As has sadly always been the case, many children are neglected or even abused. But there is a phenomenon that is unique to modern life: parents who devote too much, rather than too little, time and effort to their children. The lives of these parents revolve around their children, leading their children to assume that it is the obligation of those around them to cater to their every whim. Parents equate “being a good parent” with living for their children.
While a great deal of stress, aggravation, and drudgery is an unavoidable part of being a parent, on balance, parenthood should be more pleasure than pain. Parents should provide guidance and rules, as well as moral, emotional, and financial support — but not entertainment. Many children have discovered future joys, such as serious reading, as a result of being forced to entertain themselves.
The great majority of successful adults did not have “perfect” childhoods, if such a thing is possible. Not attending private schools, poor athletic ability, or trouble with peers are not tragedies. Childhood is supposed to train a person to be an adult, which means learning to deal with problems and an imperfect world.
Three important things you can do for your child are:
• Help them to develop a philosophy of life that addresses the unfairness — and the general irrationality and insanity — they are bound to encounter.
• Help them to discover ways that they enjoy creating value.
• Help them develop the habit of focusing on improving their own life, rather than comparing themselves to others.
On helping your children to learn to entertain themselves and to view problems as interesting challenges.