Saturday, August 4, 2012

Raising Successful Children (Is It Easier Than It Sounds?)

In the NY Times' Raising Successful Children, Madeline Levine, author of “Teach Your Children Well: Parenting for Authentic Success” asks "Is there really anything wrong with a kind of “overparenting lite”?"

She goes on to say:

The happiest, most successful children have parents who do not do for them what they are capable of doing, or almost capable of doing; and their parents do not do things for them that satisfy their own needs rather than the needs of the child.

Unnecessary intervention makes your child feel bad about himself (if he’s young) or angry at you (if he’s a teenager.)
Check out the whole article at The New York Times.

Its never too early to start teaching your kids coping skills. When my oldest was a toddler I remember a parent telling me it was okay for them to press all the buttons on the elevator, because they were young and didn't know any better. But then at what age do you decide its no longer acceptable? And when you do, how do you explain to your child that all of the sudden, things that were acceptable no longer are? Why not teach them from the beginning?

As soon as my son was old enough to make a mess with his toys we decided that he was old enough to clean them up. At first my wife pointed out that it was so much easier for her to clean them up. She could cleanup in five minutes what would take him an hour. But we agreed that we would just have to put aside that hour for him to start cleaning up. It was difficult at first, but eventually he could clean up the biggest messy room in no time, even a post Thanksgiving disaster that I found intimidating. He also learned the value early on of not making a big mess.

Even when he first started walking I recall a parent asking what was the point of trying to get them to walk early since eventually they will learn to walk equally. But the point is not to have them learn to walk earlier than their peers. The point is to present them with a reasonable amount of adversity so that they can internalize the reward that comes with effort.

Now there are many events in my children's past they we can reflect on as examples of things that they struggled with, but eventually succeeded at.

Alfie Kohn, author of The Myth of the Spoiled Child: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom about Children and Parenting, takes issue with the view that today's children are entitled.

I appreciate that Alfie Kohn is trying to defend involved and nurturing parents. Over parenting, as it has been referred to, gets a bad wrap, as does helicopter parenting. It's worth distinguishing between helicopter parents, who hover around their children's lives, and lawnmower parents, who remove any obstacles from their children's lives.

Unfortunately Alfie Kohn does more than his share of over generalizing, constructing straw man arguments, and conflating philosophies. The unfortunate result of his hyperbolic approach is that it will backfire, and instead of furthering the conversation, parents will tune him out.

Listen to the full audio from The Brian Lehrer Show:

No comments:

Post a Comment

*** Anonynomous comments will not be published. ***

Instead use the "Name/URL" option.

Popular Posts