Betsy Ross

The authors of NurtureShock, who revealed strategies parents use to nurture their children can fail, are back with a new work called Top Dog. This time around Authors Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman explore what it takes to raise successful children.  Most of us want to raise confident and smart children, but the authors have learned that some parents don’t always follow the best route to success. They coddle their children, protect their feelings, and end up hurting them more than helping them.

What’s the worst thing a parent can do?

“Doing too much for your kid and protecting children from failure,” Merryman told CNN.

Bronson added: “Parents who think they’re helping their children by keeping them safe from losing may be inadvertently creating kids who are less capable of competing as adults. Parents must allow their children to fail. Children should be given the opportunity to connect the dots between winning and losing and that winning takes effort.”

The authors were addressing sports and how some leagues don’t keep score, but there are many ways that parents try to help their children. A few weeks ago, Simone had to write a book report about Betsy Ross. She had to read the book, write the report, and create a head-and-shoulders picture of Ross. Each part of the assignment had specific directions. The book report had to include certain facts, and her teacher would deduct points for careless errors.

For the picture, Simone had to use household items to add texture to the piece. She used makeup pads for Ross’s hair, a piece of lace for her dress, and a string of fake pearls for the necklace and a barrette in her hair. She did the rest in watercolor. I’d post a picture of it here, but it’s still at school.

Simone received a 100, and I was proud of her achievement. I still am. I was surprised, though, when she told me what some of the others kids had turned in for the assignment. One created a stop-motion animation video for his book report, and another created a video about his famous figure and posted it on YouTube. These are second-graders. Perhaps they are that talented, but I couldn’t help but think they received a healthy dose of help from their parents. It also made me wonder when or whether the parents would get tired of doing their children’s homework.

I have no idea what kind of grades the other students received. All I know is that my kid earned her grade.