Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Parenting by the Book

The young adult population of today was raised with "Nobody is going to hand you success on a silver platter. If you want to make it, you'll have to make it on your own -- your own drive, your own guts, your own energy, your own ambition."

While on the surface of it, this is a good and true philosophy, there is some problem with CHILDREN growing up believing this entirely. If a child believes that he/she is "in this alone" before she/he gains wisdom in decision-making, that child becomes unteachable. He/she often resists advice, counsel, guidance, correction from others, even parents, teachers, and God. There is danger in believing that we are right and everyone else is wrong.

Children must be given a foundation (and some experience) in decision-making before they are taught that their decisions are better than anyone else's. They must also gain some life-experience -- which can only be gained by living more years. Seeing, over time, the results of certain decisions in other people's lives; and hearing, over time, older people tell of their experiences following certain decisions; finding out, over time, by making increasingly larger and more important choices and seeing their consequences -- these life-experiences give a foundation for good decision-making and the belief that "nobody can tell me what to do."

There is certainly nothing easy or pleasant in being corrected. Our first response is to reject the correction, become defensive, blame or attack others. But there is wisdom and maturity in being able to listen to good counsel from someone who has our best interest at heart. Personality and moral growth cannot really come about without a teachable spirit.

The newest Parenting book I have read in connection to my research mentioned a couple of days ago is Parenting by the Book by Dr. David Walls. I had not read this one before. It is much "heavier" than Dr. Rosemond's Six Point Plan for Raising Happy, Healthy Children. This one gets into the values of the parents' generation and how that leads to child-rearing (and by extension, societal) problems. According to Dr. Walls, the "fix" is not nearly as clear-cut as Dr. Rosemond suggests in his books. The cumulative attitudes and values established by daily family decisions over years, based upon values determined and defined by parents, will largely determine the behavior and development of the children of that family.

One measure of these attitudes and values has to do with how much monetary success is valued in the family as compared to other kinds of successes. Another measure of the family values has to do with how words are used. Family values and attitudes about relationships determine children's behaviors as well.

I have two more bales of fodder to add to my feeding trough this week -- A Family of Value and Family Building - both by Dr. John Rosemond. This is, of course, a study I should have done 30 years earlier!


Sheila said...

I'm enjoying reading your blog!

Carol said...

I'm enjoying your blog, too, Joan. I TiVo'ed "Commander In Chief" but I haven't watched it yet. After reading Charmaine's blog and your blog, I'm sure I'll notice the collagen lips first thing!

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Anonymous said...

Joan, If I had one book to recommend to new parents it would be How to Really Love Your Child, by Dr. Ross Campbell. It is simple, straight-forward, easy-to-read and practical. Have you ever read it? I have several copies, since we have covered it twice in Great Dates. I'll try to remember to bring one for you the next time I am over at Mother's. Love you, Debi