Let's be honest, each parent has probably had that moment when they've looked at their child and wondered, "What is wrong with them?" Maybe the child did something so inconceivably ridiculous mom or dad can't imagine it came from their brain.
Did they PUSH a door to open it, when the sign said PULL? Have they been struggling to open a package of crackers for 15 minutes, while staring at the TV? Any parent on the brink of losing their sanity might admit to wanting to rip it from their hands, turn the TV off, and show them that there is clearly a correct way to open crackers!
Other parents might be sitting there, silently (we hope!) cursing the daycare or school system that has failed their child, or assume their child is hanging out with other dumb kids. They must be watching too much TV, and their brain is turning to mush.
Is it too many video games? Or the type of music they listen too? Trying to put a finger on the culprit might involve looking no further than a mirror.
Yes, the truth is, a parent might be to blame for their child's stupidity. Yes, it's true! It's time for a quick reality check, to see if mom or dad is doing something that is making their kids stupid.
Should a parent find that they're to blame, even a little, they can certainly make some changes and save their child from a lifetime of stupidity! Let them do things themselves, fail, learn, and be challenged. Otherwise, without the opportunity to learn while they are young, they will go into life, thinking they know everything about anything, and that alone, is stupid!
Let's review, 15 things parents do that make their kids stupid:
15 Opening Everything For Them
We have all been there. Your child is fidgeting with a bag of Cheezits, or cookies, maybe even a Gogurt, and you find yourself reaching over, and removing this annoying little noisemaker from them, opening it, and returning it to their hands. If you have been consistent enough in your teaching of manners, they will simply reply, "thank you" and go on about their eating.
The question is, what did they learn? The lesson here was, Mom will do it for me. Over time, this will turn into, "Mom, can you open this?" without even an attempt to try. Believe me, I have seen it.
Children who are never challenged to try and figure out packaging on their own, will be incredibly dependent on those around them. What if they live in their own apartment one day....how will they eat?! I am guessing a lot of fast food!
A better bet is to say, "Here, let me show you how to do this." Take the time, show them the "tear here" section of the cookie bag, or how to pull open a bag of chips. These simple skills help them to take direction, apply it, and get what they want. This skill will ensure your child is prepared for basic problem solving.
14 Doing Their Homework
You want your child to excel in school, and certainly make the A/B honor roll, principal's list, etc. The list of accolades you wish to see your child achieve, will only grow as they get older. Student of the week, student of the month, heck, valedictorian? Something that will NOT help them to get there is doing their homework for them.
I have caught myself doing it. You check the answers, erase the ones that are wrong, and then start explaining the concept of how to solve the problem. Before you know it, the timer goes off for dinner, someone else needs a bath, and you find yourself giving them the answer to scribble down, so they don't get the question wrong, or receive an incomplete.
However, this is going to cause your child to be an idiot. They have to learn how to figure out problems, and sometimes that happens by getting something wrong. The teacher will review the answers the next day in class, and they will realize they were less than perfect. The review of the material might even be exactly what they needed to help!
13 Making Every Decision For Them
Of course you want your children to make the best decisions. BUT, this doesn't mean you should make every decision for them. When doing this, you are robbing them of this chance to think through what they want, live with the outcome, and determine if they would have made a different decision next time.
Making choices, even small ones, also gives children a chance to understand they have some control and power in their own world. For example, for a 3 year old, it may involve holding up two shirts (both which you already deem acceptable) and letting them choose which one to wear that day. Who wants a grown man who can't figure out what to wear?!
As kids get older, some of these decisions interfere with what you want to teach them, but need to be made nonetheless. My 9 year old son, recently started a new after school program. He really enjoys it. If his school day was good, he gets the chance to play Wii. The only issue is, this overlaps with homework time.
This is a critical lesson as kids make hundreds of decisions each day that affect the life they will lead.
12 Not Letting Them Fail
This is probably the hardest offense NOT to commit. Let's face it, watching a kid fail at something is hard, really hard. They are angry, sad, frustrated, and feeling defeated. What better way to avoid all of this drama and bad feelings, then to just simply not have it happen?
Do you have an opportunity to have your kid sit out during the big game? This might be safer than having them on the field to make the big mistake, right? Could be, or you could be holding them back from the opportunity to make the greatest day of their life. What if they make the winning catch or throw? Score that winning goal, etc.
Even if they don't bring home the "gold medal" and they fall on their face, there is a great lesson to be learned here. A kid will learn that while they tried hard, someone else tried harder. If they want to win, they need to practice. They will learn the bitterness of failure, which makes the taste of success that much sweeter.
11 Too Much Screen Time
I think this one is a no-brainer. Literally. Kids who spend all of their time in front of TV, tablets, smartphones, and video games generally perform much lower than their classmates. This is because their brains are not able to revert from the pixels keeping their attention to the now "dull" format of books, papers and pens.
When more screen time is present, kids spend less time interacting with their parents and siblings. This lack of interaction robs them of the opportunity for intelligent conversation and social awareness. As they find themselves lost in a video game world that they enjoy, they are less able to communicate with their peers.
Imagine yourself, what would you rather focus on, a bright colored scene where someone is jumping and moving, or someone's face while they speak "boring" facts to you? Like I said, no-brainer. The problem is, too much time can cause kids to be no-brainers too!
10 Not Involving Them In Sports And Clubs
It is so important for kids to be involved in sports and extracurricular clubs. So many important lessons of life are taught here. Kids learn how to cooperate, work as a team, practice hard to achieve the things they want, and to understand defeat.
In clubs, kids learn that together they can do more than they can do alone, and they find themselves surrounded by other kids they may not have otherwise met. Kids find common ground in things they enjoy and care about.
Overall, this helps to build a more well rounded person. Plenty of kids who do not participate in these activities, seem to lack a basic understanding of these functions. How would they understand teamwork if they have never been on a team? What about empathy, and putting the needs of a whole before the needs or wants of a single person?
From environmental club, to chess, lego or astronomy club, there is something for everyone.
When the next flyer comes home from school, talk to your child, ask them what they enjoy. You might be surprised at just how interested they really are.
9 Not Requiring Them To Do Chores
Basic responsibilities are learned at an early age. It is up to the parent to teach these basic skills that will be enforced throughout their lives in schoolwork, jobs, and responsibilities at the house.
Do you work with that one person who never feels like they need to help? They leave the copier with no paper, the coffee pot with no coffee, and never pick up after themselves in the break room? Annoying, right? Chances are, they are not performing extremely well in their jobs either.
They probably do the bare minimum expected of them, in order to keep their job, and never go out of their way to help their fellow co-worker.
A good guess would be they never had chores as kids. By all means, make sure the chores are age appropriate, but make your children contribute. From taking out the trash, to helping with laundry, dishes or sweeping. These are things that will help your child build a sense of belonging. Do you pay your kids for their chores? Some parents do, others do not.
Whichever way you feel best, at least make sure they make a contribution! You will save their future co-workers a lot of hassle!
8 Not Setting Boundaries For Them
Boundaries are so important. Every child wants and craves a stable environment where boundaries have been set. This doesn't mean they won't test them, Lord knows that! It also doesn't mean they won't be mad, or sometimes break the rules, but they will generally respect the boundaries that they have set in place.
These can range from bedtime to only being on the phone until 8pm, or having to be home before 9pm on school nights, etc. These boundaries, set by parents give children a realistic expectation of the "real-world." For example, they will be expected to be on time to their jobs, and they will not be allowed to use their cell phones outside of their lunch hour, etc.
Setting fair but firm boundaries with kids allows them to operate within these restrictions and still enjoy their lives. This is yet another facet of making a well rounded adult who doesn't think they can do anything and say anything, anytime they want. I am sure we are all thinking of that certain someone, who you now know their parents did NOT give them boundaries....
7 Not Encouraging Them To Enjoy Reading
This may sound simple, and it may sound like something a teacher would say. Some children will love reading, and others may dislike it, or even downright hate it. Generally, when encouraged to enjoy reading from an early age, children find much more in life. They have a greater sense of imagination, and the ability to think of things that are not just proven in facts.
They have general knowledge about things that allow them to interact with others and to have exciting news to share or teach.
Children who enjoy reading tend to struggles less in school. If they don't understand something the teacher explained, they are capable of reading back through their book, and gaining an understanding all on their own.
As they get older, and dinner conversations turn to the "classics" they will have an opinion to share, and be able to discuss. Hands down, children who read are largely smarter than those children who do not read. This alone is enough of a reason to get your kids motivated into enjoying a wonderful experience. One they can carry with them for a lifetime.
6 Forgetting To Educate Them On History
As the saying goes, "History often repeats itself." Or another good one to offer is, "Smart people learn from their mistakes, wise people learn from the mistakes of others." No matter what the history is, educate them. Share stories about the history of your country, your city or town, even your family.
Most kids get a high on learning about things that occurred long before they were born, and start to understand that many other things will occur long after they are gone.
This gives them a sense of self, and lets them see where they stand in relation to time. In some families, these discussions will involve heated opinions about politics, and in others, a simple briefing on facts that allow the children to make up their own minds.
No matter which way you teach it, or what type of history you explain, make sure you explain some of it. When children become educated, they are more likely to ask smarter questions and to have intelligent contributions to make to conversations around them.
5 Giving Them Too Many Options
Let them make decisions, yes. Give them options, yes. But too many options can actually overwhelm a child and cause them to draw inward, unable to decide on anything at all. Asking if they want a Cinderella or Frozen themed party? Good question. Asking if they want, "Cinderella, Dory, Frozen, Trolls, Beauty and the Beast, etc" is too much for most kids. They want a few options that they can make a solid choice and be happy with it.
Giving too many options results in regret. No matter how fun that party ended up being, the child will be left wondering, "Hmm, should I have picked Trolls instead?" With too many options, they will focus on what they missed from the other choices, and not what they enjoyed out of the decision that they made.
Also, some kids may not be able to make the decision. This will leave you making the selection, and your kid second guessing your choice long after the decorations have been purchased.
Keep it simple stupid, that's the rule. Give them several choices, and let them make a choice they can feel good about.
4 Making Things Too Easy
Another fact is that people who have always had it easy, don't understand what it is like to have to work for something. Again, this should be age appropriate. Easter Egg Hunt for 3 year olds? Sure, some of the eggs should be incredibly easy to find, because a 3 year old is going to lose focus and be sitting down playing, instead of hunting. But how about 10 year olds? No way, this should be a much more difficult hunt.
Placing the eggs in easy to find places takes all of the fun out of hunting. Kids will feel cheated, and sad that they didn't get to experience the true hunt. This exercise, repeated, will make children dependent on the fact that little or no effort is required to get the things they want.
You know the sign that encourages you not to feed the birds, why is that? Well, because not only does the next family not want to be swarmed during their picnic, but the birds will become dependent on the people to feed them. What happens when bad weather approaches, and the park is closed for several weeks. What will these birds do? Will they find it in them to "hunt" for their food, or simply starve?
Make activities challenging to the age, but still enjoyable for everyone.
3 Giving Them Everything They Want
Would you like someone to give you everything you wanted? Sure. I will take one full-time work from home job, a million dollars, and a vacation to Hawaii. However, this is not going to happen to me just because I asked for it. If I want to work from home full-time, I will need to work on acquiring the necessary skills and clients to fill the income gap. If I want a million dollars, I sure better start saving, and a vacation to Hawaii isn't out of the question, but it will take some work.
Children should be given all of the basic needs they require; love, a roof over their heads, food on the table, shoes on their feet, clothes on their back, and love. (Did I mention love already?) When a parent car afford it, it is a wonderful feeling to also be able to give children things they want; money for the book fair, the new toy they want, ice cream on a weekend, etc.
The danger here only comes in giving your child everything they want. Children who receive everything they ever ask for, will never understand that things in life will not be handed to them. They will expect something for nothing, and be ignorant to the importance of working for things. You don't want to set up your child for failure, so let them work for the things they want!
2 Letting Them Win
This is another hard one for many parents. "But they are trying so hard." is something I have heard often. "But I want them to feel accomplished," is another one. Most experts disagree. While it is not encouraged to try and win by such a landslide that your child is discouraged to try again, it is encouraged to show them that you are trying your best.
Children will know when you are "letting them win," and again, may feel cheated by the lack of a chance to truly complete. My father never let me win at anything in my entire life. It was frustrating at times, but it drove me to understand that I could, in fact, try harder, and eventually WIN.
Victory was never so sweet as the day I beat him by two strokes in miniature golf! I knew I had won, fair and square, and danced a happy dance for hours. Another lesson here, is that you can try hard and overcome adversity. This is essential for kids to rise to a challenge, and see that practice and perseverance are critical to success.
1 Not Instilling Spirituality In Them
I don't think enough can be said about this topic. Regardless of your beliefs, denomination, etc. It is important that children understand that there is something much larger than they themselves at work in our lives. Children have incredible things to be thankful for. They have the ability to pray and ask for guidance, and love and support.
It is a wonderful feeling to be loved even when you thought you were alone. Children who participate in activities through a church or youth group, tend to have better coping skills when it comes to challenges in life. They have peers to bounce ideas off of, and can look around and see how others are handling similar situations.
Just knowing you are never alone, is an incredible sense of belonging, and one that should take seed in a child's soul and stay there for eternity.
So take a look at your life, and your children. Are you really helping them to become happy, successful, well rounded people? If so, great! If not, and you realize you are making your kids stupid, switch it up a little bit, and you will soon see positive results!