White Knuckle Parenting

Raising Extraordinary Kids by Countering the Culture

Here I go again, sticking a needle in the delusional balloon of modern day parenting.

Curt Williams
Founder & Executive Director

In our haste to embrace every progressive thought we have abandoned old-fashioned common sense, but here I am going to refresh us all with a dose of hard-won wisdom.

Few of us have learned from our successes. Even fewer of us have learned anything healthy from being pampered or indulged. The vast majority of humans learn best when they make mistakes, do something foolish or fail miserably. This is when we seem to grasp reality, begin to operate logically, and endeavor to succeed by LEARNING FROM our mistakes.

So why do so many parents seek to minimize failure and mitigate pain from their children’s lives? I am not speaking of preventing actual physical injury, but we seem to think that if we can smooth out the rough spots in life our kids will be happy and content. The evidence screams the opposite; when we seek to make happy kids they do not turn out to be happy adults. They turn out to be unhappy, entitled, weak and unproductive adults.

I have a friend who puts together events ranging from parties to weddings. It is not unusual for her to have a budget well into the thousands of dollars to organize a child’s birthday party. Wisdom of old teaches that a parent’s job is to prepare their children for the ruthless nature of life and to teach them to be resilient and strong. Spending crazy cash on a kid’s birthday party teaches them that they are deserving of undeserved things just because they are who they are. Here I am, screaming at kids, “You are special and unique, just like everybody else!” And here are parents creating little entitled monsters by shoveling onto them toys, gifts, expensive electronic addictions, and cold hard cash just because the day they painfully entered the world has come around one more time.

Am I alone on the face of this planet in thinking that this is a bit over the top?

When I was a kid, our mom would bake some cupcakes and we would get a big soda for a few of our friends to enjoy. My parents would not break the bank. We were not rewarded for doing nothing. We might get to choose what mom cooked for dinner, but that was about it, and I never remember feeling horribly neglected.

I’m guessing that many parents do not really do all of this for their kids. They do all of this for themselves, because they have been caught up in the worldly culture that does not create humble and servant-minded adults, but delivers grown people unable to cope with reality without medication and therapy.

So here is my advice. Skip the first four birthdays of a child’s life. These are freebies. The kid has no clue and you are only doing it for yourself or because it is some kind of socially expected extravagance. Rise above. Then, at five years old, ask your kid what they would like as a gift under $40, and tell them that they get to choose a friend to receive the same gift as they receive. Then buy two of the selected items and have your kid wrap and give this second gift to a friend.

Start early teaching your kid that the world DOES NOT in fact revolve around them, or one day soon you will have an adolescent spoiled brat demanding more and more. I will never forget meeting with a father whose sixteen your old son was treating him horribly. This man actually said, “I have no idea why he treats me this way. I’ve given him everything he’s ever wanted”.

My work is done here.