take risks, or do enough heavy muscle work that is important to their brain and body development. No running on the woodchips on the playground? WTF, indeed. I tell my son he has to following the school’s rules when he’s at school because they ask him to, and if he doesn’t he will get in trouble, but that it’s a foolish rule and when we are there playing after hours he does not have to respect that. I am trying to teach him to do what is expected when appropriate, but to think for himself. : ) There is TREMENDOUS pressure on us as parents from other parents, neighbors, teachers, and other administrators to subscribe to this fear that we can’t overprotect them enough. I am afraid if I don’t supervise him every second, someone will try to take him away from “neglect” or endangerment of my part. This is really a fear of mine. We as parents need to push to reject the fearmongering and acceptance of this as normal parenting.

  • Jean McDonald Anderson

    Excellent article. I was a parent that believed in “tough love”. My child admitted later that even though he didn’t like it at the time, he knew I did what was best for him.

    When I was just a kid and very poor, sadly, I stole from a collection plate at a kids club in church. Instead of my father smoothing it over with the leadership, He literally took me by the hand and took me to the leader’s home to confess. Was I embarrassed? Yes, but it was a lesson well learned about the consequences of stealing. I never wanted to steal again.

    I think every parent and I will add every couple needs to read the book by Dr. Henry Cloud entitled “Boundaries”. Both kids and couples need boundaries. Statistics show that kids without boundaries are usually the ones who get into serious trouble.

    Thanks for writing this informative article. As a former teacher, I certainly saw the affects when parents started unrealistically “fighting” for their kids instead of allowing them to stand up for themselves.

    • Tim Elmore

      That’s a powerful example and I’m sure it left a lasting impression. Thanks for sharing!

  • Lu Warren

    Kudos to the author of this article. I’m a veteran teacher and year after year, I see parents hovering over our middle school kids, completing their children’s homework or complaining about the amount of homework (which is only school work not completed even though amply time is given). I spend more time suggesting to parents that they need to stop fighting their children’s battles, and no, not everyone can be first or the winner. We are creating a generation of entitlement without having any sweat equility……heaven help our country if we don’t get this mindset changed.

    • Tim Elmore

      That’s a great example, Lu. We need more teachers who are willing to stand their ground and guide both the students and the parents when necessary.

    • Amanda Sklepowich

      Agreed. As a teacher myself, I see the same thing. It’s frustrating and kids know exactly how to work the system to their advantage. My parents sided with the teacher and made me do my own homework and I am thankful for it.

    • EarthLion Waratah

      Agreed. It’s an appalling reaction when two parents, usually the mums, having an argument with each other outside the school over their tykes. Or worse, a parent physically belting into another parent’s child.

    • Guest

      I think you mean “ample time” and “sweat equity”

    • Robin

      I agree! My little 4 yo is very competitive, and I have to tell him at least 5 x a week that he can’t win every time. I’m hoping one day that message will sink in because the whining after losing is killing me!

      • disqus_O8qMJxasfw

        At 4 years, your child is too young for competitive activities. Childhood Development professionals suggest waiting until the child is 7-8 years old. It is very difficult for them to understand winning and losing. Wait a few more years until he can understand. For now, strive on the importance of physical activity instead of activities where winning/losing may deter him from having positive associations with physical activity.

        • Brooke

          Well I guess I’m bad mom. My 4 year old is in competitive T-ball. She understands already that they don’t always win. Getting used to it now is better. I definitely disagree with Child psychologists on that. That’s half the problem is EVERYONE has to be a winner and that starts in toddler age and then when they are 7-8 they expect to be a winner then too.

          • B

            I’m not saying your a bad mom, you’re already a great mom for getting your child active at a young age. The other mom (Robin) mentioned in her post, “I’m hoping one day that message will sink in because the whining after losing is killing me!” So my point is that if the message isn’t sinking in then it’s not time to introduce the concept of competition. At this age sports should be about physical activity, having fun, learning skills and techniques to apply to a team setting when it’s age appropriate. Psychologists aren’t saying that every child should be a winner, they’re saying that at that age it’s not fair to have ANY child be a winner or a loser.

            I’m not saying I’m child development guru. I own a children’s fitness business which has provided me with tremendous insight. I spend all day teaching skills to young children and never do we even mention competition. They just can’t handle it and it really has no relevance to them at their age.

            So in summary, if your child still isn’t getting “it” that’s OK! Few do at their age. I try my best to stress to parents that enjoying physical ativity is way more important than teaching or dealing with competition. You wouldn’t want your child to have misdirected negative feels towards physical activity due to an association with a bad experience in a team setting. Again to make it clear competition is important to development, but only at the right age.

        • brandica

          I was taught by my parents from a young age to work hard and do the best that you can and that is all you can do. You have win and lose in order to learn to be a good loser and a good winner.

      • Dawn Grobe

        I understand. My (nearly) 4 year old loves to race when we get dressed in the morning, but doesn’t like to not be the first one done. If I am dressed first he will insist we both won. I usually say “that’s not how it works, but next time I bet you will go faster.” He also likes to play Candyland and Hi Ho Cherry-o, which are both luck based games. Who ever wins we point out the winner got good cards or spins. He is learning how to play Tic Tac Toe, so we guide his moves, but we don’t let him win.

    • whoo hoo

      Not heaven help the mentally ill or the kidnapper of children but for real, heaven help the country of parents who help their children? REALLY? That’s rational. Everyone who is a teacher is perfect?

    • escowler

      Right there with you only I have elementary aged students whose parents do their homework. When called on it, they defend it or lie about it….one even had her darling removed from my class because I said he should do his own work….and the principal backed the parent!!!!!

  • maestracarrie

    AMEN . . .

    • Tim Elmore

      Thanks for taking time to comment.

  • CBenson

    Your article was spot on! I only wish it was required reading for all parents! I know I ‘shock’ a lot of casual friends. I don’t give my kids rides to school, if we live close, they walk, if not, my taxes pay for the bus. If they call because they have forgotten something, I feel bad for them, but I don’t fix it. Surprise, surprise, my kids somehow always remember their homework, instrument etc! I also make my kids do chore, because they are a member of the household, not for pay! They are also responsible for the grades they bring home. I firmly believe if your kids have never hated you, you are doing something wrong! My older kids have thanked me after having to deal with roommates who were in no way prepared for the real world. When our children are young we need to prepare hem for life! We can be their friends when they grow up!

    • Tim Elmore

      Well said! Sounds like you are raising mature adults. Great examples of small ways that we can build responsibility in our kids that generate great results long-term.

    • greatest mom

      You sir are awesome

    • gertrude

      You are the best parent! Way to go!

    • Jamal

      Whoa, whoa… What’s up with this parent-praising… more like… “You must have had a tough time parenting!”

      • Ursula Platt

        right on jamal

    • Josh

      “I firmly believe if your kids have never hated you, you are doing something wrong” that’s all the parenting advice anybody needs

      • BK Kansas

        Our children don’t need us as friends. They need us to be role modles. We need to show them how to handle the negative in life not run from it. They can only learn by risks taken, and failed, not risks avoided!

        • Paula

          True… My parents were good at letting me fall. However, I wish they were my friends.

    • crazymom

      I must have been AWESOME then because my daughter REALLY hated me for awhile! LOL We’re good now!

      • Melisse Clark

        Still doesn’t think much of me but sensible and tough enough to withstand what she’s had to from ups & downs Doing very well in most ways. However, HER daughter is her ‘best friend’ though having lived with one parent she’s learned to be self-sufficient..

    • Melisse Clark

      Independence and resilience are the key words. Not ‘best friend’ or ‘nurse maid’

  • Jill Nesbitt

    Loved this article. It reinforces our parenting style. Example – my 11 year old recently interviewed for a trip abroad through CISV. When I shared my pride in his performance at a solo interview with 2 adults (they told me afterward) with a small group of parents their collective gasp and questions about ‘Would you really let him go?!’ were a perfect example of this article. Sadly, he wasn’t selected but his willingness to go through the interview process – and (as 2 other parents recently pointed out) – to even want to go on the trip- makes me the proudest Mom.
    I give credit to my parents who allowed me to major in Spanish & take 2 significant trips abroad during college that completely influenced my development.

    • Tim Elmore

      Great example, Jill. I believe in the power of travel – both domestic and international – to broaden the horizons of our kids like nothing out. Is it without danger? Of course not. But the risks far outweigh the benefits. Kudos to you for leading your children to take appropriate risks and reap the benefits.

      • Stephanie

        I think perhaps you meant the benefits far outweigh the risks?

    • Kathy

      At ten, my mom put me on a plane to Germany with a friend (also ten) so we could stay with the family of our after-school German instructor for a month, learning more language and experiencing the culture. We met kids our own age in the neighborhood and played, went to museums, etc. It never really occurred to me that this was unusual, then or now (I’m in my 40s now).

  • Shea

    Great article! I am a preschool teacher and let me tell you I see this stuff even at this young age. Parents going to the director because of a tiny scratch wondering what horrible went wrong and why it wasn’t prevented. Myself standing back and watching two children arguing over something and a parent questioning why I
    ‘m not stepping in and stopping them. Parents doing things for their kids that they are 100% capable of doing on their own. It makes me crazy!! I try to teach the parents the best way to handle these situations with the best outcome but they all tell me I wouldn’t understand because I don’t have my own kids. Trust me…I know kids better than you do and I know what these kids are going to end up being…lazy, selfish, spoiled. Good luck!

    • Tim Elmore

      I know it can get frustrating at times. Keep going – you’re on the right track!

      • greatest mom

        Dr. Tim and Shea should know

    • Momofmany

      Hmmm. Touched a nerve there. I’m a dedicated parent that also firmly believes in the things described in the above article, but I have a huge pet-peeve with preschool teachers that seemed to think they knew my kids better than I do. That’s pretty dangerous and often unfounded. There are some misinformed and lazy parents, but it is a big leap to assume you know kids better. I was told that exact thing by a teacher with a 2-year diploma. It doesn’t trump my 14 years of experience or my university degree in child psychology. Be careful!

      • Andrea Merchant

        HAHAHA! The preschool/daycare teacher is probably spending more time with your child than you are. Also, teaches an entire group of them. Maybe you need to be careful with how much you seem to be looking down at the preschool teacher.

        • Kristin

          I agree. I’m also a preschool teacher, and just because you have children doesn’t mean you know the best way to handle their behaviors. I can fix almost any behavior, but parents are often too close to the situation and too inexperienced to know how to handle it. Teachers deal with 20 different behavior problems each year, and have to learn how to help the children work through it. It gets me fired up when two kids are having problems with each other, and the parent asks if I can just separate the two of them all day. NO!!! These kids need to learn to talk and get through their problems. My point is, it doesn’t matter if you have a higher degree or 20 years of parenting 5 kids, it will never beat what a teacher learns by doing.

          • Blanca

            My issue is when teachers don’t handle persistent problems in classrooms. For example, when my son started school this year (his first day of kindergarten at a new school) a girl called him stupid. Throughout the year this same girl has consistently insulted him, picked on him or tried to get him in trouble. After talking with my son for weeks and weeks about things he could do to handle or avoid these problems, there was no improvement at school. I later found out that even though I’d asked the teachers to keep and eye on the two of them (having explained that my son had complained about her since the first day of school) my son kept getting sat next to the girl at lunch and during circle time. When he’d ask to sit somewhere else he would be refused this request.

            I understand your point about children needing to learn how to handle conflicts, but there are OFTEN a couple children who consistently pick on others, and those children need to be watched as the multitude of strategies kids employ still doesn’t always do the trick.

          • MamaBear

            For real? Get off your high (rocking) horse!

        • Jolie

          Ahh this is one of the many reasons I now homeschool. Teachers who think they know better than me on how to handle my child or any situation. Your supposed to work with parents not know better than parents. My children are doing so much better now that we are home.

      • Kelli

        Since you have a degree in child psychology, you undoubtedly have a lot of knowledge about how children develop. Someone with a specialized degree in early childhood education (even a two year degree) may in fact have more knowledge than you about how to handle a problem in the context of an early childhood classroom. It doesn’t mean they know your children better than you do, but they probably know more about how to educate young children.

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  • Veronica

    I totally agree with this article. I am a mom of 4 teenagers, 13 to 19. The other day my 13 year old said “Mom, how come you are not that happy that I raised my grade from D to C?” A simple answer; there was no effort on your side to do that, I know you could easily have an A if you just made an effort. Kids now a days want praise for everything, even for eating a vegetable in their plate, that is totally absurd. Some things they just have to do because they are part of a family, part of society. Chores without pay, help others, volunteer etc… Also kids have to take responsability for their actions, not parents backing up every little detail in there life!
    Great article

    • Tim Elmore

      Thanks for taking time to comment, Veronica. Keep leading your kids, well. They may not thank you now but they will appreciate it one day!

  • Sarah

    I loved this. As a young mom with two young boys, I want to implement this right now. I couldn’t help but think, through my various experiences with this and other parents who make these same mistakes, that this happens because we as parents are selfish. I think we want our kids to succeed because it makes us look great. Look how hard we work at raising them, we think. Therefore, we get the glory. If our kids “fail”, we fail. Also, some parents who struggle with their self-esteem or whatever, give in, over-indulge, things like that so that their children are happy and like them, even if it’s fleeting. We as parents need to put on our big-boy pants and have some backbone so we can work through challenges such as raising kids (and we already knew it wasn’t going to be an easy thing) and not let them off easily just so that we can feel better about ourselves.

    • Tim Elmore

      Well-said, Sarah! I do believe that the “needs” of parents are sometimes put above what is truly best for the child. It is a subtle temptation that parents must be on the lookout for.

    • Shirley

      Yes! I agree! We have 10 kids, ages 4-23, and there have been (and will not doubt continue to be!) times that I have cringed inwardly, as one of our kids has behaved like a doofus, and we have not jumped to the pump to make it ‘look better’ but let the situation unfold and the child get through the situation.

      Great article–our 22 year old daughter posted it, because she agreed with it so much!

  • Janice

    I am a director of a daycare center. I am a no non-sense person. The children are told like it is and I am consitant and firm with the rules and their behaviors. I see it when the children get picked up. They are listening and behaving for the teachers,but when Mom or Dad comes in, they turn into demanding, screaming, crying, whining little you know what. I am going to post this link on the school’s FB page for our parents. I agree with every comment mentioned already. And the parents that need to read this, won’t or even recongize themselves in the article.

    • Tim Elmore

      Sounds like you are laying a great foundation for these students. I know it can be frustrating when you see your work undone by forces beyond your control. Keep up the good work!

  • Karen

    Excellent thoughts and good advice. However, one thing I would add is that people have different levels of comfort with risk-taking and there are different areas of life where people feel free to take risks. One of my children finds it easy to take risks in physical situations (interacting with the physical world), but not in social situations (interacting with people). So, yes, we need to encourage our children to take risks and not avoid making mistakes, but we need to know our children individually and help them in the way that best suits their personality.

    • Tim Elmore

      Great point, Karen – I believe these principle apply to both types of risk. Recognizing the temperament of your child definitely helps you pick which type of risks they may need encouragement to take and which ones come more naturally to them.

  • Yolo

    Let’s see some data, dude. Any actual data that children are being overparented? Or are you playing really, really fast and loose by integrating research findings from a number of different levels that don’t really cohere in the way you assert?

    • Amanda Sklepowich

      I think the comments on here is enough proof, enough “data” to confirm what the author is saying. Anecdotal data is still data.

      • Tim Elmore

        There is a great deal of data to support these points, both anecdotal and research-based. Both are certainly important!

    • Tim Elmore

      The studies are linked above. For further data, pick up a copy of Generation iY. Fully annotating every finding is beyond the scope of a single blog post. Feel free to dig as deep as you like and reach your own conclusions. I believe the data is conclusive on these issues.

  • Merianne Smith

    Thank you so much for this article! This is the way that we parent our 6 children. Sadly, it is a shock when we show up at a school to make a child apologize to a teacher for their behavior/words or stand next to them as they explain to a teacher or principal about a behavior choice; and during Parent/Teacher conferences, when a teacher asks me why things aren’t being turned in/up to effort levels/or other problem, I will turn to my child and ask them to answer the question instead of giving an answer myself. I want my children to know that I support them in making good decisions so I will stand next to them, and even hold their hand if necessary, as they face the consequences of their choices. I will not, however, negate those consequences for them. We believe in manners and well-thought-out apologies (“Sorry” does NOT cut it).We believe in respect and honesty, and that you have to earn and exhibit both. I am really frustrated though when I take my child to a store manager to have them return a purloined item and apologize for stealing it and the store manager (or manager on duty) looks at them and says, “Oh, it’s ok.” I usually vocalize that it was not ok for them to steal, even a little, and that they need to learn that now rather than winding up in the juvenile court system. (One manager actually asked me what they should say instead and I told them “Thank you for your apology” is better than “It’s ok.”) I am regularly accused of being the Meanest Mom in the World becuase I make my kids do chores and their own homework. I get frustrated with parents that do the homework for their kids either manually or purchased. These are the same parents that will be complaining about their children still living at home in their 20’s and 30’s and still not doing any chores. These children simply adult parasites instead of mature, contributing adults. Truthfully, I like being the Meanest Mom in the World. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one out there. And my oldest (19 yrs) just texted me the other day and told me, “Thanks.” When I asked her what I did she simply texted back, “For teaching me everything.” Tada! You are very welcome!

    • Mary Therese Rooney Griffin

      I am sorry, but you are NOT NOT NOT the worst mom in the world! Ask MY kids!

      Glad to have you in the club!

      • Hava Yoga

        Um, this is a little embarrassing I thought someone might have told you, the meanest mom in the world award was given to me. We are a military family and we raise our children very strictly and firmly, but with a lot of love. I think there are many more moms like us out there, It’d be nice to find them! ( I was boo’d off of a mom-site once for my strong parenting-style.) I’d like to see a “group” for parents like us!

        • Mary

          In my opinion usually the stricter parents are the ones who don’t let their kids take risks and they are the helicopter parents… a little bit of an oxymoron in your statement. Usually the more liberal parents are the ones in the article.

          • Guest

            I don’t know how politics have entered this conversation, seeing as it not only doesn’t matter, but that each and every parent, regardless of their feelings about politics, has the right and the ability to choose how they will parent. That said, it is generally thought of as “conservative”, “backward”, “ancient”, or “old-school” to parent your child as this article suggests. You only need to read the first few paragraphs or so to see the line, “if you’re over thirty, you probably experienced…”. Kids were once taught to respect their elders at all costs and to be responsible for their actions. They were disciplined and punished for wrong choices, or parents simply let natural consequences teach them (ie, missing out on an activity or suffering through a bad grade when a child forgets their homework or doesn’t bring the necessary equipment for a game). As the article clearly states, this idea that we must always “cushion” our kids from failure and risk is a fairly new idea that has only taken hold in the last 30 years or so. Therefore, by that logic, it’s safe to call these new ideas “progressive”, which proves your point about “liberal” parenting as moot. Again, it’s not whether these styles can be categorized as conservative or progressive that really matters. The stats speak for themselves, regardless of how you want to label it, and each parent should choose how they’ll raise and nurture their child/ren when faced with this information. Information is power.

          • Laurie Forsman

            I think this Mary to whom you’ve responded may have meant “liberal” in its non-political sense, as in allowing their children extensive freedom? Not sure, but that’s my take.

          • Guest

            I wish they had a like button on here… liberal isn’t just the name of a party in politics…

          • stringrrl

            i agree.

          • greatest mom

            Thank you

          • Melanie Schefft

            Right or left, if more parents had taken this mantra when raising their kids30 years ago, we would certainly have far fewer people on Welfare. The self-entitlement attitude is running rampant in colleges, as well. Students whine more and expect too much TLC. Professors are pulling their hair out, as they are seeing a dim future ahead for many of these future [leaders].

          • NotSoFast

            There is also the issue of the economy these adults have inherited, a shrinking job market that no longer rewards degrees, and an increase in college tuition so that their loans are sky high. It’s not necessarily laziness and a sense of entitlement.
            A lot of it has to do with the poor stewardship and selfishness of the yuppy, “me” generation who were fortunate enough to inherit a society built by “the greatest generation”. While the people you’re referring to are left to deal with the consequences of the generation that caused divorce to sky rocket and invented “latch key kids”.

          • Guest

            I have had the same experience with “strict” parents. In my observation they are more prone to over-protecting and over-parenting but everyone is different. My husbands “strict” parents still hover and try to protect him and he’s 36 years old! I’m sure there are many strict parents who are also loving and let their child take risks and responsibility.

          • knowssignlangauge

            Strict means not letting them talk back. Not letting your daughters be with boys by themselves, Not letting them dress like a slut because it is in fashion. strict parents let them take risks just not MORONIC ones. Making them have chores everyday. Making them have somewhere to go not just hang out on the street corners. Maybe telling them that person and this person is no good for them so therefore they can not hang out with them because of this and that. Just my opinion though.

          • Pam Arterburn

            Mary, stereotyping is not a skill parents should teach their children. It is akin to brainwashing. Hopefully your kids have not learned that one.

        • Danielle

          Hello, I’m a military mom also, and have gotten some strange looks before because I held my 7 year responsible for his actions. My husband is the active duty member in our house, was raised by his grandfather you can tell. He has some old school ways but I respect them and stand by him. I believe there are more parents like us and I’m proud so hold your head high, your parenting style sounds great. We are raising a whole generation of little people that will one day run this country, so rock on!

      • Kathy

        I am also a mean mom (AND AUNT!) My nieces and nephews all got the same treatment from me as my kids… it’s as much my responsibility to help with them as it is my own kids (my opinion) but my kids aren’t going to be feeling cheated by letting others do as they please without the same consequences…. and for the most part… I’m very proud of my kids and nieces and nephews for how they are growing up, some better than others, but if the parents didn’t like my way they didn’t leave their kids for long… (sorry for that to them) but I’m the mean one… with great responsible hard working kids with awesome manners… and love them to death… wouldn’t change a thing… they learned the hard way a lot of times

        • Crazymomma

          My sister would leave her kids with me (and we live out of state) because we are very much alike. LOL…they didn’t get over on me. The only difference was I had more patience than their Momma.

    • Tim Elmore

      Thanks for sharing Merianne. I know it’s not always easy being “The Meanest Mom in the World,” but it’s certainly worth it when you’re kids mature and realize how well you’ve prepared them for real life. Well-done!

    • Gypsy Red

      I also raised my six children this way. I am very proud of the well mannered, responsible adults they have become. I too, have received thanks from all of them for their upbringing but the greatest thank you is watching them raise their own children in the same manner. I was proud to be known as the “meanest Mom on the block”!

    • greatest mom

      You are awesome.

    • Jim Graham

      fantastic response Mrs. Smith – we have no patience for this non-sense in our home. The challenge we are running into is that the teachers are those “GEN Y’rs” that are now passing this foolishness to the next generation. We like you, will make our kids take responsibility for their homework, if they do not do it – they live with the consequences – but the problem is- there are no consequences any longer. Frustrating.

      I do think that it will get better as everyone sees what is happening to these kids.
      Oh we are the worst parents 😉
      I tell my kids, if you do not hate me until you are 30, I did a poor job raising you 😉 LOL

      • Andrea Merchant

        I take some offense to that. I’m a young teacher and I happen to believe in respect and responsibility. I’m tough and fair. Don’t lump all teachers together. Especially in this day and age.

      • Ssbtx

        Many teachers now face backlash from their administration for holding kids accountable. I teach high school English. I avoid teaching seniors because heaven-forbid if you have some failing and may not graduate — despite the fact that they have a 32 average in your class and found a weeks long process research paper a non-essential assignment. Teachers face the wrath of parents AND administration because WE are responsible. How messed up is that??

        • brandica

          Unfortunately it is the pressure that the administrators get from those “helicopter” parents that has trained them to not allow consequences. I will never understand how you can raise a child without any consequences for their actions, good or bad. It just blows my mind. Messed up is right.

      • FrustratedTeach

        Not true. I am a young teacher as well, and I completely agree with the premise of this article. I wish all of my students’ PARENTS could read this and soak it in. I wish my ADMINISTRATION could read this and soak it in. I am expected, as per school policy, to make sure EVERY student gets a ‘student of the week’ award. This flies in the face of my philosophy as I search for a needle in the haystack for certain students when I SHOULD be praising the consistent efforts of the students who work their butts off (different than ‘smarts.’) I cannot tell you how many excuses parents have made for their kids to me this year as I try to enforce consequences. It is ridiculous. To the point where the kids have become manipulative and know that there’s a good chance they can bypass consequences altogether by getting mom involved. As a teacher TRYING to promote responsibility in students, it is exhausting that so many parents are such enablers. Feels like I am trying to do both the teaching AND the parenting. I am always grateful for the parents who ‘get it.’

    • Barb M

      My first experience with a parent doing their kids homework was from a friend of mine. I could not believe it, I said, ” You did what?” and she responded like I was the bad mom for ONLY assisting with certain class projects or helping them study, but never, never did I do their homework! My answer to my kids if they slacked off in school was, “I did grade (whatever grade it was) already, if you want to do it again; go ahead, but I’m not doing to for you!”

      • K.C.

        What I tell my daughters is, “It’s not MY homework.” I do have them show me when they’re done, and I’ll tell them if something is wrong…but not give them the right answer. It’s their job to figure it out. Side note: I DO walk or drive my daughters to school, but that is because my older daughter was almost kidnapped once (the judge ended up issuing a court order against the guy for us). I don’t have to worry about their self-esteems: my older daughter auditioned for a variety show at her school. When the results came in, she told me, “Bad news and good news: Bad is I didn’t make it; good is I can try again next year!” She even told me why she thought she didn’t make it (she played violin, and “I squeaked a bit.”) Both girls have asked if I could be their friend, and I told them no, but to ask again when they are adults. They liked that answer.

    • Maranda Swafford Everson

      I feel the same way making children face the consequences of their actions good and bad makes them into better people!

    • brandica

      You sound like a great mom to me! Sounds a lot like the way I was parented as well! Way to go! More parents should do this. I could not believe that someone would text their mom in an interview! I mean that is just unreal to me!

    • Ursula Platt

      you’re probably christians? jesus loved children. happy easter

  • Inga

    Really enjoyed this article and the parts about mothers interrupting classes and kids complaining ….priceless…had a good laugh about that …spot on. The part about feedback is excellent as specific feedback whether negative or positive must be said in the right way with suitable body languag – a hug or even a look…its the package of feedback which makes parenting and teaching so rewarding …. thanks for the article

    • Tim Elmore

      Thanks for taking time to read and comment. Glad to hear that you enjoyed it!

  • Johnny_Drama

    This is so spot on it’s silly. I was having a conversation with friends a few weeks about this very thing, but more in the context of how it hurts the country as a whole. As long as we keep raising generations of kids that are both afraid to take risks and expect to have things handed to them, this country will not get back to its former status as a world leader in a lot of areas. Someone in our discussion said it short but sweet, “We need to stop raising a bunch of wussies.”

    We used to play football in the park…no parents to watch us or play umpire. If someone made a penalty we worked it out amongst ourselves…if we got pissed at each other we worked it out, and by the end of the game we all walked home happy even though one team won and one team lost.

    • Tim Elmore

      So true. In my book, Generation iY, I warned that this is our last chance to save their future. I don’t mean to overstate the problem but there are serious consequences for not leading students to authentic maturity.

      I, too, grew up playing sports with guys in my neighborhood. There’s no greater lesson in conflict resolution than a game you have to umpire yourself!

  • Rob

    Ok, here’s a question… what should someone in their 20’s do, who grew up as a spoiled child, and who already HAS these negative effects? Is it up to that person to kick himself in the ass and, in essence, re-teach himself how to live in the real world? Or is there help to be sought? This article denotes some excellent ways to prevent making these mistakes… but what to do when the damage is already done?

    • Tim Elmore

      Great question, Rob. For someone in their 20’s who has already experienced the damage of these mistakes, I think awareness is the first step. Realizing that one is not prepared for adulthood can be shocking but it leads to action. The next step would be to start making conscious decisions to move toward independence. This may not happen overnight but enough steps in that direction will add up. Finally, I would recommend that a young person surrounds themself with other mature adults – finding a mentor to give guidance and perspective on this journey is incredibly valuable.

  • Amanda Sklepowich

    From a “kid’s” point of view (as I am no longer a child…) this article is completely spot on. I am SO glad my parents cared enough to let me fail when I needed to and they had zero interest in being my friend. Growing up I remember the kids with “cool” parents who let them do whatever they wanted and I always thought they were lucky until I got a bit older and realized that those parents let their kid do whatever they wanted because they didn’t care. They had McDonalds for lunch because their parents forgot to make them a healthy lunch. They had every toy they wanted because their parents felt bad for not spending time with them.
    I’m glad my parents were “strict”. They taught me about choices, privileges, consequences and rewards. They taught me about right and wrong and policed me as a child so by the time I hit junior high, I could police myself. My parents trusted me – I never had a curfew in high school because I knew that 17 year olds didn’t need to be out at 3 in the morning. My parents knew my friends and everyone was welcome in our house. They taught me manners. They made me do my homework and there were consequences when I behaved badly. They let me skin my knees, fall of monkey bars, trip over my own feet and they cleaned me up, stuck a bandaid on what needed it and sent me off to go play some more. They laughed when I asked for an allowance and taught me about responsibility. I drank from a garden hose, caught frogs, ran barefoot, ate veggies straight from the garden, dirt and all, and I survived. Imagine that!

    • Tim Elmore

      Wow! Sounds like you had an incredible childhood that prepared you well – something that is increasingly rare for today’s students. Thanks for sharing!

  • Gina Bernard

    This article clearly outlines what mistakes have been made by parents and teachers, why they have been made, and how parents can solve the problems they have created. I appreciate your candor and matter-of-fact tone. It does much to recommend your solutions. I am the mother of two adult children (25 and 23) who navigate the world fairly successfully. And I am a veteran (17 years) teacher who has taught both college and high school. My current position teaching 11th and 12th graders is challenging only because my students will not take responsibility for themselves and theri work, neither will they weather the difficulties of learning. If they do not master it the moment they hear it, they will not put in the effort because they consider it beneath their notice. The fault, they figure, is mine because I did not explain it clearly enough. Have you any advice or maybe a book about how teachers can begin to turn the ship against the tide of parents, administrators, and district personnel determined to coddle and hand-hold these students until they are 30? I’d be very interested in a book like that. Thank you for your work.

    • Tim Elmore

      Hi Gina – thanks for taking time to comment. My two recent books deal with this problem and provide solutions. Check out Generation iY and Artificial Maturity – both are available at They are filled with analysis of today’s parents and practical solutions. Hope you find them helpful.

  • Sis

    I just read your article and agree with you 100%. My 3 girls are in their 30’s and have families of their own. My children grew up with no cell phones, ipods etc. and for 5 years we did not have tv. They went outside to play, read books, rode their bikes and used their imagination. Rode the bus to school so they had to make sure they got up in the morning to catch. They were in figure skating and hockey. Learned how to get along with other kids and adults. They did their own homework; when they needed help wed would help not do it. they had chores to do around the house. Some parents need their kids to be kids. Lots of time to growup. I worried about my girls(i still do and my grandchldren) like every parent should but you have to let them accept responsibility, learn from their mistakes and guide them along the way. Great article. Should be sent to all the schools and copies given to each child. Thank You.

    • Tim Elmore

      Thanks for sharing your experience! Sounds like you raised some great girls!

  • Mary Therese Rooney Griffin

    My son became very angry with me one day. I worked part-time as a Media Aide at his school and he had come to me to sign a paper he had neglected to show me the night before. I wouldn’t sign it. “I love you no matter where we are, but this was to be signed by your mom. I am your librarian right now. If you bring it home to your mom tonight, I’m sure she’ll be happy to sign it for you.”

    Unless or until you find the “Fountain of Youth” and are prepared to spend your life as babysitter, your job is to prepare your kids for the tough world out there. They are not yours to keep under your wing forever. They are a gift which you nurture, love, guide and educate until they can stand on their own as a thriving, contributing and loving independent being.

    “It is too bad,” I tell my kids, “that there are so many adults these days and so very, very few GROWNUPS!”

    • Tim Elmore

      That is a great, practical example of how to lead students to maturity. Thanks for adding to the conversation!

    • Kathy

      omg….. I thought I was the only “mean” mom out there… lol… my kids would come to me with homework and say “this word isn’t in the chapter we are working on” I would reply “Really? wow… let me see… and would look through the chapter til I find what they are looking for, point it out to them that it is there, and close the book saying now find it yourself and don’t bring your homework to me unless you have Really TRIED to find it by reading the whole chapter if you have to” they learned to do it themselves and both graduated HS with High honors and Honors… and my daughter graduated college (msu) with High honors… she learned young to work hard and even harder for the best result for herself!

  • LaurenV

    Wonderful. This puts everything I intuitively know about parenting into words. My mother shielded me from hurtful things, like her arguments with my father after their divorce, but never from regular life lessons. I was so afraid to disappoint her, not that she would necessarily yell or punish me, but just that look of “you could have done so much better” was enough to keep me on my toes. I have three kids less than three years apart and I think that prevents me from ‘helicoptering’, not that I would, because I don’t have time. I think this is a difference in today’s parents too, families used to be bigger and closer together and there are a lot more ‘only’ children now, some parents have too much time to parent!

    • Tim Elmore

      Great points, Lauren. I do believe parents have a responsibility to protect their kids from certain things – like the details of a divorce – but expose them to appropriate risks. It’s true that family life looked much different 100 years ago than today!

  • Roadee

    I love this!!! There are too many parents at the primary school collecting their senior school kids from their classrooms(!!) when the child would be perfectly able to carry their own schoolbag 100 metres down the street to the car.

    I call my parenting style ‘survival of the fittest’. If you can reach it you can eat it, if you are thirsty you can help yourself from the tap. If you break it you clean it up and then don’t have it anymore. We have a trampoline and gymset outside and the kids (even the 4 year old) regularly play out in the cul de sac on bikes and scooters. If we run out of milk or bread the 9 year old gets on her bike and rides to the shop to buy more.

    The result of requiring my kids to ‘do it for themselves’ – my 9 year old can cook a meal for the entire family by herself. My 4 year old knows to wear sneakers so he doesn’t rip apart another toe when riding on the bikes. He can walk himself to the gate to meet me after school and walk himself into school in the mornings. My teen has a part time job that she juggles around her study and still manages decent grades. They know their limits and are willing to have a crack at anything, even when they feel it could be a little dangerous. I would rather they learn these lessons BEFORE they learn to drive, so they might be less likely to wrap themselves around a power pole at speed.

    Keep up the great articles! :-)

    • Tim Elmore

      Thanks for sharing these practical examples of how you are raising your kids to be self-reliant. Each of these small steps are moving your kids to maturity daily.

    • Heather James

      My question is what’s the deal with everyone being picked up? When I was in elementary school, in the ’80’s, kids rode the bus, walked, or rode their bikes. Getting picked up was a special treat, or it meant you had some sort of appointment. I’m 40, and the mom of little kids, so I run into the generational disconnect all. the. time. My husband and I are trying to raise our kids with the amount of freedom and responsibility we have…but we have to balance that with not getting CPS called on us, which can be a tightrope, sometimes.

    • Kathy Meyer

      OMG!!! I have the same parenting style… I look back at videos of my 2 yr old son and think “if the powers that be saw this they would have taken my kids away from us” (extreme perhaps) but watching him walk along the newly installed sea wall on the river we lived on from a few hundred feet away showed no fear from him and obviously me either… he survived and loves the water and swims like a fish at 24, so apparently me not being a hover mom has taught him balance, exploring, and his own caution… I didn’t have to be a hover mom both parents and grandparents were there and none of us rushed or yelled at him to remove him from this “danger” and wow… he survived… one of many times with challenges for him… I also have a video of him frying breakfast sausage patties on a chair when he was 2… until he obviously touched the side of the pan and the camera went off and ice and aloe were applied… doesn’t even have a scar, but he learned to be more careful and still knows how to cook and does so often… As a kid my brothers and sister and I use to climb a crab apple tree to run across the roof of a patio we had so we could jump off the other side and run around and do it again… we survived and I wouldn’t change a thing either way… I’m not a neglectful parent, but not a hover mom either… and both my kids (daughter and son) have learned all their lives what they can and can’t achieve by doing, failing and succeeding… part of life… and the lessons we live with…

  • Marwyn Benemerito

    BOOM!!! Over-parenting ..the syndrome that destroys our children’s ability to take responsibility and bear the natural consequences of their actions. Parents should understand that when their child fails or make mistakes, the consequences that take place are life’s gift of learning, and not a let down of their duties as a parent. I am an Occupational Therapist and yes, I have seen it a lot in our therapies..this also holds true to children with special needs….the best and happiest kids are the ones that failed, gotten mad at me, held responsible for their actions and challenged to be the best in face of their mistakes…oh, and they will try to do the easy way..they will manipulate, throw a tantrum, lie, cheat or even try to convince their parents to quit…..but those who transcend and elevate themselves through these hardships learn that life is a matter of choice…..they chose not to become victims of life but move forward and learn from their mistakes and be the successful somebody that they will be in the future. If you are a parent and don’t believe it??? Then I guess I’ll see your child in therapy sometime in the future.

    • Tim Elmore

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Marwyn!

  • Emily Bosco

    Great article! Spot on! Definitely should be required reading for parents & teachers!

    • Tim Elmore

      Thanks, Emily!

  • vtmom

    Great article! I recently read Free Range Kids: How to Raise Safe, Self – Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry) by Lenore Skenazy. What a refreshing departure from the countless fear-mongering books and articles that parents are bombarded with. Thank you for being another kind and sane voice. It’s highly appreciated.

    • Tim Elmore

      Thanks for the book recommendation!

  • Bcochrane

    Love it! I am often told by helicopter parents that I should be at the park, get my kid out of the tree or off of the top bar of the swing set. I am told I should fix their problems, and that I shouldn’t let them have such freedoms. It is nice to read an article that says to let my kids have these freedoms and risks. I love my kids but lets be real my job is to equip them for adulthood and then release them on the world, not to hold their hand and do everything for them. I read an article when my 11 yr old was 2 that said we are abusing our Children by over protecting them and I agreed. But I have not seen anything as direct or pointed towards letting go as htis article since then. THanks.

    • Tim Elmore

      Thanks for taking time to comment. It sounds like exaggeration but I would agree that over-protecting is a form child abuse. It may not be as obvious as other forms but it certainly produces long-term effects that are anything but positive.

  • uberlynn

    I have often said that my job as a parent is to make myself obsolete. Not that they won’t need me as adults, but that they will be able to get along without me. My oldest is preparing to move overseas, alone, when she finishes high school this spring. I’ll miss her, but am so proud of her courage and commitment. I’m also confident that we will continue to have a close relationship — maybe closer because we’ve trusted her to become who she wants to be.

    • Tim Elmore

      Great point! The earlier we can recognize and accept this reality, the better off our kids will be – both now and in the future.

  • Jenifer

    This article is everything I see with parents now adays, and it frustrates me. These kids are never gonna grow up to be productive citizens because they can hardly function and make decisions on their own.

    • Tim Elmore

      I hope articles like this and the parents/teachers who have commented on this post wil continue to encourage others to parent with the end result in mind.

  • EJ

    This article is dead on. Thank you so much for validating what I know in my gut and what the newer generation of parents refuses to accept or believe: that kids NEED to get dirty, get hurt, and suffer disappointments to become functioning adults!

    • Tim Elmore

      Thanks EJ! Seems like common sense but we need to keep reminding parents.

  • Kim Zuraw

    Share Share Share. I want so badly for other parents to “get it.” I’ve started to be an advocate for this kind of philosophy. I’m tired of my children having to live with others’ ideas of coddling and protection. It’s hard for me to fight for them when the coddling& over protective parents have been the loudest. No running, playing on the ice, no this, no that at every turn. Prizes for everyone. No losers. No failed tests. My 12 year old daughter’s soccer team STILL has scoreless games?? Grade 8 graduation has turned into the likes of grade 12 prom. It’s excessive. It’s ridiculous. It’s hard to stay grounded when EVERYONE else is doing it. My girls are growing older and noticing their “spoiled” other friends. Kids that don’t know how to actually do anything like laundry, cut the lawn or cook. We are raising adults, preparing them for the real world since they were little, making our job obsolete. That IS the goal of parenting.

    • Tim Elmore

      Thanks for sharing, Kim! Your efforts will pay off. Keep up the great job!

  • ForThe Earthy

    I would add a ninth point to your list. Be honest and teach your children critical thinking.

    • Tim Elmore

      Great point – thanks for the addition!

  • Laura Lynn Walsh

    I am a substitute teacher and I am often encouraged to use the teacher’s/school’s reward system for behavior. I am supposed to give out tickets for kids who help, kids who are polite, kids who walk quietly in line, kids who do their work in class. I even was at a school recently where they awarded the kids points all day, every day for things like “Good Class Participation”, “Good Following Work Expectations”, “Good Entering Classroom Expectations”, etc. There was a computer program to handle all the data. I am uncomfortable rewarding behaviors that should be simply expected and I sometimes ignore the rewards systems. Is there a better way to handle this?

    • Tim Elmore

      This is similar to parents who reward students or give allowance based on just being a member of the family. I think it is far more helpful to establish baseline expectations that everyone will be held accountable for. Then establish rewards for going beyond these baselines.

  • Joshua Raymond

    I agree with most of what you said, but have a few issues with the third point. While we should be praising hard work, there are children that excel because of intelligence and not hard work. I was one. To say “You must have worked hard!” to me would have been a lie. There is a great John Wooden quote: “Don’t
    measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have
    accomplished with your ability.” Sometimes parents or teachers need to speak hard truths and say “I know you aced this on ability, but to be really successful in life you will need to work hard too.” I had far too few teachers say that to me, but it is a life lesson that I very much needed.

    I do tell my children they are smart and gifted because they are. They need to understand that what comes easy to them may be hard for a friend and they cannot look down on that friend or have unreasonable pride because of abilities given to them. We strongly need education that gives each child an equal opportunity to struggle, fail, and succeed through hard work. As a nation, we aren’t there.

    • Tim Elmore

      Great point, Joshua. We must remember to praise kids for things they have control over (like effort), not things they have no control over (like intelligence). I think appropriate praise guides students to rise to the best of their ability by realizing where they need to focus their efforts.

    • JTeach

      I was one of those kids too Joshua and am now an educator who strives to know and understand all of the children in my class on an individual level. By learning about the individual abilities of each child, I am better equipped to know when a child has truly exerted effort to achieve a particular goal. This helps me to encourage EVERY child to expand their comfort zones and experience the thrill of a good challenge in both academic work and on the playground.

      • Joshua Raymond

        JTeach, what you do is one thing I’ve recommended to our district as vital for the education of each student. It’s important to the gifted student so they learn to combine intelligence and effort to succeed, but equally important to the struggling student so that their hard work does not go unrewarded. I would find it very frustrating to work harder than most in the class yet always earn the Cs and Ds due to lack of ability. That wouldn’t push me to work harder, but to give up.

        Thanks for working with the individual levels of each student!

  • Diane

    I used to tell my kids, “the best help I can give you is NO help”. I’m raising adults, not kids. I agree with letting them tumble, fall, forget things, etc. That’s reality. Great article!

    • Tim Elmore

      Thanks, Diane!

  • Bumpy

    I couldn’t stand how my father always made me help him. Every time he had to fix the car or do a project around the house I had to be his helper. I can’t think of a single friend of mine that had to do anything like this with their parents. It’s now 20 years from that time and I’m stunned that my friends can’t do anything for themselves. Somehow I know how to take care of my house and cars and they are lost. Looking back, my parents were not hard on me. They just didn’t let me sit around and do nothing all day. Now that I have a son of my own I realize that it’s actually harder to do these tasks with him because of the complaining, patience and coaching needed. Where I thought my father was being lazy he was actually doing additional parenting during his to do list.

    • Tim Elmore

      Wow – that’s a great realization. Thanks for sharing!

    • orthorim

      LOL how we only really get to know our parents when we have kids ourselves…. good story.

    • Bob Albin

      I had the same dad, but 40 years ago. He drove me nuts and stil does. No regrets though.

    • Marina

      Just grate!!!

    • Kim

      My Father always got me to help him too. I learned a lot about cars, yard work, painting, taking care of the horses, motorcycles, bicycles. At 12 yrs old he showed me how to mow the lawn with a push mower, it then became my job. Now that I have my own home, I can do all these things. It amazes me how little most people know. I guess when there’s only girls in the family, you learn things you wouldn’t otherwise. Thanks Mom & Dad.

    • parent2

      So true! Teaching them the tasks is a task on itself.

    • Seeing with both eyes

      So True! I grew up on a farm, and I admit I was at times lazy and I hated it. But, I am single adult doing things on her own that other people “can’t stand being alone” or to know how to take care of business. I am so glad that my parents instilled me to work hard and be respectful of those in a higher position than me, I have never been fired from a job and always had the respect of my managers when I left.

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  • sammi

    more teachers and parents should read your article, it speaks volumes of truth in todays society

  • mn_test347

    Is the author’s point that we should let survival-of-the-fittest run it’s course in order that the surviving children are better adapted? Wouldn’t that get me arrested?

    “Unfortunately, over-protecting our young people has had an adverse effect on them.”

    Really? Where’s the proof? ….

    “Children of risk-averse parents have lower test scores and are slightly
    less likely to attend college than offspring of parents with more
    tolerant attitudes toward risk,”

    Did having risk-averse parents *cause* the lower test scores? Or perhaps people that aren’t so bright are more cautious? The next sentence in the article says it could be either.

    • LogicalHuman

      The author is clearly not advocating survival of the fittest. There is a huge difference between survival of the fittest and living with the consequences of relatively safe behaviors that could cause some harm. Breaking a bone or spraining and ankle is not the end of the world. It’s not as though he is encouraging you to let your kids do whatever they want to.

      As a child/teenager I broke a few bones and got some black eyes from doing things like playing on monkey bars, climbing trees, and playing unsupervised neighborhood ‘pickup’ sports. The result of these consequences is that I learned from my actions. I still wanted to do these things, but figured out how to do them in a way that would not hurt me. Just like the real world that you will eventually experience as an adult.

      As to the the assertion that people that aren’t as smart are more risk averse: in my experience the dumber a person is the BIGGER risks that person will take. Probably due to the fact that they are less likely to make realistic risk assessments.

      Sounds to me like you are a helicopter parent yourself and don’t want to admit that the course of action you are taking in the raising your children will result in them being 30 year old adolescents.

      • mn_test347

        “Psychologists in Europe have discovered that if a child doesn’t play outside and is never allowed to experience a skinned knee or a broken bone, they frequently have phobias as adults. ”

        The study in the link “Psychologists in Europe” was done in a period of five weeks. The study never mentions later effects.

        The “Scottish Journal of Political Economy report ” report says that risk avoidance could have caused the lower test scores *or* lower test scores could be the reason behind risk avoidance.

        My point is that the anecdotes and studies, however amusing – don’t add weight to the argument.

        My kid plays hockey and has had several trips to the ER – not a helicopter parent.

  • mn_test347

    “The first group of students who were told they were smart, did worse. The second group did 30% better.”

    Sure they did. They had twice the test-writing practice (two tests) as the first group (one test).

    • Rachel Knorr

      They had twice the test-taking practice because they CHOSE to take the extra test offered to BOTH groups. I don’t know if you were trying to imply the psychologists in charge of the study gave one group an unfair advantage, but that’s sure how it read.

      Regardless, your statement here actually supports the author’s broader point – that kids need to be allowed to fail, and that they need to be motivated by more than empty praise if they are going to succeed.

  • Just Wondering…

    good article.. but wonder why the need to give a father’s name and then make fun of him?

  • chris

    Oh my god finally!!!!!!! Unfortunately it will take generations to fix the damage done by “bubble wrapping” our kids for 20 years….

  • Jng

    Thank you for writing this. As a junior high teacher, what you have written here succinctly sums up the problems we face trying to teach kids to be smart, well adjusted, independent people. You nailed the issue right on it’s head. I wish every parent could read this as I know no one intentionally wants to set their child back but this is what is happening. If the small changes you suggest were implemented it would do a world of wonder for students and parents alike.

  • Meredith Ruelle

    There are so many kids coming out of high school these days with a sense of entitlement but no work ethic to back it up. I have chosen certain, age appropriate things for my 3-year-old daughter to have to do each day: put her dirty clothes in her basket, put her dirty dishes in the kitchen, and generally help tidy up toys etc. There are times that I choose my battles (if dinner is late one night and she is tired, I won’t force the dirty dishes chore) but as a general rule, it is followed through. She already knows that if I tell her something is her “responsibility”, not to argue as she won’t get anywhere with it. That being said, I will help her to accomplish things, such as cleaning up toys together while singing the “clean up” song :). I also try not to give empty praise too much (though I know I still do!), but also to reinforce HER feelings of accomplishment; “You look really proud to have finished that puzzle all by yourself, do you feel happy and proud right now?” rather MY feelings. Still a work in progress though… :)

  • Julie O.

    It is so important to begin to teach independence early on. I am a first grade teacher. When a child says, ” My mommy forgot to put my homework in my folder,” I say, “Who forgot to put the homework in the folder?” They quickly rephrase their comment and say, “I forgot to put it in my folder.”

  • Cheree

    I am lucky enough to teach in a Gifted Education program that does not attach GPA-meddling grades to cross-curricular projects. We encourage risk. We promote effort as reward. We try to put the love of learning back into education. After a general reaction of confusion or disbelief, the students’ faces light up when they realize that they truly have control over their products.

    It is an ideal environment to illustrate your point — Kids who don’t put forth effort usually have parents who make excuses such as, “My child is bored.” or (my favorite) “Well, this work doesn’t matter if my child isn’t being graded.”

    Without the big gold star, nothing is valued. How do parents expect to develop hard-working, productive, HONEST children when effort is presented as unnecessary?

  • Andelea Bodnaryk

    I’ve seen this type of blog before, basically stating the same thing, yet people aren’t getting it. (Sorry teachers as many have posted) I have faced the opposite in the school system, teachers giving my daughter high marks for what I thought was poor effort. I was told that to “help” her she didn’t have to follow the standards set for the rest of the class. Ie. she only had to write a word (spelling not counted) where the others had to write a paragraph (with spelling). – note: she has no disability – I was the parent that was sickened that in grade 7 every student got a reward for attending. Not perfect attendance, just a reward for showing up. So while parents may be bubble wrapping I have fought school systems that are worse (dominantly pre-high school). At 18 years old the law declares a person to be an adult, I strive to make my child(ren) law abiding, responsible, aware and independent adults by that time.

    • Jeannette

      I agree with you and as a teacher I did that because I had been yelled at by the principal/administrator for failing students. And in a state where there is no job security (especially for teachers) you want to keep your job. A right-to-work state does not have to give a reason for firing you. Also, many school districts (especially in the state in which I worked) would not allow a teacher to give a grade below 50% and that includes the students who did nothing. So, a student could do no work and still receive a 50%. We were told that it is still a failing grade. I have problems with this as do most teachers, but what do you do when you are told to do this or yelled at and run the risk of losing your job. The problem – feelings (as stated in the article self-esteem concerns of the 80’s). My response – deal with it – get over it- and learn from it. I did as well as my friends and fellow students. At the school I just left, the principal told the faculty to give students multiple times to take a test and multiple times to turn in missing assignments or poorly completed assignments. The faculty all thought this was a bad idea, because it does not properly train students for life in the real world (to be productive citizens), just like not earning a grade below 50%, receiving an award for doing what you should be doing, and being praised or rewarded for poor and mediocre work/sports etc… It is disconcerting. But as a teacher, we cannot change it. People/society do not listen to teachers – we are looked upon as overpaid babysitters. If you want things to change – respect teachers and give them the authority to do what is in the best interest of the students, to not get fired because a student fails his/her class, to be able to discipline students without having to cow-tow to parents who say “my child didn’t do it,” and most importantly for parents to parent, which is not being done. Also, to get things to change you must complain to “the powers that be” as they will listen to parents not teachers.

      • Andelea Bodnaryk

        It’s not fair that both teachers and parents have to fight so hard in today’s school system. With my daughter I was told to put her on drugs, by teachers that refused to teach her. (The doctors had no reason to put her on drugs.) I sent the child through assessment after assessment, I would read with her and to her and help with spelling, only to hear her comment, “I don’t have to try to sound out that word. The teacher told me if it was too hard, just skip over it and continue on.” Every day for over a year it was the same thing, every night teaching her, everyday the lessons being erased. When we went to another district it got a bit better but then it got worse again. In junior high it went back to “help” programs that gave rewards for no work. When in grade 9 my daughter was told to enroll in the help programs as she(and I) was told that it would be useful for her. My reply was that if she was able to hit the honour roll with “help” (Those teachers that allowed her to pass at a minimal level) then she should do just fine on her own. My point is that she will get more out of 57% that is hard fought for than an 80% that is just handed to her. So what if she fails, then next time she will have to try harder. I’m doing her no favors by sending her out into the world with a honours diploma but a grade 3/4 math and reading level.
        I know that teachers have a hard time standing up but as a parent that has fought it, it is difficult too. I was continually poo-poo’ed because I was young and because of my age, many of my concerns were simply disregarded.
        It is amazing how many people have commented on this wonderful article.

      • Guest

        This is what frightens me the most, and in my opinion, this is why public education is failing. Everyone is too concerned that all children feel equal, so everyone is falling behind. I have a friend who taught at a private institution, and she tells me horror stories of the same nature. AT PRIVATE SCHOOL. There is no way around this problem. Removing your child from public school to go to a private school can’t stop administrators and wealthy parents (who contribute to the private school and therefore, have a say in it’s rules and regulations or are a part of the board) from insisting that the students be coddled. My friend was forced to give an A grade to a child who rarely attended school or turned in his work, simply because his wealthy mother was a contributor to the facility. She quit after less than a year, saying she didn’t want to be responsible for crippling all the children, as she was consistently told to do. It is nothing short of horrific, and a very good explanation for why so many in this country want to be given health care, food stamps and financial aid for no effort. Some friends of ours are currently housing another couple in their basement. This couple has no desire to get jobs, so they simply manipulate the system to get government aid month after month, and they stay home to watch television. Our friends are nice people, but I would NEVER let someone live under my roof like that. Personally, I’d be turning them in. People need to learn the lessons they were never taught as children.

        • FrustratedTeach

          Private schools are worse, indeed. Paying parents run the show and they expect royal treatment for their children and for themselves, in most instances.

      • morri85

        thats like the rangers of national parks in india. I they report bad (sinking) number of tigers in the park they get the bother.So they forge the numbers to make them look better which doesnt help the tigers.

      • morri85

        over here as a teacher you are empolyed by the state. you go through long education in pedagogics and your subjects and and then you are assigned to a school

      • morri85

        common phrase is , youre not getting a grade for warming your seat.

      • FrustratedTeach

        Look up information about a teacher in Edmonton, Canada who was FIRED for giving a 0, when there was a ‘no-0’ policy in place.

  • shchristy

    As a retired teacher of 33 years, I have definitely seen the “changes” occur! I have seen the elementary age years go from confident to fearful children. The three reasons stated above are key. Very important for all parents to know…
    Thank you for writing it!

  • SDMomma

    Fabulous article – well received on Facebook too … within ten minutes of sharing it, three others had shared it. Favourite part: “Your child does not have to love you every minute. He’ll get over the disappointment of failure but he won’t get over the effects of being spoiled. So let them fail, let them fall, and let them fight for what they really value. If we treat our kids as fragile, they will surely grow up to be fragile adults. We must prepare them for the world that awaits them. Our world needs resilient adults not fragile ones”.

  • Justine

    My parents were the meanest parents in the world and they taught me to be the same. I can’t thank them enough.

  • Cranky

    Awesome. Common sense really but i think the glut of 24 hour news and fear based advertising hasn’t helped. I taught for 15 years in Canada, Japan, and Taiwan and i can guarantee the “tiger mom” approach is brutal. I had mothers complain when their darlings got 97% on tests. It meant that i must surely be a bad teacher. Now i am in business and i see the results. Workers with no teamwork ability or problem solving skills at all. (Still living in Taiwan )

  • MJ


  • PTBOReader

    I spend more time with parents saying, “Your grade is unfair. He doesn’t like to talk so he shouldn’t be judged by it in your DEBATING CLASS.” My response that they need public speaking, which is why they’re studying it, for college, the job, etc. seems not to move them. The desire to run in and ‘fix everything’ is ill advised. Unless there is systemic abuse where a student is singled out, the kid needs to be more on their own. If there are concerns they should be addressed between teacher and parent without letting the kid know that the parent disagrees with the teacher (less there is systemic abuse once again). What’s at risk? Whether or not your kids can stand on their own two feet.

  • Shelley Hudspath

    Thank you for writing this article. I had heard the story of Dr. Carol Dweck’s research and had applied it successfully with my children, but I had never heard or maybe remembered the source and just hated telling teachers and friends about my “You worked hard” miracle without properly sourcing it.

  • Proud dad

    People miss the point of praise for self esteem. You don’t praise a child for what he/she IS but for what they DO. A catchphrase is “what you praise is what you get”. My son was a great athlete and a so-so student. I learned that kudos for sports triumphs were not necessary, he did that stuff anyway. Praise for good test marks or good work in school transformed him. Teachers asked what happened at home to make the change, it was so apparent a turnabout.

    Today he is teaching university and grousing about the students’ attitudes to life and work. He sees the stuff you discuss here and shudders at how unprepared for life the students are.

    • Snommelp

      I can’t find the link to the article, but when my parents were newly married, there was a study done that linked high self-esteem in children to academic success. Everyone was sure that it was a causative relationship – kids who believe in themselves will do better in school. But more research is always being done, and now the experts agree that, if there’s any causal relationship, it actually goes the other way. High self-esteem doesn’t lead to success, success leads to high self-esteem. Meanwhile, so many of my peers who were raised under the old assumptions got used to getting attention for no good reason, and continue to seek it out – any attention is better than no attention. An entitled generation was raised up with the assumption that success would follow, when that generation should have been raised to perform to the best of their ability.

  • slane

    Sooo true…I believe a lot of it started with Children having hurt feelings over not winning one of the typical three awards when joining a sport…the end result was everyone got a medal for participating. I do not think it should be that way. We stopped making our children strive for advancement, because parents would make sure they got there. Children need to know that when they get older, they have to be the ones to go out there and become someone..mommy and daddy are not going to get it for them.

  • LCDelaney

    Yes, yes, yes! I teach high school and I see these detrimental effects every single day. Teenagers who cannot (read: are afraid to) think for themselves. So many are not able to think for themselves because they have never been encouraged/allowed to do so before. So they struggle in my English class where I tell them, “it is always okay to answer ‘I don’t know’; it is never okay to stay there.” As for the correcting/marking thing – a number of years I had a student tell me I had “just damaged her self-esteem” for giving her correction and critique about her writing. Grade 10. I just stared at her and finally said something like, “sorry, but you still need to make the changes.” My theme as a teacher every year now is “Trust and Courage.” I tell them we are going to work on learning to trust themselves and me and having the courage to fail, to be wrong, to say the stupid thing in order to find what they really think but don’t have the words for yet. I know I sort of ranted here, but I am pretty passionate about this stuff. Children and teens need to be allowed to grow up and Jen, you have nailed this! Thank you so very much for saying this so well and backing it up so thoroughly. There will be children and parents somewhere who eventually will be very thankful for the difference you made in their lives!

  • EB

    Excellent article!!! SO TRUE! I guess I must be doing something right because my soon to be 5 yr old daughter already hates me! Of course it’s only when she hasn’t gotten what she wanted or is told to do this before getting that, etc. I strongly believe in discipline, manners, responsability, letting them make choices and dealing with consequences! I have my daughter and 3.5yr old twins and we often get comments for restaurant waiters, or staff in other places about how well behaved they are. It’s simple, we have a responsability as parents to teach our children how to behave in social situations, how to contribute to society, how to be responsible for their actions…. mind you some parents could use a little teaching themselves (kids mimic and if we don’t say please and thank you, hold the doors for others, put trash in the bin, etc then we’ll always have “those” people that treat others like dog poo!).

  • kimberly

    My aunt once told me “if you are bored, it’s because you are boring.” :) One of the best lines I’ve ever been told….

  • mama4

    I love this article!! I see way too many parents who believe they need to fill their kids full of esteem so no one can knock them down…. but really a child who can’t make a single move without looking for praise is horrible! I see this all too often. My children are learning to do things for themselves, no matter what it is. I was raised the old way, my children will be also. No way will I have snotty back talking, rude, selfish, immature children running around who believe it is my job to get them through the day. I am a mother, I am not looking to make friends, I’m not looking to have “happy” children, I am looking to have my children grow up into happy, prepared adults, who I’ll be able to talk to and be around, and not bailing them out of trouble. I love my kids too much to allow them to go down the smae path many parents are following.

  • djfins4

    This really sums up what has been happening to our world. Not allowing children to experience life while in parents care greatly reduces their ability to react in a responsible accountable manner. They just don’t have the tools.

  • towmom92

    My philosophy as a mom has always been that if my kids are taking risks when they’re little, they are usually smaller risks with less potential harm. I’d rather my child try to be a hot dog on the monkey bars and fall (maybe chip a tooth or fracture something), than have them start being a daredevil behind the wheel of a car where they can kill themselves and others. I hated having little critters, because they frequently die–and nobody wants to tell their little one that “Fluffy” has gone to pet heaven. But allowing them to learn what a heartache is simply teaches them that it’s survivable, and normal. So many of life’s lessons are critical to learn at an early age, and by insulating and rescuing the next generation we never let them grow.

  • Pat Mansfield

    I made soooo many mistakes when raising my four children. However, with the older ones especially, they learned so much about crossing the street, when to and when not to talk to others, etc. etc. Our youngest was just at the beginning of all of these new and modern ways of treating our children. They article was superb. Always felt like I stood alone in my thoughts about it. One of my children, praises/praised her children so much that we not only got/get tired of hearing it, but could see what it was doing to the children. Sad. Great articile. Hope many will read it over and over and think about these three things. The real world awaits and all must know how to function in it and survive.

  • Pauline

    According to a study by University College London, risk-taking behavior peeks during adolescence.

    That would be ‘peaks’, not ‘peeks’.

  • Laura Kinnear Hammond

    Dr. Elmore, I would like to thank you for writing this article. I am so glad that I stumbled upon it. I have one 16 year old daughter and another 20 year old daughter, both of whom have recently begun to display a horrible sense of entitlement!
    I have recognized some of the mistakes that I have been making; however, I don’t do everything for them! Is it too late to change all of our ways, and help them to become better adjusted adults? Thanks again. L. Hammond

  • T

    Good article, but you mean ‘peaks’ here: “…risk-taking behavior peeks during adolescence.”

  • Lars Mars

    This kid:

    “One freshman received a C- on her project and immediately called her
    mother, right in the middle of her class. After interrupting the class
    discussion with her complaint about her poor grade, she handed the cell
    phone to her professor and said, “She wants to talk to you.” Evidently,
    mom wanted to negotiate the grade.”

    These are the sorts that need a kick in their spoiled, privileged arses.

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  • JEns

    I enjoyed this article! One of our mantras to our kids is “Our job is to raise you to be adults who can function in the REAL world!”. My experience of this shift that has happened since the 80’s is in the world of music festivals. I grew up learning piano and saxophone and performing in music festivals every year. It was challenging and I had moments that I HATED (such as the time I had a complete memory lapse while playing a Mozart Sonata and had to make the long walk to the adjudicator’s table to pick up the music to try again…) and moments of great success (in both instances I learned valuable lessons). There was first, second and third places given in each class. Nowadays music festivals (at least where we are from) have watered down the competition. In fact, there is NO competition because someone decided it ‘hurts’ kid’s feelings if they don’t win. They no longer give firsts, seconds, or thirds, everyone gets a medal and certificate just for playing and, in some cases, there is not even a mark given at all! Kids are not stupid. They know who performs better and who failed. This system certainly doesn’t motivate kids to work hard and do better, in my opinion. Thanks for a great article!

  • Rose Moreno

    This article should be printed and given to every mother and father when they leave the hospital after their child’s birth. Parents need to learn to let their children grow and learn by their own experiences, with their parents support and guidance. Also, parents need to be on the same level with teachers, not take authority away from them; there are teachers who are being kicked and insulted by some of their students and a lot of parents always find some ridiculous excuses for their children’s behavior. When the parents show respect for the teacher and consistency in way they discipline the child, only then will the students learn to respect and appreciate their teachers. Let them fail a test if that is what they deserve, let them fail a grade if that is what they need, maybe the only thing they might need is a little more time to mature. Get them extra help in the areas they are lacking. Make sure they do their home work, this is a parent’s responsibility, and above all make sure they do it themselves! with your input and support, yes, but it must be “their” homework. Children need to learn to fall but also they need to learn to get up. Excellent article!

  • colleen sullivan

    I’ve experienced all of these examples and have seen and heard i might add the most spoiled adult kids . Their decision making skills are non-existent, coping skills nil, have no sense of money or finances, common sense is out the door, and seem to just stumble through life calling Mommy or Daddy after every mistake which are endless. It scares me for the future…..this is what we are leaving to RUN the plantet!!!!????

  • Tiara

    Funny what can turn into a pandemic these days. My daughter is only 9 months, not only do I notice her extended family ‘swooping in’ for falls and spills, they glare at me and my husband for not being first on scene. I have seen too many kids playing one parent against another, or crying just for the attention, drove me crazy. When my daughter bonks her head on the wall, I always tell her ‘that’s not the worse hit you’ll take in life, honey’. We want to protect them, but we need to let them learn to protect themselves too.

  • Amanda Richard

    I agree with most of this article. Kids need to play and take risks, and learn responsibilty,and consequences. My 2 year old helps clean her room, she puts her wrappers in the garbage and dishes in the sink when she’s done. When we go to the park she climbs everything she can reach. I want her to explore, and have fun. I want her to have responsibility and consequences. However, we don’t live in a world where children can go out and play by themselves like they used to. Predators are everywhere. It’s a scary world out there, and I completely understand why a parent would want to have a helicopter follow their child. There are sick people ready to do horrible things to sweet children, and I for one don’t care what the consequences are for me protecting my child.

    • LogicalHuman

      Is there really a higher percentage of predators than there used to be, or do we just hear more about them because of the 24 hour news cycle?

      When news was 60 minutes long, with half being world and half being local there was only 30 minutes devoted to world news. With everything that goes on in the world (war, famine, etc.) the likelihood that you would hear about a kidnapping somewhere half way across the country would be rare, unless it was either a slow news day, or the case was extremely high profile (rich people, famous people, etc.)

      Now that news runs 24 hours a day something has to fill that space, and nothing gets ratings (and thus money from sponsors) like tragedies. It is in the financial best interest of these networks to cover the worst things that happen in the world because people are most likely to watch these things.

      Also, the perception of a parent is skewed in this respect (confirmation bias), because they are more likely to pay attention to news stories that involve children being abducted than a single twenty-something whose most pressing concerns are rent and beer money. The fact is, that you as a parent are more likely to listen to these news stories than you would have when you had no kids.

  • nikita couturier

    i love this!!! and it is very much true!!!! the other day i guy asked if there was a teenager out theres that wanted to make $40 and hual some wood with him!! a boy called and ask some questiona dn said i have to ask my mom!!! and then a few mins later his mom called and demanded that he pay him for 3.5 hours and $10 an hour is not enough and ask what he got hurt how he was going to get wcb or insurance!! when i was a kid i would help the neihbours no money!!! it was a good deed!!! little to say the mother stepped in and said her son wasnt doing the work! :( really sad!! the boy could have made $40 for an hour or two of work!!

    i am posting this link to the pag when i got this story from!!!!

  • Cindy Glass

    Thank you for putting into words what I have been thinking since I became a parent 4 years ago!!!

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  • Irina Keller

    Parents rave easily? No one else is saying something positive – very true – AND even worse also not the mother and especially the father. Did your father rave
    ? Perfect :-)

  • Monique

    I completely agree with this article, unfortunately since the majority of parents now hover over their children, it makes it even more difficult for parents who want to teach their kids some independence to do so. You mention going to the park and playing a game of baseball. Well it’s very difficult for a child to do that now since there are no other kids at the park to play a game with. All the other kids in the neighbourhood are busy with other scheduled activities. (hockey, piano, gymnastics, etc) Parents now want to make sure that their children learn so much that their entire life is being scheduled for them, they never have time to go and plan something for themselves. When I was a kid, you could go to the park, meet new kids, have a tree climbing competition, leave the house with a hand full of nails and a hammer and build a fort somewhere. Kids now would not even know what to do with a hammer, specially without being supervised by a parent. We would have a bunch of kids, the older ones leading the younger ones. No parents needed. When I was a kids, during the summer, the neighbourhood would have children playing outside until the street lights came on, then we would check in with our parents, and likely keep playing outside longer, just a little closer to home. Now in the summer, the neighbourhoods are empty and quiet. All the kids are sent away to daycare or camp. It’s difficult to send a kids out to play when there is nobody to play with. I am happy my daughter’s have siblings, but sometimes playing with other kids and learnings to deal with different personalities would be nice. I find that I hear alot of kids say that they are bored and there is nothing to do. They have never learned how to find something to do for themselves. The only time they have ever played was when a “play-date” was arranged or they were part of a team that their parents signed them up for. I do, on occasion, take my kids to a park that is further from home, since I know there will be other kids there. I sit back and let them play and interact with the other kids and watch them figure out what they can and can’t do. But since other parents are hovering over their kids, it makes it difficult for much kid to kid interaction, and I also get the looks from the other parents wondering why I’m not more involved. I have often been told that I am mean by my kids because I will not give in to their every desire. I just hope more parents learn to not schedule their child’s life and to sit back and let them figure things out for themselves.

    • Mean mom too

      When my daughter would say she was bored, I would say, “I’m glad your bored. You’ll be bored many times during your life and this will give you a chance to figure out how to occupy your time.” She didn’t say it very often after I gave her that speech a few times. Result: she’s rarely bored.

    • Francesco

      There can be a measure of truth in different things. You know what? My sister (we’re now both past forty) years after our childhood reproached my parents NOT to have been closer, NOT to have guided us enough, NOT to have protected us more against others. I am more of a free-spirit attitude and I don’t regret it that much, nay I resented often my mother’s anxiety (a wafting presence , the anxiety, until I was eighteen) but, for one thing, I wish they had insisted more on my taking music classes. This was partly due to a too “liberal” if you like attitude which is what is criticized in the article.Parenting really is a balancing act.

  • Tracy

    Hallelujah! As someone who teaches college students, I see the negative effects of over-parenting all the time. It does these great kids no good, and they suffer.

  • Chris

    I try to follow the suggestions you have outlined in this article. I try to let my five year old navigate the playground dynamics on his own. I try to let him figure out how to avoid dangerous situations. But more often than not, I’m helicoptering around him, helping him in social situations, making sure he doesn’t walk in front of a car. My son is autistic, and while most people probably wouldn’t notice his autism in public, they would notice me hovering around him. My son also responds really well to material rewards in his behavioral plan. Again, not something I set out to do, but it’s what works best for him; it’s what motivates him. I can assure you, we still have plenty of unconditional love, and my son gets that. I know you wrote this with “typical” kids in mind, but all kids are different, and so the ways in which we must parent are different too. I just wanted to include this comment as a reminder that we must not judge everyone, or if we do, we must be open to the idea that our judgements are wrong.

  • Tammy

    Finally. Someone with the guts to say- we cant shelter our children. Im tired of feeling like a bad parent bc I allow my 6th grade son to walk with his 9 year old brother and 5 year old brother to school (it is literally one street over.) After kidnappings all over the news people are outraged that how dare we let kids walk to school without an adult. They are outraged. Even though I had my eye on my 5 year old nephew in the store the ENTIRE time, some lady came up and told me You need to keep your child closer to you! (He was never even an arms width away.) As with all things, there needs to be a balance. Am I going to leave my 5 year old home alone? No. But will I allow my 12 year old to babysit for an hour to teach him responsibility? YES. Balance and common sense. Good to know I am not the only parent out there not willing to shelter my kids and disable them. I do however always tell my children they are accepted even if they fail, and I praise them often. I dont think too often, and I think they know the balance. Something to watch out though for. Im not sure how I feel about that, I think it depends on what you are saying to praise them vs encourage them.

  • Ginnie

    What a wonderful article, I have tried to impress upon my peers that in order for their kids to grow up they have to fail a time or two. It amazes me when I listen to parents who rush to defend their child for the most insignificant things and then complain that their child takes no responsibility. My boys have pitched in at home since they were old enough to put their laundry in a hamper, now they are the first ones to offer help, we had no catastrophes in high school as some of our friends did. I believe you must allow your children to suffer the consequences of their actions from an early age because if you don’t you have a generation of entitled kids who don’t understand the meaning of the word no.

  • sassy

    Nice to see their is someone sane in this world….loved it. Oh, by the way I am 72 and raised mine that way…

  • Leslie Koenig

    That’s how I raised my kids, they are all self sufficent and contributing to the betterment of society. They need to live in the real world from the get go.

  • Carole Dawson

    In our day we called it molly-coddling!!

  • Jay

    I like to take my daughter out to a park, or a local indoor play place every now and then. Shes currently two and like any two year old is still working on her social skills. Since my daughter is typically the child who just lets the bigger kids take her toy,or bulldoze her over, I have spent sometime letting her know that she can use her words to express herself. My goal was to get her to find her inner voice, start communicating to peers and to learn how to RESOLVE simple “playground” altercations. This doesnt mean I want her to be a bully, but I want her to stick up for herself and equally I want her to hear first hand from another peer how her choices made them feel.
    Far to often I see parents who are quick to jump up and yell at their kid for snatching a toy from another child, or to intervene when someone elses child (in their opinion) has done some wrong to theirs without letting these kids work it out on thier own.
    I really wonder how the kids of parents who just jump in and make everything “better” are going to function in the real world

  • Jay

    I like to take my daughter out to a park, or a local indoor play place every now and then. Shes currently two and like any two year old is still working on her social skills. Since my daughter is typically the child who just lets the bigger kids take her toy,or bulldoze her over, I have spent sometime letting her know that she can use her words to express herself. My goal was to get her to find her inner voice, start communicating to peers and to learn how to RESOLVE simple “playground” altercations. This doesnt mean I want her to be a bully, but I want her to stick up for herself and equally I want her to hear first hand from another peer how her choices made them feel.
    Far to often I see parents who are quick to jump up and yell at their kid for snatching a toy from another child, or to intervene when someone elses child (in their opinion) has done some wrong to theirs without letting these kids work it out on thier own.
    I really wonder how the kids of parents who just jump in and make everything “better” are going to function in the real world

  • Jay

    I like to take my daughter out to a park, or a local indoor play place every now and then. Shes currently two and like any two year old is still working on her social skills. Since my daughter is typically the child who just lets the bigger kids take her toy,or bulldoze her over, I have spent sometime letting her know that she can use her words to express herself. My goal was to get her to find her inner voice, start communicating to peers and to learn how to RESOLVE simple “playground” altercations. This doesnt mean I want her to be a bully, but I want her to stick up for herself and equally I want her to hear first hand from another peer how her choices made them feel.
    Far to often I see parents who are quick to jump up and yell at their kid for snatching a toy from another child, or to intervene when someone elses child (in their opinion) has done some wrong to theirs without letting these kids work it out on thier own.
    I really wonder how the kids of parents who just jump in and make everything “better” are going to function in the real world

  • Beverly

    On yard duty at my school kids are no allowed to do any of the fun things from my childhood. No throwing snow, no sliding on the ice, no jumping from snow hills or sliding down, no climbing trees, no football, etc. The list goes on and on… For fear of injury we sacrifice so much!

    • Guest

      Ugh. It really IS so annoying, isn’t it? And yet, it’s hard to blame the school or it’s administrators because these same parents who are over-protective of their children are also suing left and right for every bumped knee. I heard of a really unfortunate story last week in my area. A couple won $100,000 (?!?!?) dollars in “damages” from a public school district because they felt their child had been hurt by a racial slur from an educator. I’m not sure if this educator had been purposeful about it or not, but the worst that should happen in that situation (in my opinion) is that the educator be fired if they are found to be malicious about something like that. But instead, these over-protective parents sue the entire school district, thus taking away astronomical money from other educators and children, to suit their own bruised egos. I’m not a racist, and I don’t condone name calling or racial shaming. But we live in a world where people are going to be rude. Life is hard. People are going to suffer. These parents who want to cripple a school for “allowing” their child to be subject to name-calling or a scratched knee? Come on. Where will it end?

  • Beverly

    On yard duty at my school kids are no allowed to do any of the fun things from my childhood. No throwing snow, no sliding on the ice, no jumping from snow hills or sliding down, no climbing trees, no football, etc. The list goes on and on… For fear of injury we sacrifice so much!

  • Beverly

    On yard duty at my school kids are no allowed to do any of the fun things from my childhood. No throwing snow, no sliding on the ice, no jumping from snow hills or sliding down, no climbing trees, no football, etc. The list goes on and on… For fear of injury we sacrifice so much!

  • Hava Yoga

    I love this article! One thing I learned from it that I’ll be more cognizant of in the future is to praise their hard work instead of their intelligence. I see many children who are completely indulged their every whim and my co-worker and I wonder how they will grow up to be as adults. Unfortunately, we have a product of this kind of up-bringing who works with us and it’s painful for everyone to have to deal with! The unfortunate truth here is that there will be those who “disagree” with what you’re saying here in this article because they don’t want to change what they’re doing. I know some people who would read this and completely not get it! Thank you for this article, I will share it and hopefully someone else will learn something from it as I did!

  • Jim Martin

    It’ called common sense. Unfortunately it’s not so common anymore.

  • Louisa Ganias

    I thought the article was right on que, awesome. Did my best raising my two daughters without a father figure I’m sure some things weren’t exact but the are pretty much in reality about how the world works. Once again great article.

  • Sara

    As a Montessori educator this is exactly what we do, daily. We facilitate risk taking, encourage students not through extrinsic rewards, but believe they inherently want to learn and do better, it is all about intrinsic motivation. The best way to learn is through our mistakes! As such natrual consequences are a big part of this, if you get into a conflict, you need to solve it on your own (we do of course facilitate and coach students). The best thing that we can do is allow our students to build resiliance and indepence, this is a life skill an much more rewarding than a “good job” or a gold star.

  • Bridget

    My downfall may be rescuing too quickly. I want them to see that we are a family and we take care of each other. So if it is possible for me to help them out, and they ask for and appreciate my assistance, I try to give it. I’m trying to hang back more as they get older, in my opinion they are still little (the oldest is seven) but I think a mothers opinion may be that the kids are always “little.” Great points and good concrete advice on ways to improve. I love articles that point out what you can do differently instead of just how parents are doing it all wrong. Thanks!

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  • lmhassell

    Phenomenal article! I agree that I wish ALL parents had to read this before leaving the hospital with their babies! I taught 2nd grade, and one of the memories that stands out most in my mind is the time a student stole something from our classroom treasure box. It was a classic 8-year-old behavior – not the craziest thing ever, but certainly something that needed to be addressed. I talked to her about honestly, told her how disappointed I was, made her put the item back, etc. I emailed her parents just to give them a heads-up about it, thinking they’d totally agree with me. I then got the most scathing, offensive email I’ve ever seen. Her dad told me my job was to teach, not teach values, & that I needed to just do my job. He told me she was only 8 and I was too hard on her. He told me it was just 35-cent treasure box junk, so why was I so bent out of shape? I was DEVASTATED. I couldn’t believe anyone could actually think I was in the wrong there. It was a real eye-opener for me, and something I will always remember with great sadness & anger at what we’re doing to our kids.

    • Guest

      I’m so very sorry. I would be hurt and angered too. Parents need to step up and realize that their children will and can and should make mistakes like everyone else; That educators who have their children for most of the day should be respected and looked upon as some of the most important adults in that child’s life. You did the right thing by pointing out that child’s mistake, gently and effectively. Don’t worry about the rest.

    • Kathy Meyer

      omgosh… I see this stuff all the time as well… and why would educators not encourage values where honesty and integrity are concerned… if that student steals anything again I would now blame the parent for their narrow mindedness where the teaching of their student was concerned… IT TAKES A VILLAGE TO RAISE ONE CHILD… why wouldn’t you want an educator’s help when possible since they are with that educator 5 days a week for approx 8 hrs a day… hmmm scary when ya think about it…

  • haezekiel

    Great article. I often let my girls work things out and only step in if it starts to get really volatile. I ask a few questions, like what part did you play in this problem. I also ask them to tell me what they think the solution is. My role as a parent is not to solve every problem for them but to facilitate good dialogue and problem solving. We also role play at home so that they can take that information to the playground. The only time I get involved in school is when someone has been hit or physically bullied. I have again helped my girls problem solve other issues with friends. Sometimes, my own mother thinks that my style of parenting is too laid back but she doesn’t understand that it is very calculated. I strategically make the decision to not intervene ect.

  • David

    I’m 26. A father of a 3 year old and a 5 month old. I’m also a registered nurse at a children’s hospital. The number of little… What’s a polite way to say evil little devils?… That rule over their parents and make their own condition worse because their “parents” decide not to correct their insolence is phenomenal. “He doesn’t like the taste of that antibiotic so I’m not going to make him take it.” Really? Oh good. Save the taxpayers money and let him rot with his raging infection. Or a 12 year old girls mother “I’ve never let her climb a tree before and she goes to her friends place for two hours, now she has a broken leg. I’m never letting her out of my sight again”. Seriously? YOU broke your daughters leg. If a two year old falls they learn to hold on tighter. When a 12 year old falls for the first time, their world and body shatter. Forgive my frustration! But… The parents who NEED to read this probably won’t. They wouldn’t listen to someone contradicting their “perfect loving” parenting. So in short. I concur!

  • EarthLion Waratah

    I must agree with the author. I live very close to a primary/elementary school where parents, etc park for poll position. They’ll sit there for up to 90 minutes in their cars, engine on to power the air conditioner for the heat. They don’t seem to think their little mites can walk further than merely across the road from the school.

    I have had parents tell me that they could never let their children what we let our children do. One of the reasons being that our children are more mature than theirs. Every time I feel like telling them, “Love, it’s because you won’t let them grow up”. I have also been told a few times that we are ‘alternative parenting style’ parents. What? Except for the missing factors of using wooden spoons, razor straps and what have you to discipline our children, it is parenting based on what we use to do.

    I do not agree with the idea of helicoptering parents as abusive. Sure, it is abusive but not intentionally for parents today are making their decisions based on the information handed to them, as flawed and incorrect as it is, by media and Government Departments. We are goaded into raising our kids based on fear of the non-existent.

  • Educational Paths

    Great article. We specially liked this:
    When we say “you must have worked hard,” we are praising effort, which they have full control over. It tends to elicit more effort. When we praise smarts, it may provide a little confidence at first but ultimately causes a child to work less. They say to themselves, “If it doesn’t come easy, I don’t want to do it.”
    Thank you for sharing!

  • Stephanie

    Fantastic, about time somebody said this clearly and articulately!! Bring back the monkey bars!!

    • Cindy Bogner

      When I was in grade school, we had a physical education teacher – we called him coach. He knew where we were at all times and if you did something you shouldn’t be doing you could hear his whistle blow across the field. Even though we had free play, we also had a lot of organized play. Now, there are no teachers at recess. There are parapros. Every time I was in the office at my daughter’s school, there would be at least one kid a day who had busted a lip, knocked his head, broken a tooth, broken an arm, bloodied a nose, gashed his head open, etc. I have never seen so much blood outside a war movie. Playgrounds are smaller, more cramped, and you have kids who are supervised by people who are not trained to do it. Same goes for the lunch room. Spend some time in an elementary school and I’ll bet a lot of you who think parents (moms) worry too much might just change your tune.

      • gwenhappy

        Thanks cindy

  • Westy52

    I was born and raised in the military. I finished my service before the kids were born but raised them as I was, with a few deletions such as corporal punishment. Both my boys (men) work full time and are proud tax paying citizens who realize they are responsible for their own future. They took responsibility for their own actions at the age of 14. I was adamant about that. My wife smoothed the edges and allowed them to see how women should be treated and how to get over heart break. We have two well rounded, well grounded kids who I would be proud to be seen with in public. And BOTH have spectacular body art. I have no idea where that came from.

  • Renate Jakupca

    “We now
    have the power to make this World a beautiful place one child at a time.
    Begin with your own child and watch how that child radiates towards the
    other Worlds Children.” Ambassador Renate

    The International Center
    for Environmental Arts (ICEA) is now accepting requests for the 2013
    Children Peace Stone Sculpture donation program. Peace Stones from the
    Worlds Children Peace Monument (WCPM) will be donated to municipal parks
    nationwide to assist in promoting the iceality of a sustainable global
    Culture of Peace and Goodwill for all Living Things!!

    is no cost to the city except to find a suitable public location for
    the Peace Stone Sculpture. The Stones are approximately 3 to 4 ft square
    and weight about 300 lbs are indestructible (vandal proof) and erects
    in a few hours…..(NOTE: specific Peace Stones will be designated as
    part of the National Coast-to-Coast Great American Peace Trail)

    mayors, council members, civic leaders, business exec, teachers,
    parents, kids…. today, if we live up to our responsibilities and
    recommit to our tradition of civic participation, there is nothing our
    country can’t achieve. In this defining moment, we each have the chance
    to reach out to our neighbors, lend a helping hand, and Answer the call
    to greatness……If this is something you would like to pursue, please
    contact me directly at the ARK in Berea to expedite delivery of
    peace-carved-in-stone to your city park.

    “Worlds Children Peace Monument” (WCPM) and the “Great American Peace
    Trail” (GAPT) Projects are designed to engage children with
    cross-cultural awareness in order to attain the common goal of sharing
    peace and diversity with their neighbors. The peace projects have
    direct community impact through neighborhood beautification, community
    and economic development while building self-esteem and hope in America.
    They will help to build better neighborhoods where everyone can live,
    respect and accept each other as they diplomatically negotiate errors
    and differences of prejudice and hatred and instill in its place the
    belief in the necessity of communication. Unfortunately, antagonism
    exists in all communities; an effective response must begin with
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  • Pam Montgomery

    I agree with your article however I am irritated because this information is coming from the population that told us to parent this way to begin with. The psychologist, the theorists and other such “professionals” who have told us since we were teenagers what to and not to do as parents. Now most of us (having taken your advise) are living with kids who are out of control, disrespectful and spoiled rotten. Also, it’s not society that caused us to be fearful it’s the media.

  • ASmith513

    Excellent advice! We parents of this generation need to be reminded that our children are on “loan” to us to teach them to be functional and successful on their own as adults. Thank you for taking the risk of offending those parents who might feel the need to defend their child’s actions, right or wrong.

  • fhutton

    I couldn’t agree more with your article. I think the problems with our education system are rooted in the very things you point out in your article. But how do we get these newfangled parents to pay attention. Most of them were obviously raised by parents doing the same things you mention.

  • Cheryl Kocher

    This was a very GOOD article, I see some mistakes I made. I now have grandchildren, and have to say, my daughter is following your tactics, alot better then I did. She is doing an excellent job, right on target with this article. This will help me now, to understand what my daughter has been trying to tell me, and I will now change some habits, in the way I have raising them, while they are with my husband and I. The visits to Grandma’s will be a little different now, we will all be on the same page. Thankyou for this vital information, which actually involves my grandkids future.

  • Molley

    Great article. I have three very young children and have started implementing life lessons. I let them argue with each other and they have learned conflict resolution, I know many adults that don’t know negotiation and my 4 and 5 year old do. I also don’t run to my children side every time they fall off their bike or skin an knee, now they fall get up and keep playing. I see many children fall and look at their parents for support and praise for a fail, things I strongly disagree with. I think one of the comments was spot on, parents don’t want to be embarrassed by their children, kids learn how to manipulate their parents very young when they throw temper tantrums in the store and get what they want. My children have tried this and did nothing but stomp on the floor and then give up…A women watch the whole thing, then complimented me and said she was going to do that with her children from then on.

  • Alan L.

    Hello Dr. Elmore. Your article is a appreciated and enlightening. Thank you for that.

    I just built our little 7 year old girl an indoor jungle and fort, something like what you would see at the Rainforest Cafe. And in this jungle, she plays with her educational toys, reads books, and practices simple rules to stay safe while playing in the playroom and fort. I spent around 16 hours a day for 7 days, preparing this room for her, during which time she was made well aware of what efforts were being put forth and why. She was encouraged to, and practiced much patience during the waiting time, and was gently educated on the value of the work.

    Now, as she has been enjoying it for two days, and has already had a friend visit and enjoy it with her, she has shown appreciation, responsibility, and value towards this new and fun environment.

    She is not a child who gets everything she wants, nor does she go without learning from loss and hardship. I just wanted to ask your opinion on the subject of spoiling her with this gift (jungle) and if what she does when she is in there are signs of healthy encouragement and time spent?

  • Lee

    I don’t trust psychologist or men who look like they should have to sign a register use common sense people and don’t trust men who want to make money out of vulnerable parents.

    • greatest mom

      Thank you Lee. My point exactly.

    • emergencyroomworker

      Would you trust this information if Gwyneth Paltrow posted it on her website?

      • lee

        DUH! You must be Tims butt buddy.

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  • julia

    the only thing i would add to this is to totally make your kids do chores for the good of the household; and find some other cause to contribute to. It helps them to learn very quickly that there is someone to think about other than themselves. Telling them about the starving children in another country means nothing to them, but going to the soup kitchen to serve some meals will show them first hand how to think of others (not to mention create a goal to hopefully never need the services of these places)

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  • Hannah

    A couple years ago, I was covering a maternity leave at a high school. I taught tenth graders. I was appalled … one student never did any of his homework, whether it was a quick and simple writing assignment or a term paper. I called his mom repeatedly, and when she finally called me back (when it was clear that he was going to fail his grade), she said, “Could you cut A some slack? His dad died recently.” I gasped, “Oh, my goodness! I am so sorry to hear that. When did this happen?” She responds, “Five years ago.”

    I was speechless.

    Another mom furiously called the guidance counselor wanting to get me fired for giving her daughter a D on her term paper. We all sat down together, the mother, daughter, counselor, the head of the department (who had gone over the paper herself and agreed with my grade), and me. After a whole lot of disrespect from the mom, it turned out she was angry because SHE had written that paper.

  • Jen Z

    “Risk behavior ‘peeks’ in adolescence” At what? The neighbor?

    Risk behavior “peaks”. Tops out. Apexes.

  • Chittu Arun

    GREAT article! Couldn’t be more true and since the generation being referenced is in the workforce now, the results are there for all to see…and it’s not a pretty picture.

  • Cate Lazen

    Show & tell: my kids played with fire.

    children love fire

    …..and any activity that isn’t at least sort of dangerous is just no fun. Mexicans know and appreciate this more than Americans do and we learned this when we moved to Mexico when our children were 7, 10, and 11 years old. Before we left New Jersey, they used to get in trouble for running on the playground. Or chasing. There was an episode of harmless pantsing at recess, and Jacob thought it perfectly fitting that the perpetrator was subsequently suspended. After all, Jacob’s butt had been exposed for all to see.

    Imagine my surprise, when during a visit to their Mexican countryside school, the PE teacher decided to liven up recess with a group “jumping activity”. He pulled a long piece of chain link out of a shed, and proceeded to tie rags along its length. He then put on some (asbestos?) gloves, took out a rusty can of kerosene and haphazardly saturated the rags and the ground below it.

    The children roared with delight when, with a flourish, he tossed a match onto the rope, and it burst into flames.

    While Max and Evelyn rushed to join the line forming behind it, Jacob whispered in my ear: “This is fucking awesome.”

    I watched in shock, as each child after another leaped over the rope… the teacher raised it ever higher to raise the level of difficulty. Sometimes, a spark would fly from the rope and ignite some of the kerosene that had spilled on to the ground.

    Paroxysms of unbridled ecstasy.

    Until a 1st grader fell on top of the rope and burned his stomach.

    I watched as he was led into a nearby classroom by a teacher holding a freshly picked stalk of aloe and I assumed that the activity had come to an end.

    It hadn’t. To read more, visit my blog, Playbuffet at

  • Diane Hayman

    This has to be the best article I have read in years! As a former teacher, you have hit the nail on the head. I really fear for some children today -as to how they will ever cope as adults I am sharing this with my friends, and hope they all share as well.

  • Joseph Morris

    “risk-taking behavior peeks . . . ” that should be *peaks*.

  • Channy

    Wow! What a great article! A different and much more common sensed way of looking at parenting of this generation! Keep spreading the word cause these young adults are our future leaders of society!

  • MaryLou

    Unfortunately, this is not just a parent issue…it is also an educational one. While teaching university I discovered that over 50% of my students did not know how to write a complete sentence. Essay marking was a dreadful experience.
    When my daughter was ready to go to high school I went to some school open houses to talk to the teachers about the English program and whether or not they taught essay writing skills. At one school I was told that they didn’t stress essay writing as they did not want the students to feel pressure that that they had to go to university to succeed! Seriously! We opted for the other school that was further away that had a better attitude towards writing skills as a life skill!
    Even universities have lowered their expectations. I was once told not to grade on grammar, only content, because the average writing level was so poor! On the positive side, a college I taught for realized that they were graduating students with honours even though they could not write. They realized that this was a poor reflection of the college itself and so they asked me to develop a basic and advanced academic writing course that all students were required to take. Smart move!
    Regarding university and college student attitudes…I have taught many students who felt they did not need to work for their grades and then complained about their grades…and sometimes this resulted in many nasty emails to me as the instructor. In some cases the department had to officially stop the harassment against me! Please do not think that I am a nasty prof! I try very hard to make learning an exciting adventure using many adult education methods! It is, however, often hard to get students to work in groups to discuss issues as they have stifled imaginations and low self esteem…
    Parents AND our educational institutions have to make changes so that we raise adults who are creative, courageous and skilled to face a world of challenge, success AND failure!
    P.S. Of our four children there is a teacher, nurses aide, culinary artist and a business manager…all wonderful self-determined, contributing people!

  • Cassie Manning-Dyke

    Wow, I have to say, it is absolutely wonderful to read all of your comments. This is the way my husband and I are raising our four children… though, I have to say, it isn’t always easy, more so due to the outside influences of other parents. I am so happy to see that there are other parents who think the same way we do about raising citizen who can positively contribute to our society.

    Thank you for the comments. Definitely food for thought.

  • JS

    How about the parents that don’t let their kids get their drivers license or an after school job? Or the coaches that forbid athletes to miss a practice for their jobs? Why are parents filling out college applications and FAFSA for their kids? Help them with the info they need but let them do it. My son and daughter both filled out all the college paperwork. All I had to do was give them the numbers. They each paid for their own cars when they were 16, their own insurance and gas, their own iPhones and service plans…why? Because I taught them how to and I taught them why they should want to. My oldest son will graduate college in June. He is self sufficient both emotionally and financially. I did my job well. My other two kids are also on the right path to becoming independent adults. I could not be more proud of them!

  • dwwebb43

    For Gramma and me, 7 out of 8 ain’t bad…….

  • Andy

    Well said.

  • Meg Holeva

    As a child of a parent who did just what this article preaches to do, thank you. Thanks to all you parents out there who are raising your kids to be productive members of society. Critical thinking is all part of growth, and if you don’t get that out of kick the can in the middle of the night, you’re not going to get it. Thanks, Tim. This was great!

  • Cindy Bogner

    I’m curious. Did you actually read the article you referenced, “Parental Risk Attitudes and Children’s Academic Test Scores”? I read it, and I can’t find one shred of evidence from that article to support the theory that trying to protect your children from physical and emotional harm can or will affect their academic achievements.

    The authors interpreted data from a 1996 PSID study performed by the University of Michigan. Risk aversion in this study was measured by asking parents questions about changing jobs. More specifically parents were asked if they had a 50% chance of increasing their income if they changed jobs and a 50% chance of decreasing their income if they changed jobs would they do it. The percentage increases and decreases varied. There were no questions like, “if your child skins his knee, do you immediately swoop down and kiss it better while yelling at the kid who pushed him?”

    I see one huge weakness in the risk aversion assessment used in the study. Let’s say, to demonstrate a point, that a mom and dad collectively make $50,000 per year (or less) and are presented with this scenario: If you quit your current job and you take THIS new job you will have a 50% chance of doubling your income in a year or a 50% chance of cutting your income in half in a year. Will you do it? Now let’s say their answer is an emphatic “NO!” Does that make them timid and not willing to take any risks? Does that mean they are likely to be the type of parent who doesn’t allow their child out of the house or is a parent that does their children’s homework for them, etc.? No, it probably means that they are in a lower income bracket and cannot afford to take that kind of risk with their family’s welfare even if they had a 50% chance to double their income. And it might just be that being in the lower income brackets equated with lower test scores as these were the parents more likely to answer NO. We have seen numerous studies that have found THAT correlation.

    I’m not arguing that children do not need responsiblity, consequences, and accountability, but I also do not believe that they need to be allowed to jump off the roof, take the subway by themselves while in elementary school, ride the bus if their parents can drive them, put up with bullying because it builds character, or ride bicycles without helmets. I perceive a certain amount of animosity toward parents both in your article and in the comments. Parents can’t win today. Nowhere is the schizophrenic attitude toward parents seen more than it is in public schools.

    If children do not perform well it is because the parents are not involved enough (it is never because the curriculum is abysmal or the teacher is ineffective) but if the parents ARE involved they are labeled with the very pejorative title of “helicopter parent.” Your disdain for the dad who monitored his son with the mini drone was apparent. I don’t know that story, but I could counter your perception of a helicopter parent with a dad who desparately wants to give his child wings in a world where there is real cruelty and danger; much more so than when I was in elementary school in the 70’s.

    • Emily Brockway

      I’m not sure the article is about a poor reflection on providing support; rather, it is about the approach. Its one thing to want to give your child wings, its another to not allow the child the room to grow and learn how to construct those wings on his own. Teach him how to build the wings, don’t inject the fear of failure (yours or his) onto him and do it yourself.

      And I would argue the perception of the “amount” of cruelty and danger in the 70s opposed to today. As a product of the late 70s/early 80s, I can say we didn’t have the same level of awareness of certain tragic events, although they certainly happened. I lost many classmates at a young age to accidents and illness – but they were the only ones I knew about until the internet exploded in the late 90s; thus, is our exposure to mass media/mass information providing the appearance of increased danger, or has our awareness merely increased, and the amount of danger compared to our current cultural interests remained static?

      Food for thought.

    • Brooke

      Actually statistically the world is overall SAFER that it was in the 70s. People are just oversaturated with information that they THINK it is more dangerous.

      I’m the mom that when my kid falls down and she looks at me I don’t react or I simply say, “Your fine, shake it off.” The result: My 4 year old daughter got pegged so hard in the ankle during t-ball practice that it left a large bruise. She never cried, didn’t say anything until she was limping bad enough she couldn’t run and her coach pulled her off practice. When I asked her why she didn’t say anything when she got hurt or even cried, her response to me was “I wanted to keep playing and I just shook it off until it hurt too bad”

      I think its good for kids to fall and get hurt some. The world isn’t as dangerous as you want to think it is.

  • Laurie Forsman

    I am a high-school teacher. I see the deleterious effects of this every day — students who give up upon the merest difficulty, who want to negotiate for leniency on everything, who are afraid to take risks. Please, please, let your kids take risks, learn, try, fail, and try again. They will learn more, they will feel more independent and proud of their real accomplishments, not the fake ones that they didn’t earn on their own.

  • Natalie VonRaven

    Well said! And so true. It’s hard to let them go, it’s hard to see them fall, but it’s worse to have them living at home well into their adult lives, relying on you to solve all their problems. I’ve been amazed at what my son has done all by himself when I back off and let him take the reigns. (Tho I’m usually watching him from the sidelines). =)

    “Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor
    do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no
    safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring
    adventure, or nothing.”

    -Helen Keller

    “Distancing and escapism prevent all possibilities of adaptive response.” -Unknown

  • Tweechy

    Finally someone that feels as I do. As a first time parent sometime I doubt myself when I try to teach my toddler a lesson about consequences for his actions (you don’t listen to mama you loose a priviledge or you have to go sit by yourself a while). The other parents I know seems to think constant attachment and constant intervention is for the best. I try not to interfere in my son’s play with other children constantly unless there is a risk of bodly harm. I think he is old enough to try to fend for himself and yes, to get his feelings hurt at times. I don’t think he needs a gazillion toys to be happy or to learn how to play computer games, there is plenty of time for that, I want him to learn how to control his emotions and to play by using his immagination. When I was a child, my parents hardly ever played with us, we learned to resolve conflict and to help each other by playing with our friends outside and we turned out to be happy children and well adjusted adults. I hope my son is a good student but it is more important to me that he grows up to be a good person and a happy person.

  • Molley Mills

    Spot On! Life is hard and we fail all the time. Kids must learn that failure isn’t bad it’s just along the road to success.

  • A.K.A. Models

    Tim, I’ll keep this short because you’ve said it all. Two thumbs up!

  • Lulu

    Thought provoking article. Reminded me of simple common sense we often forget or ignore.

  • KJ

    I agree….Many new parents are over zealous to provide the perfect life with no problems. It is not real life.

    • whoo hoo


  • granny

    Ok. Meanest Granny on the block here.
    And former teacher of the gifted who probably was toughest teacher in the hall, too. But my grandkids still say they love me because we do stuff like geocaching and long dog walk & talks. And my students skipped lunch and recess to come to my classroom and work on challenging projects or play chess.
    Praying that this message gets to those who need it the most.

  • eighth grade teacher

    Your article makes me feel sure that you won’t be offended by what I am about to say: I think perhaps your own teachers were a little too forgiving in the red ink department. I see that you have a Ph.D. and are a published author, yet I spotted at least a dozen grammatical mistakes in this column, some fairly egregious (such as “peeks” for “peaks”). I think you have valuable things to say, but It’s very hard to take your call to a higher standard seriously when your own attention to craftsmanship seems so casual.

    • greatest teacher

      Once a teacher always a teacher. There’s always one fool who has to point out typo’s. That helps.

      • Michelle

        You incorrectly made typos possessive. Nothing is funnier than someone who makes fun of someone else correcting spelling and grammar. Invariably their own posts are wrong.

    • whoo hoo

      I like it

    • Brooke

      Considering this is a BLOG and not a formal printed publication, there should be room for mistakes.

  • Cathy Curniski

    Excellent article. Makes me believe there is still hope for this generation of young people.

  • Rebecca

    Anyone wondering why so many parents might be hovering over their children? Maybe something didnt go quite right with their own childhood and how they were parented? We are all entitiled to parent the way we choose, and in many cases, the way we are compelled to. Please exercise some compassion. Great to have positive helpful ideas but not so fun to read all the bagging of ‘other’ parents and parenting styles. Yes, I’m over 30, walked to school etc, but also grew up in a highly critical environment. Although my parents would say they ‘loved’ us, and adopted tough love, tough lessons, it was highly damaging to my personality type – we are all unique. I love my parents and accept they did the best they felt was right, as many of us do. I learnt some brilliant lessons, high responsibility, and independence, yet was left also with low self esteem to battle through, and an anxiety disorder that was intensely ‘triggered’ when I had my own children. I’m sure having an anxious mum hasnt always been that beneficial, but I’ve learnt enough in life not to come down on myself too hard about it or get stuck repeating it. It takes some healing and growth. Compassion for people’s unique journeys, that’s all I can say.

  • Gracie

    The article while good left out one very important component that has helped lead the charge into our over protective/ helicopter/ parenting styles and why we wear shin guards and helmets and more.
    Namely in the last 30yrs or so we as a country have become more and more litigious, we sue at the drop of a hat. Look at a playground or park today it bears very little resemblance to one of 30yrs or less ago. And the same goes for so many sports and more. If a child gets hurt, then it’s not the child’s fault or an accident, someone must be held accountable and so parents sue. Sometimes rightly, but not always. We sue about everything, anything and nothing. You can tell this just by the warning stickers, on a hair dryer Do Not Use while in the shower or bathtub, and so many more. Coffee temps were brought down due to the woman suing McD’s. We sue anyone for anything and if there’s a child involved it’s even better. Now some of that is good, some but not all. So now everyone’s afraid to do things for fear of being sued.
    The article was good in it’s other areas and are the basis for a lot of problems happening. Everyone gets a trophy, wow that’s going to work real well when job hunting time comes. I have friends who are college professors and they are constantly deluged by parental requests, which is ridiculous.
    My daughter is in her first yr of college. She spent a yr living completely off the grid growing up. She learned how to fend for herself and others. Since she was 12 she has spent every summer from early June to mid Aug traveling around the country, practicing and performing. She has flown solo all over the country several times and taken a greyhound bus trip that was 24hrs long to get to her destination with a couple of long layovers. She made it fine, took awhile for the luggage to arrive. But on that trip I do admit I added the precaution of pepper spray and that at the behest of a coach who is also a cop.

    We have a generation, sans a few, who have grownup with no imagination or very little and yet imagination is what keeps our humanity going. Who can think of the next big thing in science, medicine, and more. Geez children are getting in trouble for using their hands and saying bang bang, they are being suspended at the age of 5 for this and things like it.
    We’ve also not taught our children respect for teachers whatever it is mommy/daddy will fix and sometimes they’ll fix it by suing. Childhood and thereby adulthood is and has changed and a lot of it isn’t pretty.

    So as good as the article was they should have added in a 4th section about how litagous our society has become, the parents do it, kids watch then the kids will grow up and do it. And this is another reason why nothing ever comes out of the bubble wrap.

  • tock

    Totally agree with you…raised six this way and they are now all functioning at high levels. My only point of contention is using immunizations for infants below eighteen months of age as an example. I hear some pretty smart researchers suggest injections of weakened pathogens into the body, circumventing natural defense barriers (saliva, skin, etc.,) is in itself an artificial means of conveying immunity that may also derail a still developing immune system, making hypersensitivity a common result…goes against your natural approach to me… I can also suggest that our one and two child parents can more easily overindulge their kids, and say we feel lucky that having our six little monkeys in ten years made coddling impossible. I feel that sibling time is undervalued; it fosters the competition and earned “wins and losses” daily, uses valid, informed, and realistic judges who “tell it like it is”. There is always someone in the group who will test the other’s misconceptions of their self-decreed superiority, and usually at least a couple who will compassionately “lick the wounds” of their wounded brother or sister. Thanks for such a great article…it should be mandatory reading at birthing centers!

  • Mean mom too

    As a teacher my favorite comment to a student that did poorly on their test: “Hmmm. I guess you’ll have to study more next time.” At our school we have a no late paper policy. If a student turns a paper in late, they get a zero. (They get a pass if their parents notify the teacher in advance, or if they are sick.)

    It is easy to spot students who have helicopter parents (or siblings). Just watch them, if they have trouble with doing something they EXPECT you to take over and do it for them. Years ago I correclty assumed all of my sixth grade students would know how to tie a balloon. Now I assume they don’t and plan on devoting part of a class to teaching more than half of them how to do this. Last week I had to show a student how to double up a rubberband. Parents, please let your children learn how to do things themselves. If they can’t do it right away, have them keep trying. Diligence is a skill, learned over many years of trying and failing, and trying yet again.

    Thank you for a great article.

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  • hjundt

    My pet peeve? Water wings–Those floaty things they put on the arms of little kids in the swimming pool. Tongue in cheek I say “I’m in favor of him going under”. What I mean is…I have seen WAYYYY too many kids with those on with NO fear of water. Then they take them off to go to the bathroom or something, come back to the pool and fall in or jump in and appear shocked– 1. that their head went under and 2. they are gasping for breath because they have no clue what to do with themselves because nobody is helping them “float”.
    I always teach my kids to jump in the water and go under. Yes I am there when they are little to get them back out of the water–of course. But, they learn a healthy “fear” of the water and also are not afraid to get their faces wet.

    That’s my 10cents!

    • greatest mom

      That makes perfect sense. Let infants and toddlers drown. There you go, Thats the right way.

  • Corinne

    I run a small preschool from my home and I cant have a swing set in my backyard because of state regulations. Its ridiculous!I realize we need to be safe but maybe we could teach the children to use the swing set in a safe way. ? Who started all this craziness?

    • dariusdonny

      can you tell us the name of the small preschool in your home? We all want to make sure we don’t use you because you do not want to abide by government reglations for home based babysitting services. Thank you.

    • bobby bb

      state guidlines and government regulations are in place for a reason. Where is yours located? We will make sure we don’t send our kids there

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  • mollys

    I really love this article! I raise my own four kids this way and the most frustrating part is dealing with the other parents who are not on the same page as you. Neighborhood conflicts arise, with one parent wanting to get involved, and one trying to stay out of it. I am happy to say I have stuck to my guns! My kids (so far) are well respected and responsible. My high school senior has negotiated the entire college application process on her own, keeping track of deadlines, scholarships, etc. My 7th grader is completely on his own with his homework/test preparation. I don’t even know when his tests are anymore! Having my own interests outside of my home life has also taught my kids that I am a person first, and a Mom second. Whatever they can do on their own, they are expected to do. If I could recommend a wonderful book, Parent Babble, by John Rosemond… He goes into the history of how parenting has changed over the years, the so called “experts” who decided that the “old fashioned” way of parenting was “bad.” Definitely worth the read!

  • greatest mom

    why are all the comments and feedback so complimantary? I’m thinking Dr. Tim is only showing the ones that serve him well. Why would anybody take child rearing advice from ANYBODY? I think it’s a learn as you go process. Try to do your best and believe in your theories. Does Dr. Tim have adult children? I’d like to know what his children contribute society? I believe that people who take advice about children rearing are insecure. Every generation says the same thing about the one before. Who’s better who’s worse? Common sense tells me that you need to have boundaries and RULES. TA DAH! What makes any parent better than any other parent?

    • mollys

      I for one, am not taking advice from anybody. I raise my kids with my own intuition and common sense, and it just so happens that my style of parenting correlates with what this article is saying. Statistically speaking, generations of kids post 1970 have had more problems with mental illness, suicide, bad decisions, etc. In the “old days”, kids were left to themselves more often, expected to do chores around the house without being asked, expected to do their best in school, and expected to be all around upright members of the community. So I would have to argue that there IS a better way, namely, the way we raised children pre-“self-esteem” based parenting. Modern parenting is relationship based and “old fashioned” parenting was leadership based. I vote for leadership. Parent Babble by Rosemond has a great chapter analyzing all of this.

      • greatest mom

        Again, you are awesome

    • Kathy Meyer

      I also (Mollys) didn’t take any advice or read any parenting books for raising my kids… followed what my parents did, and I turned out just fine… and my kids are doing GREAT! so aside from agreeing with the book simply that I agree to that way of raising kids as opposed to helicopter parenting (I have seen that in motion) and so far has not turned out as well as possible, I also had rules and boundaries for my kids and never did I use the ‘TIME OUT’ for behavior issues… they learned from the time they could crawl, what they could or couldn’t “get into” or touch, or play with… and learned the word NO from that time as well… but there are so many parents who fight their kids’ battles it’s not helping the kids learn to do so for themselves… btw… a teacher or dr doesn’t have to have kids of their own to see what does or doesn’t work from interactions with the different parenting processes… I’m a school bus driver and see the difference all the time… doesn’t make my job easier either…

      • Greatest mom

        You are a great parent and terrific bus driver. I guess there are people like you who really do feel better about themselves by putting down other parents.
        You’re awesome. Who hoo! Keep up the good work.

    • emergencyroomworker

      Wow. Full of yourself much? I don’t know a parent who doesn’t wonder if s/he is screwing their kids up on a regular basis. You must be very proud to be the only parent who does everything right all the time.

      I believe that anyone who thinks that they alone have all the answers on any subject — let alone something as important as child-rearing — doesn’t have the faintest clue.

  • Margaret

    That was a great article. I was the director of leadership camp/outdoor education centre and you hit it dead on!! Thank you. Am passing this article onto my children so my grandchildren can benefit from it.

  • Heather A

    Great article and I agree with it all. Here’s my problem: I just adopted a 15 year old whose parents did everything you caution against. How to reprogram 15 years of entitlement and spoiling……

  • greatest mom

    as I am reading all the comments, I cant help but think ALL of these people are patting themselves on the back. HMMM. well, if what Dr. Tim is saying is true, then where are the parents who are parenting wrong?

    • Craig

      1,000 comments vs. millions of other parents. I’m thinking the statistics are there somewhere, oh ‘greatest’ one.

      • greatest mom

        Craig nobody said the comments should be parents who are praising themselves. It should be parents asking how Dr. Tim gets his info and what makes him a “professional” parent.

  • Katherine L

    i cant like this enough! as a mother of four and a childcare provider for 13 years, these are things i have been teaching my own and others children for a long time. thank you for the cohesive report backing up my ” mom wisdom”
    a point to add to the college phone call story. my sister is a lead geologist with a large petrochemical company and when they get new hires straight from university, they have a HR talk telling them how to deal with parents calling to check, argue , and negotiate better work reviews.
    A child who skins his knee on a bike ride and then gets up and bikes home will discover that he really isnt helpless with out a parent around. its crazypants how we have taken away the chance to discover how well they can deal with adversity from our children.

  • Robin

    I see the negative results of over parenting way too often… I work in a law school! I agree 100% Parents need to take the long view when raising their kids to become adults. Mine are only 2 & 4 and I believe that there are age appropriate ways to allow even the little ones to learn about failing, perseverance, and real success.

  • greatest mom

    Maybe just maybe if the “overparenting” or “helicopter” parent wasn’t so afraid of this sick world with pedophiles, kidnappers, serial killers or mass execution style killers they would be able to parent the “old fashioned” way. I’m pretty sure a mother who lost their child to a kidnapper doesn’t go around saying “if only I was a percect mother like Dr. Tim teaches.” Come on people get real. This is the NEW world we live in. The world of the sick deranged lunatic who prey on the children. I will helicopter and overparent any day. My children are all just fine. Sleep happy and safe. Also have learned respect. Imagine that. I think it’s actually called love?

    • Max Power

      Check FBI and local police statistics dating back five decades…You’ll see that this country is not a more dangerous place than it ever was, and in fact, kidnappings and pedophilia by strangers is down, not up. And I’m curious: How exactly would your helicopter parenting thwart a mass execution? Do yourself and your children a favor: Turn off Nancy Grace, understand that CSI is a made-up show, and give your children some independence. They’ll thank you someday.

      • greatest mom

        sure I’ll take advice from you. Do you have small children? Adult children? Yes please post those stats about pedophiles because you sir are WRONG. People do not “thwart” mass execution but mental illness and gun control can be “thwarted” Is Nancy Grace made up?

        • Sam

          This must be what the writer was referring to when he mentioned “limited cognitive ability.”

    • Craig

      Start to wave… you missed the boat completely.

      • greatest mom

        craig have you given birth?

    • notorious

      It’s true that there are sick people in the world – no one is saying that there aren’t. However, the crime stats HAVE come down. Just google the phrase “Crime rates down” to see proof for yourself from many different sources. You can let go a little, there is a 99% chance that a mass execution style killer isn’t going to come into your HOA looking for your kids. I mean really? And before you ask me like you asked everyone else, I have given birth to 3 kids, all under 10 at this moment. Not that that matters AT ALL.

  • Jen


    • bobbyg

      Brilliant? Are you kidding me? It’s common sense.

  • beth

    This is a fantastic article that I will share with my colleagues. I am an international teacher and have two elementary aged kids of my own. The philosophy of this sounded a lot like Charles Fay (love and logic) guys; he also wrote From Bad Grades to a Great Life, or something like that. I need to keep reading and rereading this book and articles like yours to remind myself of these things.

  • ScouterGlenda

    Wonderful article. I have seen the damage of too much praise and too little risk taking.

  • lex

    I am a strong believer in letting children learn from their mistakes and not enough people do these days. I have been nannying for 10 years and the safety precautions that the parents want me to impose on the children are sometimes ridiculous. I try to respect their wishes but I can help being me and I let the children learn. Bringing up this topic with them is also tricky for me, any suggestions as how I could? I think it would be a bit too slap in the face if I emailed this article…

    • gertrude

      I think maybe being a nanny isn’t the career for you. If you cannot respect the parents wishes then why are you there? It’s not for you to say. They are not your children. Have your own and maybe you’ll change your thought process?
      Please type a reply with your full name so I can pass that on to parents who are looking to employ a nanny.

      • emergencyroomworker

        I think being a parent isn’t the career for you, gertrude. Could you please post your full name and address so that Children’s Services can correct that situation for you?

  • gaga mommy

    seriously people? Has society become a bunch of buffoons and need to take advice to parent? Dr. Elmore is the authority in parenting? Dr. Elmore neglects to mention if he has children and if so what are the ages?

  • Russ

    Tim, you do not deserve a ribbon or trophy or even the praise of these commentators your points are spouting common sense and material that has been around for centuries. Try harder.

  • S Gerritsma

    This article is excellent and much needed. At the same time it is a little sad to have to say that. When I was growing up this article would have been greeted with a yawn. Most people would have said “Of course. Doesn’t everyone already know that?” Really all the article does is to give the researched evidence for what parents then practiced intuitively. So, again, it is an excellent article; it’s just too bad that it is needed at all.

  • Thoughtful

    Well … just a thought …. my great-grandchild is starting Grade 1 soon … what I see is that couples are having fewer children … I know of many, many single-child families. And a lot of those parents are divorced. Sometimes the parents feel they need to be “super-parents” in order to justify their parenthood, and often in competition with their Ex, who is much kinder, much more lenient, etc. (Don’t underestimate the “child” … they are smart, and if they see an opportunity to make life easier, they will take it!) And they (the parents) are being congratulated for the exact same behaviour you describe …. “Oh, he’s SUCH a good dad!” (or “Mom”) The insecurity of the parents in an increasingly technological world, with which a lot of them are still trying to cope themselves, is a contributing factor. I hope those parents will have the courage and foresight to help their children become strong, empathetic and accountable adults. Though, I doubt it somehow. What will happen to the next generation of children born of indulged, self-centered adults who are chidren now, I wonder??

  • r.c.s

    I am a young child right now, and I understand what the article is about. I think all parents should read this. We as a country are raising a bunch of sissy’s! No offence or any thing but we need to let children like me take more risks. I live with my grandmother and she makes me wash my own dishes and do my own laundry and I have come to enjoy doing it. I hope people gained something from this. :)

  • Kathleen

    I think the parents that spoil their children and don’t encourage emotional endurance and coping skills in their kids will just make life easier for my kids. My kids know I love them unconditionally, but they are also aware the world doesn’t love them unconditionally. I often remind them that life is not fair, so get over it and get on with it.

  • Jlc

    As a Special education teacher who has seen a huge increase of students with IEPs over just the past year, I agree. We are making life too easy for kids and we are too scared to challenge them to take risks and try their best. We are too afraid to allow them to fail when that is what helps them learn.

  • jjames

    great. Good old fashioned parenting. I grew up in an English home with victorian values. I raised my 4 children much the same but with a little less rigidy. When they were teenagers many people said they were well adjusted children. It was 20 years later when i understood what they meant. All 4 went straight to university after high school and all lead productive lives. 3 of them have their own children and they are doing a great job raising them with good values. I see many of the values I taught them coming through, even though, yes, I was often the ogre.
    I am so proud of them all.

  • Anne Murphy

    This message needs to be spread. As an elementary teacher I have watched the very effects you have so accurately articulated. I really fear for this generation. We are doing a great disservice to children and we need to foster greater independence. Children need to learn there is not always a tangible reward for getting even the smallest of jobs done. Have you heard what the tooth fairy pays these days. I have had students who get paid for having a good day and following the rules. This was an expectation in years past, not something one was bribed to do. Than- you for a well written article with a critical message. I hope many people read it and share it!

  • Wibke Rivera

    I am in love with your article. I was born and raised in germany and somethings I saw in the 2 years I lived with my family (Husband US Army (not anymore), Antonio (7), Carlos (5) and Emily (3)) in TN, where shocking to me. All playgrounds are out of metal and have the bouncy ground, no scores were taken during soccer games or basketball games, no running in school and dont get me started on the food in school (different story). I am very happy being home again. My 7 year old walks by himself through town to his school, my 5 year old walks ALONE to Kindergarten (I pick him up) and for darn sure we keep score during our sport games, how else are they supposed to learn to lose with grace (ok ok we are still working on the grace part 😉 ).
    My children fall down, they get up and shake it off, every parent should be able to hear on the call or cry of their children if they only want attention OR are really hurt, I do, because they know I wont come if they aint really hurt. They fall my first question is “Any body parts missing any blood, NO? Ya good to go”!
    They same thing for toddle telling/snitching… much I dislike this….they come and tell me something somebody else was doing to them, my first question is always “And what did you do?”
    Let kids be kids, they deserve it!

  • Caroline Joy

    A fantastic article with so many truths and really made me think about how appallingly I’ve been with my children so far! Hopefully it’s not too late for mine who are 10 and 13.

    This really should be compulsory reading for all parents and I shall certainly be sharing with all my parent friends.

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  • Jo

    As a middle school teacher, I have lately noticed that it seems to be the more academic kids, those who are used to scoring / achieving highly, who show the least resilience when challenged or when given constructive advice. What you’ve said reinforces why.

  • Francesco

    I liked it but, there’s a difference between taking risk and being hard. The point is trivial if left at that ( we all see apparently they’re two separate things) but what I mean is that the triplet you cite needn’t always go together. Sequestering, Shielding and Advocating (my copyright :) ) can be modulated and used separately as appropriate. As there are no men so there are no parents for all seasons.

  • Jo

    Don’t know if this article intended to start people applauding their own parenting methods, but thats all thats going on now here!! Yes, yes you are all wonderful.

    • greatset mom

      Exactly what I was saying. Pathetic. Everyone is a great parent.

  • Francesco

    Sad, but almost unfailing observation, though: the most successful in terms of how American society judges success (social position/standing, wealth and power) people I’ve met all came from very protected environments, fed with the proverbial silver spoon.

  • LConrad

    I was raised with the so called silver spoon. I guess you could say OLD MONEY. I had EVERYTHING handed to me. I was paid to do chores like go to the store, wash the car. Maybe bribed. I didn’t really need to do those things because we had help. I had the best of everything. My father paid the teachers to give me passing grades just because. We would ususally travel. So life was GOOD. I am now raising my children the exact same way. We faithfully go to church, make donations, support every cause. We make donations to organic farms. We donate our time and money to food shelters and orphanages. The exact same way as my parents. We contribute to society in so many ways. We all have respect for everything and everybody. I spoil mychildren beyond belief. You name it we have it. There is NOTHING I wouldn’t do for my children. We are healthy, happy and wealthy. What more could you want? LIFE IS GOOD!

  • Tilghman Lesher

    Spellcheck: risk taking PEAKS, not PEEKS, during adolescence.

    Otherwise, an excellent article.

  • sharon


  • Claire Woerner

    I can even see the difference in this between my sister and myself. Whenever she had a project, she would always beg my parents to help her. I didn’t get that. I wrote my own papers, did my own art projects, and figured things out on my own. If I didn’t understand something in high school, I voluntarily went to tutoring. I grew up riding my bike to the neighborhood pool, learned to cook for myself because my parents wouldn’t make me something special for lunch on the weekends or at dinner (it was either have what they were having or make it yourself). I was a “lock-key kid” who had my own house key at 10 and would walk home and occupy myself until my parents returned. My sister always stayed with friends, and to this day her cooking skills end at frozen dinners. She’s never had a job (she’s almost 20.) We’re going two very different directions in life. I’m headed for an advanced degree in either archaeology of forensic anthropology and she has no idea where she wants to go in life. It’s like she’s expecting someone to tell her what to major in.

    • gertrude


    • toobad

      Sibling rivalry does not apply here. Your parents hated you. Loved your sister so much.

  • jd

    frist and foremost teachers shouldnt even be in the equation because they dont do anything . the parents r the ones who r teaching the kids. the article is only 20% right. the rest is basically bullshit. thats my opinion . your welcome

    • greatset mom

      NO THANK YOU!! You have said what i’ve been saying. I wouldn’t even go as far as to say the article is 20% right. I’d say it’s 100% wrong.

  • jd

    first of all you dumb ass. she is so fake but your too blind to see that. and if you dont like my opinion , to damn bad . its my opinion and thats that. and i went to her so callled site cause i was in the mood to have a laugh at how fake she is and how fake she was in the wwe. (thank god the fired her big ass). your welcome

  • Jen S.

    I think “good job” should be added to the list of ridiculous things parents (and teachers) say to kids. I do not say it in my house and my in-laws think I am nuts. I have heard parents congratulating kids for walking and talking! The rationale, I believe, is that it builds self-esteem to be constantly told how great you are; that those comments somehow propel the child to keep going. (Like they would stop eating and talking if not told how great they were doing?) But real self-confidence is earned through your own work. We have a whole generation of kids who have low self-worth and who are risk-averse, and they have been told they were doing a good job from the get go, probably for being born, then crying, then breathing and gurgling.

  • dal

    Well, this fear stuff gets so tiresome and no excuse.
    You have to ask if these parents are afraid for their children or are they afraid of them? They don’t want a successor. If they did, they wouldn’t be robbing their own child of his power.

    • Bubba gump

      Yes asshole they are afraid of their children. I fear people like you who don’t know what you’re talking about.

      • dal

        You should fear the dad who built the drone to follow his son to the bus stop, using his kid as a guinea pig. Who is the asshole?

        • bubba gump

          You are. That dad is genius! Good for him! Obviously he’s doing what he wants. Not really giving a shit what you or anybody else thinks about him! YAY!!!!!!

    • gertrude

      Dal, I’m curious, Do you have children?

  • Ben Wand

    A-ffing-MEN! We gotta quit coddling our kids. We live right by a gradeschool, and all the parents drive their kids one block to school. Atrocious.

  • Johnnie Tigner

    I think this article taught me a very valuable lesson. I wonder if you sent it to the speaker of the house and the congress we have now, could you get in trouble? It should be a must read for them. I believe it wouldn’t hurt. I know it helped me. Thank you.

  • English mam

    This article isn’t about being a strict parent, it’s about using common sense. You as a parent are there to teach your child the skills they need to become a happy successful adult. I see too many parents micro managing their children’s lives. It’s ridiculous. I’m not super strict but my kids do play out and know about making good decisions but also about consequences.

  • Jenn

    I really enjoyed your article and whole heartily agree with it. I have to admit however, since having my two children I have caught myself falling into the bad habits of “fear the worst first and protect” as well as negotiate to achieve, from time to time. I wasn’t raised that way at all. We were made to stand on our own two feet and were made to be responsible for all our actions and decisions. I have found myself embarrassed at times in conversation with other parents who found it unacceptable that I should intentionally pop my sons balloon because he intentionally popped his sisters. Equally, I have friends that find it harsh that I make my 8 year old son hoover his own room in addition to other chores. In general I think most of my friends think I’m to hard on my children and expect to much of them. Yet I can’t bring myself to allow him to walk to school on his own yet (fear). These attitudes do make me question how often I’m getting it right as a parent. Everyday that I parent my children is a learning curve however reading your article has shown me that I’m not getting it as wrong as I sometimes think. The biggest challenge for me is to not let society scare me into raising fragile adults.

  • Imam

    Wonderful, based on facts and inspiring with thought provoking ideas!!!!!!

  • Tomasen

    Thank you for this post. We need so much more of this kind of thinking in the world!! You might be interested in a recent post of mine where I take on technology in our schools and how the only technology that is being used (powerschool and the likes) only encourage helicopter parenting and how that keeps our kids from taking risks. You can find it here.
    There is so much to be discussed in terms of failure and how we learn from those failures, but along with this comes the high stakes grading and how without those grades our students options are so limited.
    How can we allow for adolescents to grow and take risks and figure things out when their every move matters…in terms of the doors that will open or be slammed shut for them? I wish school was more about learning and less about following rules and being compliant. This especially speaks to the boys in our schools who need risk, failure and more risk to feel alive.

  • Mediator

    Excellent article! We raised three wonderful young men, who are all very capable of making good decisions and supporting themselves and their families. The oldest and middle are Army veterans. The middle and youngest are Eagle Scouts. The middle is a semi-pro bass fisherman. They all work and pay their own bills and contribute to society. We did not subscribe to the so-called “child rearing books” or to everything we saw, heard, or read. We administered the good, old-fashioned mom and dad behavior, along with the Golden Rule. Yes, we were called the meanest mom and dad in the world more than a few times, but that was in the heat of the moment and we wore those badges with honor. We doled out punishment, when punishment was due. We praised our boys for their achievements. We did not demand that they receive an A in every subject, but we would not settle for a D, either. We knew how hard they worked just for a B and to make the merit role, and we assured them that we respected their efforts for those achievements. We raised the bar during those times when we knew it was absolutely necessary, to teach them lessons they would not learn elsewhere. We taught them how to right their wrongs, and they all had a few. We went to every T-ball game, basketball game, wrestling match, fishing tournament, and Boy Scout meeting, and supported all their student events. We knew we were onto something when other parents would jokingly ask us to take their kids for a few weeks to teach them the manners our sons always exhibited. And we really knew we did right by them when they each reached age 18 and each told us how we were always their best friends, still were, and always would be. We did something right somewhere along the way, on pure instinct and our desire to raise upstanding, respectable young men. And we grew up right along with them.

    • wowser

      EAGLE SCOUTS? No way! Say it isn’t so. You are a terrific parent.

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  • Sara

    This is the BEST article I have read for a long time. SO true and I sure wish more parents believed this way still.

  • empty guy

    I think its also important to not give your child the impression that there’s something wrong with them just because that arent EXACTLY the same as all the other kids. after your child has been picked on all day at school, the last thing they need is to go home and feel just as rejected by their parents as by their peers. and if this continues , they might grow up feeling worthless and not care about anything. and then comes the intravenous drug use.

  • John Harada

    This is a great template for the uber helicopter parents in hockey or other sports who think their kid deserves a free ride on the team or don’t have to work hard the entire season to keep their spot on the team. I’ve coached both girls and boys hockey for many years and was also a black belt kids instructor in karate for 5 years and have experienced countless numbers of parents like this. I always told both the parents and the players before the season started I was going to make their kids accountable for everything they did…whether it was for great accomplishments and effort or simply not stepping up to the plate and being committed or dedicated to the team. It was easy to spot the players whose parents expected their kid to be treated like a little “hockey muffin” all the time cuz they reflected it in their work ethic or lack thereof. These parents need to step back and let their kids learn on their own terms and not what their parents demand. Let their kids become accountable otherwise, the parents are setting them up for huge failure in later years, whether it’s university and college and/or competing for a job in the workplace. Furthermore, let the coaches coach without interfering and meddling cuz believe me, most coaches don’t want any muffins in their bakery !

  • AJ

    Amazing article! As a teacher and a parent I see the consequences of not doing these things. I was tough on my children. They made many mistakes I did not fix. But now they are successful adults who know how to win and, more importantly, how to fail with grace and overcome setbacks. I see this in the students I teach how much hovering there is and how scared these kids are to both succeed and fail. It’s a terrible tragedy because so many of them have real talent!

  • jdslesser

    Dr. Tim Elmore is a little behind the times. I’m thinking 1980’s mind set along with that hair cut and those glasses. In this century and year 2013 parents need to be on top of their children all the time. Way too many outside evil influences. Have any of you seen what the “other” kids are into these days? Violent video games and sex everywhere. I will watch my children closely. I will be on them 24/7 no problems here. Thanks though for the common sense article. Dr. Elmore should get out of fantasy land 1950 and join us in the real world!!

    • emergencyroomworker

      You’ve missed the point entirely, jdslesser.

      I hate to say this, but these “evil influences” you’re talking about are out there, whether Since you’re posting this on the Internet, you allow these outside evil influences into your home every time a computer is turned on.

      Looking out for your children is admirable and what I think every poster agrees is what is the right thing to do as parents. However, a lot of children get sabotaged by well-meaning parents who don’t allow them to take even the smallest of calculated risks because they don’t want their children to fail.

      Hey, if you want your children to be living in your basement 24/7, eating your food, and expecting you to make all their decisions for them at the ages of 40 and beyond because you don’t want them to be exposed to “evil influences”, have fun with that.

      • tellitlikeitis

        What is a small calculated risk jackass? Who cares if this is how this woman wants to parent? Its pompous asses like you who put down parents who love and adore their children. You probably don’t even have children and if you did they probably hate you.

  • Thinkaboutit

    So now get the sue-happy parents to understand that these bumps, bruises and minor accidents are part of life! Don’t sue the school because your child had an accident running on the playground.

  • Manisha

    First I should say I agree with everything in this article. I have a 3-year-old and already I see the effects of helicopter parenting on her friends. We would go to the park and I would always hang to the side, watching her but also allowing her to explore on her own. I thought I was modeling a different way of parenting mostly because I am not interested in going on the playground with her, I was more interested in hanging out with the adults. Unfortunately, I think I pushed helicopter parents to do more of what they already do, seeing me be so supposedly “lazy” made them feel more righteous about themselves. My daughter would fall, scrape her knee, etc, then continue playing, hardly ever crying – of course, I helped if she was really hurt. Most of her friends would be taken home by their parents if they fell and hurt themselves. The parents said their kids needed quiet time to get over the scare of falling!

    I’m so glad to find articles like this one. It’s helps me be more confident about my parenting choices. Oh and btw, I appreciate the comments that say if there kids never come to the point of hating them, then they are not parenting right. Thanks for that!

  • Lidian

    When I was a substitute teacher I was once chastised by the principal for giving a student a B for a bumper sticker design because he had misspelled a word in his slogan. ” You have insulted one of our best students. Advertising is his career choice.” I was not about to change my grade. The fact that the student immediately ran to the principal to protest his grade, varifies your observations in this article.

  • Kris

    This is a wonderful article and is so very true of a huge generation of not only children, but the adults they have become as well. I saw this as a major problem in my own classroom teaching years ago and continue to see the trend with many parents still. Very scary and worrisome trend. It leads to an adult that really never knows how to fail, or sometimes even survive the world on their own.

  • Rob McDermott

    Hi Tim, I loved your article. It’s not too different in ideas to those of Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk on schools killing creativity, check it out if you haven’t seen it. I work in the Irish school system and the parents and management of my school need to read this piece. Common sense, but when, as in our case, the management is dictated to by the parents and as a result students can pretty much do as they like, similar to the college student disputing her C-, the consequences are dreadful. Every year my school produces a class of school leavers many of whom are ill-equipped for real life. I think we will see this pattern increase in coming years because the moral majority are afraid of forward thinking like yours.

  • Bweeks

    This article was just exactly what I needed to read today. I am having a terrible time with my kids and am so conflicted over it. I have never been one to “baby” my kids and have always tried to let them figure things out for themselves (with help if they really needed it). If they do something wrong itson them. I am not going to get them out of it or take up for them. I make them play outside. They have a very short amount of time each day to play with iPods, tablets, computers, etc. other than homework. They have chores that have to be done everyday or there are major consequences. We did discuss together different bad behaviors and together decided the punishments for choosing those behaviors. They are expected to excell in school. Grades below a certain level are absolutely unacceptable and they will be punished. But most days I feel like I am the only parent in the world who is this hard on their kids. My husband tells me I’m too hard on them, so do their grandparents. But I feel like if I don’t expect the best from them and push them then who will???? If I don’t equip them with what they need to survive in this world when they are grown then I am doing them wrong. The world in reality isnot a nice place. They are not going to get a trophy just for showing up. If they don’t follow the rules, there’s no “maybe next time”, their going to jail or worse. I tell them I love them and no one in the world will ever love as much as I do that’s why I’m so hard. But I would be lying if I said I don’t worry that I’m doing the wrong thing for them when I see these other parents who have these happy go lucky kids without a care in the world because mom and dad do everything for them. Most days my kids hate me and it kills me. But I just hope for the day when they will appreciate the fact that they will excell at life because mom didn’t wipe their butt for them all through life.

    • Tellitlikeitis

      What exactly is YOUR role as a mother? I see you as being mean. Selfish. Your children are a bother to you. Why do you want to be a mother? Of cousre your children feel sorry for you because they are forced to love you even though they don’t. Your husband and the grandparents hate you also. You are doing something wrong.

      • emergencyroomworker

        And how old are you, tellitlikeitis? Twelve?

        Parents are not to be the friends of their children. That’s not in the job description.

        I see nothing in bweeks’ post that is not reasonable.

        • tellitlikeitis

          Oh so it’s not in the job description? This lady doesn’t want to do ANYTHING for or with her children. What exactly is the “job description” of a mother or father? This person never once mentioned anything about being a friend. Is all I see is complaining about being a mother. By the way, yes, you are so smart I am twelve. How old are you pedophile?

        • tellitlikeitis

          What is the job description of a parent? Do you know? I’m sure everyone would love to know what you do. This mother wants to do absolutely nothing for her children. I only see complaining about being the mother. I’m willing to bet YOU do not have children. If you do have children, I am sure they hate you.
          So parents cannot be friends. interesting. Emeregncyroomworker knows what parents should and shouln’t be. Also has a “job description.” The world is dying for your answers.
          By the way yes! You are very very smart. I am twelve. How old are you pedophile?

  • Dan Jacklin

    Absolutely right! I remember taking off with my friends for the day on our bicycles. Alone, Without helmets knee pads elbow-pads WITHOUT CELLPHONES!

  • janis

    High stakes testing…which does not allow for kids or adult to ever have a “bad” test score or grade and make it up by actually learning is part of this problem. A “C” grade is a failure these days and a “B” can be a problem when only an “A” or a 4 point score will allow one to get into college or a job. The problem is not helicopter parents necessarily…focusing on scores instead of thinking and creative skills is a problem with the entire society.

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  • Michi

    Awesome. we need conscious, self directed effort to fight of all the distorted messages received through the medias.

  • dazed_and_confused

    Its hard when the other parent feels that doing everything for the child is the correct way. I think kids should be responsible for their actions. My wife talks for our child in every situation. The child likes this so has a tendency to favor being around the mother. I will ask the child why they did not do their chores, the child will start an arguement, the mother will stand on the side of the child and I’m the bad guy. I find myself distancing myself from the child because I get sick of being the bad guy.

    To this I am called a jerk, moron, etc and told to go away, and I am suppose to just accept this per the mother’s confirmation to the child by agreeing that I am “to hard” on the child for complaining to the child that they did not do their chores. We made an agreement that the chores are in exchange for extra curricular activities, but if the child does not do the chores, somehow they are still able to go to the activities because the mother steps in and says “ohh thats too harsh to takee away activities”.

    I wish I could get the mindset of the mother off this “I can fix everything for my child, because my childhood was not perfect”.


    • lawyerforlife

      You should consider a divorce. I don’t think the problem is the child being a child. It’s the hatred you have for your wife.

    • Sharon Miller

      Conflicting parenting styles is one of the most difficult challenges to face in a marriage. I would suggest marital counseling for you both.

  • doomedstudents

    When did a “c” become a failing grade? Ridiculous! Our country is so messed up. Dr. Elmore must live in the year 1955.

  • Judy Sullivan

    Omg, I’m so glad this is being brought up. I recently became a sonographer and I had an18 year old patient. The mother came with the boy and did all the talking. Then she proceeded to wipe the gel off her sons stomach when the exam was over. I have a 9 year old and a 11 year old boys. If they want to contact a friend I have them make the call. They used to protest and ask me to do it. I said “if you want to speak with your friend you can call. I also have them pay at cash registers. They were scared at first but now they’re fine.

    Thanks for bringing it up

  • FredPierre

    Independence is so important to children, but especially when they are young, they need to know you are there in case they do fall and get hurt. Don’t use independence as an excuse for negligence. You can be present, and still let your child make his or her own decisions.

  • Alicia

    Define, please: “Normal risk taking at fourteen or fifteen…”

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  • ukmark

    do you actually have any kids yourself Tim?

  • Amber Harvey

    A scraped knee on the playground is fine. But leaving kids unattended can put them in danger from predators. It’s about balance.

    • Brooke

      Seriously, predators are not everywhere. Statistically kidnapping is down. Most molestations occur by a family member, not a stranger. I think outdoor independent play is important.

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  • karen

    enjoyed this article as both a mum and a secondary school teacher. My children often thought me harsh, but when they went off to uni they were astounded by how incapable a lot of fellow students were in looking after themselves or working through problems. As a teacher i see lots of students who wont try something as they are afraid to fail and it is difficult to get them to understand that there is a lot to learn in the process of trying

  • Claire Boyles

    thank you Tim for writing such an excellent, well laid out article that I can send people to, when how I explain this doesn’t seem to make sense to them!

    I am all for giving positive reinforcement, celebrating successes, but helping childred avoid negative consequences is so very damaging!!

  • Jeri

    Amen to everything….I work at a school and as I was reading this immediately I thought of a dozen parents that do this exact thing you talk about in your acticle. I have three children and I tried to do all the things you talk about. I’ve done my share of mistakes but I can truly say they are upstanding, kind, conciderate, respondsible young adults. They’ve made their share of mistakes as well but I think they also have learned valuable lessons along the way. Thank you Thank you…I wish everyone could read this.

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  • Sandra Kruger Janke

    This is one of the wisest commentaries that I have read in a long time. Too many parents rescue their children out of situations that are brought into their lives as a learning opportunity. As each generation passes, the children are becoming more and more undisciplined and spoiled. I give this article four stars.

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  • bg

    Love this article! I have tried to raise my kids the way I have been. Letting them take risks and figure things out for themselves.

    I taught for a while and expected the same from my students. You pay attention, you respect others, and you work for your grades…..didn’t come very much appreciated by the “new young teachers” who thought everyone had to be catered to else we “disturb”their growth! I expected a lot from my students, and in the end they respected me.

  • Gayle B

    Amen. I couldn’t have said it better.
    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  • try&tragedy

    I do agree with all of the parenting not rescuing & as a mother of a 5 & 2 yr old girls, these had been very easy to instill. UNTIL my then4 yr old went out into her 1st recreation on her own w/o Mum! She/we were both I will admit somewhat resistant to her going b/c as normal we were hoping to enjoy the summer before sending her off to kindergarten & separating. We truly enjoyed being together & yes she had been to pre-school gymnastics & swim..mostly along w/ me..Her 3rd day in this camp that Nana had registered her & her cousin for tragedy struck..a 14yr old “counselor” sexually abused her & all of the self esteem/confidence & innocence in her is now gone…I had always let her “test” her own boundaries run jump swim if she falls brush it off & I have to say she would try again. I am @ a true loss as what & how to pick her back up as she hadn’t even had the chance to truly experience normal child conflicts. What do I do more than I have such as Dr.s police (failed) dcf..interviews therapist that was a complete let down & left abruptly, so in hopes after a 3 months waiting tom she will meet w/ a Praying qualified woman very experienced but all by her self! Truly I just want to see her smile gain that confidence & lastly hope 1 day to gain her trust & love for me back as I have become her pain she believes her “bullies’ lies in that I don’t protect her I signed her up..very young & confused my poor angel! Any suggestions?

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  • Mamacita

    I’m just over 30 and am shocked at the different world my 5 kids are growing up in. The other day I heard, “Jinx, you owe me 1,000 dollars.” What the heck?!? No one owes you anything. We played Jinx can’t talk till I say your name. It forced problem solving on both sides, one trying to force the other to say a name, the other trying to avoid saying it. My 3 year old is in a lovely phase of tantrums, he felt the need to climb the tree in the back yard and have one, while I was up to my elbows in the poopy diapers of 2 babies, which resulted in neighbors coming over “worried if he was ok” which completely negated my ignoring him since I had to go yank him out to appease them. Another mother also told her kid that (him having a tantrum) wasn’t him being a bad kid, but I was a bad parent. The disdain on her face made me want slash her tires. We’re not to the kids having cell phones stage yet, but I stated the phones will have a “bed time” when they get older. Another mother said she could tell my kids were little because if you take their phone at “bed time” they won’t be able to text and find out their homework at 11pm. She thought I was horrible when I said that will result in an email to the teacher letting them know I support appropriate grades for unfinished homework, if it means an F, it means an F. Next time they’ll remember to text for it earlier, *OR* write it down at school for themselves. She was horrified. I volunteer in their classrooms once a week…fun tohelp out…scary future. It actually makes me even more hands off and let natural consequences take their course. Seriously scary time to try and raise kids. I have 2 with developmental issues too, try letting them learn independance without people judging. Very frustrating…

  • pittipat

    According to a study by University College London, risk-taking behavior peeks during adolescence
    Inability properly to use the English language, on the other hand, lasts a lifetime.

  • Hannah

    Overall I agree with the arguments made in this paper, I like the fact that it is based on psychological studies as well as experience. Although after reading some of the comments below I feel like some of the specifics of the arguments should be highlighted and/or clarified. Praising effort over praising overall “intelligence” this is very accurate, and we must remember that praise (of effort) is very important in helping build motivation and anyone working with should be encouraged to do so often. For example in a sports setting where kids receive participation medals, I do not see a problem with this because it is praising effort as perhaps the team made their own improvements over the season. While I agree that failure plays an important role in learning, repeated failure can lead to problems as well. This is mainly addressing a comment I read earlier mentioning about primary school systems and individualized learning programs. From my understanding these programs are not meant to make school easier per se, but rather to help children with learning disabilities to achieve their full potential. I’m not saying that examinations should be abolished but I am saying that teachers should be taking a variety of measures to accommodate the children who are intelligent but suffer from a learning disability in order to avoid getting them labelled as dumb or slow, or even as a failure which will result in them giving up on even trying to succeed. Furthermore I would like to address those speaking about higher education levels. While I agree that testing knowledge is important, a lot of the intrinsic motivation of learning for the sake of learning is lost, and now it seems like the norm is to go to university for extrinsic motivations. To what end? Students should not be pressured in this sense to be defined by their grade if they understand the material, and should not be forced into settings that don’t fit the type of learning that they work best with. I apologize, I realize I went a little off topic, but it is something to consider as well.

  • N Cullen

    You hit the nail on the head! Great article! Strong facts! Great direction!

  • Zing

    What we need is some good discipline in children of today. When a child gets rewarded when whining, something is wrong.

  • concerned educator

    So what do you think of a school system that buys into the mindset of keeping kids from failing? Our local system has a policy that students cannot be given less than 50% on an assignment, even if they have done nothing more than turning in a paper with their name on it. Homework is not given because “They wont’ do it, so why assign it?” If a student neglects to turn in an assignment, no problem; they can turn it in later, even several weeks later, with no consequences. Textbooks are no longer used in many classes because students lose them and many don’t read them, so, again, why bother? (And these things are just a few of the new “educational” practices.)

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  • altimis

    This article was excellent! I am constantly frustrated when I see my daughter “playing the game”. Kids are smart, they know how to (get someone to) get things done. When I watch her she’s quiet, she asks for things, she eats. My wife on the other hand always complains that she was crying, wouldn’t eat anything, didn’t go to bed etc. I can’t say enough, she knows who she can manipulate.
    My favorite comic strip is Calvin and Hobbes, it shows the discoveries and mishaps of a young child. A memorable quote from Calvin was “I don’t need parents. I just need a tape recorder that says ‘Go play outside’.” Kids will fight tooth and nail to get what they want, we just need to give them what they need instead; help them have fun, help them experience life, help them discover.
    We need to learn to show our kids we’re there to help them, not there to do everything for them. As was mentioned earlier, if you’re kids don’t hate you (at least some of the time), then you’re doing something wrong.

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  • Ann Woods

    Well said! This has bothered me for a long time. I grew up on a farm which is a dangerous place for adults as well as children. I went bare foot a lot of times in the summer and stepped on lots of nails when I was small. By the time I entered school, I was still barefoot in the summer, but I didn’t step on nails any more. I walked to and from school, and my children did, too. However, it was more dangerous for my children to walk because they were the only “walkers” and had to watch out for the other parents who were driving their children to school. My grandchildren don’t walk unless accompanied by their mom.

  • Mark Blaisdell

    I teach High school and battle this most everyday. No fake praise from me. I have no problem beating them down and lifting them up in only appropriate moments.

  • Barb

    Unless my girls were into a real serious situation, when they came to me to help resolve a problem (with each other, friends, teachers, whatever) my response was typically “Handle it”. They learned to deal with all kinds of conflict this way. They were born 1980, 81.

  • Blessed

    Wow, great to know that I am not the only Mom who has children that resent their Mother. I believe we do our children an injustice in not letting them make their own mistakes regardless of the consequences. Our children reach a certain age and they now think that they are entilted to have the latest and greatest fad, or gadget without thinking of the cost.We have become a society that wants our kids to “fit in”. I am thankful that 28 years ago my mother did not hand me those very expensive jordache jeans just because it was the in thing to wear because as fast as them came in they went out. LOL My husband and I challenge our kids to stretch the dollar , to plan in advance for a event they want to do, look ahead at school events and use their “work pay” (Susie Orman) and not always but depending on their attitude sometimes they get a unexpected blessing that always cycles back around to be a huge blessing of appreciation to their parents, they often clean their room, bathroom etc without being told and thus brings Harmony into our Family.

  • LSiver

    Amazing article! Well said and sorely needed! I see this way too often. I’m passing this along to as many as I can for I strongly agree and believe this should be read by everyone. Thank you.

  • Simone

    “Peaks” not “peeks.” You need a better editor. But I agree with most of what you said here.

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  • Vicky of SC

    Great article. So many times I see parents rush in to help to keep their children from failing. I always felt as a parent that if my son was going to fail at something, it was much better to have this happen at home so that I would be there to make sure he knew that the world goes on even if you have a setback. I’d like to add that a boss told one of my sons that he could tell that his parents raised him right because he wasn’t “entitled” and because he didn’t need to be micromanaged to finish something.

  • Rick Way

    This is not the stuff of great studies. It is plain ordinary common sense. People do this because they are living their lives over vicariously through their children, not because they want to protect them

  • susan skillen

    At last someone who has the same opinions as myself on raising children. I am a pre primary (foundation) teacher and I couldn’t agree more with what you have said. I intend to give a copy of this artical to all my parents. Well said !

  • Jim Saunders

    There are times when you just have to let your children make a mistake. Be supportive when the inevitable happens and, if necessary, talk about it. If they aren’t allowed to make mistakes they can’t learn the lesson. My boys are grown and have been on their own, both have good jobs, both phone home frequently, often just to chat. We followed very similar rules and my kids turned out fine.

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  • teachermom

    Yes! But what happens when you have your children and someone elses kids together (in the car/at a playdate/outing) and you are the sole parent? My kids know that I mean busines and they follow the rules. We generally have a great time together because they are safe but free. The other kids will push boundaries and then get upset when you remind them of your expectations. They might even go down the line of “you’re not my mother (or teacher)!” I don’t mind being “worst mother in the world” to my own kids but I find it really hard when other people’s kids think I’m the worst mother! And……what do I say to our kids when their friends don’t want to come over for playdates again because they think I’m the worst mother? “You’ll thank me in 20 yrs” doesn’t cut it! Yes, they will build resilience and be stronger adults but that doesn’t help a sweet natured 7 year old girl find a best friend!
    What’s the worst mom in the world to do???????

    • Sharon Miller

      I spell out basic rules (usually two or three) to the kids very clearly before we leave. When I have a child misbehave while they are in my care, they get a warning. If they pull the “You’re not my mom!” card, I tell them, “Fine, let’s go back to your mom and you can hang out with her! We were going to do (insert appropriate fun activity) with you, and I want you to go and little Janie wants you to go, but if you won’t follow this rule, you can’t come with us. So, what’s your decision?” I have never had a kid decide to go back home. EVER.
      Generally speaking, kids still like to do quality time activities with their parents at this age. Take them to the pool, the park, bake cupcakes with them, etc.

  • PastorAlex McGilvery

    One thing that I didn’t see in this post was the concept of trust. What does it do to our relationship with our children when they figure out that we don’t trust them with their own lives? My son was a rebel to the extreme, He did all the things that made people look at us as if we were terrible parents. He moved out at sixteen and lived on the street for the better part of the summer, but he called us each week to tell us he was OK. Why did he phone? I think it was because he knew that we trusted him with his life. We gave advice sure, but in the end it was his decision to make. When he came to me with a desire to move away and live on his own, I didn’t tell him he couldn’t do it. I asked him what his plan was, then we discussed the strengths and weaknessses of his plan. He is one of the youngest of his cousins, but the first to move out. He’s been living on his own for a couple of years now. He is successful because he knows that we trust him with his life. To show that I’m not perfect, he was planning to buy a car, and I started talking to him about making a plan. He grinned at me and told me he knew. Then he repeated back to me all the advice I had planned to give him. I hadn’t trusted him to learn. He taught me with humour and compassion that my trust was well placed and that he still trusted me to be the parent he needed, not just the one I needed to be.

  • Chalby

    Brilliant article, and sadly, al too true.

  • Chalby

    Oops. should have read: Brilliant article, but sadly, all too true. :(

  • MG

    I could not agree with you more!!! Thank you for putting in to print what many of us have been saying for a while!!

  • Kristy Q.

    Good article. I am a parent of adult children. Both happy well adjusted honest and good citizens. I never hovered over them, I raised them like I was raised way back in the dark ages! (50’s/60’s) I lost count of the skinned knees I got. My parents would just look and say ‘Oops, up you get, you’re fine, it’ll heal’
    Parents need to learn their darling little boys and girls are NOT princes and princesses, they’re just KIDS! Let them make mistakes. So long as they know you’re there for them, there isn’t too much that can happen to them. Oh, and, they are not as breakable as you think.

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  • Matt DiTrolio

    This is so dead-on. I’m a product of the “feel good” generation, and I realized that it affected me in exactly these ways. Our parents meant very well, but they didn’t realize that it was actually making us less prepared for the real world. The cognitive dissonance of praise without accomplishment definitely registered in my brain as a child, but I couldn’t identify it until I was much older.
    EDIT: I accidentally a word.

  • Maranda Swafford Everson

    I’ve always called it common sense parenting and cause and effect. You have to let them make decisions and deal with consequences other wise they become dependent and feel that the world owes them something that they don’t have to work for it.

  • aelowan

    I have a friend who her homerschools son. She never tells him he is smart She tells him is that he works hard and deserves the rewards that he earns. When he imspehaves they discuss what he did wrong before the discuss and the consequences of his actins and how he should be punished (usually by writing a paper detailing his disdoings and the consequemces). What he learns is is to think about his actions in a mature manner and to weight the comsequences.

  • unsettled

    If the US government made our country safer by not allowing guns and having stiffer drug penalties, I would feel safer letting my children be more independent there. Luckily, I live in Singapore where it is very safe and guns and drugs are outlawed with real penalties. It is safe to walk outside at night even as a woman, and children here are very independant.

  • worried about my retirement

    I am getting tired of the often used excuse that teenagers brains “just haven’t finished growing”. I get that. I understand that this accounts for some risky behaviour and bad choices. It does not however explain the disrespect and lack of consequences I see too often in kids. C’mon…when we did it, we knew there were consequences, so better try harder not to get caught. Parents are so protective that kids have difficulty in rebelling.
    Isn’t the job of parents to raise this beautiful child to become an independent and contributing member of society? If our ancestors raised children the way that seems to be the “norm” now, our species would have died out.
    I overhead a conversation at the doctors office. The doctor said to his receptionist, “I saw a little boy about 6 walking to school, carrying his backpack all alone today.’ She said, ” That kid has a bad mother”. Really??? That is so wrong n sooooo many levels but it is what parents face all the time.
    When did it happen that the needs of the children completely superceded the needs of the parents (or anyone else?)? Unfortunately, too many kids are entering the world thinking they are the centre of the universe. It’s going to be a harsh wakeup call one day…

  • Thelma

    Amen brother!! I am 70 years old and I see all these things happening all around me. Allowing kids to make mistakes and paying the consequences prepares them for life and responsibility.Too bad all parents don’t read this and put it into practice.

  • JerryFlorman

    Being spoiled is one of the greatest handicaps you can offer a child. It creates anger, and an insecurity that can follow a child all of their life. Positive Discipline techniques talk about the differences between praise and encouragement. Praise is like giving a baby icing, encouragement is the basic building blocks of protein and vitamins.

    We have to recognize that children have the right to learn from their mistakes from the time they are babies, if we deny them this, then we take their inalienable right to be a full and self realized person. Sadly, so many grow up with no real sense of their own person-hood, how could they understand their child’s? If you don’t understand these concepts, you probably could use a parenting class.

  • Mat

    Thank you for the article. It made me stop “rescuing” and it’s amazing how many things they can figure out for themselves.

  • Diddi Ingi

    My parents, fortunately, didn’t spoil me.
    And for a time, I resented them greatly for not doing what other parents were doing, not giving me what other parents were giving.
    Today, I’m so grateful… even if I’m not some over-achiever, life still gives me trouble, I don’t have all the answers nor do I deal with every curve-ball in the best possible way.
    But I’m at least of the mindset, that nothing is a given, in life. You get what you earn, problems don’t solve themselves and there is not always a bailout around the corner.
    Resourcefulness is more important than resources… and imagination/creativity can often be more crucial than knowledge!

    We must get used to the idea that there are boundaries and limitations everywhere. I’m not preaching complacency toward e.g. unjust rules/law or toward artificial boundaries/limitations imposed upon us.
    What I am saying, to properly understand potentials and possibilities, to be able to work with or around the limitations of ourselves and the environment, we must grow up experiencing those very things!

  • luthien97

    I don’t know why so any people on here are priding themselves on being mean to their children. You can do every single thing in this article without being mean. You can hold to limits and be compassionate and caring at the same time.

  • Katherine Wilson

    I agree with the gist of the article, but strongly disagree with some of the finer details, but especially with the matter of praising children.

    Parents and teachers don’t ‘rave’ too easily. That is not a fair statement. And over praising causing problems is not really what the studies show – it’s showing the negative consequences for certain TYPES of praising.

    The studies show that we rave at the WRONG thing, it’s not that we shouldn’t praise and encourage our kids. Unfortunately, too many parents rave/praise their children so they become extrinsic learners, rather than intrinsic. We encourage our children to seek reward, rather than getting the reward in learning in and of itself. Children might seek a prize, but ignore the prize of doing the right thing. We unintentionally encourage our children to seek approval from the world around them, rather than being right by their own sense of justice.

    But we don’t fix this problem by praising less. You can easily end up with a child who will do more and more in hope that somehow they will finally receive praise, or they may become disheartened and give up altogether. They may look for praise from those who will give it to them, rather from their parents.

    Instead, we need to praise our kids LOTS. But we need to praise them for the right things. While I agree we shouldn’t say ‘you are smart!’, we do need to put serious thought into how to best encourage our kids, and how to frequently use praise that encourages and helps our kids to realise when they have done things right. Let’s not discourage them by staying silent, but encourage them appropriately.

  • Fanny arbuckle

    Thank you for this wonderful article and insight. I am a parent and a teacher. As a parent, I was “mean” and no fun. My children had consequences- and even though one of them was not in the least bit fazed by the consequences- she too is a responsible hard working adult now who realizes her issues and advises other parents with kids who are unfazed. My sister would drop her kids off with me and ask that I teach them how to behave so she didn’t have to. Today, 20 years later, my children all have full time jobs- one a college degree and the other runs a store. The youngest is working full time and attending college full time. My sisters kids have never had a job and struggle with college and life- they are over 21. They live in rented houses and have cars and take vacations in the summer. They can not deal with disappointment or work. I am very proud of my children because they have persevered despite the incredible disappointments they have faced recently in regards to their father and his choices. I hope that through my parenting and now my example they continue to work hard, prosper and find mates that they can be happy with. I had a parent ask me once when I sent my oldest 3 states away to college- “how can you do that, send him so far away?” My reply, ” how can I not? Why would I deny him this opportunity? We both will survive.” It was very difficult, but what a great experience for us both!!!

    As a teacher, I am amazed, appalled, and incredibly worried about the children who will one day be adults. The excuses for not completing work amaze me. The lack of responsibility taken by parents AND student, the lack of drive or intrinsic incentives, the expectation of a tangible award for EVERYTHING- ridiculous. I am one of the few teachers who does not reward a student for standing in line quietly, picking up a pencil on the floor that is not theirs, expecting them to do their “chore” for the week, saying please and thank you, etc. Students in my class learn early that my thank you and kindness for doing what is expected is all they will get. They survive and I think really learn something. It is incredible what parents want from me. Our school gives students “Kindness is Cool” cards when they are “spied” doing a kind act. In my classroom there are none of those cards and I don’t even know where to get them. I simply tell the students that our number one rule is to BE KIND. The school also gives out “paw prints” for picking up trash on the playground, opening a door for someone, standing in line as expected, etc. What are we in for in 20 years?

  • Patti Patterson

    Wow. I had thought (and been told) I was a bad parent. I let my kids find out about consequences of choice. They were responsible for the bad grade, it wasn’t my place to do their homework. Conflict resolution? My rule was, if you’re not bleeding, deal with it. I, too, had the child with the ugly projects, because they did them, It wasn’t my job. They were taught to respect others (when merited). As I look at them now (they are all adults), I’m seeing that they are teaching their children in the same way. One of my kids started out much more progressively (liberally?) minded. That lasted about 4 years.
    What I really want to say is that I’m proud of my kids, and grandkids. I’ve raised 4 productive members of society, and they in turn, are doing the same.

  • Amy

    It’s rather true, but, as a victim of a horrible, frightening assault that happened to me when I was six years old and walking around my neighborhood, I have to say that I am very vigilent about my kids. That being said I have taken that experience and believe it distilled in me great character and strength. But would I wish it on my kids? Not a chance. Which is why I walk with them everywhere and they don’t play alone in front of our house.

  • Schatz

    Thank you for such a wonderful article. I believe in these points you have made. I have talked my two daughters – seven and nine – two stand up for themselves.… To take care of themselves. We talked a lot about things, they work hard, we have fun and we love each other. I have strongly Talked with them and listen to them. I completely agree with this article as well as the other people who have commented. Thank you so much. Yes, as has been stated, we need groups of parents who believe this way to support each other and be there for each other. I have been lucky to find Only a few. Thank you.

  • DJohnson

    A parent who micro-manages their child’s life gives that child the impression that they are unable to navigate the world for them-self- how dis-empowering is that?

  • Judy Hausler

    This should be required reading. I still think people should have to pass a test before having kids. I am kidding but really families are a mess for the most part.

  • NaDell

    Exactly! Healthy risks are what we are doing with elementary age kids. They are doing sports, climbing trees, and helping siblings learn how to act. Thank you for writing this!

  • Tbabcock

    Amen! This couldn’t be more true. I will be the first to admit that I am guilty of this myself. My oldest, now a sophmore in college is the worst of my 4 kids, mainly due to him being our “guinea pig” child. When he began college I quickly realized I had done him a huge diservice by doing everything for him and always “fixing” things. He came to expect that and had no idea how to handle things on his own. Tough love came in to play very quickly. The change we saw in him between freshman and sophmore year has been astounding. He had to get a job, take out a loan to buy his own car, pay his own insurance, gas, etc. He takes care of most all is needs. Yes, we are still here if he needs help, but now instead of doing it, we give him advice on how we think he should fix it. The change has taken effect on the other 3 kids in such a positive way I wish we had done it years ago. They were resistant at first, of course and were actually mad. Our favorite line back to them when they are angry is “it’s not our job to be your friend, you have plenty of those, it’s our job to be your parent and raise you to be a contributing member of society, able to function in the real world on your own.” I hope this story gets out to every parent and some major changes start to take place among our youth. God knows it’s needed!!!!!

  • Valerie Tate

    The thing in my childhood/adolescence that hurt my future the most was the phrase: “You can be anything.” Imagine how big *anything* is. I ended up being a little bit of lots of things. When I speak to my students, I say: make a list of ten or fifteen things you’d like to be. Then begin crossing things off the list. By college, you may know exactly what you want to be.

  • Evelyn

    Much of this is very sketchy research at best without a clear cause and effect. Helicopter parents, negotiating grades and whatever else is not new, yet here you are writing in a manner that makes it out like a person who has paid a LOAD of money to go to college is “privileged” or “spoiled” or was raised wrong for expecting some give and take from their educational institution?!! I’m a genXer and I was ignored, raised myself and my younger brother, got hurt a lot and was molested by a neighbor for years and ended up in a lot of bad situations and I do not consider any of those to be things I would want my own child to experience, nor do I feel they made me a better person or taught me anything valuable. And as a college student you are damned right I expect that if I have a family commitment, a work commitment or some other real world, long term thing come up, the professors treat me like the adult I am and understand that a one semester class is appropriately placed on the importance totem pole when it comes BEHIND my livelihood and my family. Not to say I approve of the classmates who do nothing all semester and then expect an A when they power through the work the last 2 weeks (and don’t do a great job at it), but math and science teachers who will fail students for getting the flu or having a friend die or needing to travel for work or having a major real world work project come due and the student asks for a few days or hours to get real world issues in order, those professors are no better than thieves. Both in practice and in the false sense of superiority and disregard for the other person they are victimizing. A smart engineer should know how to triage problems and homework should not be a priority over your best lifetime friend being moved to hospice care for example, or a real business with the livelihoods of many people at stake needing the student employee for a real world business trip or project that makes the student unable to complete some homework on time. As a matter of fact, “I need to go pick up my drunk roommate from the bar so he doesn’t drive” is above getting some calculus or statistics turned in by midnight in my opinion. And until professors wake up to the reality of students being adults and making adult choices about their priorities the USA will continue to scare smart people out of STEM jobs. The opinion and attitude towards the new generation of young people exemplifies the attitude that is producing loads and loads of Psy, Liberal Arts and other non STEM degree holders.

  • Janet

    Great mesage, young parents need to hear this more and more…

  • MBT Mom

    As a parent for 40+ years and a classroom teacher for 30+ years I agree with you. False praise is good for the moment but children know if they did well or not. We need to commend the effort . The process is as important as the result. We often learn more from the process.After all we need to prepare children for the real world.

  • Guest vp

    Fantastic article! Im a Vice Principal in of a school and It’s due to these matters we now spend too much teaching time on Resilience programs in schools. This then takes away from teaching our students how to be literate and numerate; not to forget about lack of learning time to discover more about the fascinating science, history and geography of the world we live in.
    And they wonder why our out students aren’t achieving results like they use to? Pfft! It ain’t rocket science. If only there wasn’t a fu in class were my teachers didn’t have to spend over half an hour discussing strategies with students of how to bounce back from petit little situations. Ten of course the amount of time that is spent putty those cocky little children back in their spots.

    • Guest vp

      Apologies for my spelling mistakes my I phone was playing up on me . Were should be where and there’s a few grammatical errors. My comment posted too early. Apologies.

  • Ann Golub

    it’s all good and wonderful – but if there was an adult (or helicopter-mounted camera) walking with me to and from school, I would never have been a subject of weekly (and sometimes daily) sexual advances of perverts (flashers) who aimed 99% of their efforts at young children… I happened to be one of those kids. As a result, I am scarred for life. I wish my parents were able to protect me from that. But they didn’t.

  • Donna Volpitta, Ed.D.

    Very well written. Fortunately, this topic is now making it into the media all the time. A recent study came out about the number of times “resilience,” “resilient,” and “resiliency” appear in the title of journal articles. Prior to 2000, there were less than 100 per decade. In the past three years, there have been over 800. Clearly a topic that is on everyone’s mind.

    Unfortunately, there is little out there helping parents to change their behavior. The tips that you offer are fantastic, but I find in my work that parents have trouble implementing them until they understand a little bit about how the brain works. Our neurological reaction to challenge is counterproductive to building resilience. Parents need to understand why that it (our amygdala kicking in), how to stop that natural reaction, and how to use challenges as opportunities to teach resilience. I have been working on a model to make that information accessible and give parents a framework that works. Would love to connect.

  • KimberlyCat

    You are talking about helicopter parents. They have been around for years this is not something new. I grew up with a helicopter mother. Yes it’s the worse thing a parent can do to their child I should know.

  • Ryan

    Im 21 and i feel that the statement youve rarely experienced such and such unless your over thirty is false. I remember being outside from dawn till dusk but as a teenager i saw my girlfriend’s younger sister be raised totally opposite of of her and her sister who aee my age. This change to inside and ipad over a swing started for kids born around 2000.

  • stabberwocky


  • mark smith

    If everyone is a winner then no one is a winner, and worse, there is reward in trying to get better.

    • mark smith

      Of course I meant “NO reward” lol

  • Moyboy

    I was also blessed with 2 great parents. Yes my Mother was softer and a little easier when she was upset with me. My Dad was also very loving. Not near as soft and downright scary when I got (The EYE ). Even my friends knew the look. My Dad had me mowing yards @ 10. Helping him with his auto and home repairs on a Saturday at 8am. Don’t cry about it, do what needs done. I hated it. I was always trying to leave the house before he noticed the trash needed taking out. One night i found the trash bags neatly tied,( in my bedroom ). Never for got the trash again!!lol….My Mother taught me to be kind to all people. If I came across some angry person, or Bullies as a kid, to KILL them with KINDNESS. If they put their hands on me, take them down! I dealt with lots of bullies. The lessons I learned from BOTH parents made me a decent man. I sure try but no ones perfect.
    Now my 10 yr old son has zero hearing in left ear and 25 % in right. I battle everyday with the question of he needs more protection than most kids but i do see him having some of the traits above. ie if it does not come fairly easy he wants to give up. Some of his friends ride bikes in the neighbor hood but my son can’t hear traffic…. Even before this article we decided to slowly start adding more responsibility’s and chores. He already help’s Dad all around the house. I am very proud of him but I fear that his mom and I try and remove risk like the man said above.

  • farrell

    I think a big problem, including all the above, is that newer parents in the past 20 years werent taught life skills from the parents that were…so of course the even newer parents are even more clueless.

  • finjo

    As an extension of your thoughts on our children I am seeing similar issues in the work force when it comes to safety. The over protection is preventing the younger workers from engaging the brain while they work. They tend to believe if they have a toolbox talk and have been orietated on the task and its risks that everything will be okay, they forget about the execution of the task. A ‘lazy brain’ is rampant in the phyisical work force of the younger generation. They haven’t fallen enough through their childhood to know they have to pick there spots to land.

  • PALS

    AMEN!!! This idea of rescuing our children from every hardship has pervaded the education system, especially in the administration field. In part I do blame the parents who want everything to be easy for their little Johnny or Suzie and put pressure on educational administration to make sure their child does not have any negative experiences in school. The admins are uncomfortable with engaging in conflict with these demanding, over-protective parents. I teach high school English and actually had a parent lean across my desk accusing me of being prejudice against her son (who was a senior at the time, and not a minority by the way, neither am I) because I was only giving her boy 50 percent on an essay he turned in a week late. It didn’t stop there. When I would not back down and change the grade, admin got involved. While I didn’t have to change the actual grade of the paper, I had to change the arrangement of my gradebook so that the loss of points would not have such a negative effect. All because they didn’t want little Johnnie (not his name) to experience the consequences of his choices. It’s ridiculous!

  • Daddio Phil

    Excellent advice. I am a 50 something grandparent who has been exepounding this issue for 10 years. My kids are beginning to see the light, and believe that ole dad is not just old fashioned after all… All humans live up to the expectations we have of them, and, if given the chance, will rise in the face of adversity. We need to empower children by allowing them to make their own decisions, and letting them face the consequences of their decisions. This is how character is built, and how we all learn to accept responsibility and learn from our mistakes amnd experiences.

  • mathemagician

    As a MS teacher who is frequently at war with helicopter parents, who encourages academic risk taking, I thoroughly applaud this article. Should be mandatory reading for all parents (and maybe teachers? 😉 Wonderful!!

  • ProudtobeaMom

    I really enjoyed reading this article and agree 100% with you. We all learn by making mistakes. I feel for teachers these days. They put up with a lot of garbage from students’ parents. If the parents don’t respect the education system then why would their children? Our three children worked part time jobs through high school and continued on while attending university as well and it didn’t hurt them one bit. It taught them how to budget along with responsibility. Parents are trying to live through their children by putting them in too many extracurricular activies – they have no time to enjoy down time or you have parents that are too lazy to put their children in anything. I could go on and on about how messed up this society is becoming but you nailed most of the issues on the button.

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  • Sam

    This is really interesting for me, because I fall under a lot of the age ranges you’re talking about (I’m 25, so I went to school through the 90s and early 00s). I never really experienced much of this on my own, but I saw it happening to many of my peers. That being said, I do think parents should be cautious of going too far in the other direction, the way my parents did. I never got any praise, even when I was top of my class in advanced programs, and I had nobody to pick me up when I made mistakes. I once spent an entire day with a neighbor I’d never met before because I’d missed my bus to school and my parents wouldn’t come pick me up or let me into our house, and I was only 8 at the time. Never having someone to rely on has made me risk-adverse. I spend more time planning things than doing them, and even though I know it’s a problem, I can’t help feeling like even perfection isn’t good enough and that if I somehow manage to make a mistake, I’m entirely on my own.

  • Nikki

    At what age do you let your child walk 2-3 blocks from bus stop to home? is 5-6 ok?

    • no_tubes

      I walked nearly a mile each way to school when I was in second grade. It was a mid-size Oregon town, late 1970s.

  • JoJo58

    What’s the point of spying on his kid from a helicopter drone? Was the goal to be able to give the authorities a description of the kidnappers/killers? If their neighborhood was so bad that he felt the need to build a spy drone, then just WALK the kid to the bus stop. I’m a mother, and think this father is going to turn his son into even a bigger sissy than HE is. No wonder kids are so screwed up.

  • Michelle Heard

    We love this article!! As a Pre-K teacher I see so many parents want to hover and fix, when children need to learn valuable lessons on independence! true Facts!

  • Colin

    This article is dead on. I am a university student and I have a few friends that do not know how to fend for themselves at all. Growing up, I was taught to do many things on my own, including buying unnecessary items (such as gaming systems), buying junk food and buying clothes that were over the top expensive. Along with buying things, I was taught to make my “own” resume, and go to places to hand out my resume on my “own” because it shows I am capable of working without a parent there to hold my hand. Moving forward with this point, one of my friends at school has been incredibly sheltered while growing up at home. I can tell (as I am a Psychology major) by the way she acts and behaves as well as tasks that she CANNOT perform. At the age of 20, my friend has absolutely NO clue how to use a washing machine, and her mother comes twice a week to pick up her laundry. Her schooling is completely paid for, as well as groceries, and rent. The final disturbing part was that they offered her a brand new 2013 vehicle the summer before her first year, and she responded by saying, I don’t like that car. Do not spoil and do not shelter your child, they need to learn how to live in the real world

  • CarolSVance

    Wonderful article, the only thing you did not cover was respect for themselves and others.

  • mari

    This article is great. It should be shared millions of times!

  • Donna Fletcher

    Your a Rock Star!! Thank you!!

  • Brooke

    Although, I do agree with your article I was a bit disturbed on how the article focuses only on the “mom” as being the inabler. You focused quite a bit on what mothers tend to be doing wrong. I see a trend in today’s society with mothers having to take on more and more of all parental respsonibilties than in past generations. When I was growing up fathers played a more significant role. Mothers worried more while the fathers would encourage more risky behavior in their children. Mothers, not all, but most mothers naturally tend to baby their kids more than the father so maybe less father interaction may have something to do with why are children are being more coddled now than in past generations. I have no statics on this it’s just from what I observe in my environment. Either way, I do agree that our children do need to learn how to take risk and also need to be taught that failure is a great tool on how to become a better person.

  • Noelle

    I was always so frustrated when my kids elementary school insisted on feeding my child when they had forgotten their lunch, then turned around and said we had to pay for it. I tried several times to get them to let it go, but they wouldn’t. Their compassion for taking care of the kids interfered with the consequences I was trying to teach my child. They also wanted us to get a lunch account for our kids so that the kids could just “charge” their lunch. We refused and gave the kids cash once a week to buy what they wanted. People also looked at me funny when I allowed my son to go without a coat because he wanted to.

  • Trish Vivion Thompson

    Unarguably the best and most spot-on parenting article I have ever read. Very well done! Affirms my parenting in a world surrounded by “advice” to go easy then fill them with fluff and nonsense. There are not enough basements for this generation to live; sadly, that is what they are being groomed to do. Ours will be an interesting society in 20 years once they’ve all taken over.

  • Renee

    Amen! Thank you for affirming what I preach to anyone who will listen! I wish I could require parents to read this and research for themselves how true this is!

  • Mchl

    Fantastic, spot on!!!

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  • broshar

    “According to a study by University College London, risk-taking behavior peeks during adolescence.” Do we mean “peaks”?

  • Prefer not to…

    Retiring after 45 years in education…bravo! We design our systems to protect themselves and the clients are “directed” accordingly.

  • Navigator1924

    I think you’re right. My boys did their homework and then out the door they went to the backyard and the woods. They’re grown and successful and have plenty of sense.

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  • Spring Hall Van Cleave

    Excellent article!

  • Robert Bare

    I must have had terrible parents. i survived cars with no seatbelts and bicycles with no padding or helmets. I did some world class stupid things, I fell off a dock into the pacific ocean but lived, because they tossed me in a pool and taught me to swim. Fell out of a bunch of trees and many jungle gyms. I walked to school in rain and snow. That’s why we had raincoats, galloshes and snowboots. When i commited world class stupidity that affected other people I had to go apologize. i didn’t get a free pass to blame someone else. I got spanked a few times over the years. Because i deserved it. I imagine the trolls from child services would have been at our door regularly if we had the same rules then as now. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

  • The dude

    Typo: “every day, about fifteen…”, not “everyday about fifteen…”

  • Guest

    The word “mean” was used a lot to describe parenting styles early on in the comments. I agree that if you don’t upset your child sometimes you’re not doing your job as a parent but I also have to clarify the word ‘mean’ because I’ve seen so many moms who were going to tough love but they took it way too far all the way to downright mean and unnecessary. (I saw one “strict” mom make her 3 year old take her time out by locking her outside in the snow – as if that really showed her to listen). The way we handle ourselves, our voices, our tempers as parents is so essential. I want my kids to see me have firm, and immovable boundaries without screaming. I really want my kids to know I can say no and not get nasty. I want them to see me cool myself down when I’m frustrated and know I expect the same from them. Therein lies the essential difference between being a ‘mean mom’ aka a mom who has boundaries, a mom (like the moms here) who are doing what’s right for their kids instead of what’s easy and a mom who is just plain mean. I love the article btw and think it hit the nail on the nose.

  • ls


  • dennis slotnick

    Oh yea. right on. I teach Biology in a High School. As the last five years have intensified this over protection from risks I now find about half of my students as a Freshman in high school have never lit a match. never been allowed a matchbook in their hand! they even are amazed that i would trust them to light a bunsen burner with a live match!. I find myself training them on the basic skills of lighting a match. this may sound strange, I thought so at first wnen it was one or two kids but now its widespread!.
    comeon mom and dad, lighten up a little. HAHA.
    Dennis Slotnick, Teacher, Clay high School, oregon, Ohio.

  • Jharris

    I agree with most of what was said here. I’ve received calls from the parents of 23 yr old college students. I was not polite.

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  • Bianca

    do you have any children?

  • Larry Schramm

    I find this reasonable and tend to agree with the article. I would add that when praise is given it should be commensurate with accomplishment. Also, if working with people who have inculcated a negative self image, it is especially important not to over praise. This will tend to reinforce the negative as the child with such an image scorns the praise as unconscious of what negative behavior has not been observed.

  • RC

    Let me chime in as one more teacher who has seen too much of these behaviors from parents, and witnessed the adverse effects they have on the child. Thank you!

  • Lhunter

    I could not agree more. I once had a college freshman’s mom call me after she learned her son had failed based on excessive absences. Her response to me: “Why didn’t you call me?” I too often while in the classroom have parents rush to rescue their students from making any kind of mistake. I adhere to the philosophy that every student has the right to fail, but no student has the right to stand in the way of another’s success.

  • Kelsey Price

    So thankful for articles like this. As a mom, I want to raise a resilient, confident, and stable children who can take care of themselves in this world. Helicopter and over-involved parents are causing a generation of children who can’t do anything for themselves, have no accountability or responsibility, and no strong sense of self. I just finished reading “The Price of Privilege” which touches on a lot of these things as well, but ties in the reality of how affluence and money is causing a worse-off generation of parents and kids. Thanks for your work and voice towards changing the parenting styles that have become so prevalent in our country.

  • Eva

    I am guilty of the above. I know have a 27 year old who still lives at home, and makes my life miserable!

  • alyea riker

    one of the best articles i have read about raising kids hands down. you hit the nail on the head. LOVED THIS ARTICLE. every parent should read this.

    THank you very much

    loved the part about how kids today get a trophy even if the team loses every game, never shows up to practice and doesn’t even try. But in today’s society your still a winner. That is total bullshit in the real world.

    thank you. from manhattan beach, ca

  • E.Arp

    Apsolutely right on the mark. I hope all parents read your book. Alot of common sense which I feel is lacking in our society .

  • Interested community person

    Sadly, I think it is all about parental guilt. Parents need to think a moment about their need for all the things. it’s not about the things — it’s about the human connection.

  • night_hunter

    One of the measurements of maturity is how the individual analyses risk and determines what levels are acceptable. And, interestingly enough, one of the most risky things a person can do currently, is to get into an automobile and go somewhere within 25 miles of home – yet no one seems to want to talk about that.

  • WatchingMyBack

    I loved the article and then found the parent-bashing-by-teachers unpalatable. Teachers have my children for one quarter of the day, not all of it. Then 2-3 hours homework is sent home when my child has spent 2 hours, during school hours, with a council worker learning how to ride a bike on the road, for a bike licence. My child got his ‘bike licence’ because WE had taught him to ride a bike, on our time. Yet, he is struggling in his literacy, like really struggling? This, I cannot reconcile. I send him to school because it is law and education is his right in this country. He can ride a bike because his father sends hours teaching him, but can he read all the signs? No, we are teaching him that in his homework that gets sent home.It has been interesting to hear from this forum, how teachers view parents & how much they feel we are making their jobs harder because of what they perceive to be our failings. I make many mistakes as a mother, a human. Should I become a teacher to relieve myself of that mallady? I only struggle with educators when they blur the lines between my home & kaupapa and their obligations as educators of MY CHILDREN, 18 out of 24 trumps 6 out of 24 for 5 days of a school term. If you want respect, give it. Treat others the way you want to be treated…all the things we want to teach our children.Thanks for the article, I have learned alot & will take away some positive lessons. I am not a perfect parent, like some have spouted. I hustle everyday to do what is right. But I am willing to learn. I hope we ALL never stop learning. Thank you Dr Tim….it’s been….enlightening (sorry for any grammatical errors, my English teacher taught me how to understand my ‘sads’)

  • Shiloh Barkley

    Love this article! Wish I had a child to see if I was doing the right thing.

  • ebf

    A very wise person once told me there is a great difference in a good parent and a responsible parent.

  • sam

    I’m a little confused about the examples given that are said to be from four different universities. Are these actually true? They seem completely outlandish and unrealistic not to mention they are not very specific. You also list no sources for this article which would give your examples a little more credit if present although maybe I just can’t locate your sources on the website.

  • mikmak

    Great article the best one I have seen in ages on child raising, it really broadens my thinking on what I was already seeing. …. That we need to build resilience with our children. I dont know what you think but I believe we as parents need to be able to separate out children from the inadequacies and fears we have ie let our chidlren feel uncomfortable, let them know disappointment. Take them out of the constant competing that we put them through because we want to look like “terrific”parents or to “fit in”!!! I have made lots of mistakes as a parent and I have needed to be open to this fact. I sometimes think we as parents also dont want to feel uncomfortable or wrong so we gloss over what mistakes we might make, or we dimiss anyone who might challenge us. I have had to have a good look at the parenting I have done and some of it wasnt pretty. Fortunately those mistakes have actually built resilience in my adult chidlren, they have been forgiving enough and kind enough to let me know this.

  • Anon

    Not sure why you are saying that the world is safer according to law enforcement stats :
    The number of missing kids has more than quadrupled since 1982, and it continues to rise. Law enforcement is overwhelmed with not only finding the children, but finding the perpetrator and prosecuting them.

    I’m not saying you should spoil your kids but when one fact is so wrong hard to trust any of your “science”.

    • Dawnmarie Oyler

      There’s also more people. The rate of child abductions by strangers in consistent with the 50s, we just hear about it more. Most abductions are by family members not strangers but parents are worried about stranger abductions and that’s why they don’t let their kids play outside. There’s a difference in a child who runs away and one abducted by a stranger. There’s really only about 100 kids stranger abducted per year. The rest are taken by someone they know or they run away.

  • Elaine Dieball

    Amazing. Thank you so much for such a great article!

  • MamaMini

    I work at a major university and see the results of this every day. Students are suddenly expected to be adults because they are 18 and in college, but their maturity level is more like that of a 14 year old. They lack coping skills and in response parents want the ‘school’ to fix that.

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  • stacy for Colleyville

    Your Article Rocked! I have about 15 mothers that need to read it immediately.

    As much as I feel I do most of what you suggested, I too fall short as well. I have a hard time not rescuing my girls when “I” assume it’s needed. Your article just reminded me, that those are the very times I need to step back and allow my children the opportunity to handle it themselves. Come up with their own resolutions, maybe even not seeming logical to me at the time. By doing that, they have the ability to grow up to be logical, healthy, problem solving adults.

    So thanks… I needed to be reminded once again.

  • Patricia


  • Asheville Teacher

    I am a teacher, not a parent, and I believe your message is also spot on for education professionals. We will develop better leaders if we reward accomplishments, encourage risk-taking and mistakes, and refuse to pander to parents who DO try to negotiate every grade.

  • JustAMom

    Prepare the child for the path, not the path for the child.

  • Stacy Zimmerman

    The only one of these mistakes I’ve made for certain is the first one about risk. I understand she needs to learn to take calculated risks intelligently, and will only learn this by doing, I just can’t get over my own fear for her safety. Concerts, crowded malls, movies without parents- all of which have been in recent news connected to some tragedy, specifically shootings. How can I avoid this mistake without putting her in harm’s way?

  • Alexandra

    This is awesome! I am so thankful for how I was raised. I am much more responsible and able to handle the real world without crying home To my parents. All tht is stated in this article I hope all parents should see. I have many friends at the age of 20+ who still need their parents for every step they take…

  • KGuz

    I just heard about this article and it is great!!! My friends always gave me a hard time because when my son would fall at the playground I wouldn’t run over and check on him. I would always tell them that I was watching him and knew that he wasn’t injured so there was no need for me to run over to his aid and that in reality I was teaching him a bigger lesson. In life we will fall many times and we will just have to get up and keep on going.

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  • Maria Thetford

    I totally agreed with you but every place they go have to pay such a huge insurance , the rules and regulation that fallow aloud our children to barely breath, my children stop riding their bicycle because of the helmets it made them too hot, and from there the noes, can’ts the law said etc is infinite

  • Karla Lilley

    I was my dad’s helper while growing up. I cherish those memories and skills.

  • TxMom

    Article is a little heavy handed with the “mom” examples but other than that..mostly good advice.

  • brandica

    What a great article and SUCH an important read for all parents.

  • knowssignlangauge

    Yeah i do not baby my kids. If they forget their homework they write I will not forget so and so i will bring it home. They have chores everyday, clean their rooms, clean their bathroom and wash the dishes. They only come home sick if the nurse calls and says the have to. they only stay home from school only if they are throwing up because the school wont allow them to go. They know they have to do their best in school. My kids are already talking college and they are 11 and 7! I say well you have to get good grades and study really hard. I make them play outside they do not sit in the house all day either. If it is nice and its not rainy or way to cold they are out the house!. I do agree with you CBENSON. If your kids do not say I hate you at least once in their life time you are doing something wrong!.

  • Boobear

    I’m 24 and no children yet, but I see my friends with toddler-aged kids making these mistakes… It makes me sick! When their child acts out, they take pictures of how “cute” it was to act disrespectful and post it on Facebook! I am appalled! And if I say anything like, “so what was his/her punishment?” I get a diatribe about how I don’t know what it’s like to have kids. I work as a Teaching assistant at the university level and see students who think they can barter with their professors for better grades. Thank God my professor refuses to change their grades. Seriously parents need a wake up call!

  • anonymous

    Thanks for your perspective. Btw, no one calls us the Y generation anymore. We’re the millenials please!

  • Skalex

    So where, when and how did we all go wrong? What led to our generation babying our kids so much? We didn’t grow up this way….I know it is wrong each time I protect or rescue…yet I feel, in today’s world, if I don’t protect, I’m the bad Mom.

  • Abby L.

    I feel that this and many similar articles on the subject of Millennials is reductive and biased. As a 25 year old, I can say that I have learned to dive at a public pool, did walk to school (and rode though wooded areas on an ATV to my bus stop), filled out my own college applications and have held jobs since the age of 16. I don’t consider myself part of a minority in that respect; plenty of my peers have had similar experiences growing up.

    Sometimes the simplest explanation is the correct one. Our generation happened to enter the workforce during the shittiest economic period experienced by recent generations (hence living at home or not pursuing families or serious relationships early on). We’re competing for filing jobs that now seem to require a B.A. We’re working part-time or taking positions that pay below minimum wage through financially compromised programs like AmeriCorps and America Reads on the off chance that doing so may lead to something better. It’s problematic to condense the experiences of young people spanning several decades (teens to mid-30s). It makes articles like this one come across as narrow-minded and out-of-touch.

    Kids these days.

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  • SOstrander

    Thank you! I was a genius as a mother, not a raving lunatic as some thought. I have two wildly successful children because they are both happy.

  • Trying to Get There

    Im 23 (dont have kids) but this article made me realize some things going on with my life and why they happen. Thank you! I will save your page to read more of the things you have written. Thank you again!

  • Tony Lazzari


  • Karen Ellis

    This was a very nice article. Some of it I knew and practiced. I think the big “take a look in the mirror” moment for me was the part about over-praising. My son is 1 and I know too many people who have poor self-esteems because they were told they could not do things by their parents. I want to raise a self-confident kid. So I constantly use phrases like “You’re unbelievable! You’re awesome!” It never dawned on me the day would come that these phrases would feel empty because he failed a test or isn’t “awesome” at t-ball. In my defense, however, as I sit here typing this my son and husband are in the yard within my earshot. My husband is teaching my son how to hit a ball on the tee. My son is yelling, “Great job! You’re incredible! Wow, Daddy!” At the very least, he has understood the power of compliments and encouragement in their positive poles. Thanks again for this article. My compliments will be more specific now.

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  • Ursula Platt

    i disagree. love your child. talk to them with respect. expect them to be responsible for their actions, but help them out if they screwed up. work on your own problems, so you don’t mindlessly pass on your own damages. our world is scarier than the brady bunch world i grew up in.

  • windyw

    Thank you for this wonderful article.

  • Kait

    I love this. I’m a college sophomore. My parents let me make mistakes and learn from them. Unlike many of my classmates, who were paid for “A’s,” my reward was being told that I did a good job. Not that I was smart, or deserved it, but that my HARD WORK led to my grade. Now I live with two roommates whose parents didn’t teach them these things. They blame their bad grades on professors and expect that someone else will clean up their (literal and figurative) messes for them.

    I’ve become very grateful that my parents raised me the way they did. They didn’t do things for me. They taught me how to do those things myself.

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  • ABM

    I’ll have to read this article later, right now I have to call the company that my son just interviewed at, to make sure they understand how important it is to hire him.

  • AMACsMom

    I’m not one to rave too easily, but this really was a great article. I guess you wouldn’t be offended by the sign on my classroom door that asks students to leave any sense of entitlement outside the classroom.

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  • S

    Thank you for writing this!!!!!

  • Olga

    When I was in the middle of the first grade, my parents and the parents of my best friend decided that we were big enough to walk home from school on our own. We were very proud and really enjoyed the adventure. Some twenty years later our mothers confessed that they actually secretly followed us on the route home for about a month until they were quite sure that we knew how to cross busy streets and what to do when we were being talked to by strangers. The ‘don’t talk to strangers’ rule, by the way, was also a rather funny modification – it was don’t give out your name and personal information and don’t go anywhere with them, but people are generally interesting, so why not enjoy a nice chat in a safe environment. At times, mother says, she caught herself thinking “I am so glad all of those people on the bus who have to endure my daughter’s loud fight with her friend have no idea she is MY daughter”, but she never-ever interfered. Her rule was “If it’s not life-threatening, she can deal with it on her own and then tell me about it later”.

    My parents are proud of the kind of grown-up that I am, but I can also see what that strategy of raising me did for them. Now that they are in their sixties and seventies and all of their friends are very prone to worrying about everything in the world, my parents are very patient people who can accept what life brings them. After letting me deal with my life on my own and closely watching that when I was young, my mother has developed a deep trust not only in my judgement, but also a deep trust in the world. And that is something I hope more people would have.

  • Debbie Caras Gordon

    I was a child of the sixties who paid rent to my single mom when I was 18 in the eighties. I try to raise my kids with at least some of the values I was raised with. For example, when I complained to my father that I didn’t like homework, He replied, “You don’t have to like it, you just have to DO it.” I also require that my kids tidy their rooms and do some household tasks. When my 11 year-old daughter tells me that other girls in her class don’t have to tidy their rooms, I tell her that those are other people’s choices and that I think it will probably be hard for them when they grow up. She doesn’t have to like me…I’m ok with that. Thank-you for verifying some tried and true values for child rearing and teaching.

  • chancho

    If you don’t risk your kids life by letting them be pedo bait on their walk to school, then you’re being a helicopter parent.

  • Heidi Macy

    Seriously one of the best articles I’ve read in a long time. Kudos! Will be sharing far and wide…

  • Dee

    You article was refreshing and on target. It’s good to know that their are other parents out there being parents and not ‘friends’ or ‘pals’ to their kids. Great article!

  • Matt

    I agree with a lot with what the article has to say. I am part of that generation that walked or road my bike to school when I was probably as young as 7. I also remember that my favorite game as a kid was Smear the Queer (tackle the kid with the ball) and once we caught him, everyone would pile on and yell “Nigger Pile”. As an adult, I cringe to think that we used those words. Obviously I had no idea what those words meant back then, but I can’t fathom how it was allowed on school playgrounds during recess. So, maybe not everything was perfect about the way were raised in the 70’s and 80’s. We have probably gone too far now with protecting kids, but it is a tough balance. Should we still allow fake guns on playgrounds?… What about playing cowboys and Indians? Maybe I went a little off track from the point of the article, but I am talking about parent supervision. How far do we go? Teachers now don’t let kids do anything that is even close to dangerous or offensive on the playground in fear that they will get sued. Can you blame them?

  • Linda

    I have four well adjusted successful adult children and I must say my parenting styles were quite closely linked to what you are proposing. And yes there were most definitely times when my kids “didn’t like me” …. but they did get over it :)

  • Marcie

    I agree with points #2 and #3, but not #1. We do live in a more dangerous and violent world. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be getting better, and a parent must take necessary precautions against predators, gangs, and the like. We must also train our children how to respond if confronted in these types of situations.

    As for #2 and #3, I would definitely agree with you! I am a teacher, and I hear excuses beyond belief, for students who aren’t required to take on personal responsibility. I also agree that while praise may have its place, it is highly overrated, and can instill a sense of narcism in our children.

  • Sam

    The fact that we have to read books like this in the first place is evidence of how much common sense my generation has lost. I hope I raised my kids, 32 and 26, so that they don’t need books like this to raise theirs. I was lucky I had parents who understood these issues as they raised me and helped reinforce them as I raised my kids. Now as a grandparent it’s my job to help my kids do the same thing. Not a real difficult concept.

  • BK Kansas

    I have been saying the same thing for years. We are sending our children into the harsh reality of life without the tools needed to navigate it. We are doing more harm by over protecting our children then good.

  • morri85

    related blog (i am not affiliated to it in any way is

  • Elwing

    This is refreshing to hear, and also scary at the same time. I’m raising a two year old (who will be an only for multiple reasons), and I’m afraid of when I send her to school that other parents will interfere with her ability to learn maturity. I know I can’t be with her all day, and when she’s in school, she’ll be with other kids who aren’t as mature, and will be subject to the environment that many of the teachers before me have complained about. Even in daycare, I’m the type of parent that asks if she provoked a kid into biting her. I want to see her treat her teachers and class mates with respect, but just being in a class with other non-mature children will influence her. “Johnny yells at the teacher, why can’t I?”

  • Richard Larson

    I agree absolutely 100%. These words of wisdom should be an integral part of any parenting class. I was incredibly fortunate to literally fall into most of these gems of wisdom accidentally, in my opinion. I had no formal, or for that matter informal parenting training, but was fortunate enough to have been rebellious enough to try most of these bits of behavioral truth.

  • Laura

    Very interesting. It’s never good to exaggerate – one way or another. I was raised in Europe and my parents were good at putting into practice the things you are writing about. However, I am wondering why my self esteem is so low…. I had to work hard until my father said ” You did well”… but it made me rather frustrated… Another thing I am struggling with is that I am too independent. I am glad my parents let me go but now I fee too independent :) Maybe I am an exception from the rule :)

  • Nick

    Thank you.

  • Deborah

    Excellent article! I wish more parents could read this. I am a preschool director and I see this clearly every day. It starts in early childhood.

  • Empa

    Amen! Now, could someone please send this to my mother-in-law?

  • Cathy Schuyler

    I essentially agree with you. My kid is walking to school as I type. But if she forgets something, and I’m still home, I’ll bring it by the school. I call it helping out. I need her help sometimes and I model that by helping her. I have an over-achieving, fabulous, capable, confident child. I want her to learn to forgive easily, both herself and others. We help each other in our family. It works.

  • JC

    People do not understand when I say I am not raising children but adults. My purpose is that they will some day be responsible and productive adult members of our society and not spoiled rotten grown up children. I expect them to earn the things that they want and not just give them everything. They often think its unfair because their friends are just given stuff they have to earn but I think when they are grown they will thank me for it. My kids will know how to cook, clean, drive, make good choices and hopefully spend money wisely by the time they leave home. I met too many kids when I was attending college who could not take care of themselves and I pitied them. They had to learn from the school of “your mama don’t live here”. This is a great article and every parent should read it!

  • Stepharoni

    I had to walk to school and deal with a little bullying. My dad just said “well you’ll live”, I got whipped for bad grades. My brother and I punched each other. My dad always pissed me off because I had to wash clothes and be up during the weekends at 8AM. I ran around the neighborhood doing whatever I wanted with my friends until my dad whistled for me to come in. Got a 10 speed for Christmas, first time I rode it I ran inside to go to the bathroom and had leaned it against the house. When I came back it was gone. My dad told me not to expect him to get another one, work extra for the money and get it myself. I was threatened in school all the time about getting my ass kicked by this girl and I was tired of it. Told my dad for the millionth time. He drove me to her house and banged on the door. Told her dad to let her come out and fight me right there in his yard. Her dad had no problem with it, claiming I was threatening her. She wouldn’t come out of her house. She never messed with me again. I got into two fights in 6th grade and my mom was really upset. My dad asked if I took care of it. We always rolled in the grass, played barefoot, got glass in my foot a couple of times and loved to test the waters like prank calling and sneaking out when I was 16. I got caught though and my dad killed me :(….Life was hard but good back then. Later I moved away with my mom who didn’t have any child rearing skills. I did my own thing. And I’ve been independent my whole life. I struggled and made my way. Somehow I survived. But must admit I am guilty of “over protecting”. I need to stop.

  • omobaba

    Growing up, there was Uncle Gold. He was almost always in our house, mostly using an old-fashioned iron press on clothes he had washed as a laundryman in the backgarden of my parents’ house. “Uncle Washman” as we called himwas handsome. Whilst almost everyone in the village was dark-skinned, he was light and light meant handsome and desirable. Except that his wife had left him and no woman would go near him. He had no money.
    My mother told me his story one day. As an infant he was so angelic that his mum would not allow just anybody to touch him. As a toddler/preschool/stripling, he was not allowed any work. Everything was done for gorgeous Gold. He did not go to school (where he’d be smacked by the teacher). He did not learn any trade. Alas, when mum and dad died, he was left alone, unschooled, unlearned, untrained, unprepared and unskilled. The only trade he could do to feed himself was laundry. Later, he died penniless.
    His parents loved him and wrapped in cotton wool. Or was that – they hated him?

  • Raymond L Foster Jr

    You have time to build and monitor a camera-mounted drone helicopter, but you don’t have time actually walk with your child to the bus stop?

  • Karen Cox Oliver-Paull

    I guess you didn’t grow up in the country where we had to ride a school bus so crowded that it was standing room only and the larger kids thought nothing of shoving small kids down and stepping on them breaking bones and sometimes disfiguring them for life. I would have given anything for a kind word from my mother instead of her screaming at me for getting my clothes dirty or my glasses getting broken by a high school senior when I was in 4th grade.

  • FrustratedTeach

    By the way, helicopter parents: I’m sure your children love you, but they will not hesitate to throw you under the bus in order to weasel their way out of consequences when you are their constant ‘rescuer.’ As a teacher, I’d love to have a dollar for every time a student has said to me: ‘my mom didn’t put my homework in my bag last night so I can’t turn it in.’ Or, ‘my mom didn’t remind me’…. and then, another dollar for every time I’ve had to say: ‘actually, it isn’t your MOM’S responsibility….’

  • Jeana

    Spot on!! You took how I feel and put it in words!!

  • Kathleen Mangiafico

    Simply AWESOME!

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  • parent2

    Spot on. However, now that I have a 2 year old this is easier said than done. I have found myself cutting time-out short because she won’t stay, giving her a juice box even though I had previously said she couldn’t have one, and hugging her when when she is whining because I feel sad for her, instead of letting her work through it as I know I should. I’m glad you have shared this insight. It is a perfect reminder that the way I was raised wasn’t so bad after all, and I am doing her a disservice by providing her with immediate satisfaction.

  • Brian R Gard

    I have noted over the years what the author describes to very true and also to have an adverse impact on our children. Their young life needs to be a training ground for the real world, not a training ground for a life of fantasy….

  • Kris Vincent Whelan

    I am amazed at the accuracy of your article. I agree that it should be printed out and given to every parent to read even before they begin parenting. As a former teacher, I have seen every one of those situations in “real life”. I know we did a good job with our own kids by watching them become the amazing adults they are now. The best thing is- I see my son parenting the same way we did. :-)

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  • Blueeyes58

    I found you from a FB link. So….. this all said and done, at 58 and having raised two wonderful sons, who are there for me; they say the worst thing I did was volunteer them for tasks and jobs, before asking. It wasn’t that they necessarily didn’t want to do them, but some they may have accomplished much better, if they could have been in on the planning. This trickles down from my mother who was always there for everybody, and willing to jump in. I knew what they meant, because she did the same thing to me. Was it wrong, no, and I am now graduating college with a Sociology Degree. She handed us a social conscience. Including kids in on the planning, and not just taking over, and doing it, shows respect for them and their recipient.

    For example: Mom would see a church member, or community member getting behind on housework, and think she had to go over and clean up. Well we were drug along. We worked hard for no money. We were rarely appreciated, and I never understood why our good intentions were maligned. It was simple. The recipient felt invaded by the white tornado. They should have been consulted, and in on the planning. Hurt feelings can be the result of a good deed gone awry.

    Yes, we want to train our children, and it can be done quite successfully, but with respect to all parties involved.

    Now daddy was a brave little man. He taught us girls to shoot, hunt, work on the car, fish, run a chain saw, set chokers, rig lines, stack wood, shave kindling, start fires, and maintain bomb fires, cut brush with a machete, and drive both car and truck. He saved our lives more than once. He served six years in the National Guard and learned Mouth to Mouth breathing when it was new in First Aid. He saved me from carbon monoxide poisoning, when I was five, by giving me the breathe of life.

    Okay so he’s a hero, but momma was always there too. They will be married 62 years this 2013. I owe them a lot.

  • B. Christensen

    I agreed w/ almost everything in your article…. I don’t agree that we have adults still living at home because of “our failure to let them risk….” We have adults still living at home because mommy and daddy are giving them everything and making it so they don’t have to work for what they want out of life. In talking about children being “afraid” of risk you don’t seem to take into account the naturally cautious child. For example my (now 16yr old) child refused to walk till she was almost 2 and refused to climb on an open play structure till she was almost 4. I would put her on the structure she’d crawl off and refuse to get on it, but if it was a closed structure she was all over it. This is just her natural temperament.
    I also disagree with your remark “teens likely need to break up with a boyfriend or girlfriend to appreciate the emotional maturity that lasting relationships require.” I disagree with this because teenage breakups did nothing to prepare me or make me appreciate the “emotional maturity that lasting relationships require.” It wasn’t until YEARS later that I could appreciate the give and take of a lasting relationship.
    Like I said I agree with almost everything in your article. My children are told on a constant basis that “It is only as hard as YOU make it.” Meaning that if they don’t put in the work that it requires then they are responsible for the difficulties they’ll face. We expect (they’ve proven they can earn them) nothing lower than a B in their classes and that offends a lot of their friends and other parents. Many of our family/friends think that our “giving” our 16yr old a car was wrong because she “buy it herself.” What they aren’t aware of (it’s none of their business) is that she IS buying it from us in the form of EXTRA chores and re-imbursement. Yes, we put down the original payment but she is still the one ultimately buying the car.

  • etragedy

    I was just talking about this the other day with some people. When we were kids we basically left in the morning and came back once for lunch and then disappeared again until dinner. Nobody knew where we were. If we were on bikes, we weren’t wearing helmets (did they even make them?), we climbed trees, even fire escapes and got on roofs of buildings. Not every kid got a gold star. Even the deserving sometimes didn’t get recognition. I could go on and on…

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  • Sara

    my mom took care of everything for my siblings and I. I think it’s because of my parents divorcing she always felt bad about it and wanted to be our friends. When I was getting ready for college I realized how disadvantaged I was and it carried through my college career which was short lived. I purposely went to a college further away so that I could learn myself how to do things and continued to choose work further from home, again for that reason. I’m now married with children and I am working hard to not do everything for them. When they come to me because someone “took my toy.” etc then I tell them how to work it out but I refuse to do it for them. They are the ones who will have to deal with those situations alone in school. Take it from someone who was overly protected as a child, don’t do it. For crying out loud, it wasn’t until I was married that I had to make calls for appointments etc on my own and I gotta tell ya, I was nervous for the first few times.

  • Robin

    I do a lot of training with preschool teachers and parents. I try to teach them that we need to help our children learn to recognize when they are doing well and be motivated by those good feelings. I might say to a child, “Do you think you did a good job? How does that feel inside? Pat yourself on the back.” Then I have them pat themselves. We all need to learn the habit of positive self-talk for authentic success and to be motivated by those good feelings.

  • LL

    Great article! I only wish more people would read it.

    I believe that it is the job of the parent to make themselves redundant. I also believe it is the parent’s job to provide support. Part of that means giving them freedom and letting them experiment with the world, knowing that mistakes will be made and that that is when the most learning and inner growth will happen. It isn’t that we have to somehow work “against” our kids to achieve this; kids want to explore and learn and take on responsibilities. Every kid can and should learn and practice basic life skills. Sometimes it takes more “nudging” than others, but viewing them as some sort of wild thing that needs taming sets up a dynamic that, for more sensitive kids, might erode their trust.

    I see my role as a parent to be a guide and mentor; friendship can come once they are out on their own, although we do enjoy each other’s company. We work together. I am not a dictator. We replace “rules” with “kindness” and “good judgement”. In fact, the only “rules” have given my kids are: no reading while walking through parking lots and traffic, and no reading while navigating stairs. While reading, my kids seem to lose their sense of good judgement LOL.
    Discussing and using good judgement covers everything else, and allows them the freedom to make their own mistakes. The conversation between us remains open.

    We do not operate on the premise that age deserves respect; instead we act on the premise that people deserve respect, regardless of age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, etc. I am proud that my sons have learned this well and have even protected fellow students from those who do not show such respect, including an incident with a supply teacher who acted unprofessionally.
    Although the student was not a friend of his, DS left the classroom without permission and went to the office where he reported the situation to the vice principal. In some schools, he may have been reprimanded, since some people still value authority over ethics, but his school prides itself on respect of all people, and he was thanked by the administration.

    If DS had been taught that age and/or authority is to be respected above all else, he might not have been willing to risk himself in this way. No one else in the class took action, and had he not done so in this case, that student would have had to endure continued harassment. Instead, the teacher was removed from the system upon admitting to the behaviour.

    By replacing the “law of rules” with “good judgement”, he was able to see that breaking a rule and defying the authority of the teacher to leave the classroom was preferable to letting the situation continue.

    In school, I am always surprised when there are meetings that do not include the student. Often I will bring said child along anyhow, since it is their education we are discussing.

  • ShariL

    Even though I have never considered myself one of those parents, I must admit that there were parts of your article that rang true. My children do chores, are responsible for getting homework etc done. It is the safety part that I seem to be falling short on. I’m going to work hard at loosening up a bit and I ordered Yi in the hopes that it will help me grow in ways that will help my children as well.

  • Suchitra Edussuriya

    I couldn’t agree more. Try to disseminate this article to all the schools in this country so that it can be passed on to parents.

  • Lori


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  • Mark

    Well expressed and documented. Thanks!

  • Craig

    Excellent observation for our current culture. I’m often guilty of taking away risk from my kids but you are exactly right in that they need it just like I did growing up. My parents were much better than I have been in allowing risk and not rescuing so quickly

  • Seeing with both eyes

    I agree with the article that we are living in an oversensitive world. But lets face it, the old fashioned and traditional ways are not as sacred as they used to be. Children are getting kidnapped, molested, and sometimes killed just while innocently walking to school. I believe that individuals with kids should set boundaries even for themselves against over coddling and softening a kid’s resilient capabilities. I have watched parents literally drop everything because their child stubbed their toe or perhaps slightly hit their hand and the kid starts bawling. They wrap their huge suffocating arms around them and act as if their baby is dying. Please.
    Parents who are responsible in making sure they can do what is in their power in keeping a watchful eye on their child is in my opinion, are doing nothing wrong. It seems that the times of this present age is a weird, creepy, overexposed era. The media tells our young boys to conquer and sow their seeds in any young girl willing. While also encouraging our young girls to wear skimpy sexy outfits even if they are only a single digit age. I appreciate this article and the tone it sets in presenting the importance in allowing our young people to form their own opinions or helping them to have a operating critical thinking mindset. But lets not shoot down the people who trying to keep their children safe, even if it is by helicopter.

    • Seeing with both eyes

      I realize I picked out the helicopter dad while not expressing the other issues that children are being “protected” from feeling bad. I just want to state that this article is right, but I just took the one instance of the father and expanded on it. Its scary that kids are getting away with so much!

  • Bubblez

    This article is helping my parents rethink thier deciscion to not allow me to ride my bike a block away to a friend because society sucks… big time…

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  • Pit

    I appreciate this article. It is all I believe in but still have difficulty implementing these things with my own kids. It makes sense to me but I still struggle with the letting go piece. I’m look for the middle ground, the guiding, the knowledge of what is developmentally appropriate. This is a well articulated reminder of why we need to make informed decisions and have perspective when raising our kids, and teaching our students. We must not, and can not cave into the over emotional cotton wrapping that has defined this time in 1st world parenting. Take the trainer wheels off their bikes as soon as they understand pedaling, get rid of the safety nets around the trampoline when they can jump with agility, let them climb, swing, jump, and occasionally fall, “awesome” is for life changing events,failure is still a crucial part of success, preserve the sanctity of these things. But most of all, talk to them, challenge our kids to think, to reflect, and to make some sort of sense to the what and why. Enjoy life!

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  • Charlene

    I’ve made these same observations for years but not so eloquently. I would like to think that those parents who need to hear it will have the opportunity.

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  • Dad

    Interesting article. I’ve been living overseas for so long that when I became a parent, mostly I used my memory to guide my parenting. We used to climb trees, ride bicycles helmetless, and fight with sticks. I survived it. All the kids I know survived it. I feel my job as a parent is to maximize the rewards while minimizing the risks. So my 8yo is rollerblading, with helmet and pads. She’s pushing her boundaries, going faster and I’m… gritting my teeth. I notice that when she climbs trees or a climbing frame, she has a good feel for where her limits lie, and their often beyond the point where my heart and breathing rates have increased.

    “Obviously, negative risk taking should be discouraged, such as smoking, alcohol, illegal drugs, etc.” Did your lawyer make you put that one in? Smoking, alcohol, illegal drugs and et ceteras also have their rewards as well as their risks. If you’re bringing up a child to deal with the real world, you have to hope that by the time they’re letting go of the apron strings, they have enough nouse to make an informed choice. That said, hands up who never did anything stupid in their youth. They’re going to do things that you don’t approve of and that will worry you.

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  • Tweesa

    This is music to my ears. I’m a strong believer that kids shouldn’t be put on pedestals and preened, praised and protected. This generates vacuous trophies. If we want children to be productive members of the community, then this needs to be encouraged at a young age, at home and in the community. Once they feel the satisfaction of contributing, helping and be accepted for who they are (see comments below) they will continue to be active. Once they learn how to learn from their mistakes, the boundaries are endless…. Another parental issue which is linked to this, is the need to keep kids clean, tidy and respectable. Parents seem to have a phobia against mess. I cringe very time I hear a parent say “don’t jump in the puddle you’ll get wet and dirty.” ” stop giggling you’re being s illy.” Sorry i thought that what kids are supposed to do? Let kids be kids. On one hand we are babying our kids throughh the need to protect them, but making them grow up too quickly with our aversion to mess. Ever likely kids are confused.

  • MK

    I think there’s a difference between calling up your college student to make sure he’s wearing a jacket, and not letting your child face a truly dangerous situation. Of course they have to learn how to be independent. But it’s also important for kids to learn that humans aren’t invincible, even if they’re “the bravest kid in the neighborhood!” (for example, the example of biking outside during a man-hunt that someone commented below). This could result in a death, not a skinned knee. I grew up in a forest, and we were always allowed to play outside without parent supervision. We’d get minor injuries, come across situations we’d have to solve ourselves, get lost and have to find our way back etc. and that’s great because I’m now an independent adult. But I’m also not completely blind to the forces of nature or dangerous people, but not because I was allowed to face those things alone. If there was a rabid animal on the loose in the forest, my parents would make us stay inside. That did the OPPOSITE of creating a dependent, frightened adult – it created an adult who respected her parents’ authority and understood that they cared about my well-being. My parents instilled a very balanced perspective in me, which makes me inclined to protect my kids (which, when I have kids, will be an important part of my job as a parent), but never baby them or spoil them. There’s definitely such a thing as a happy medium.
    Anyway, thanks for the insightful and well-written article. I enjoyed it, and I think it would definitely be a positive change if today’s overbearing parents took on a little more of this perspective.

  • Lucy

    I absolutely agree with what you are saying.
    What do we do when we are hearing in England of a certain group of men grooming young school girls , this is a new phenominin and is a scary one and happening in large cities.

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  • pranaam

    Generation iY was funded by Chick Fila if anyone cares to know. Keep perspective. I totally agree with this article, just not that entire book.

  • Amy

    My brother is an alcoholic and this is exactly what they talk about in the family care meetings. Let him take responsibility for himself, take any risk he wants, tell him you’re sure he can work it out if trouble arises… Be honest with praise, “you have worked things out yourself in the past you can handle this too. “

  • Robin

    Excellent article. I have always believed scars from our childhood are almost always good memories. Like the time I crashed my bike racing a friend. I’m from that generation who grew up ‘outside’ so Mom could get things done around the house. (If I didn’t have chores to do myself). T.V. was three channels that went off the air around midnight. We were thrilled when we won a blue ribbon for something, and happy for our friends if they won. We weren’t crushed if we didn’t get the ribbon, trophy, or prize. We just worked harder so next time we might be the ones who won. We got grades in school showing exactly what we had earned in that subject and our parents looked at our report cards to see where they needed to give us a bit of extra tutoring so we could do better. While the time I grew up in was not perfect by any means, I really do believe it did a much better job preparing us for life as it really is, not as some people wished it would be. There is great satisfaction gained from working hard for a goal and getting there. It lessens the value of achieving that goal by giving everyone a prize for just showing up. Today we give too much to those who do not try at the cost of those who do work hard. Great article Dr. Elmore.

  • mark

    This is all great until your child is taken because you let her go to the park alone so she can learn.

  • Arnika

    Parents who want to improve their parenting skills can take Thomas Gordon’s Parent Effectiveness Training or buy Thomas Gordon’s Parent Effectiveness Training book on Amazon. More information about T. Gordon’s trainings is on
    www . gordontraining . com

    There’s also Thomas Gordon’s Youth Effectiveness Training which teaches adolescents emotional and social skills.

  • Meg

    Totally correct! I am so sick of the spoiled brats that think they are GODS because mommy and daddy tell them that! Make your kid earn your respect! Why because we had to and it makes you accountable and apperceived of what you earn! Don’t be that parent! Your kid will suffer! Thank you!! My husband and I are 40 and 41 and swore that we would raise our boys “old school” I wish more people did because we may have had it hard but I think it was a pretty awesome childhood!

  • dew40

    I have a friend who manages people at a large company in Minneapolis. He says that at year’s end when reviews are done, invariably, he’ll get a call from some of his employee’s parents complaining to him about the bad report their child got! Can you believe that? These people are in their early twenties!

  • jeffrey

    Tim, it’s good to love your children and teach them responsibility all at the same time you’re protecting and praising them! Tim, time or society hasn’t changed and will not! Saying I love you and communication is what’s going to make them the healthy son, daughter, ect you want into adult hood! Not broken bones and a month in lock up!

    Im a parent and I have and always will take full responsibilities for their actions!
    As parents we just owe it to them!

    Maturity starts in the home not in a tree or the streets DR. TIM ELMORE!!!

    If your a parent take full responsibility…

  • Brian

    It is day 2 of summer staff training at Wilderness Skills Institute. If you like what he says check out their camps and school.

  • kylad818

    Loved it all, but especially the quote, “Just like muscles atrophy inside of a cast due to disuse, their social, emotional, spiritual and intellectual muscles can shrink because they’re not exercised.” It reminds me of my pet peeve of many parents’ current reliance on technology. It used to just be that the tv was the electronic babysitter, but as a server at a restaurant, I see all too often that its the portable DVD player, the smart phone, and the tablet. I’ve seen parents come in with wireless headphones, and just plop their kids at the table with a movie. Now I can’t say that I never let my 3 year old play games on my phone, but I try to limit it A LOT, because I feel that times at home or out with family or friends are a great opportunity to start building those social and emotional skills.

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  • Chuck Thomas

    This was silly, just more claptrap, these articles seem to never have quantitative content.

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  • jo

    great article, as a grandmother i am going to ask my sons and their wives to also read it. i have very special grandchildren, have u heard that before?

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  • Margaret Sequeira

    I agree with this article and I want to take some of the pressure off the parents. Parents did not create this situation overnight and there is a lot of societal pressure to make things “safe.” Think of security screening at airports, warnings on all sorts of ordinary household items. Even if a parents wants to be more of a risk taker – let their child ride the bike around the neighborhood, walk somewhere by themselves – they can face immense pressure from others who will rebuke the parents for allowing their children to take risks. So yes we as parents need to encourage healthy risk taking, risking failure, resiliency and we need to change the culture as well.

  • Sarah

    Very well put. I hope more parents and grandparents come to understand this, because what they are doing doesn’t help their children or grandchildren, it hurts them. It hurts them in a way that can be soul-destroying, especially if the parent is no longer there for the child when the real world comes knocking.
    2 small corrections: “peek” should be “peak” and I believe “everyday” the way it is used should be “every day.”
    I know a great Writer/Editor who can help you because even the smallest error on a professional website can make the audience or customers go elsewhere. I don’t claim to be perfect, but I am also merely commenting on a site, not building one for my business.

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  • Cathy Cee

    Thank you. This has been on my mind, You said it much better than I.

  • Sue S.

    Thank you, Tim! I have been saying the same thing for years… I wish every parent in America would read this! I teach Pre-K in a public school and see this all the time. Parents carry their four year-olds, take their coats off for them, etc. We are trying to teaching our students to become self- reliant and independent! One of our mottos is “You can cry or you can try”!

  • Denise van Rooyen

    I really enjoyed this article, I am not a professional, just a mother of 3 grown successfull daughters; everything I read made sense. I believe children who are allowed to fail every so often find out that they will survive the ordeal and it appears to make them more determined and when they do succeed its because they have put the effort in and the rewards are totally theirs to enjoy.

  • Lily

    I always believe that in praise or in correction it’s about naming the behavior, not the kid, or even the achievement. As in “I like how hard you’re working on your homework. Way to focus!” instead of “You got three A’s on your report card. Way to Go!” (what if they only get 2 on the next one?) or “You’re so smart!” (they don’t know what that really means). If everyone labelled the behavior they wanted to see in the world (even adults can say to perfect strangers “thanks for holding the door for me”), we really could be the change we want to see in the world.

    Love and laughter,

  • jem777

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  • Gr.11student

    As a student in high school I can totally understand a lot of this as it pertains to schools, like sometimes I look at my peers and go “Really?” I’ve had a girl my age (at the time it was 10th grade) come up to me and ask how to write a book report after having gone over that in detail for a few days in class, plus going over it the year before as well. Me and my friend just looked at her with what I’m sure were an “Are you dense?” expressions. Then again I had high school level reading comprehension in 2nd grade and its only improved since then, this particular kid skipped a lot of school and was pretty spoiled.

    My mother has always made me work for the things I want, even little things when I was 6 or 7, the exceptions to that for both me and my younger brothers was things like sports. Now I am not really into most sports, like archery and riding is the extent. So since she was forking out a ton of money for hockey equipment she decided to ask me what I wanted to do, which resulted in 2 years worth of piano then we moved and I started to do guitar lessons, I’m at 10(9?) years now of guitar lessons and recently I started doing vocal lessons(going on year 3 of them). The only way I am allowed to stay in these things is to do my absolute best in them, I attend every single lesson that I possibly can, even going on days that I can barely speak let alone sing. I’ve learned that yes, I fail sometimes and the result of being left to solve my own problems for most of my life is I improve and do better next time, I find solutions.

    Anything fancy and unnecessary, any WANTS I have I guess, I have to pay for myself, there’s been instances where I have to slowly pay my mom back for things (eg. Horse that was going to be sold pretty fast if we didn’t get him first) but I know I’m going to have to pay her back either through money, chores (That go beyond what my already expected chores are) or a mix of both.

    I love my mother to death, but there’s been times that I have hated her(even now we have our days). I’ve learned though, as I have gotten older, that she really is just trying to help and that sometimes as a parent she as well makes mistakes. I don’t resent my mother for anything she’s done, there was one incident where, way back when I forgot an assignment and had to do the whole thing the day before it was due and she absolutely refused to help me more than offering a few suggestions. I finished it late late that night long past my bedtime and went to school basically a zombie the next day but I finished it and got a good mark and it made it worth it. I hated her that night, for not helping me (please keep in mind I was probably around 9 at the time) but now I completely get why.

    I do disagree with people who just tell kids that have other issues to just shut up and get over it. There are somethings that just cannot be fixed by doing that. I have some kind of minor form of depression and it makes things that would be small speed bumps (say… 1 assignment that isn’t finished) to others feel like 3000ft mountains to me(feels like I’m a month behind everyone else). I refuse to go on any kind of anti-depressants because I feel they would cause more problems than they’d help, and I’ve learned to manage it without them due to frequent sessions with the schools guidance Councillor. Still everyday feels like a constant uphill battle, with a lot of slips and falls and there’s some day where I do just give up. There are teacher who are constantly trying to push me and challenge me, but it often has the opposite effect of what they want, I shut down when someone challenges me in a way that is negative. I’ve had multiple teachers tell me if I don’t get my crap together I’ll go nowhere (these are the bad weeks where I have given up) and I just further give up, because if they are right (in these moods I often believe they are) whats the point in trying? Eventually though, even if it isn’t easy, I can usually pull myself together and catch up and get my marks up.

    I have a friend who was diagnosed with and ADHD just this year, she was bullied constantly from about 3rd grade upwards when they moved to a small town somewhere. She started homeschooling in her grade 11 year and she finished it in half the time it takes those who are in public to get through it, she is actually quite intelligent but she has a very hard time focusing on her schoolwork for long periods of time, she also tend to be quite impulsive in just her actions and what she says, another reason she got picked on when she was younger. She refuses to go on medication and she struggles constantly to be productive and get things done, but her dad is constantly pushing her to do and so it gets done. She’s already going to graduate a year a head of me despite being the same age. Yet the public schools would not do anything to try to help her succeed, they basically told her sit down shut up, her grades started slipping despite the fact she is incredibly smart. She got suspended from school for punching a kid, who constantly harassed her, in the face, and she was not quiet about the fact that they were bothering her, still they did nothing. That was when she basically quit and started homeschooling and now she’s better for it.

    My point with all that is, sometimes it’s not just people being lazy or spoiled or not wanting to learn or deal with problems, I love learning. Yet still there is days when I do not wish to pull myself out of bed and face walking into the school building. It feels a bit like walking into hell some days because I know that someones going to do something that makes me feel worthless, or bully me in some way (sometimes I don’t think they realize they are doing it) and it sucks. Often times the comments of others will be what sends me into that downward spiral, so I’ve come to fear school in a way I guess, which is what results in not wanting to go there. I like to think of it as a self preservation response as there have been times I’ve come very close to harming myself because some jerk had the audacity to spew ignorance at me (generally homophobic insults or just general cruelty). For someone like me, it’s very hard to just ‘get over it’ because words are a lot harder to ignore than actual physical pain.

  • James

    My wife jokingly sent this article to me this morning as we have a 1 yr old daughter who in my opinion isn’t allowed to fall down enough. I could not agree more with your article and am encouraged that many others share in this opinion from all of the positive comments. If children aren’t allowed to learn valuable lessons about both success and failure at an early age they will most certainly learn them later in life with much more serious consequences. I especially liked your point that our jobs as parents isn’t to make our children “like” us and have material objects as pacifiers . Spending time teaching your children and also learning from them is invaluable. I was lucky enough to have someone come into my life during my mid teens that did all of the things you suggest to this day. The only way I can ever repay that is to pass along the same type of message to my children. Thank you for the wonderful insight and I look forward to future information.

  • DeeDee2011

    We just rented our house to a college student age 20. The mother (who is not on the lease) monitored the movein to the extent that she asserted even the toilet seat must be replaced because “It’s the law.” (No, it isn’t. How does your kid use a public restroom ma’am?)

  • AJ

    Hmmmm…some risks are worth taking a chance on, some are not…there are some things that we consider “the norm” in this day and age which were not so years ago…which is correct? which is better? Some things our North American culture think are “the norm” and other cultures do not…living with your parents for longer, forinstance, is not the norm in our culture and time but very normal for other cultures…maybe that is why we have such a problem looking after our elderly in North America now…who knows…relationships and parenting are pretty complex issues…
    I think part of today’s problem too, is that young people are spending less and less time building mentoring relationships with responsible adults, building very few relationships with people outside of their cohort, and spending ever increasing amounts of time with people around there own age. This builds a very warped perspective of reality…they tend to only see what their age groups sees…value what their age groups values…I would like to see some studies addressing that…it would be interesting…if you look at history, children spent way more time in mixed age groups, learning at a very young age from people of all ages…I think that would make most kids feel “less anxious, depressed, arrogant, insecure”…our century has actually been the “abnormal one” in that we expect our youngsters to spend so much time with only youngsters…

    Add to the fact that we force kids to only hang with kids for so long, we then remove any sort of moral compass and code, like definiton of right and wrong, fair play, not cheating, definition of family, etc. and say “It’s all relative!” Then bombard them with all the sensationalist, negative, doom and gloom images in the media. I’m thinking that might also build arrogance, insecurity, unkindness, confusion…etc…It’s pretty hard to point at parental overprotectiveness as the only source when there other HUGE issues out there.

  • Curtis Cornell

    As an educator for 11 years working with youth, this article is spot on. The current status of our education system has led me to begin a non-profit school called Generations Legacy. We are going to specialize in teaching leadership skills to prepare leaders who will leave a positive legacy for future generations. Please check out what we are doing at

  • Julie

    …there is something to be said of kids these days, ….high arrogance and low self-esteem…(heard that on WMBI, Chicago radio, this morning..), which referred me to this website…thanks….

  • aqil

    im a 13 years old….. and i think this is kind of true

  • rere


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  • Kiwiana

    Absolutely fabulous article Tim! This should be handed to parents and signed as an agreement along with their newborns birth certificate. I can personally relate to this as a Year 1 Primary School teacher. In my current class this year, I have had one parent ask me to move their cherub from their designated House team as red is not really a colour they like, another demanded me to not let their child play with another specific child in the class, but to not let the other child’s parent know as it is will be breaching the privacy act between me and them. To top it off, I had a child cheat during a spelling test and told them that copying another persons work is called cheating and that kind of behaviour is inappropriate (all in a calm, supportive tone and manner) This made for a very irate parent who went straight to the Principal claiming her child is now having nightmares over it and how dare I use words like “cheating” to such a small child. HE IS 7!!!! As a parent of a young child myself, unfortunately these overzealous parenting techniques have made me a better parent, as I see the consequences of the helicopter parents actions. Little kids can achieve big things, just give them the opportunity to prove it.

  • sideshowben

    I’m not sure exactly why, but this article rubs me the wrong way. I agree that kids need to take risks, be praised in constructive ways, and allowed to fail, but I guess the thing that bothers me is the assumption that we, as parents, have control over these factors and can manipulate the circumstances to make our children successful. I think we spend too much time on what we are doing as parents (and people) and not enough time on who we are being. The key, here, is that one way, our kids control our lives, while the other way, our lives are our own. The difference is subtle, but important.

  • L. Beattie

    Thank your for your insight. As a mother and stepmother I appreaciate your dedication to helping us be effective parents.

  • Carol Valentine

    What a great article. I absolutely agree with it I have experienced so many of these parents. I have taught in a Montessori classroom with mixed ages of 3-6 and have seen the full gambit of parenting skills. We were trained in using ‘honest’ praise, not just the ‘good job’ but rather comment on their efforts, choices, etc. We see that even young children need to have boundaries, and they always test them. The more certain the boundaries the more confidence the children showed. They too are risk takers, how else can they learn. At a stage in life when they are learning everything in order to function and be independent. Velcro while a marvelous invention, is so overused as far as young children are concerned. We taught how to tie a bow and the joy and pride children had in being able to do so. in taking away I also see our society taking away many opportunities for youth to work. For instance youth used to do paper routes, great training for responsibility and good work ethics. Then no, they too young and routes taken over by adults with trucks. There is also a fear of the ‘law’. Some of our kids were taught in school that if they thought their parents were abusive they should ‘report’ them. they could tell them at school. Our kids wound up threatening to report us when we insisted they do any chores around the house, like clear the table, mow the grass, etc or taking away privileges as consequences. i understand about not allowing true abuse, but …many parents are afraid to set limits or discipline in fear of maybe being reported to child protective services.

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  • Raja

    Wonderful article Tim! I can relate to every little thing you mentioned in this article. Little league example is spot on!

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  • Sk1nny

    How about not indoctrinating kids into religion. Let them make their own decisions on the supernatural when they come of age and not brainwash them at a malleable age. The world would be a much different place.

  • Adam

    I like your article it has a lot of merit. I have certainly seen the results of a lot of these mistakes in the current and previous generation of kids. While I agree with most things you say there is something that I would like to challenge, and what you say is not wrong, it just maybe mis-interpreted by the wrong people. It is very important to praise and reward correctly, praise for showing character, praise things such as persistence, hard work, perseverance, facing challenges, putting everything into something and failing. Each of these things can be praised and rewarded along with any other positive characteristics, as long as you are specific and genuine about what you are praising or rewarding. Praise and rewards are very effective tools if used correctly. I am just worried that after reading your article parents and educators will assume they should minimize their praise, rather than focus it.

  • Liz

    I just would like to point out… how can we let our kids be more independent when other helicopter parents shake their heads at us and judge us as being reckless or stupid? My kids haven’t had broken bones, were sicker when they were little but it made them healthier now, and I teach them that they have to work hard and earn things that mom and dad will be there but cannot always do everything for them. If I am 25 feet away from my kids upstairs from a playground people would call me a terrible Mom. Why? Because I am not downstairs right there 5 feet away… and they have learned that they have to do things themselves. Not everything but reasonable things based on age. The way I was raised. I feel that it is slightly more dangerous but I still feel that you don’t have to hover over their every move or they will never be able to do anything for themselves. And to the people who when I tell my kids NO in the store when they don’t deserve whatever it is who say give it to them just to shut them up… just mind your own business. Unless they are in immediate danger, don’t intervene!!! I am not raising spoiled brats just because you are annoyed for a few measly minutes in line. You’ll thank me later.

  • B. Thomas

    Working in a high school I see a lot of this going on. Teacher allowing kids to turn in asignments late, changing grades when a parent calls and complains. If a student gets a bad grade it must be the teachers fault. Parents make excuses for why their child couldn’t do the required assignment. Today’s students are not prepared to meet challenges, because they’ve never had to.

  • Many skinned knees

    I couldn’t agree more! I am 31 but grew up as an inner city youth or should I say, “Youth At Risk.” I can honestly say many risks were taken and they paid off (mostly :) ) .. Many of my friends took too many risks but my parents balanced this and put trust into these calculated risks.. Growing up we had very little money but now that I have an established career and a family of my own I can honestly say I feel fortunate for this upbringing. I got to be a kid! I heard things like, “Crying isn’t going to get you no where.” “Money doesn’t grow on trees”… “Work hard kid..You have a good head on your shoulders.” … So many memories and lessons were made climbing fences, living at the, “Rec center,” dealing with friend conflicts ON MY OWN, walking 1hour to get to practice and work (cleaning hotel rooms). Thankful/humbled/strong/ growing/vision for a need… Many tears were shed but these are the same tears that allow me to fight for those who need the help in society! Leaders are not born they are created by the hands of society!

  • nope

    Your use of Peeks discredited this entire article for me. You used Peeks instead of Peaks. ..I had to stop reading.

  • SF

    Tim, while I agree with your article 100%, I would like to bring up the fact of violence today. Back in the day we didn’t have to worry if our playmate at the playground was going to take out a 38 and start shooting if he didn’t win at marbles (an extreme situation but you get the point). You just didn’t hear of those things in the news, ever. I think parents become paranoid and want to protect their children from those types of things so the paranoia trickles down to even the minor things. Your article was right on.

  • Holly

    While I agree with much of your article, I do wonder where Mr. Gever Tulley got the information about “If you’re over 30, you probably walked to school, played on the monkey bars, and learned to high-dive at the public pool. If you’re younger, it’s unlikely you did any of these things.”

    What are his credentials? Does he have any statistics to back him up? Or did he pull this assumption out of the air?

    I am twenty, and I did all of these things. (Except for high diving, but that was because I was too afraid.) As did all of my friends, including those younger than myself.

    Citing a book that makes random assumptions seriously weakens the credibility of your article

  • jak

    I spend a lot of my time at parks and play groups looking like the bad mother because I don’t rescue my son every time he hits a barrier. We live on a farm with pitchforks, nails, sharp-beaked fowl and heavy machinery. Shielding him would never help. I can’t cover him in bubble wrap, in fact he doesn’t even wear shoes! And guess what? He is 21 months old and he knows how to navigate every inch of our farm. He knows where he can go and where he cannot go, what will hurt and what is safe. He knows these things because I let him explore and even though I am always close by I am not holding his hand. We are living in a generation of parents who don’t want to say no and are afraid of letting their children be children. It’s hard to raise a child in this time without looking negligent but I stand by my choice to take a take a step back and let my son learn to be a boy and someday a man.

  • Gary

    Tim, right on. Once parents start doing this they need to be prepared for judgement by other parents thinking they do not care. It looks like parents that are growing their kids to be independent are less interested, but it is actually the opposite. The Helicopter parents really care more about themselves then about their children. All us parents are flawed but it is a basic parents job to grow up healthy independent children, in fact it is critical for their mental health. Thanks for your article!

  • P. Williams

    What a bunch of garbage! We can let our children take risks while minimizing them. Are you suggesting that we toss out car-seats and helmets and let some children be seriously injured or die so that the ones who survive will be stronger? Since when does children staying home mean they are afraid to leave? In past generations children often stayed at home until they married and then lived next door to their parents. That didn’t make them afraid it made the family unit stronger. These days with unemployment and the cost of living so high many children stay home longer for a myriad of reasons. Because they can’t yet afford a place of their own. To save money to buy a house instead of paying rent somewhere. Because a parent is ill and needs their help… I’m sure there are many more that do not mean the child is weak. As for some of the examples you gave, well those parents have a whole other set of issues. As for number 3 it isn’t how often you rave, it’s how you rave. Children who get to little praise grow up to have self-esteem issues, are afraid they can’t do things right no matter how hard they try, are often depressed and fail at relationships because when things get rocky the blame themselves. Don’t parent by extremes! Use your heart to tell you what is right. Never ignore a child who is in distress. That doesn’t mean you have to jump in and do it for them. But you can encourage them to find a way to do it. Then praise them for working through a problem. You can teach them to take acceptable risks, instead of proceeding “at any risk.” People who write these types of stories are trying to justify their choices by crucifying the parenting styles of others. Often with little idea of what those styles really are. They use studies that were designed to have the outcome they desire to prove they’re right. With the thousands of studies out there I can easily do the same to prove exactly the opposite. I’m tired of stories that try to bully others into changing their parenting styles. I wonder what type of children you are raising when you teach them intolerance for others.

  • Linda

    Everything is this article rings true. I am an educator who encounters these situations daily with parents who will not allow their children to think for themselves.or to be responsible for their actions For the most part, the children are embarrassed by the overprotectiveness of the parent. I can go one better… husband owns a company. He has had mothers come in with their sons and daughters (who are in their early 20s) wanting to be a part of the interview. When the parent refuses to leave, my husband tells them the interview is over (before it begins). He has had interviews where the interviewee HAS come in alone, only to be called later by the mother. The call was to see how the interview went and whether or not their “child” got the job. If their son or daughter was not considered for the job, the mother wants to know the reasons why. One mother actually asked my husband to hold sessions with her son to improve his interviewing skills. It is sad and pathetic and we are raising a nation of wimps.

  • kate

    as a teacher and a parent, this could not have been better said. Bravo!!!

  • Ryan Welsh

    No offense to anyone but the comments here make me laugh a bit. EVERYONE is whole heartedly behind this article, in a general sense, but when the rubber hits the road there’s often a lack of follow through (or else these wouldn’t be such a common issues). Easy to agree now but we all should print this out and put it on the fridge to remind us to stay strong when the tough, individual situations arise.



    • Umm…

      Wow. Thanks for caps-locking us all to death. Chill out.

  • elizabeth

    This information is nothing new. It just needed to be reintroduced to a newer generation of parents.

  • BeansNRice

    I notice similar things managing young people. The good news is some young people seek real praise, not fake praise. Be truthful and you will do fine.

  • Sarah May Villalba Woodruff

    In third grade I walked to school I am still here.

  • Amanda Reid

    I agree with this article, however, I disagree about protecting our children in a dangerous world. Parents are challenged in each generation by something they never saw growing up themselves. The world has become a more dangerous place that includes demented individuals who are registered sex offenders, sexual assault predators, and human trafficking opportunists (the list can certainly grow). Locally, we have young adults who speed through residential neighborhoods without thinking about children playing tag, basketball, or hide-and-seek in their own front yard. It is hard to mend the damage already done by Generation X and Y. “We risk too little,” because we want to our children to live past 30.

    • Fiona Shearer-Hann

      I guess I am similar… I don’t give my kids much physical freedom outside the home to go wherever they like (as I guess I did as a kid) and I like them to carry a phone (which of course I didn’t have as a kid), and I guess it’s because there ARE those dangers out there!

      However, I’m not too bad on the other stuff though… I would never intervene if my child had a bad grade (even when it’s unwarranted I explain to them that life just isn’t fair, and sometimes you’ve got to suck it up). I try to let the kids solve conflict on their own, and when they’re the ones in the wrong in a situation, I let them know it.

      I expect my kids to fill out forms and applications for themselves, and stuff like that. I am honest with my kids about their strengths and weaknesses. And yes, there are times when I DO feel the need to give them a boost, when they’re feeling down about something, but I also know I can’t “fix” it.

      But yeah, I struggle a LOT when it comes to letting them loose in a dangerous world…I know that realistically, they’re going to have to navigate that world on their own when they’re older, and there comes a time when you have to let them get out on their own, but we’re so bombarded by news reports of stuff that happens to kids, that it seems sometimes irresponsible to let them roam the streets on their own!

  • Lahbleo

    Any tips for those of us who were raised with everything done for us… and now are trying to navigate parenthood. I don’t want to make the same mistakes, but frankly I’m scared!

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  • Arttu Manninen

    Second paragraph claims that ‘research now shows that our “over-protection, over-connection” style has damaged them’. What research? I am not taking a stand on the other content, but making a claim without providing any way to verify sounds dubious. Research has shown it.

    • skip

      Maybe it’s from the famous PROMA institute. Pulled Right Outta My A**

  • dan r

    I agree with everything but I am not sure that the little league banquet can lead to this “over esteem” of a child. The banquet trophy or medal ceremony is short and has just been a recognition of how they contributed to a team and a few kind words of what they contributed to the team. Try going a some of the sweet sixteen or bar mitzvah parties.. then I can see a unwarranted praise.

  • Nancy

    I whole heartedly agree with this article, but what do you do when you are one of the few parents in the school district that has allowed your child to fail, while the other parents have rescued their kids leaving your kid to feel like a looser and with low self esteem? My son is a sports fanatic that was cut from the baseball team and basketball team in 10th grade. Meanwhile, his friends parents called and threatened/bribed the coaches to keep their kids on the team. It’s not fun to be the only one of your friends that does not get to play when you know that your friends didn’t earn their right to play either.He has had additional disappointments in other areas of his life in which he had little control over and now suffers from a fear of failure and is deferring college for a year. My son was an independent straight A student that was offered a scholarship in an Engineering Honors program that had an emotional breakdown his last semester of senior year. We are not perfect parents, and there is some genetic predisposition to perfectionism in the family, but we have never “rescued” or “sheltered” our kids. The “life’s not fair”, tough love style of parenting stopped working for us. What do you do to help build your child’s self-esteem when the rest of the world is rescuing their kids from failure and yours is being left behind?

    • Bill Bigguy

      Sounds like your kid has low-self esteem and a weak will. Wonder where he learned it from…

  • Chi Ahrens

    I completely disagree with this article. For #1, there are less bike related kid injuries because parents make kids wear helmets, there are less pool drowning because parents put in fences, and the list goes on. For #2, those examples are of young adults in college and are extremely rare cases, probably even urban legends. #3, positive reinforcement has been proven effective on all levels, not just children. We all make mistakes raising kids. The most important thing is to make sure that you and your children learn from your lessons.

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  • SHawn

    Dr. Tim,
    Do you recommend a particular type of education or early child care philosophy to help with this? Montessori seems like it would share similarities with your recommendations here.

  • Phyllis Stutler

    Thanks for saying what’s been on my mind for a long time. I frequently ask: ” when did we, as a nation, become so frightened of everything?” If our forefathers had been this scared & shy of everything, this country would never have been settled or become the great nation it is today. Your right, let the kids make their own mistakes & suffer the consequences just as we had to do. I would take this a step further & add, discipline when necessary, even a swat on the rump is in order for some infractions. My grown children are very proud of the way they were raised & have told us so. We allowed them to try nearly everything they wanted to try, but we were always in the background ready to help if necessary & they knew it. As a result, we have 2 happy confident kids who are both very successful in life.

  • Mickie

    I adopted three kids later in life and as a result there is decade between myself and most of the other parents I am in contact with. I tend to raise my children the way I was…They take their bikes to the playground down the road… They don’t have playdates.. They walk to their friends house and if the parent doesn’t want them to play.. I would hope that they would send them home. And God forbid…. they often play in the woods outback.. My oldest now 14 goes to the lake by herself.. with the instructions that if there is not an adult on the beach.. please don’t go in.. come home and get me and I will come down . She is also responsible for her own lunch for school.. When she doesn’t make a lunch.. she is pretty hungry when she gets home.. but the next day, she makes a lunch. They have boundaries and for the most part, they stay within them and make their own choices. When they don’t, I find out. ( We live in a small town) I do not do their homework… I expect that if it is not done, the school will deal with that ( They don’t which frustrates me…but it is a school problem.) I do not solve their fights with peers.. and I also expect that they will not be invited to every birthday party in their class and that there my be other children who don’t like them for one reason or another. Do you like everyone that you work with? When someone else’s child hurts my child’s feelings .. I don’t get on the phone and arrange a meeting to work it out.. Chances are they will forget about it tomorrow anyway. .. If they take something that is not theirs.. They take it back themselves. They sometimes get grounded.. and I often hear ” I hate you.” If my child doesn’t eat the suggested servings of vegetables in a day.. I don’t panic.. They aren’t showing any signs of scurvy. My kids pick out their own outfits.. most times they don’t match.. and sometimes the shirt is on inside out.. IT doesn’t bother them.. so I try not to let it bother me. I am strict with my kids when it comes to manners and commitment and follow through.. You signed up for soccer.. you are going to soccer…. and sometimes I let things go that other’s wouldn’t. I pick my battles. When they come home with A’s I am thrilled.. When they come home with C’s I am thrilled. School is a challenge for them.. The A in language arts won’t mean a hill of beans when you are applying for your first job. They don’t get grading presents.. They are expected to grade.. Sometimes I yell .. and sometimes I drop the “F Bomb” I am talked about by other parents . I know that. Sometimes my kids seems to be the only ones in the community outside.. However, my kids are creative, healthy ,are developing social values and are excepting of differences in themselves and others. and more important are good citizens. They are learning the importance of making sound decisions and what happened when you make poor choices. They sometimes stay up late on school nights.. especially if it is snowing and their is a need for a family snowball fight. They suffer consequences of their actions and are learning to take responsibility for them. Do I think I am the worlds best mom.. I know I am not. I am far from it.. ( Sometimes I send them to the playground down the road.,. so I can just have a little bit of quiet) But when my job is done , If I have contributing members of society that call me Mom.. I will have done my job.

  • Sarah

    I am a member of Generation Y, the current generation of young adults the article speaks of. The only reason I couldn’t move out of my parents house until I was 27 was because I graduated college in 2009 and applied for 270 jobs, did three unpaid internships, and 4-5 seasonal/ part-time jobs until I got a full time job in December of 2011. I had cancer as kid and I have three learning disabilities, fine motor dysfunction and back problems from the three years of treatment I endured. The fact that I faced cancer at the age of five years old helped me in the long run.

  • MJ

    I am only 25 years old but I grew up over seas and I wasn’t exposed to the over protectiveness that most of my peers experienced in the USA. I can see what you are saying so well spelled out in my peer group that I have, till now, not really understood. I didn’t have a computer that I could play my days away at, or even cable tv. I plaid in the dirt and on park equipment that would make most american parents have a heart attack. But I survived and have some great memories and some not so great memories. I broke my collar bone twice and learned to function with a slight disability for a while. I learned that rewards come with effort and accomplishment and that every decision I made had a consequence weather good or bad. I am so glad I read this because it helps me honestly understand my peers better and what not to “buy into” when I become a mom.

  • Kim

    Agreed – playgrounds are too safe, a kids life is too safe. Adults step in way too often to solve menial problems. As a teacher, I have them solve their own problems between each other. Some teachers try to take away soccer privileges on the playground because they “fight” about what’s fair. I let them solve the problem rather than take it away.

    Also, the younger generation has little work ethic and accountability. They act as though they deserve the job therefore they should be paid. They don’t do a lot of work, but want the paycheck. Sometimes they don’t show up and think it’s ok or show up late and don’t think they should have their paycheck docked. Again this comes back to parenting but even the best parents will see their kids make these kind of mistakes and then try to bail them out. The only way these young adults will learn, is by taking responsibility for their own actions. This is one character building item that I teach daily in my classroom.

    Thanks for your words.

  • cj

    Yes this is a great article although somehow “Dad” is perfect or completely absent? Another article though that makes it all moms fault…yawn

  • imananny10

    I’ve been saying that for years .this article is the truth like or not

  • Aaron

    Thanks for the great article Tim. This is spot on for the way that I try to raise my son. I always try to allow him to experience things for himself and learn from his own mistakes. I think our modern society is broken when it comes to how we raise our children (not everyone but as a whole). Some people think that by allowing your child to experience a risky situation, that it is bad parenting…..I think it is the opposite. It is the best learning situation and allows you to really parent. Many people would disagree with me giving my 6 year old a bow and arrow, however, it was a great way for me to teach responsibility and how important it is to focus.
    Again, thanks for the article. It was written very well.

  • Skip

    This article feels true to me as a parent but at the same time I wonder about some contradictory elements in today’s society; parents should feel able to let kid take risks from a position of support – good underlying relationships, a safe home and school environment emotionally and physically. What’s mentioned here is the ‘small stuff’. The big stuff that’s going on is totally in the opposite direction: high divorce rates, domestic violence, low wages leading to poverty and malnourishment, unlocked firearms in the home, inadequate schooling – these are far more damaging and risky and yet seem to be more and more prevalent. So maybe people are sweating the little things because we’re falling down as a society on the big things…

  • Maggie

    This is right on the money! In my last 3 years of 31 in education, teachers were required to be on not only bus duty, but car duty (which entailed opening the car doors for children), and walker duty (which included ascertaining that the child was met by their correct guardian). While it totally eroded my planning time, that was never my main issue with it. My own children attended the same school, but they learned to look both ways before crossing the street, and the children who walked home did, as well. And, I know most kids open their own car doors at home!
    Most districts now post assignments and grades on the internet so students and parents can monitor it. But, sometimes it is valuable for a child to learn how to pull themselves back from the edge of the cliff.
    The next 20 years for employers is going to be really interesting to watch!!

  • Holly

    I can definitely relate to #3 and having praise given out too flippantly. I’m still a high school student, and am the top of my class. I hate it though when people just say “you’re so smart” all the time. It’s not necessarily always that I or anyone else who achieves high marks are “smart”, we still have to work hard. It is especially annoying though to receive praise like you talked about in the article because it does get to your head, (and I’ve been there too). That can be such a dangerous position to live in though, because #1- you start to put expectations on yourself that are sometimes impossible to reach #2- when something is difficult you are more scared of trying it and failing and #3- it makes you arrogant. Ultimately everyone has a brain and a body, and yes we all have different abilities, but no one is smarter than anyone else. I also agree 110% that if you can’t dig yourself out of that hole of conceit that teachers and adults help us create you start to expect that you deserve certain marks or privileges. Unfortunately I did let supposed leaders influence me in that way and it damaged me severely. It caused me to believe that if something didn’t come easily or on the first try, I was dumb. It’s not about that though, it’s about the effort you put in. Quite recently I’ve been doing a lot of self reflection and realizing that you cannot expect yourself to learn something without putting in the effort. I am a very competitive person, so I knew that if I want to succeed I need to take control of my own learning. Next year I’m taking chemistry and I knew that I know very little about it. I’m not going to go into that class, being able to put my hand up for every question, if I don’t know the material; it is simply unrealistic. Therefore I decided to sign out a Chem text book and do a bit of reading before I take the class. There is nothing wrong with wanting to excel, but the work must be put in to get there. To be perfectly honest, teachers saying, “You are so good at math. You are so smart. It comes naturally to you.”, is not going to encourage me to put in the work to actually become all those things. Finally, society has placed low expectations on teens, and taught those who pass those low expectations to be happy with that and not strive to be better. Ya, I can get 100% on a history project, when you’re grading me next to the kid that wrote 5 sentences instead of 5 paragraphs. If you stopped to consider me as a person though, maybe you’d see that for me, what I wrote was garbage. I only spent 2 hours throwing that together, but if I know that that’s all I have to do to get that mark, then that’s all I’m going to do. There always has to be something to work towards, and adults have taken healthy competition away by lowering expectations and saying “you’re so smart” instead of “you can do better.” Yes there is a time and a place for encouragement, (I know that because my love language is words of affirmation). Yet not pushing us towards moving out on our own, learning to take risks, and teaching that it’s okay to fail and make mistakes, is just causing kids to become stagnant in their learing and ultimately in their life.

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  • meg

    “Is the world that much more dangerous? Statistically, no.” And without a situation on this huge claim I as forced to quit reading the article entirely. I thought you’d like to know, as a parent I do my research thoroughly. I require situations, statistics, and proof.

    • meg

      Ugh! Citation! Not situation. Stupid phone. :/

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  • L

    While I find a lot of this article helpful and insightful, I do want to mention that helicopter or absent fathers contribute to these issues as well, not just the overbearing mothers mentioned in the majority of the examples.

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  • Taylor’s mom

    I’m a pretty new mom, my oldest is 2, but I’m working on this. When my son spills or breaks something, he immediately looks to me for comfort. I tell him it’s okay when we make messes, we just have to clean them up after, and then I have him help me clean it. I think it’s helping him be more confident. Time will tell!

  • DCSH

    I was in a parent participation class when my oldest was a toddler. One time the instructor asked the parents to go around the circle naming what we wanted for our kids in life. Many, many parents said, “I just want my child to be happy.” I was appalled! If you only want your child to be happy, that means you don’t want him/her to be UNhappy. Therefore, you will do anything to avoid upsetting the child – including setting boundaries, etc. I understand that kind of well-meaning-but-misguided thinking, but in the end, it does the child no good at all – just as you have said in your article.

    My goal? I said, “I want my child to be a productive member of society.” Therefore, I must teach my child: to be polite and respectful; to be hardworking; to follow rules; and to understand the value of delayed gratification. In the course of doing all this, my child WILL be “happy” because he knows how our society works and how to get along in it!

  • Sara

    Just wondering, why aren’t there pictures of kids on milk cartons anymore? Is it because our new PC attitude doesn’t allow it or are we watching our children better. I’m 38 and when I was about 8 we where told to go outside “and don’t come in unless your bleeding” we would spend all day outside using our imaginations playing make believe, having a great time. Could we have been snatched up by a fly by night trucker, yes and our parents wouldn’t have notice till dark. Yikes! You are giving some extreme examples of helicopter parenting. So I think it is fair to say that for the most part protecting your children comes first. You are right about teaching them self reliance and how to take risks but our parents (people in there 30s) even good parents of the 80s era) let us do to much with out supervision. So if you want us to take your advice, don’t compare us to our parents. That’s what we are avoiding.

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  • Laura

    Great article, and I agree with everything up until it says that kids can get over disappointment, but can’t get over being spoiled. People can get over ANYTHING, if they are aware of the need to get over it…..

  • alicia

    learning by mistakes is much better for our kids. That B student does much better than the overzealous A student

    • Bill Bigguy

      Disagree. Unless that B student is a leader in some other sphere (i.e. sports, student government, yearbook, drama, etc.) that A student will get a leg up in life every. single. time.

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  • gd

    I like the article and the suggestions, but I do have a question. if all these things that our parents did made such well-adjusted successful adults out of us, why have we turned out so bad at parenting?

  • Karen McInally Norval

    You know what ticks me off about this article? There is an underlying assumption that “mistakes” are causing the ills of this generation and that they have been made by the parents and teachers. While I do not dispute that the dramatic swing from when I was a kid to the time my own three were being raised brought forth a lot of conversation through the years with friends about those differences in upbringing, the truth is my generation of parents and teachers truly have felt as though we had little choice in the matter. I sat through many a “parent night” at schools from elementary up, (and yes, parent orientation at colleges!) where we were told that our involvement, and lots of it, was the key to success in all areas of student life. And on another side as a youth worker I saw hundreds of parents, weary from schedules kept in colors on huge calendars, leave the spiritual side to me if there was time left over. (And I do not blame them one bit – I was living their schedule and I get their needed trust in me and in our teams.) I now watch my friends with younger students, and see new things from the college packets talking about “independance, do it on your own, blah blah blah and just watch, the swing will go waaaaay back to zero involvement as scared parents and teachers feel they are watching a ruined, lazy bunch of 20 somethings who can’t hold a job. EVERYONE is responsible for generational changes and they are a part of history. This generation didn’t choose to be in debt before graduation, and they didn’t ask their parents and teachers to be involved, and yet they are making the best of it, even if financially they may always struggle. Every parent and every teacher has to do their best to find some sort of central space without blame, and although the concept of delayed adolescence may be a today’s truth, we cannot lay the blame solely at the feet of educators and parents who did their best. We also cannot separate those who are now raising kids from the knowledge and experiences of those just before them, but instead should find ways to learn from the good, toss out as much of the bad as possible, and not assume there is only one way.

  • Michelle

    Wish I would have read these words a few years ago. I have two daughters, ages twenty and eighteen and have prided myself on being an authoritative, affectionate parent who has given my children enough rope to hang themselves when needed. However, I DO see now that I have been too overprotective and instilled fears (of strangers, the world, monkey bars, etc) in them too often. What suggestions do you have for parents with older children? Or, have we missed the boat?

    • FrugalSheila

      You can still encourage them to take healthy risks, and you can also talk to them about this article and how you might have done things differently. You didn’t do it ALL wrong, tho, given our rope analogy. :)

  • Suzy G

    I couldn’t agree more with your points. Very early on I realized that my job as a parent was to raise my children to be independent, well functioning adults in our society. Or as I lightly comment from time to time…To raise them to leave me. Many times I have gotten some strange reactions to this…but in reality, this is actually our job as parents. I also often say that, as a single parent raising three daughters that I was glad that, at times, I had to struggle financially, and could not even think of overindulging them because they learned that perseverance and a good work ethic paid off eventually. I’m happy to say I’m very proud of the well rounded, functioning, independent young women they have become.

  • Suzy G

    On the subject of how ADHD & ADD children are being treated, I think that overindulging and making excuses for them is NOT what they need. I have just recently, in the past few months, realized that I am and always have been ADHD (imagine coming to this realization at over 60 years of age). I believe that the reason that I have been able to function as well as I have is because I was raised with consistent discipline and structure and a proper diet that only included snacks as a treat, not a necessity, both at home and at school. I truly think that this laid the groundwork for me to do the things that I have been able (sometimes yes it was a struggle) to do throughout my life. I do find that now that I am retired and do not have as much structure as I did when I was working, I am struggling more and having to discipline myself much more. With my youngest daughter (ADHD? Anyone?) I witnessed very obviously what effect diet had on her behavior. When I didn’t pay close attention to what she was eating, she sometimes was literally bouncing around the house and furniture. When I provided better alternative “sweets” she acted much better. I even had a babysitter observe that she knew when my daughter had been visiting her Dad or Grandparents, by the way that she acted (they gave her different kinds of treats and drinks than I did).

  • Candace Angell-Devine

    This is wonderful and what I have been saying for years. My oldest started college last year and I regularly get absolutely shocked looks from people when I tell them that she wasn’t coming home for the summer at my recommendation. I told her that she needed to get a job and learn how to live as an adult. She is paying her own way through college, so it was time to learn how to work full-time and live in her own apartment (even though she lives with her boyfriend). It has worked well – being in a different state now with me not able to help her through every single step has also given her more confidence and the ability to learn what the real world is really like. My husband tends to be more over-protective than me most of the time, so I have to remind him that we want them to learn to fend for themselves. I will never say I haven’t been over-protective occasionally, but I have always tried to raise my kids the way I was raised. I want them to move out and be functioning adults as soon as possible so that I can go back to being a kid!

  • momc

    Love this article. I feel like I am def in the minority of how I am raising my children – maybe because I am raising them how I was raised – w/ ideas like “take a chance you may get hurt but you don’t know if you don’t try”, “I trust you to make the right decision”, ‘go ahead get dirty and have fun”. My children seem to have a lot more freedom than a lot of children I see and know but they also know they are trusted and are not afraid to take a chance. To top it all off we rarely go anywhere w/out someone commenting how well behaved our children are. Children need freedom to be prepared for the real world!

  • Kari B.

    Great article! I was actually just talking to mom’s at a baby group about these very topics. One of them found your article to support what I talked about. They get it! You’ll be happy to know that the current child development/early childhood education world is on it!

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  • Donna

    I feel the biggest problem with families today is no one feels they need to raise their own kids anymore!
    No, you don’t have to live in “that” neighborhood. You do NOT need a new car every two years. You don’t have to take elaborate vacations. It’s ok not to spend a couple of hundred dollars on the outfit you’re wearing. ETC.
    Sacrific. Learn priorities. Stay home and actually RAISE your kids…don’t stick them in daycare twelve hours a day to be raised by a revolving door of people who don’t care about them!
    Yes, there are a small percentage who have no choice but to utilize daycare…but if less people stick their kids in there because they think having a baby only lasts six weeks, maybe daycares will try to be better.
    Oh yeah, you know that day you take off to go Christmas shopping every year? Bring your kids with you!

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  • Trackster

    I would also like to add that faith life decreases as hovering increases. Where is the faith that all will be well? While I gave my child a phone so I can contact her as needed I struggle with knowing that prayer is what I need rather than the ability to call her and make sure I know exactly where she is at all times. Thanks!

    • Mike Collins

      what? you’re serious? Provide us with evidence of your faith as a security measure, oh wait, i forgot you can not. You can only ‘feel’ it :)

  • Guest

    As a teacher with 30 years experience, I could not agree more with this article. Even ten years ago, I would ask my students to bring sleds so we could take a gym period, and go down the street to a small hill and slide for an hour. Now, it wouldn’t happen in a million years. No tug of wars, no more Canadian Climber apparatus in the gyms, no basic gymnastics (front rolls, cartwheels, tripods, etc.) as the rule is no activity that puts a child’s feet above their head. As much as teachers might agree with children taking risks as a part of healthy development, the reality for most teachers is that they really don’t want to risk a career-destroying, financially ruinous lawsuit that is often the inevitable outcome of any school-based injury.

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  • Iris

    I like what you say and agree with almost everything. My daughter has been raising her children this way (age 9 and 5 1/2) and has added, no t.v., hand held devices or anything that disconnects them from the world. They are smart, happy, confident, bi/tri lingual, never bored, creative and love books.
    The thing I disagree with you on is the reason for some of the fear for our childrens safety, that we did not have growing up. (I am in my early 60’s) or raising our children (my daughters in their early 40’s) Phrases like child abduction and human trafficing didn’t exist. Playing on monkey bars did not involve a law suit if we got hurt. Child pornography was not at your fingertips. Someone coming into school and shooting your child was not a fear. Its a different world out there than when we were kid and that’s something that has to be acknowledged whether we like it or not. I wish it was different but its not.

    • ACCESS parent

      While I understand your fears, I think the difference is the perception of fear, not a great reality of difference between past and present. School shootings did happen throughout the last century, as did abductions and human trafficking. Child pornography and sexual abuse were also out there. But we didn’t talk about them, and we didn’t have a steady stream of 24 hour news telling us about incidents occurring in distant places. That doesn’t mean we were safer, just that we felt safer. And just as we must find a balance between the real risks and necessary skills our children must learn, we must find a balance between our perceptions of danger and the realities.

  • Kathy Hutchison Daniel

    Having raised 3 boys, I couldn’t agree more!!! I raised my sons in the 70s and early 80s and they were never coddled. I am proud to say they are all self-sufficient, happy and well adjusted men.

  • Val

    I don’t disagree with most of your article but I won’t apologize for making my kids wear bike helmuts:)

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  • Alice Barrus

    I think one of the important things is realizing there is a difference between allowing your child the experience of controlled risk and neglect. Of course, it is absolutely understandable that the assumption going into this article is we are talking about parents who desire and are able to care for their children. I just think that comparing the idea of true neglect puts things all in perspective. A child who is truly neglected also grows up afraid to take risks because they learn at an early age that they have a finite amount of resources on hand and when those are gone there is nowhere to get more. So there needs (I feel) to be a balance between the opportunity for a child to experience risk (and the associated losses) and yet for that child to know that there is a point where their caregivers will ‘have their back’. Your article is talking about allowing young people to learn how to trust themselves, and that is a very important thing to learn but there still needs to be that foundation of knowing that there are people in this world who can be trusted without which no trust at all can develop.

    • Tim Elmore

      Alice—great insight. You are right. The other extreme to “over-parenting” is under-parenting. In fact, I believe just about every problem we see in kids today is due to our swing toward abundance or abandonment.

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  • Suzanne

    This what one perceived as an older college student. A parent of the student contacted the students adviser demanded grade up dates weakly. Then one day, while talking to my ad visor, I proceeded to look right at the parent and said,”they are a college student now, they are a grown adult, what they want mom to know they will share. What they do not want mom to know that won’t. ” Then I looked at that mom and said,”if you are not certain that Jonny or Suzi is mature enough for college, then perhaps they need to pay for their own education. Bare in mind all the ad visor’s in that office wanted to say what this gal just did but were afraid for their jobs.

  • Ell

    this generation of teachers can’t do these things with our students – but we can and DO with our own children, that makes us PARENTS. I don’t understand why teachers are mentioned in the beginning, This is aimed at parents.

    • Tim Elmore

      I understand your frustration. I mention teachers, because more and more teachers are being requested to “instill values and responsibility”. In the article linked below I discuss a Harvard Graduate School of Education poll that showed “70 percent of public school parents want schools to teach “strict standards of right and wrong,” and 85 percent want schools to teach values.”

  • 73Soledad

    REading this article from all the way in Peru, I just loved it!!! comments went viral on my FB account when I shared the article on my wall!!!, I’m mother of a 16, 8 and 18 months old….and what a challenge it is with teenagers but thanks for sharing your knowledge, children come with no manual and it’s up to us to guide them…..keep up the good work!!!

    • Tim Elmore

      Thank you! Great to hear we have friends down in Peru! Keep up the great work in leading the next generation! I know your children will thank you later on in their life.

  • Joslyn

    Great article! I teach the Love and Logic parenting program which absolutely covers these issues as Tim describes it. This program, founded by Charles Fay and Dr. Foster Cline over 30 years ago, and then Charles’ son, Jim Fay, joined the team as a child psychologist. They are out of Denver and still going strong, often presenting their strategies on PBS in the Midwest and they have a facebook presence. It’s a popular parenting program taught in most foster care agencies in Los Angeles, CA and in some residential settings, along with your every day parents across the country. Great, effective program. I have to say, in teaching it, I often have parents that have GREAT difficulty in letting their kids fail at things, or feeling pain of any kind and focusing too much on over achievement and over protecting at the expense of their relationship and growth! Often, parents who had to struggle growing up, and who now are successful, (ironically they are successful because of the challenges they faced which motivated them to succeed), try too hard to protect their kids from their own pain as children thinking that THIS will make their kids successful, forgetting that their own challenges motivated them to succeed, not that they were coddled as they are doing now with their kids. I see these kids more entitled, slacking, having no direction and focused on rebelling and have little respect for their parents.

    • Tim Elmore

      Thanks for your thoughts Joslyn. Failure can be one of the best teachers when used as a learning tool to navigate the next step. As adults, we must help our students embrace failure, learn from it, and strive for more.

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  • M. Scott Ballard

    Tim, great article. Having led and trained U.S. Marines for over 25 years (and as a father of 5) I can assure you that your princples for teaching kis “leadership” also applies to the young men and women in our Armed Forces. The same princples you’ve articulated so well are, in many ways, reflected in the teaching methologies used throughout all the Services. The only differences are the complexity of the decisions being made and the risk associated with the results, which are understandably a bit higher. My overriding goal with my kids are that they be “independant” thinkers and doers no matter thier age. Well done.

    • Tim Elmore

      I am encouraged to hear you say these principles hold true in the Armed Forces, which is really one of the supreme leadership systems in our society. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  • Eric Dingler

    I’d like to highlight number 7. I run a summer camp, so I get to see kids of all ages, and I hire college aged students for our summer staff. It amazes me how they have this notion we are going to praise them for every little thing they do right. Yes, we believe that what we reward is what we see repeated…so we do celebrate wins. But we actually have staff ask if we are mad at them if we don’t notice they did their own laundry and praise them.

    I’d also add that another commenter said college students are self-absorbed. To an extent, yes. But, I’m noticing this upcoming generation has a belief that they can (and will) effect the world for good like no generation I’ve seen.

    Thanks for the great post. Again, big fan of number 7.

    • Tim Elmore

      Interesting how you’ve seen this play out so vividly at summer camp. I do believe that this generation is capable of great success, innovative ideas, and a hunger for meaningful and influential work. Therefore, parents and mentors are that much more responsible for leading the way and helping kids approach these ambitions with the right mindset.

      • Eric Dingler

        Agreed. I encourage mentors and parents not to always be so negative with this young generation. They need help directing their energy and ideas…I’ve seen them do amazing things.

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  • anon

    I’m glad you said likely when you said, “teens likely need to break up with a boyfriend or girlfriend to appreciate the emotional maturity that lasting relationships require. I disagree with letting kids date to early. They are not ready for marriage so they are learning to break up, not stay together.

    • Tim Elmore

      Yes, there is no perfect formula that equals the right place and right time for a mature relationship. I do believe it takes time to develop the emotional maturity that is necessary for a lasting relationship.

  • Cookie

    Great article, I have been saying this since the “everybody wins and no one loses” movement started. My mother always told us that we had to earn what we wanted, whether it was through kindness, understanding, respect for others or even a job. She said if we were given things we didn’t earn we will never appreciate them. I agree that happy children grow up to be healthy adults, they are not mutually exclusive. It all starts at home.

    • Tim Elmore

      Thanks for the feedback! I really like what you said about earning what you want which ranges from respect and kindness to an athletic or academic award.

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  • lacrossestar83

    Maybe this is why so many people suddenly want gluten-free food

  • Grant M Hall

    There is an advertisement in NZ that has a catch line at the end..

    “the only thing that should be soft is our bread” – Tip Top Bread

    I loved this article and helpful advice at the end, i’m a tree climber and knee scraper, and I want this generation to be comfortable doing the same.

    “Our world needs resilient adults not fragile ones.” – Tim Elmore


    • Tim Elmore

      Haha That’s a great tagline. Thanks for sharing, Grant!

  • sab

    someone once gave a wise advice…you know what will happen if we protect our children too much…NOTHING! Haw sad…in our family, we call “tough love” and my kids are well aware that ly job is t give dayly doses of it…what can I say, it’s my job! Great article, thank you for refreshing us!

    • Tim Elmore

      Thanks for commenting Sab!

  • Kate M

    Sometimes I too fear that I am sheltering my children (but with the best intentions)! I am recently divorced and don’t want to be an overbearing mother. I have recently come under attack on my blog by a blogging group called Dalrock.for my parenting skills and personal choices. They believe that my children will end up soft or women haters because of the divorce. I am looking for men on this site to help me to show that although I am not a male, my children will not be able to excel at life. I don’t believe that is the case. I found your article to not be shaming us as parents, ut actually giving us the opportunity to find areas in which we can do better (even if that means taking a more hands-off approach). I appreciate the way that this article will allow kids to be kids, and teens to be teens.

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  • DAB

    Great article and I think that some of these things are true for some parents and some students but we are not all the same. We should not make these type of generalizations about anything. My daughter and I are both of the parent/child age group that you are referring and I have been careful to not make these mistakes. My daughter is a bright, funny, well adjusted young lady in her 3rd year of university. She works almost full time at McDonalds while carrying a full course load and has a car payment that she pays for by herself. I work in technology so I am not an educator or anything like that but one thing that I have observed is that a lot of people had issues with the way they were raised or the way they were treated as a child so they throw everything out the window. Childhoods are rarely all good or all bad, there is a mix so newer parents need to be objective and carry on with the things that are good and try to improve on the things that were not good. You don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.

    • Tim Elmore

      Hi DAB. Thank you for your comment! Sorry for the misunderstanding. I am not saying that every parent is making these mistakes. I am completely aware and encouraged that there are great parents like yourself who have raised mature young adults.

  • Laslo

    Toxic. High voltage. Flammable. Slippery when wet. Steep curve ahead. Don’t walk. Hazard. This “safety first” preoccupation emerged over thirty years ago…

    Uhhhhh? High voltage?

  • roben

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  • Heike Larson

    Great article! As Montessori educators, doing what you suggest comes natural.

    We enable our students to take more risks (after careful preparation) than many of them would do otherwise–from the toddler who jumps from a tree stump or balances on a log, to the preschooler who uses a sharp kitchen knife to cut an apple, or the elementary students who take public transport for field trips in urban areas.

    We believe that children learn best from reality. That’s why many Montessori activities have a built-in “control of error” that allows children to self-correct. Confidence comes from mastering challenges, on your own, without constant adult intervention!

    Similarly, Montessori children don’t hear praise in class. Instead, Montessori guides just point to things in reality, called “points of interest”, as in “when you put the glass down slowly, no water spilled”, or “when you roll the rug up tight, it stands straight in the bin.” The child then can think, to himself, “I am getting better at many things.”

    My children attend Montessori school, and we use similar principles at home. At ages four and six, they climb trees, jump from the top of monkey bars, race their bikes around, use sharp knives in the kitchen and cook on the stove. They get scrapes, bumps, an occasional burn or small cut–but they also learn judgement, physical skills and self-confidence. As someone so wisely once put it, you want children to learn to take risks and develop good judgment when the potential damage is small–not when they first get behind the wheel of a car as a teenager!

    • Tim Elmore

      Hi Heike,
      Thank you for comment and sharing your insights and experience! It is a blessing to hear that your educators are practicing these concepts at such a young age. Thank you for helping these students prepare for tomorrow. You and your educators are truly my heroes.

  • Rick Rood

    Pretty much spot on!

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  • Ken Shepherd

    Tim, your teaching is so simple and on target! Whenever my wife and I work with teens or parents, we tell them that they need to introduce their kids to “THE CAR” as early as possible. The Car is an acronym for , CHALLENGE them, Hold them ACCOUNTABLE, and Give them RESPONSIBILITIES. Keep up the great work!!

    • Tim Elmore

      Thanks for sharing, Ken! Love the acronym!

  • Paul Phua

    Hi Tim, I found this to be quite interesting and relevant to your article here. Not sure if you have seen it yet.!

    • Tim Elmore

      Great article. Thank you for sharing, Paul!

  • Stacey Lee

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  • Emiliano Babarah

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    Contact him today on:

  • Henry Nancy

    After being in relationship with my husband for nine years,he broke up with me, I did everything possible to bring him back but all was in vain, I wanted him back so much because of the love I have for him, I begged him with everything, I made promises but he refused. I explained my problem to someone online and she suggested that I should rather contact a spell caster that could help me cast a spell to bring him back but I am the type that never believed in spell, I had no choice than to try it, I mailed the spell caster, and he told me there was no problem that everything will be okay before three days, that my ex will return to me before three days, he cast the spell and surprisingly in the second day, it was around 4pm. My ex called me, I was so surprised, I answered the call and all he said was that he was so sorry for everything that happened, that he wanted me to return to him, that he loves me so much. I was so happy and went to him, that was how we started living together happily again. Since then, I have made promise that anybody I know that have a relationship problem, I would be of help to such person by referring him or her to the only real and powerful spell caster who helped me with my own problem and who is different from all the fake ones out there. Anybody could need the help of the spell caster, his email is (CAMARALOVESPELL@LIVE.COM} tel.+2347051705853) you can email him if you need his assistance in your relationship or anything.

  • Henry Nancy

    This is a testimony that I will tell to every one to hear. I have been married four 4years and on the fifth year of my marriage, another woman had a spell to take my lover away from me and my husband left me and the kids and we have suffered for 2years until I met a post where this man DR Camara have helped someone and I decided to give him a try to help me bring my lover back home and believe me I just send my picture to him and that of my husband and after 48hours as he have told me, I saw a car drove into the house and behold it was my husband and he have come to me and the kids and that is why I am happy to make every one of you in similar to met with this man and have your lover back to your self. His email: CAMARALOVESPELL@LIVE.COM

  • Gloribel Stancy

    Am very happy to tell every one to hear my testimony will say. am Gloribel Stancy from united state,am a nurse,this story of my love life.I have been married for 4years and on the fifth year of my marriage, another woman had to take my lover away from me and my husband left me and the kids and we have suffered for 2years until i met a post where this man Dr. Ehi have helped someone and i decided to give him a try to help me bring my lover back home and believe me i just send my picture to him and that of my husband and after 48hours as he have told me, i saw a car drove into the house and behold it was my husband and he have come to me and the kids and that is why i am happy to make every one of you in similar to met with this man and have your lover back to your self.You can contact him with this email address {} or {} or you can still call him on his mobile +2349038669448 Thank you Dr Ehi. I am sure he will do same to help you too.

  • Dirce Ries

    My name is Dirce Ries from Illinois in USA. Am here to testify of a great and powerful spell caster named Priest Kuvuki via his email: ( I was so confused and devastated when my boy friend left me for another girl. I needed him back desperately because i loved him so much. So i contacted this great spell caster for a help. He helped me cast a return love spell on him and just within 12 to 16 hours my boy friend came back to me crying and begging for my forgiveness. I want to recommend this great spell caster to anyone that truly needs an urgent solution to a love break up. Simply contact the great Priest Kuvuki via his email address ( )

  • Patty

    i want to express how grateful i am, because i finally got what i have been looking for. My husband left me and our kids i have tried all my possible best to reach him but is like every time i tried, i am making things worst for myself. But thank the God that lead me to DR OYE of ABUYE SPELL TEMPLE, he helped me to restore the love my husband had for me back within 3days of me contacting him. he came back just as DR OYE told me, he will make him come back. if you are in situation like this kindly contact DR OYE on his email

  • Vera Morgan

    I have just found the right one and the greatest spell caster on earth who has brought back my happiness and turned my world around by helping me get my ex partner and helped me get back my life cause i was totally frustrated after 6years of hardship and pain, a friend of mine buzz me on my email saying i should cheer up cause solution has come. At first i was like what are you saying, then she mentioned the name ‘EBOEHI’ and i must thank my savior Great DR EBOEHI who has play a very vital part of my life making me a great person and the most happiest person today you are a great man who is bless by powers with traditional healing spell caster, after Great DR EBOEHI has help me get my ex back he also help me recover what i have lost in past years i must thank him (Great DR EBOEHI) the life he has restored back for me and my happiness. Now i am doing well in my work and also with my partner, Great DR EBOEHI is a very great spell caster you need to know just meet him and with your problem and it will be over.. Email him via: (

  • Ol’ Bob

    When kids get to high school and go out for sports, they learn important lessons – some kids make the varsity team, some don’t. Some get a letter in their chosen sport; some don’t. Some play every minute, every game – some…not so much. Some work all year long, and it shows. Some start working out when practices begin – and that shows. The *lesson* these kids will absorb, though, can be different. Some will take away “I’m a winner!” even if they don’t make varsity, don’t letter, and don’t play much. Others will come away with “I’m a loser!” if they blow one play, even though the team wins most of their games. If more kids can be persuaded to see themselves as winners it’ll be a better planet.

  • clara harry

    Hello every body
    Am CLARA HARRY , from USA, Dr,)OGUDO is the only Traditional root and herbs
    man that can cure your HIV who could ever get my HIV-AIDS cured with his
    healing spell, i have tried almost everything but i couldn’t find any
    solution on my disease, despite all these happening to me, i always
    spend a lot to buy a HIV drugs from hospital and taking some several
    medications but no relieve, until one day i was just browsing on the
    internet when i come across a great post of !Michelle! who truly said
    that she was been diagnose with HIV and was healed that very week
    through the help of these great powerful healing spell doctor, sometime i
    really wonder why people called him Dr,OGUDO, i never knew it was all
    because of the great and perfect work that he has been doing that is
    causing all this. so i quickly contacted him, and he ask me some few
    questions and he said a thing i will never forget that anyone who
    contacted him is ! always getting his or her healing in just 6 hours
    after doing all he ask you, so i was amazed all the time i heard that
    from him, so i did all things only to see that at the very day which he
    said i will be healed, all the strength that has left me before rush
    back and i becomes very strong and healthy, this disease almost kills my
    life all because of me, so i will to hospital to give the final test to
    the disease and the doctor said i am HIV negative, i am very amazed and
    happy about the healing Dr,OGUDO gave to me from the ancient part of
    Africa, you can email him now for your own healing too at:DROGUDO thank you sir for healing me from HIV, i am
    Doris Carter So viewers DR OGUDO, is a God
    Gifted man and can help you to cure all types of sickness like HIV AIDS,
    can contact him through his email on (

    He is also specialized in the following.
    1. He can help you cast a spell to get pregnant.

    2. He can help you cast a Death Spell.
    3. He can help you cast a Promotion spell.

    4. He can help you cast Lottery spell.
    5. Spell of luck.
    6. Spell of Finance.
    7. If you have been scam before, he can help you cast a spell to get your money back.
    8.He can help you solve your low sperm count.

    9 He can help on HIV Spell
    And many more.. contact him on his private
    email and explain what you want him to do for you i assure you he shall
    help,His email is: (

  • Windy Wagner

    My name is Windy Wagner from united kingdom i am here to thank DR OLA the powerful spell caster that rescue me from HIV AIDS. I was diagnosed of this disease in the year 2012, and because of this, i was very unhappy with my life, and i went into research on how i can get cured, i contacted a lot of spell casters and none of them could help me rather they scammed me and took away my money without helping me. All this period of my life, i was sad and unhappy so one day as i was in the INTERNET i decided to sign in a friend guest book, only for me to see a testimony of a lady on how she was helped by DR OLA so i was confused to contact him at the moment because i didn’t want to be scammed again but after one week, i decided to contact him, so when i contacted him, he assure me that he will help me and i told him that many spell casters has also told me this but they all scammed me, he told me not to worry that he is going to help me, So i believe in him because all i wanted was to be cured, so he prepared a healing spell for me and told me to wait for just 24 hours, after 24 hours, i went to the hospital for test and to my happiness the test stated that i was cured from the disease.. This gladdens my heart and everybody in the hospital was surprised even the Medical Doctor, So viewers DR OLA is a God Gifted man and can help you to cure all types of sickness like HIV AIDS, CANCER, PILE, Kidney problem, Syphilis and lot’s more. You can contact him through his email on DROLAHEALINGCENTER@GMAIL.COM or you call him +2348100368288,,,,

  • Anita Benard

    *”I can only say that Dr. ominigbon spell was the best help that I could
    have had during the most traumatic time I’ve ever had in my life. My
    girlfriend of 2 ½ years decided to call off our relationship. Everything
    that he said would happen did, his behavior was like reading from your
    lips. In terms of insight into my own personality and the way that I behave
    it was invaluable and I really won’t make those mistakes again, ever. So
    thank you , I would certainly recommend this to anyone going through
    difficult times, it was fantastic, it gave me a plan, which in turn gave me
    hope and got my life back on track at the same time. This got me through
    the first few weeks and is still helping me now.He now does all of the
    things that he never used to do and I’m so less needy, I feel like all of
    the negative stuff that made me what I’d become have fallen away and I’m
    back to my real self again.get him on his private email:

  • John Phillip

    Am Sevda Gulea i want to thank Dr. DR EBOEHI for getting my lover back to me within 48 hours. When my lover left me i was so tired and frustrated till i search the internet for help and i saw so many good talk about Dr. DR EBOEHI of ( and i decided to give him a try and i contact him and explain my problems to him and he cast a love spell for me which i use to get my husband back. If you want to get your lover back contact DR EBOEHI via email: ( DR EBOEHI the great man that is able to bring back

  • emily

    At last my happiness has been restored by a Man named Dr ABUBAKAR ,, my name’s are miss JOY i want every one on this site or forum to join me thank this DR ABUBAKAR for what he just did for me and my kids . my story goes like this i was married to my husband for 5 years we were living happily together for this years and not until he traveled to Italy for a business trip where he met this prostitute who be witched he to hate me and the kids and love her only so when my husband came back from the trip he said he does not want to see me and my kids again so he drove us out of the house and he was now going to Italy for to see that other woman. so i and my kids were now so frustrated and i was just staying with my mum and i was not be treating good because my mama got married to another man when after my daddy death so the man she got married to was not treating i and my kids well so i was so confuse and i was searching for a way to get my husband back to me and my kids so one day as i was browsing on my computer i saw a testimony about this MAN DR ABUBAKAR of shared on the internet by a lady and it impress me too so i also think of give it a try at first a was scared by when i think of what me and my kids are passing through so i contact him and he told me to stay calm for just two days that my husband shall be restored to me and to my best surprise i received a call from my husband on the second day asking after the kids and i called Dr ABUBAKAR and he said your problems are solved my child so this was how i get my family back after a long stress of brake up by an evil lady so with all this help from DR ABUBAKAR of i want you all on this forum to join me to say a huge thanks to DR ABUBAKAR and i will also advice for any one in such or similar problems or any kind of problems should also contact him for help

  • Robin laura

    I have been in great bondage for about 4 years
    suffering in the hands of a cheating husband. We were living happily
    until he meant his old time girl friend and he started dating her again
    outside our marriage and before i knew it he stopped caring for his own
    family, to the extent that he was planning to marry her and divorce me. I
    cried and reported him to his family members but he never listened to
    anyone and to cut the story short, i came in search for a real spell
    caster who could destroy their relationship and make him come back to me
    and our 2 kids again; on my search i saw people sharing testimony on
    how their marriage was restored by Dr. Eze Malaka and i pick his email
    and told him the problem that i was going through, and he agreed to help
    me and told me never to worry. After he had finished casting the spell,
    on the second day, they both had a quarrel and he beat up his
    girlfriend and he came back home begging me to forgive him that his eyes
    are clear now that he will never do any thing that will hurt his family
    again and promise to be a caring father and never to cheat on me again.
    I am so happy that i did not lose him to the girl and all appreciation
    goes to Dr. Eze Malaka for his great work. You are a Great spell caster
    and to you all that are faced with this or similar problem to this,
    please contact him now on extremewhitelovespell@yahoo. com

  • Robin laura

    I have been in great bondage for about 4 years
    suffering in the hands of a cheating husband. We were living happily
    until he meant his old time girl friend and he started dating her again
    outside our marriage and before i knew it he stopped caring for his own
    family, to the extent that he was planning to marry her and divorce me. I
    cried and reported him to his family members but he never listened to
    anyone and to cut the story short, i came in search for a real spell
    caster who could destroy their relationship and make him come back to me
    and our 2 kids again; on my search i saw people sharing testimony on
    how their marriage was restored by Dr. Eze Malaka and i pick his email
    and told him the problem that i was going through, and he agreed to help
    me and told me never to worry. After he had finished casting the spell,
    on the second day, they both had a quarrel and he beat up his
    girlfriend and he came back home begging me to forgive him that his eyes
    are clear now that he will never do any thing that will hurt his family
    again and promise to be a caring father and never to cheat on me again.
    I am so happy that i did not lose him to the girl and all appreciation
    goes to Dr. Eze Malaka for his great work. You are a Great spell caster
    and to you all that are faced with this or similar problem to this,
    please contact him now on extremewhitelovespell@yahoo. com

  • Francisca luis

    My name is lius Francisca, and I base in U.S.A…My life is back!!! After 2 years of Broken marriage, my husband left me with two kids . I felt like my life was about to end i almost committed suicide, i was emotionally down for a very long time. Thanks to a spell caster called Dr Zulu, which i met online. On one faithful day, as I was browsing through the internet,I came across allot of testimonies about this particular spell caster. Some people testified that he brought their Ex lover back, some testified that he restores womb,cure cancer,and other sickness, some testified that he can cast a spell to stop divorce and so on. i also come across one particular testimony,it was about a woman called Lydia,she testified about how he brought back her Ex lover in less than 2 days, and at the end of her testimony she dropped Dr Jatto E-mail address. After reading all these,I decided to give it a try. I contacted him VIA Email and explained my problem to him. In just 48hours, my husband came back to me. We solved our issues, and we are even happier than before Dr Jatto, is really a gifted man and i will not stop publishing him because he is a wonderful man… If you have a problem and you are looking for a real and genuine spell caster to solve all your problems for you. Try High anytime, he might be the answer to your problems. Here’s his Email OR CALL +2349035512062.


  • Nosa Jeffery

    The best RECIPE FOR LOVE I have EVER found has been with Dr Agbadi Oracle spell!!!!!!! LADIES, WAIT NO LONGER!!! I am in 7TH HEAVEN because I was guided to Dr Agbadi Oracle spell by my own spirit guide, and my relationship was successfully REPAIRED when it was DYING a slow DEATH!!! Just TRUST IN GOD and know that magic lies within you as well, if you deem it so!!! I have met my SOUL MATE for LIFE and know that no matter what, this cannot be TAKEN from me!! All BLESSINGS to the magnificence of Dr Agbadi Oracle spell!! All thanks make sure you contact this man he can help… HIS EMAIL ADDRESS IS:

  • Nosa Jeffery

    My name is audrey, I almost took my life because of my ex who left me and stop picking my calls. He said do not trust me anymore, I tried to convince him, but he will not believe me until we had a fight and broke up for 8months, after then I realize I can not live without him because of the love I have for him. I tried everything possible to get him back, but non worked for me, some fake spell casters scammed me and went away with my money until I came across this man called DR Agbadi, he cast a spell for me and behold my ex came back after three days, begging me for forgiveness, I was so surprised that spell caster like Dr Agbadi still exist. If anyone here needs some help, with all sincerity, contact Dr Agbadi SPELL via his email:

  • Nosa Jeffery

    My name is kuart . I found a great spell caster online who helped me to get back my husband who has left me for pass 4 years. we where married for 9years without a child and my friend introduce me to a real spell caster which i never believe it exist but after the meeting of this spell caster my problem where solved and now i am with my husband who left me for pass three years my life and my entire family are now happy now i have three kids with the help of this great spell caster. Thanks Dr Agbadi of if you need any spell, you can email him will be in the best position to help you. I wish you good luck and success.

  • Nosa Jeffery

    Three weeks ago my boyfriend broke up with me. it all started when i Travel to UK to spend my holiday with my friend,i was trying to contact him but it was not going through. So when i came back from UK i saw him with a lady kissing, i was frustrated and it gives me sleepless night. I called my friend told her what happened and she introduce me to a spell cater who helped her long time ago. Which i contact him and i never believed that the spell will work so easily because i have contacted many spell casters to get him back all they do is to take my money with no result. I am happy to tell you all that my boyfriend is back and committed to me alone and he do whatever i ask him to do with love and care. All thanks to Dr Agbadi the great magician who helped me to restore my boy friend to Email this powerful and authentic spell caster via email now:

  • CALL FOR SPELL +2348079367204

    i got back my lover from another women with the powerful love spell of omigodo in just 24hours contact priest omigodo if you need your lover back on : or call omigodo on his phone number on +2348079367204


  • David Eric

    I am David Eric,I want to say thank to for everything he did in my life. To everyone who doesn’t believe in spell, I was one like you at first. I wasn’t quite sure if I wanted to do this since I’ve tried others so-called spells casters and they did not work and was a waste of my time and money. However, when I read so many testimonials of dr.tust how he help people to get back their ex lover. dr.tust answered all my questions and was very nice about everything, I decided to give it a try. I figured it would be my last try to get my ex girlfriend back. So my story is that I was at my office when the girl I suppose to marry told me that she wasn’t in love with me and never will it be and that she didn’t want to speak or see me again, especially since she was talking to this other guy. i email and tell him everything.he let me know which spells would be most appropriate for me and I chose the one that was to get her back to me and stay with me and to marry me.As soon as he finish the spells, my girlfriend came back into my life! It was a miracle to me and I’m so thankful to him, that is why i am sharing this testimony to those who need his help. Things have been going well, and pretty much according to what said would happen. I’m very happy for the love spell have done for me, my ex girlfriend is now back to me and we are living so happy. if you asked me or my friends if I would have anticipated how things were right now…no one would believe it! contact is email address ( or tell +2348156885231) David Eric

  • Park Smith

    I AM PARK, my wife dumped me
    9(nine) months ago after I accused her of seeing another man. I wanted
    her back in my life but she refused to have any contact with me. she
    changed her mobile number, blocked me from sending her mails and even on
    Facebook. I was so confused and lost concentration that made me lose my
    job, it was disastrous. I kept seeing on several blogs how a spell
    caster keeps helping people get their ex back and I contacted this spell
    caster called DR CUBA for help, he assured me in 48hours that my ex
    will return to me, and to my greatest surprise my ex called me for the
    first time since we broke up. I am so happy that my love is back again,
    we are now happier than ever and I have gotten a job far better than my
    previous one, once again thank you DR CUBA TEMPLE , you are truly gifted
    and powerful. Email this wonderful man on
    He is the only answer to your problems. He can be of great help and I
    will not stop publishing his name for the good work he did for me .

  • Jeffrey Dowling