Podcast #12: “Three Huge Mistakes We Make Leading Kids…and How to Correct Them”

In the last episode of the Growing Leaders Podcast, we interviewed Dan Pink; author of A Whole New MindDrive, and To Sell is Human. Today, we are discussing Dr. Elmore’s blog, “Three Huge Mistakes We Make Leading Kids…and How to Correct Them”.


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Episode Summary

This podcast was inspired by a blog that Dr. Elmore wrote in February of 2013. The blog, titled “Three Huge Mistakes We Make Leading Kids…and How to Correct Them” went viral and has been shared over 740,000 times on Facebook. This illustrated to us at Growing Leaders that there’s an overriding sense among parents and teachers in America that we’ve done something wrong as we raised our kids, but now…we are not sure what to do to correct it. Enjoy this podcast as we discuss these Three Mistakes.

The Paul Wallich Story

  • The Huffington Post published an article about a father named Paul Wallich, who built a helicopter drone to follow his son to the school bus.
  • Paul Wallich gives a new meaning to the term “helicopter parent”

Mistake #1: We Risk Too Little

  • We live in a world that warns us of danger at every turn. We are a safety-first culture.
  • While safety is good, the unintended consequence is not just risk-averse children, but risk-averse adults.
  • Research shows that children of risk-averse parents have lower test scores and are less likely to attend college than offspring of parents with a more tolerant attitude towards risk.
  • The book “Conquering Your Quarter-Life Crisis” illustrates the growing number of 25 year-old young adults who are going into clinical depression because of unmet expectations.
  • 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.

Mistake #2: We Rescue Too Quickly

  • This generation of kids have learned that some adult will at some point swoop in and solve their problems for them. We won’t let them fail.
  • The unintended consequence of a child being rescued quickly is that their problem-solving skills diminish and they lean on someone else to solve problems for them.
  • 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”.

Mistake #3: We Rave Too Easily

  • The self-esteem movement took root in our school systems in the 1980’s. We determined every kid would feel special, regardless of what they did. They continually heard:
    • You’re smart!
    • You’re awesome!
    • You’re gifted!
  • We made the mistake of thinking that self-esteem can come simply from affirmation. So, this generation of kids has now grown up in a world where they are affirmed for everything, rather than for the things they did.
  • Dr. Carol Dweck wrote a landmark book called, Mindset. In it, she reports findings about the adverse affects of praise.
  • 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. His research reveals that “a person who grows up getting too frequent rewards will not have persistence, because they’ll quit when the rewards disappear”.
  • We need to praise what’s in their control!


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Podcast #12: "Three Huge Mistakes We Make Leading Kids...and How to Correct Them"