Those of us who have been on the planet a few decades or so have presumably identified at least a few of our individual flaws and, hopefully, have taken some steps to ameliorate them. It’s a well-known benefit and irony of age that years bring wisdom that would have helped us in our youth. Oh well, at least we can employ our wisdom in our own lives going forward, and we can pass on what we’ve learned to our kids.
But what about the independent flaws we see in our children?
Our kids are as human as we are—as we once were. They possess flaws and weaknesses, some tiny personality quirks, some significant shortcomings, that interfere with social interaction or academic success or some other life skill or function. I’m not writing here of diagnosable disorders or disabilities, but rather of individual personality traits we all must learn to manage—once we identify them. Everyone has strengths; everyone has weak points.
What should a parent do when he believes he has identified something in a child’s emotional makeup that his child needs to work on? Should the parent tell the child (in a constructive, loving manner)? Or should he work around the edges, continually suggesting ways to handle one situation after another whenever he has the chance without tackling the underlying characteristic head-on?
Rather than subject any actual child to public scrutiny to illustrate my question here, I’ll pull an example from my own life.