Ever wondered why some kids grow up into adulthood with above average grit, work ethic, determination and the drive to win? Or why some teens as they transition into adulthood seem to be better prepared than their peers to face the harsh realities of life and the world they’re getting into?
Well, wonder no more.
It all boils down to how some kids are raised and a big part of this has to do with what some kids are taught or rather, what values were hammered or drilled into them by their parents and other adults around them as they grew up.
As an adult, I doubt you would disagree with this truth…
That the world is a pretty tough place.
Most, if not all, adults do agree with this to one extent or another.
What most parents don’t act on however, is the greater truth, that the degree of life and the world’s toughness takes a whole new dimension when a person grows up being told or taught things that don’t prepare him/her to face its harsh realities.
A lot of parents (curse their soul. not bless their soul) out of misplaced love tell their kids some of the dumbest things hoping to avoid hurting them.
Just the other day I overheard a mom telling her daughter after her team lost a volleyball match that it was okay to loose because playing the game was more important than winning it.
What a stupid thing to say to a child!
My daughter was on the same loosing team.
I told her that it sucked that they lost because while the other team was serious, hers wasn’t. I told my daughter that if her team had no interest in winning, then she should not be part of that team because it’s dangerous to hang around people who don’t mind loosing.
That was her last day on the team.
I don’t know about you, but for us at StoneHouse, that is what we call badass parenting.
Telling kids the truth that will set them up to face the world as it is.
Like we say here, it takes a village of badass parents to raise a child who is ready to face the world. Here is the list, not exhaustive, of things badass parents teach their kids that stupid parents don’t.
#1: Life is not fair. Get used to it
This sounds harsh coming from a parent to a child of any age, but it’s just the plain truth. The sooner a child learns this, the sooner he or
she can use life’s unfairness to his or her own advantage because believe it or not, many people think life should be fair.
People who grow up knowing that life is not fair will eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner, any day of the week month or year, those who are raised otherwise.
This is why smart parents teach their kids to grow into adulthood understanding, and indeed taking advantage of the fact that life is not face.
#2: Great effort there…
One of the greatest gifts smart parents give their children is a healthy appreciation for the relationship between effort and getting what one wants.
This lesson works to instill the value of putting one’s effort into tasks that a child is engaged in regardless of how minor or routine the task is.
Badass parents know that a child who grows with an above average respect for effort has a greater chance of moving ahead of her peers who don’t.
#3: Thoughtful strategy you used in…
This one is a double edged sword.
It instills two important values in a child: being thoughtful and being strategic in one dealings.
Strategy is a word that very few children get to hear being used on them so the sooner your child gets to hear it coming from a parent or adult, the better placed the child is to face challenging situations.
Being thoughtful is taken for granted but a cursory look at the lives of most adults today reveals a sickening level of thoughtlessness.
You want your child to practice being thoughtful.
In a world in which it’s becoming increasing obvious that one’s earning power and upward mobility is directly proportional to one’s thoughtfulness, it’s the hallmark of badass parenting to encourage one’s kids to be thoughtful.
#4: It’s not okay to lose
The self esteem movement did the human race a solid negative by preaching that the goal of competiti
on is participation. This is how it came to be that a kid who came last in a competition got a trophy.
This is bullshit.
Short of being laughed at, a kid who comes last should be told to seek other pursuits where they can be first. Participation is not the goal of competing.
The sooner a child understands that its not okay to lose the sooner they can learn to apply themselves to win so that in the event that they lose, they will learn from their loss and work towards improving.
Being comfortable with losing is one sure way to becoming comfortable with being average. Badass parents are not okay with their kids being average.
We leave that to the stupid parents.
#5: Don’t be proud of yourself when you lose, don’t be ashamed either
I’ve seen players from a loosing team after a little league game run off the field in excitement to hug their parents and the parents welcome their kids with open arms.
What’s the excitement for?
You just had your ass whooped and you’re all excited? For the what?
Excitement after having been taken to the cleaners in a competition is an absolute no no. There is nothing to be proud of in losing.
While a loss is nothing to be excited or proud of, it’s nothing to be ashamed of either.
In life you win some and those that you lose you turn into learning opportunities and move on.
That is how kids who will turn out great as adults are taught.
#6: Play to win
Play to win is a call for a child to put his or her very best effort. To apply oneself to the task at hand in such as manner that when all is said and done, she is satisfied that she did the very best she could.
Exhorting kids to play with winning as the only goal tends to spill into other areas of their lives as well and carries over into adulthood.
Like football coach Red Sanders said, winning isn’t everything.
It’s the only thing.
Instilling this kind of ideal in a child starting at an early age is one sure way to create a bulldozer mentality in her. This mentality is exactly the kind that is needed to move past the barriers that will inevitably be in front of her desire to break the proverbial glass ceiling.
#7: I’m here now, but will not always be there for you
Have you ever seen parents who treat their kids as if the parents will always be there to protect, provide or guide them?
A smart parent tells her child she is there for him now, but will let him understand that she will not be there always. This is the plain truth.
Telling a child you will not always be there will most definitely create a certain level of fear in the child the first time he or she hears you say this.
But this is good.
Better the child be afraid while you, the parent are still around to protect, guide and provide for him, than for a grown ass man or woman to be afraid and in need of parental guidance and protection at 25 or worse.
#8: Crush your competition
I like what Andy Frisella said the other day during an interview with Ed Mylett. Please fast forward the video to 31 minutes and listen to what Andy says. (Please watch entire interview later)
That right there is the kind of badassery that I’m teaching my kids.
It’s a dog eat dog out here and the sooner a child understands that his duty to himself and his family is to crush the competition to smithereens, the better prepared he or she is to enter into the workforce or business world.
#9: You deserve respect only after earning it
Like most parents I’m sure you have had to deal with the “You don’t respect me” rant coming from a child.
“Like hell I don’t, not until you’ve earned it. What have you done to earn my respect? Being my niece is no grounds for me to respect you. Prove your worth to earn my respect and you won’t have issues getting some from me. Until then, don’t disrespect yourself by expecting any respect from me.”
That is a piece of conversation I had with one of my nieces when she complained that I treated her with disrespect.
While you should never be rude, there is no reason to give respect to a child or anybody for that matter, when none is due.
Guiding children and young people into understanding that respect is currency that is earned, not manna that falls from the sky will set them up for success as they grow into the tough world out here.
#10: Working smart and hard brings out the best in you
This is a statement that not only instills the drive to work hard but it also instills the drive to be better by applying one’s brain power to the task at hand.
Working smart ensures that a child learns to work hard on the right things, an ability that will serve him or her well as an adult.
I don’t know about you, but at StoneHouse where I live, nothing makes a parent more proud than seeing a child apply himself, 100% body and mind, to a task, however routine or menial.
Our goal as smart parents is to make sure that by the time our kids leave our homes as independent young man and women, they are armed with a work ethic that makes even Will Smith envious.
#11: Believe in yourself. Nobody else will if you don’t
The tendency for a child or youth to think and act as if fellow humans believe in her just because she is a fellow human is like weeds in a garden.
It comes naturally and is wrong.
It therefore becomes prudent for a parent or whoever has responsibility for tending the garden to pull out these weeds.
Humans are wired to believe in another humans only if the said human believes in him or herself. Nobody gives a crap about somebody who doesn’t give a crap about him or herself.
It’s just the way it is.
Which is why smart parents who practice the art of parenting badassery make it a priority to exhort their kids to believe in the only religion that matters.
And not just believe themselves because one should believe in oneself.
Children should be taught to believe in themselves for a reason and that reason comes from them taking action on those things that they would like to develop self belief in.
#12: It’s only gonna be okay if…
One of the most child-life-foundation destroying words that are at the same level as a parent smoking in front of a child are the totally misleading and stupidity inducing words; “It’s gonna be okay”.
It’s gonna be okay?
Are the parents who say this to their kids going to put in the hard work required for things to be okay on behalf of their kids when these kids are grown up?
I doubt it very much. Which is why smart parents tell their kids that it’s only gonna to be okay if….
…you always work to become the best, or if you work harder and smarter than everybody around you and if you crush anybody and anything that comes in your way.
There has to be a condition that must be satisfied for things to be okay and kids need to understand that condition.
It is our jobs as parents therefore, to make sure our children fully understand the conditions that they have to satisfy for things in their grown up lives to be okay.
Just telling a child everything is gonna turn out fine without spelling out what it will take for things to turn out fine is not what smart parents do.
#13: Only wussies give up. You ain’t one
No child wants to either be called a wussy or to see him or herself as a wussy. So when a child is struggling and a parent brings up that statement, magic happens.
When said with a compassionate tone, the statement does a fantastic job at being subtle in telling the kid that if you give up you are a wussy without actually being outright negative in saying “You’re a wussy”
Just like adults, a child will go to hell and back just to protect his or her ego.
That statement does a good job to get a child fighting for his or her ego by doing something she could otherwise be on the verge of giving up on.
#14: You’ll make a badass…
Every child nurses dreams of becoming somebody important.
You can see them act it and in the books and TV shows or movies they gravitate towards.
Stroking their fires by telling they will for example make a badass rapper, actor, actress, pop star, surgeon, chef, businessman or businessman will build their belief in their ability to become one.
Don’t say you will make a great doctor or actor. That is average.
Use the word badass…
Because it’s a badass word. That’s why.
#15: Do whatever it takes
Badass parents expect their kids to become the best they can be and they instill in their kids the importance of putting abnormal levels of effort and hard work to do whatever it takes to get a job done.
Whatever job it might be.
I was raised a Christian but no longer practice the religion any more but I’ve taken into my adult life some lessons I got growing up in a Christian family.
One of the lessons I learned and have been teaching my own kids comes from the story of the twin brothers Esau and Isaac.
This story demonstrates how doing whatever it takes can work wonders in getting somebody towards their goals, regardless of whether what is done is considered morally acceptable or not.
The gist of the story is that Jacob literally stole his twin brother Esau’s birthright blessings.
Isaac and Rebekah (the mother) hatched a plan to deceive Jacob (the father) who was old and blind into blessing Isaac in place of the rightful owner of those blessings, Esau.
Is stealing somebody’s belongings ok? No it is not.
But is doing things to steal a promotion or business away from your competitors ok?
Hell yeah! You bet it is.
Our kids must be made to learn and act on the fact that its a dog eat dog out here.
So they have to be taught and impressed with the drive to do whatever it takes to get the job done, even if it means acting against the interest of somebody else.
#16: Always seek help
Instilling the willingness to seek help in kids is one sure way to build a stone solid foundation for their lives.
Stupid stumble and waste time doing things they don’t know how to do when they could cut the learning time by a fraction just by seeking help from somebody who knows.
It’s natural human tendency to not want to be seen as somebody that doesn’t know. This is easily seen in the workplace when people are reluctant to ask their colleagues or bosses how best to do a task.
These people operate on the I’ll-figure-it-out mode.
Well, why do you wanna figure it out yourself when somebody else has already figured it out?
Smart parents instill in their children the willingness to look for an find the person who has already figured it out and use that person’s experience. It’s important to work hard but it’s more important to be smart in one’s hard work.
You know what the coolest thing is in the world in which our kids are growing into?
It doesn’t even have to be a living human from which help can be sought.
Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s people at Google and YouTube have thousands upon thouands of both living and dead people that can be called upon to shed light on literally anything.
#17: Always ask questions. Fools don’t ask questions
There is thing called being cool that makes kids and even adults do one of the dumbest things ever invented by humans.
Not ask questions.
Ask any average teen and she will tell you that it doesn’t look cool to be the one asking questions in all the time because it makes you look dumb. Cool kids don’t ask questions because they know.
Well, you know and I know that it’s the opposite that’s true.
Stupid people don’t ask questions.
The challenge for us parents then becomes one of how we make it cool for kids to ask questions in any type of setting. It be in class, at home or amongst friends.
One way is subtly bring out the fear in a child of being seen as a fool by driving home he message that fools don’t ask questions.
Once they internalize that message starting at a young age, asking questions becomes second nature to them.
#19: Smart people listen more than they talk
The easiest way to spot a leader in a group is to locate the person who asks the most questions and listens the most.
The ability to listen is such a critical leadership skill that every badass parent must train their child to master.
A youth who gets out into the world without having mastered the ability to listen is, for lack of a better word, f*cked.
And by that I mean the youth who has not mastered active listening will never rise into leadership. And the last time I checked, it’s leading other humans in one way or another that brings in the most chee$e.
There are tonnes of resources online on tricks, methods and hacks on training kids to become great listeners. This here, is just one.
#20: Think! That’s why you have a head
Ok this one boarders dangerously close to abusive language but believe me, it is not.
It’s just strong language that must be delivered to children in the fight against being average.
Most people grow into adulthood assuming that because they have brains, therefore they think.
A cursory look around the lives of 90% or more adults in the world shows how much lack of thinking there is.
It therefore becomes critical as parents to train our children to think and not just coast through life on a boat of assumptions.
#20: Working hard is the coolest thing you can ever do
I told my daughter Victoria this the other day for the first time and she just plain laughed at me.
I asked her why she was laughing and she said there is no way working hard and being all sweaty looks cool. What this revealed to me is the kind of association kids make when the words working hard or hard work are brought up.
When I asked her if sitting in front of a computer for 3 hours developing a video game was cool, she said it was. So we got into a chat about what it actually means to work hard. My goal was to remove the association with sweat that she had with working hard.
What we have to do as parents is to show our kids that it is doing simple things extremely well that is hard work. Once we’ve built in them the desire to do routine tasks like cleaning their rooms very well, then we know they are on their way to mastering doing the harder things well.
#21: You wanna be dumb? Watch too much TV
Badass parents like Michelle and Barack Obama never allowed Sasha and Malia to watch TV during weekdays so why should you or I?
With so much unregulated averagery on TV, it’s the epitome of irresponsibility for a parent to let his or her kids watch too much TV.
And by too much I mean over 30 minutes a week.
Drastic? You bet it is drastic.
While there are great channels it’s crucial that we train kids into understanding the value of time and what better way to do that than by instilling in them idea and belief that too much TV is for dumb kids.
No kid wants to be seen as dumb so this is one exhortation they will heed.
#22: You won’t matter till you prove yourself
It’s sad but also true that nobody gives a crap about your child just because he or she is a living being.
I heard one motivational guru telling people to treat everybody they meet equally. What nonsense?
Even monkeys don’t treat every other monkey they meet equally. They only treat their kind well and even amongst their own kind, the troop leaders treat the most useful monkeys better than the less useful ones.
In the real world out here, people get the treatment and respect that is proportional to their usefulness.
It thus becomes imperative for us parents to get this reality ingrained in our kids so that when the time comes, they will do whatever is necessary or unnecessary to prove that they matter.
Some parent says to her child, “you don’t have to prove anything to anybody honey”
Well, good for my kid because while this parent’s child coasts along as she does not have to prove herself to anybody, I’m training my kid to work 16 hours to prove herself.
Guess who’s gonna get the promotion or business when it down to it?
#23: Your ideas won’t matter if you don’t act on them
Children who grow up in a household where taking action is rewarded are the ones who will kick the butts of those they come into contact with later in life.
Our children need to value coming up with ideas but more than just generating ideas, they need to grow up respecting action on the ideas more that the ideas themselves.
Telling kids their ideas are worthless if they don’t get acted on builds in the kids the quality of taking action, a quality that will take them places as they get into the dog eat dog world.
#24: Thanks for taking action …
This one is related to the one above but it goes further by reinforcing the act of taking action.
It also gives us parents the opportunity to double down on impressing upon our young ones the importance of taking action.
#24: Never want to be like everybody else
Peer pressure is real.
The most insidious part of peer pressure is that it’s pressure to be average. Badass parenting therefore dictates that we indoctrinate our kids with the desire to never be like everybody else.
“Stop dressing like everyone else”, is a statement to a 13 year old that has been said by a parent I know.
That is badass.
Everyone else’s child is going to go to school, get a job, work, get in debt and live an average life. If this is your portion, why should it become your child’s portion as well?
If you’re not at a place in life where you believe is not the best place you could have been, it’s okay for you to be where you are, wherever that is
It is however not okay for your child to end up in the same place you are now 10, 15 or 20 years from now.
#25: I’m proud you’ve put so much effort in/on…
Here at StoneHouse, effort is king and queen all rolled up in one.
Nothing supersedes it. Not talent. Not rich parents or relatives. Not the color of one’s skin. Not who somebody know.
So we encourage parents to double and triple down on saying and doing things that impress in our kids, the importance of putting effort.
#26: It’s great how you defend your point of view
The status quo of most situations our kids will grow into will suck. They will therefore have to develop the ability to defend their points of view when they do voice their points of view against those establishments.
Meeting rooms are nasty political arenas where the unprepared get eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The ability to defend one’s opinions and points of view will therefore be a very invaluable skill for our kids in adulthood in a multitude of situations.
That skill will not show up when it is needed most if it had not been developed prior.
This, now, is the time to develop it and the earlier the work get started the better.
#27: Not everybody will like you
It is a human trait to want to be liked. It’s just natural.
Most humans tend to assume that because their family members liked them growing up (in normal families anyway), therefore members of the human family they meet in the world will naturally like them.
A lot of humans are wired with nasty things called prejudices and these will show up uninvited into your child’s life at work, in school, at college and even on a train.
Kids that grow up knowing that there are people who will not like them are better prepared for situations in adulthood when they meet with people who don’t like them.
A colleague I once worked with used to tell me how devastated he was with the fact that the boss doesn’t like him. It severely affected his performance because he was not prepared for such a reality.
Smart parents don’t let their children go out into the night unprepared.
#28: I have high expectations for you…
The Pygmalion Effect states that the expectations we have on people tend to become self fulfilling prophecies.
As parents, it therefore becomes critical for us not only to have high expectations for our kids, but to let them know that we do have high expectations for them.
As the first point of reference for our children when in comes to them believing what they can achieve now and in the future, it only makes sense to create high points from which kids have to shoot towards.
#29: There’s a price for everything
There is an insidious virus of false information being spread by the spirituality movement of today. There are so called life coaches or consciousness gurus out to teach laziness.
They teach that to succeed all one needs to do is align themselves with the universe. (Whatever that means) You have to align with your purpose and everything will be flow, so they teach.
According to these people, one doesn’t have to put any effort as the universe will work for the achievement of one’s goals effortlessly.
If I’ve ever heard nonsense, this certainly is it.
Because it’s just not true. Nothing worth it’s while come with no effort. There is a price for everything.
Smart parents teach their kids to understand that if they want something, then they have to be prepared and willing to pay the price.
#30: Do what you love and what you don’t love
Smart parents raise their kids to know that building a business or professional career will involve not only doing things that one love.
There are many gurus out there who teach the follow your passion and do what you love gospel.
We won’t go into the follow your passion bit, that’s a topic for another day. We’ll however talk about what smart parents teach concerning doing what one loves.
Smart parents when they assign boring chores to their kids understand that the kids will be faced with work or business tasks that are unpleasant or that they don’t like.
Kids that’re raised to appreciate that success in business and career involves being great at executing on both the things that one loves and those that one does not love.
To be able to have the good fortune of being able to choose what one does, one has to earn that good fortune.
And earning that good fortune starts by doing things that one does not love.
#31: Be a kindness machine
According to a study by Fisher Price, being kind is one of the most important qualities parents would like their kids to grow up with.
This desire was found to be present in parents from all walks of life across multiple continents.
Why is kindness such an important quality to have?
Kind people tend to be the most considerate, responsible, set high standards for themselves, expect the best from themselves and put the service of others before themselves.
In short, kindness makes a human being a good being.
According to Gary Vee, kindness is a the ultimate strength.
Teaching our kids to become kindness machines all throughout their childhoods therefore sets them up to be happy people.
The best way to instill the quality is to go overboard heaping praises on a kid when he or she performs an act of kindness. That way the child goes out her/his way to perform acts of kindness in search of the heaps of praise.
It’s bribery yes. But it’s good bribery and it works.