Parents, imagine you had a big presentation at work. You worked and worried. You put in the long hours and maybe even a restless night or two. But unfortunately, it just didn’t go as well as you’d hoped. You’re disappointed. The wind is officially out of your sails. You feel like you failed and you need to muster the energy to pick yourself back up and get back to work tomorrow.
What would you want your kids to say to you when you got home?
“Maybe you should have started on the presentation earlier.”
“Is this going to negatively impact your chances at a promotion?”
“What’s your boss’s email address? I want to talk to her and see how we can fix this.”
“You’ll need to make up for that with some extra sales numbers this quarter.”
“Making good slides is definitely not your strong point. We should get you someone to help you with that before the next presentation.”
Or would you rather your kids told you they were sorry that it didn’t go as you’d hoped, gave you a hug, and kept treating you like their mom or dad who they love unconditionally, regardless of your professional successes or failures?
I know that parents feel inextricably linked to their kids’ education. But as much as possible, try to preserve your role as mom or dad, a role that doesn’t change with any grade, test score, or admissions decision.
Bonus suggestion: Say one thing to your kids today that reminds them exactly what role you’re playing. Don’t assume that they know.