I criticize my children.
I’m not afraid to admit it. I think they need it.
In this culture of telling every kid is that he/she is smart and a winner, I tell my kids exactly what their weaknesses are.
I don’t ever tell them they are stupid and that they are losers though. If my kid is bad at math or passing the soccer ball, I let them know. Then I tell them what they can do to improve or how to focus more on something that they are good at.
I think sometimes my parenting style comes off more as a workplace supervisor than a nurturer. Frick and Frack are teenagers though. They are about to head out into the big, cruel world where not everyone wins, where one or two people get praised for being better than the rest, where jobs get lost because of underperforming. I want kids who are able to deal with that and learn to work harder to come out ahead. I like to consider my criticism (constructive, of course) like a precursor to job performance reviews.
The only reason I chose to blog about this is because today was the day they handed out medals in soccer today. Each child got one just for participating. I have no problem with this on the younger fields, but I wish they would do trophies and have the winning the final tournament actually mean something on the older kids’ fields. We have a drawer full of these participation medals that our boys don’t give a flying fart about because they have no meaning.
K coaches Frack’s team, one of the 11-14 year old teams. Honestly, they suck. Like every other team in the age bracket, we have two or three great players and a mix of good and not so good players. Our main problems are attitude and communication. Two kids on the team have a horrible attitude. They talk back, don’t listen and are just little a-holes. Yeah, I did say that. Because it’s true. Their attitudes affect the rest of the team until most are bickering like old hens. And the communication problems we have. The kids don’t tell each other what they’re doing out on the field so they end up bickering because they’re not doing what the other wants them to do.
K enjoys coaching but this year he is so frustrated that he doesn’t even want to go to practice or games. I have been trying to help him but I am not good with kids this age. I do notice what he does when he coaches the kids individually. He tells them what their weaknesses are and gives examples of what they did wrong on the field. Which is always followed with “the next time that happens, I want you to…”. He tells them how to improve what they are doing so that they don’t make the same mistakes. He then tells them how to use whatever their particular strength is to the team’s advantage. Once you get past the age where basics are being taught and refined, that is how a coach should do it.
So why are there so many coaches that tell kids it’s okay when they make a mistake without telling the kid how to correct it or prevent that same mistake? Mistakes are bad, but they happen to everyone. Our job as parents (or life coaches) is to teach our children the basics and provide plenty of nurturing when they are young. Once they hit their early teen years, it is our job to prepare them for real life. We provide a safe environment to make mistakes and point them in the right direction to fix those mistakes. We teach them to play to their strengths and work around their weaknesses. We shouldn’t fix their problems for them.
Sorry, this turned into a rambling post that is all over the place. I just don’t think we do our children any favors by letting everyone have a place on high school teams, not keeping score in youth leagues or not letting kids experience any form of defeat.
That’s it, there isn’t any more.
Have a great weekend.