Gorgeous Alice is 8 years old, she is growing up fast and she seems to do pretty well in school. You start to notice she is hanging out with a girl more and suddenly her grades start to slip a bit and you take a stand and say something like “You need to do better in school, when I was young I got good grades and I expect that of you too!” Alice heard “You suck, if you don’t get good grades you are stupid!”
Hey, I didn’t make the rules, I just happen to know them, and this is how kids hear things!
Alice begins to put pressure on herself just because it seems to make her parent(s) happy to get good grades. As the grades continue maybe you suggest getting into Advanced classes and even running for class president oh and on the side you insist she plays baseball too so she learns the value of a team and earn a scholarship for college. So now Alice is in 7th or 8th grade and she is constantly stressed, she has an attitude toward you, she is under constant pressure from school and sports for 2 seasons or more a year.
Alice suddenly starts wearing dark clothes and begins hanging out with the “scary kids” or maybe Alice just starts a nasty little habit of cutting herself behind the scenes. There are about 100 other very similar scary scenarios (i.e. drugs, alcohol, suicide, sexual experimenting.)
So, as you can see this all started with a few “well-intentioned” parenting style choices and comments. Alice took it upon herself to constantly please you and eventually fell apart inside without you noticing until it was too late. Are you wondering why I am blaming you? Well, I am and I’m not. I want you to see the direct correlation between parental pressures and teen behaviors.
Now I wanna tell you why to stop and how to stop! Why should you stop? Because you LOVE your kid. How do you stop? By loving your kid Unconditionally!
Unconditional love shows the child that even though they screw up, you still love them. Allowing kids to experience the NATURAL consequences of life choices allows them to correct their behaviors on their own. There is plenty of research to show this parenting style works and is effective in raising some pretty amazing leaders.