5 Things Parents Must Tell Their Children


We parents today are fantastic at telling our babies how wonderful they are at everything they do.

We slap stickers of their sports team logos and the schools they attend on the backs of the cars that we shuttle them around in.

We happily tout their sports victories and weekend wins on social media for all to see.

We parents are proud of our kids.

Perhaps what our kids need from us more than constant pats on the back is a healthier dose of reality. Along with telling Johnny what a gift to the world he is, we need to also make sure he understands these things…

1. Life is hard and full of disappointment

Don’t shield your child from this harsh reality. It’s best our kids begin to understand now that not everyone gets a medal. Suck it up buttercup, because sometimes you will win and sometimes you will lose. Sometimes we get what we want and sometimes we don’t. Difficult things happen to good people.

Let’s raise some mentally tough kids who don’t fold at the first sign of struggle. I want my young adults resilient enough to work through their disappointments before seeking out a crying room at college because their feelings are hurt. Sometimes the truth is painful.

Parents pay attention to how you are modeling life when it gets difficult for you. How you handle life’s ups and downs will rub off on your kids.

2. You are not special

Okay, that may be a little harsh for this generation to handle, but life is not supposed to revolve around your kid. In our mission to raise children of high self-esteem, we have mistakingly placed our wee ones as the top priority in our lives.

Be mindful of how you are praising and building your children up because it can actually be to their detriment. The more we put our children on a pedestal, the tougher it’s going to be to get them down. I believe in unconditionally loving my offspring and placing a high value on their hearts and minds, but I never want to raise them to believe they are better than the next guy.

3. Life must not be lived in comparison to others

Who cares if everyone’s doing IT or that so and so has IT? I tell my kids that I don’t care what the Joneses are up to or what they possess. More power to them, but it doesn’t mean IT fits in with our family plan.

I want to raise children who understand the importance of running their own race. People who don’t need to post their acquired material items on social media to gain approval. I want them to be confident in who God made them to be as original, interesting, one-of-a-kind human beings.

Talk to your kids about not believing the hype they see on social media and how we should strive to live a better life off-screen than the one we portray online.

4. NO… to things we adults can afford

Why are kids without jobs walking around in designer shoes, ordering gourmet coffees with expensive iPhones in their back pocket? Few teens earn a paycheck these days, yet they have all the perks of hard-working, wage-earning adults. It blows my mind. Remember back in the day, if we didn’t have the cash in hand, we weren’t doing it or buying it period. Let’s channel some of that old school mentality, shall we?

Kids use phone apps to catch rides from strangers and even have meals or iced coffee drinks delivered to them, all on their parents’ dime. I’ve seen it with my own eyes people. Begin saying no to wants that you can afford but that your child cannot. Perhaps that may just catapult them into wanting to get a job and learn the value of hard work through earning their own cash. Just a crazy thought.


5. You can do hard things

Encourage areas that challenge your child to grow and learn instead of letting them take the easiest path. I’ve heard parents say they don’t have their kids take certain classes at school because they’re too hard. Others have teenagers who are scared or don’t see a need to obtain their driver’s licenses so parents continue to shuttle their capable child around. What happened to pushing our kids a bit out of their comfort zone?

Don’t be so quick to allow your child to quit when life gets challenging either. Know your kid well enough to know when to push them in areas which may benefit them in the long run. Our son wouldn’t be enjoying playing high school baseball today if we’d let him quit the sport when he thought he wanted to a few years ago. That same son is surprising himself earning A’s in a tough honors language arts class that he was adamant he didn’t want to take too. Good for him.

Let’s continue to pat little Johnny on the back while we explain to him how life really works. Our kids must understand and learn from us that the world can be a tough place and that they are going to be just fine.

What other things must we tell our wonderful children in order to raise healthy and resilient young adults?

8 replies
  1. jennibell
    jennibell says:

    Love your posts and thoughtfulness behind them. What other things must we tell our wonderful children? That home is SAFE. In order for it to be safe, however, we do need to “keep out” things that are harmful for our children — and sometimes that includes certain people that may or may not be related to us. I want home to be a place where my children ARE special, CAN fail, and wallow in disappointment. “Home”, however, should not be permanent, just a haven. Just like in the world, not everyone in the home is going to “like” them at that particular moment or think they are the greatest. On the other hand, though, home is safe, unlike the world. I think it’s important to continually challenge those wings, but we must also water those roots. . .

    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      Jenni, do I ever love your wisdom! It’s important to continually challenge those wings, but we also must water those roots….Yes! Home should be a safe haven for our kids. I think this would be a great post in itself. Enjoyed checking out your blog too! Thanks for reading and commenting.

  2. Kay
    Kay says:

    As a Nanny for 25+ years, I have witnessed many parents do the exact opposite of your advise. It is very refreshing to know that “sound wisdom” isn’t extinct..!!

    I’ve been fortunate enough to gain the trust of most of the parents I work WITH to help guide them into many of these truths you share. Thank you..

  3. Jackie Snow
    Jackie Snow says:

    I had the opportunity to read my first article you had written today, 8 things to say no to your children, something of that nature don’t recal the exact title of the article. First I want to say thank you, I shared your same views on ones I have already expirenced as a father. The ones I have not yet encountered or expirenced I agreed. I dont know if you have written an article about your view on kids. I’m referring to kids between the ages of 8-10. I’m curious of your view and if you have already written an article about the subject could you tell me the title of the article so I can find it. Thank you once again for sharing your views and expirences. I look forward to reading more of them.

    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      Thank you for reading Jackie! My view on kids 8-10? As far as what do I think they should be doing? I have not written specifically for that age group. I have always been of the mindset of raising kids to help out at all ages. Yours are at a perfect age to start doing some of these things. My 10 year old gets up to an alarm. He gets his breakfast out as I assist, etc. Let me know if you have any specific questions!

  4. Sierrabeth
    Sierrabeth says:

    I can across this when looking for advice for my 17 year old. Bravo. Thank you for this blog and showing me that we are not wrong and we are supposed to let them do things they are old enough for and capable to do.


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