Worried about raising snowflakes???
I have seen this more than I would like in our comment section. “Snowflakes”, this is what happens when you give everyone a trophy”, etc. For the record, I tend to almost always disagree with mass labels and categorizing. By age group, politics, whatever. I think it is oversimplified to say everyone in this broad category thinks this way. It is simply not true.
For those living under a rock snowflake is a term meant to throw shade at tender, over-emotional, easily offended person. I assume the name fits because they melt down easily and are fragile. Snowflakes tend to argue for tolerance and acceptance while yelling at someone with a conflicting view.
The term usually gets assigned to liberals but was recently used for conservatives upset about the election results too. I have seen many attempts at embracing the snowflake term as a term that means you are kind, caring, and compassionate. I genuinely do not think that’s what most people consider the definition when they use the term. So, I am going with the more widely accepted view. But fully understand the term is getting thrown all over the place with different definitions.
So, since it is a term. And that is how most of society is defining it.
And since I would think most people would like to avoid seeing their kids fit that description, the question is:
How do we avoid such a dastardly fate for our youngins?
We want to blame this younger generation for being this way when it was the older parents that raised them and fostered the environment that created this. Its odd to blame kids when they are heavily influenced by the upbringing parents provide.
Let us dive into the makeup of a snowflake. (as I have understood most of society to define it)
They seem to have an overinflated value of their opinion while simultaneously undervaluing conflicting opinions. It’s not enough to undervalue it–it must be stopped. They must cancel those who disagree. They must bring attention to this and make a scene, so they have attention. They must try and get others fired and hurt them, so they know the wrong of their ways.
They seem so have zero tolerance for opposing opinions and lack the ability to handle rejection, in addition to having little understanding on how the real world works or thinking things through completely. Any resistance or rejection to their thoughts is deemed as a personal offense. And all problems are easily fixed if someone else does the fixing.
It seems like such a miserable way to live. To always have irritation and frustration in your life. That seems like a very unpeaceful life. I certainly would not want that lifestyle for my kids.
To be fair here I have never met or associated with a “snowflake”. I know how to address what is in the definition. In my social circle, I have never met someone who fits all of these things. Certainly, have met kids and adults who fit a few of these things, but not all of them!!
So here are 10 things Dad (and Mom) can do to prevent this “snowflake” mentality.
1.) Encourage failure.
Not in a weird way. Failure is needed in life. Pain is a requirement. Hovering and helicoptering, while good in its intent, is damaging to the long-term goal of raising a fully functional competent adult that is good for society. Kids need to experience failure. They must learn to fail and know its not the end of the world. Life after failure does, in fact, exist.
They need to know how to pick themselves up and try again. This builds up internal confidence and resiliency. Resiliency is not talked about a lot. And maybe that needs to change. What a great character trait: the ability to handle adversity and push forward. To not be held back by challenges and obstacles. This will help keep relationships strong, build a successful career, and overall win in almost every aspect of life. Resiliency is a needed trait that is learned 2 ways. By witnessing mom and dad struggle/fail and continue to push forward and by experiencing failure themselves and knowing that it is not the end but actually just a normal aspect to the process.
Well-intentioned parents preventing their kids from failure and pain end up handicapping the adult version of their kids. They don’t have the ability to function in the real world. They get easily flustered when things do not go their way (after all mom and dad usually step in and fix everything!) They won’t persevere when their boss tells them the project they did was not good enough, they will crumble. They will not get past the hurt of rejection. They will be insecure and jaded because they will feel crushed.
Parents forget this lesson. Its just as important for kids to learn how not to do something as it is to learn how to do something. Failing teaches you how not to do something. Teach them, in our family we do not cower and hide when things get tough or uncomfortable. We deal with the uncomfortable. We have to back up the claims we make with intelligent responses. Failure is how we realize we need to have an open mind and improve ourselves.
2.) The household needs structure and consequences and reality checks.
Stable homes statistically produce better families and kids that become high functioning adults. Kids thrive in structured environments. To be clear I do not mean oppressive non-flexible structure. Dad does not need to be a hard-core drill sergeant 24-7. That is a solid way to screw up your kids. Structure would include family rules, a regular schedule, consistent presence, and familiar routines. This is all at the macro level. Big picture. In our house we for the most part wake and go to bed at the same time. Does not mean we never stayed out late, slept in, or woke early. We were flexible when needed.
Actions have consequences. Dad should encourage that because it represents the real world. Do bad things get bad results. Do good things and get good results.
Dads give praise and discipline. Eliminating one or the other is a mistake.
While on this subject a lot of parents tend to defend their kids before knowing the facts. At times you are simply playing the role of the judge. Get the facts, figure out who is lying, figure out what makes sense, look at past history and sentence accordingly.
Ignoring reality is foolish. Sometimes your kid is a jerk, a turd, whiny, a bully, spoiled, entitled, or just plain rude. This happens to my kids. Its normal. Call it out. Give examples and explain why their behavior is ________. We do this all the time. Parenting is constant adjustments. If we could say things one time, close our eyes, and hope for the best I’d be out of a job. Repetition and consistency. Also, Repetition and consistency. Also, Repetition and consistency.
We don’t want to create a false assumption that they know all the answers. Challenge kids to explain their behavior, their actions, their logic, their claims, their opinions. Dig beneath the surface layer. I have no doubt snowflakes were encouraged at home that the other kids were foolish and they are perfect little angels. Having met a lot of kids. None of them are angels or even close to perfect.
3.) Values, morals, and ethics need to be discussed as a family.
Its is insanely important to write these things down. Most people won’t do it because it requires extra effort and thought. It really helps create clarity not only in your life but in your parenting. When you know where out of bounds is you can play the game a lot easier. When you know what the finish line look like calling the plays is much easier. When the rules are written the job of the ref is much easier.
These are discussion to be held as a family. Mom and Dad need to be on the same page. It might involve going back to your own parents and asking questions. I might involve sitting down with your church leader to create clarity. Once mom and dad are on the same page it can be written down. Now everyone (mom, dad, kids) knows the game, the rules, the boundaries.
I’ll say this again. Tremendous clarity in your life when its written. I encourage it. It’s a guide, a compass, a map. Its helpful. Ill attach a link to what ours is if you want an example.
This way expectations are set. Accountability is vast. And life can be lived blacker and whiter and less winging it in the grey area.
4.) They need encouragement and love.
Dads are typically pretty solid on discipline, correcting, and pointing out what needs to improve. What gets ignored sometimes is encouragement and unconditional love.
When your kids had 7 A’s and 1 D on the report card. State the obvious. 7 a’s is amazing!! Let’s celebrate. You know what you gotta do on the D let’s celebrate the A’s!
This is super common. It doesn’t matter how successful our kids are at something, we must point out the thing that needs improvement as if no one else knows about that thing. Kids want the validation that dad is proud of them and that needs to be said (or written) so they do not spend their lives wondering.
One tactic that is helpful is to mirror the positive emotions your kid brings to you. When they are excited about something be excited with them. When they are full of pride reflect that pride back. Its validation they look for and that’s a great way to give it to them. And if they come to you with a negative emotion remain stoic and calm. Assess the situation with a straight face and respond accordingly. Reacting to negative emotions or responding emotionally can backfire bigtime.
Mirror the positive. Controlled Response to negative.
Life needs purpose and having goals is a big purpose and motivation in this world. As dads we should encourage our kids to pursue their talents, interests, and goals as they fit into our family values, morals, and ethics.
The love a dad has for his kids is nonconditional. It does not matter what happens, my love for you does not change. When you disappoint me, embarrass me, impress me, or succeed beyond me wildest dreams, my love for you is the same. This needs to be made clear frequently. Eliminate any doubt in their minds that love is earned, bought, or conditional.
Invent a code word or phrase between you and each of your kids. It can be straight forward or a fun code word. It means Dad, I need to talk to you. And they can say it whenever and they know that Dad will stop, go somewhere private, and listen without reacting immediately. They can ask any questions. Tell any story. Confess to anything. And you will listen to them. No promises of immunity. Just free from an immediate emotional reaction. A safe time to vent or otherwise be heard. So many issues occur because kids are afraid to come to dad. This is an excellent way to put it out there. When they use it…..make sure to handle it in a way that they wont be afraid or embarrassed to use it again.
5.) Demonstrate humility, compassion, kindness for others
This is a key ingredient that is missing in the lives of a snowflake. It is the inability to take an L without making excuses or blaming others.
No sense of humility, that is understanding they are not the end all be all in the world.
Having genuine compassion for others instead of sitting on a high horse and yelling at everyone else. Knowing kindness is the tool that leads to a life without regret. When you are kind and humble and compassionate—the truth is you are going to get used and walked over sometimes because you put someone else’s needs before your own. But so what? Does it really matter in the big picture?
I’ve been giving this area more and more thought lately. Its something our family needs. I’m a firm believer our kids need to stay grounded and keep their perspective in check. They get to live a privileged life of travel, nice food, fun experiences, and real comfort and security. I want to make sure they know they are no better than any other person. This is not like we are royal class and we don’t associate with the peasants.
And it’s my job as dad to make sure these things are being learned. For us, I think that is going to be doing some mission trips when the kids are older. Some volunteering at local shelters. Visiting some nursing homes so we can all see where we all end up. Frail, needing others, humbled, maybe lonely, simple kindness very much appreciated.
Perspective in important. Humility is important. Compassion and kindness are necessary for a fully functional human being. Snowflakes are missing balance in this area. That why they get so angry…they think everyone should think like them and they lack the humility to realize everyone gets to live their own lives. They talk about compassion and kindness but their actions display hate and anger. They are broken. They are royal and everyone else is peasants that should do what the royals say.
6.) Kids need goals, challenges, and obstacles.
Humans need to be working toward something meaningful for them. And those things should fit what our family values are.
They need to develop work ethic and see what happens when they fail to put in the necessary effort. This means they need to face adversity. They need to do things on their own.
Do not bail them out, they do need guidance from dad on how to work their way out. Teach them how to process a situation and how to make decisions. Giving them the answer is easy today but handicaps them in the future. Guidance is key. They do the work and do the thinking.
Snowflakes don’t know how to handle challenges. They never had to work through adversity. When they fail or get corrected then can’t handle it and they lash out. Mom and dad are not there to bail them out.
Moreover, we need purpose in life that makes us feel good. Work, pursuing goals, indulging our passions are all great things. I am big on the problems caused by idleness. Sitting around with nothing to do or not being challenged in your career path is going to lead to depression and opportunities for stupidity. Stay motivated. Keep pushing forward. Accomplishment is good for the soul.
The best thing we can do as parents is make sure our older kids have goals and are involved in activities or jobs. Teenagers get into trouble when they have nothing to do. Snowflakes have a lot of downtime. They are bored. I don’t know many professional, respectable adults that sit around with nothing to do. Snowflakes had a low bar set for them, they were not pushed, they never learned to do things on their own.
7.) Know what happiness and contentment are.
If 2 things are lacking in this country is genuine happiness and contentment. There is an epidemic of people (adults and kids!) that are never satisfied. Always ignoring or sacrificing their present for hopes of the future. We just mentioned goals and aspirations and 100% those are important. But being driven and being content can live in harmony. Its okay to say If even I never make any more money, never move to a bigger house, never get a nicer car, never grow past X then I still like my life. I’ll still be happy.
Happiness should be lived. It should never be the goal. And that’s why so many are miserable. Their happiness is contingent on status, money, stuff, approval of others. If I lose everything and end up in a shack with my family. I will be happy with my life. I will know I did my best. I will know I lived with integrity. And I have the people I love with me and they actually like me!! Would I like nicer things? Sure. Would I like more outside approval? Of course. Will that determine how happy I am today. Nope.
Of course, I’m driven, I’m smart, motivated, Love business, have made good decisions in life so I don’t think that will happen. And if it did happen, I would keep working. Not to find happiness, but because I like work. I like achieving. And I feel satisfied after putting in work. I feel satisfied going home to people who love me and like me.
There are certain things in life we can’t control. We have to have peace with that. Its beyond our control so why let it eat at us.
I can work out and eat right but really, I can’t control my health. Vision, hearing, injuries, cancer, disease….these things happen.
Some people get luckier than me. Meeting the right person at the right time. Promoted by a big-time influencer. Some people don’t like me!! Sweet, innocent, gentle, wholesome Townsend Russell. Can you believe it?! Does it effect my happiness? Nope. I still get to go home to a great family. Now if something happens to my family……that would be tough. I would probably be less happy. Like a lot less happy in life. That is the toughest thing I can imagine. But I am not going to complain about these things I can’t control and let them keep me down. I move forward.
Comes down to a bit of perspective. Looking at the big picture.
Comes down to knowing we cannot control everything and everyone.
Comes down to knowing that when we are content and happy today…..the future is even brighter because you are enhancing the life you already love.
Enjoy Today. Everyday. Kids need to see mom and dad being happy in the present. Driven, motivated, and happy. We don’t want to be miserable. We certainly don’t want to teach our kids how to live never being content (not lazy) in life.
8.) Kids need independence and freedom
This is given with age and maturity. There will be adjustments of latitude. We give more and more leeway and responsibility. Sometimes we need to pull back. Sometimes we need to push them to be more independent.
Dads- we need to teach them how to live. Laundry, cooking, dating, household chores & maintenance, taking care of vehicles, how to budget, responsible purchasing, figuring out local laws to abide by, insurances, career skills, life skills, social skills. You have got to teach them how to be an adult. Its wrong to “protect” them for the real world then be shocked when they move out and cannot do anything. Teach them how to live on their own—without you. You’re always there for guidance but if you raised them right you prepared them for the real world.
They need to be able to get themselves to places on time. You need to be teaching them how to make a good first impression. How to interview for a job. How to stay out of trouble. How to handle peer pressure (even as an adult)!! How to stand up and fight for what they believe is right. How to think for themselves and process information so they are not blindly following bad advice. How to negotiate. How to compromise. You know how many real skills there are in life. Pass the lessons you have learned on to the next generation. There is no need for them to have to stumble through and learn everything from scratch. They can gain knowledge from your mistakes and lessons.
This freedom and independence stage can be difficult. We must slowly let them act more and more like an adult. Which means being able to have real conversations with us. We cannot tell them to shut up and do as we say forever and then expect them to be able flip a switch and handle the real world. They need to practice with us. We have to give some leeway in this phase. And if they betray our trust they lose our trust and the freedoms that came with it. But they can earn it back.
The truth is we were all kids. We did stupid things. Maybe immoral or even illegal things. Kids are not going to be perfect. But we can raise them well. Teach them our values and ingrain them. Set a good example. With age and maturity, we can give them more and more responsibilities and independence.
9.) Involved mom and dad.
Mom and Dad. Not one or the other. Complete families have a much higher percentage of creating normal functioning adults than broken families. That’s just a reality. Having mom and dad is a major bonus in the development of children to adults.
Make sure kids can never play mom and dad against each other. Mom and Dad are a united front.
If kids can manipulate mom and dad – the parents have failed.
Temper tantrums are not given into. Manners and common etiquette are taught in the home.
Everything in this blog is taught and lived. Involved parents are just that. Involved. You raised your kids. You taught them the things they need to know. You prepared them. You were their primary influence. And it takes a lot of effort and it requires your time.
Because it’s so easy to focus more on work. It’s so east to let daycares and school be the primary influence in our kids lives. It’s so easy to let screens expose and teach our kids to…..well everything.
If you want your kids to grow up to be good men and women you need to be involved. You must never be afraid to stand up for what you believe in and explain to your kids why.
The Why’s are everything. Communicate with them. We stop and look both ways so we don’t get hit by a driver that’s not paying attention. We have parental controls because there are bad things in this world kids eyes should not see. Parents have to be willing to make a stand and defend their values and morals. We have too many parents caving. Thinking if they roll over and ignore it all goes away. Stay involved or maybe get involved. Better late than never.
Time is the biggest thing I tell Dads they need to give kids. Sometimes that means sacrificing their hobbies, social activities, even career path. Your involvement matters. Burying yourself in work or anything else quite often leads to massive regret down the line. Learn from the dads that made that mistake. Time is everything. It creates the opportunity for everything we have talked about to happen.
10.) Consistency and repetition
For any functional adults, much less avoiding raising a snowflake, consistency and repetition are important. Everything in this blog has to be your life. It is just the way you live. Which means it is true to you and your family. Otherwise, you are faking it and it will not be consistent.
Saying things once does not work. We have to live the example. Talk about everything. Repeat it over and over and adjust it to the age and maturity to each of our kids. This is the same in the adult business world. Very few people in this world hear what you say once. Say the same thing over and over and over and it will finally be heard the first time.
Consistency in what you say leads to the world making sense for kids. They have the framework their family live by and that is their world. They do not have to try and process why dad says one thing but does the other. Consistency means the repetition is the same which means it will eventually take hold in their brains! This is why I push so hard for you to right it all down. Because then everyone is on the same page. Its easier to repeat. Its easier to be consistent. You have a guide to look back on.