In The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure by Jonathon Haidt, the author talks about three untruths that we have been teaching our children. These lessons were taught to millennials and even more strongly hoisted upon Gen-Z.
- What doesn’t kill you makes you weaker.
- Always trust your feelings.
- Life is a battle of good people vs. bad people.
In the article, Having a Second Baby: What to Expect (You thought your first child was life changing! Wait until you have your second), the author sings the tune of what doesn’t kill you makes you weaker.
For the past 35 years, we have been teaching everyone that their participation is enough and that they deserve a thousand accolades for even showing up. We don’t focus on how they show up.
For the past 35 years, children have been showered with compliments. Now, we’re adults who believe we deserve a compliment for functioning as humans.
For the past 35 years, those compliments have turned people fixed-minded, believing that we don’t have to put effort into what we do. We deserve the world. Every single one of us is elite. Each thing we do should be done effortlessly or not at all.
Some things are getting harder. We’re more alone than ever. Sleep is increasingly harder to come by between blue light and 24-hour-job-cycles—and of course, bad sleep means bad eating, bad movement, and bad thinking.
Life is hard. But that’s beside the point.
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and more grateful.
We always focus on the fact that whatever situation we’re in is the hardest situation—us, right now, in the present moment, with no regards for the past. We don’t try to think about the best way to handle a situation. We want help, answers, and pity. We want ease rather than effort.
And then, when we find ourselves in a bad situation, we feed our small selves by announcing our sacrifice. “Look how good I am,” mothers say, “I don’t take care of myself at all.”
Having a second baby will be a lot. But it won’t be more life-changing than your first.
And with your second child, you don’t need to fit in “snuggling with your newborn while your big kid isn’t looking.”
Your first born child is allowed to be jealous. They’re allowed to be upset and cry for attention.
Allow them to have whatever feeling they’re having. Acknowledge them and coach them through them. Then let them know that the world doesn’t change to fit their feelings.
When we block our children from experiencing their negative emotions, we rob them of the opportunity to cope and grow. We also teach them over time that their most immature emotions like apathy, depression, jealousy, and rage need to be revered and tiptoed around rather than faced head-on and then let go of.
You don’t have to “enjoy every moment,” with your children.
But you should try to. Try to see this time for what it is—a very short season in your life. Probably the best one. Surely one that you’ll miss dearly.
As the article suggests, remember:
This, too, shall pass—even if you don’t want it to.