The Credit Challenge in Parenting

Written by: Lianne Castelino

Published: Apr 8, 2013

Seeking credit limits one’s potential for greatness.  There I said it.  Now let us discuss.

Over the years, I have been often awestruck at the lengths people will go to — to seek, solicit, garner, confirm, take and get credit for things they have done.

There is not a soul on the planet who does not appreciate recognition or a reward for a job well done, however, there should be credit limits.  Positive reinforcement is a wonderful thing, but let’s not get carried away.

As a television journalist, I have seen and heard things over time that usually make me think or say aloud — ‘Let’s be realistic now.  He or she is not saving lives here.”  This of course referring to someone who thinks they have done something phenomenally brilliant and need to have their ego stroked to the enth degree for something that is truthfully just ‘part of the job’ or ‘a basic function of being an awake and alert human’.

I’ve worked with on-air people over time who would slide into a depression or get downright upset if they were not recognized at the grocery store or anywhere else for that matter.  This attitude stemming from a

Parents, in my opinion, are the farmers holding on to these powerful seeds.  Depending on how they are sown, credit craziness can and often does ensue. wicked blend of ego and insecurity.  Again, though, the desire for credit or recognition is what often fuels them, rather than the desire to ‘do the right thing’.

During the course of my recent interview with international best-selling author, mother, grandmother, speaker and noted parenting expert Barbara Coloroso, she said something that really struck me.  “Stroke the deed, not the kid.”  I had never heard it put so succinctly before.  I thought to myself, ‘need to write a blog about that.’  And here we are.

Giving a child a reward for making their bed, as an example, is a behaviour that a parent should question.  Ask yourself why does Johnny need a gift for something that is a basic responsibility.

Stroke the deed, not the kid.

By validating the kid, not the deed, you end up (in my opinion) creating teeny tiny monsters who end up growing into bigger monsters — some of whom you may be working or worse, some of whom may be your boss.  Over time, and it will likely happen quickly, a child will carry out tasks only to be rewarded, or worse, they will only focus on those tasks where he/she thinks a reward awaits.

Adults who are credit-hungry and credit-seekers are usually the worst leaders, but of course, don’ know it cause they are too darn busy fuelling up on getting credit.  For many, the desire to get recognition again and again, thwarts true greatness and limits their potential — because they are too focused on ‘getting their ego stroked’.

I have dealt with legions of adults who fall into this category.  I can spot them a mile away.  They are most exhausting.  At the end of the day though, I tend to feel sorry for them because, contrary to the perception, their self-esteem clearly lingers in the gutter — if they need to be recognized and rewarded for every little thing.  Save a life, and then we can talk.

I had the distinct pleasure of listening to Canada’s Warren Buffet — Dr. Prem Watsa speak during my sisters’ Executive MBA graduation ceremony last April. Mr. Watsa is a billionaire, but you would never know it.  He is a huge philanthropsit, but you would never know it.  The humility this man carries himself with is simply astounding and so rare these days.  He spent a large portion of his address to the students talking on just this point — the power of humility, resulting from the desire to give for the sake of giving and expecting nothing in return.  A powerful lesson for a parent to teach a child, indeed.

Stroke the deed, not the kid.

It PAYS dividends.

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