How to collaborate with your children to gain buy-in to empower them to be self-confident and responsible.
Build boundaries, lead the process, and show your love.
When I read this article by Rob Kelly’s wife, the NFL football player, I decided to write this article with one goal in mind, to give parents tools to make a collaborative decision with your children to ensure their safety and well being.
Many of us parents love our kids. We want them to be happy. But often we make poor decisions when it comes to our children safety and well being. We often lack tools to guide ourselves and them to make good decisions. We often give-in to social and peer pressure instead of thinking clearly about long term implications.
Kids do not know what they do not know. They want to fit in. They want approval from their peers. They are too young to be aware of all the risks and long term implications.
It is our job as a parent to broaden their perspective with guidance, tools, and love.
We parents should know better. We need to build boundaries with tools. We are their advocate and role models until they can be independent and responsible.
Our first and foremost duty is to ensure the safety and well being of our kids.
I was alarmed last year when I was chatting with one of my close friends, Sara, who her son plays football for an elite private school in town.
“Did you see the movie Concussion? Are you not concern for Kyle to get hurt?” I asked her. “He made the team. He really wants to play…He will be OK.” She replied casually.
“It takes only one innocent tackle to change his life.” I insisted to make her aware that life can change in a minute. “He will be OK.” She replied. Kyle is an introverted fifteen years old teenage. He plays basketball and plays football. He does not have too many friends. Being on the varsity football team as a freshman gave him an inroad to increase his social outlet. A month later a teammate has suffered a concussion and was bed ridden for three weeks.
Many of parents overlook long term implications and focus on short term benefits. We often do not know how to setup clear boundaries for our children. Boundaries are based on our values, principles and maturity. Boundaries are not some arbitrary rules. They evolve as our children mature, more responsible, and independent. But how can you develop your childrens’ maturity, sense of responsibility and independence?
It is by setting up boundaries that can be tested and negotiated. By taking your child through the the process, you are developing their maturity, independence and decision making tools based on values, principles, and objective process. It empowers your child to gain a buy-in since the process is collaborative and he is part of the decision.
So here is the process and a conversation with your child:
1. What are the risks / benefits?
2. How can we mitigate the risks?
3. What is the impact on your child’s health/well-being in a long-term?
4. What is the impact on others in a long term?
5. Is the worst case scenario repairable or reversible? If not, there is a no go!
Playing football for your teenage has tremendous high risk and can setback your children for life.
Are you looking to get a football scholarship for your child? Are you motivated by money?
Can money bring back your children health?
There are many other sports and alternatives for our children.
Help them to choose a different sport or different activity.
Social and peer pressure should not be the motivator for your child to play football.
Football infuses a culture of aggression and violence.
Is it what you want for your child?
Is worth scarifying and risking your child’s well being in a long run just to fit in socially in a short run?
What is your child worth to you?
I know we love our children and want them to be happy.
But do not forget, setting up boundaries because we love them.
Guide them through the process with love.
Offer them alternatives to discover/develop others talents.
Always do it with love! Your kids need your love and guidance.