Sometimes, Ya Just Gotta Suck It Up!
August 9, 2011 · Posted in Adult Children, Discipline, Parenting, Spoiling, Teens · Permalink · Comments Off on Sometimes, Ya Just Gotta Suck It Up!

The energy us parents put into using “positive discipline” – not yelling, speaking from the “I”, and trying to listen to our children. Feeling sick about ourselves if we do, eventually, lose it.

Lately, I have been getting a different slant on the parenting of college age children/adults. Stories right and left of kids acting like tyrants when they are sick, insisting their parents pay more rent because they “refuse to leave the Lower East Side”, or just plain old constant complaining about every slight ache or worry.

Parents, me included, lament to each other, “What happened to just sucking it up?” Didn’t our parents give the –“This is life-deal with it,”– message sometimes? And, though we didn’t like hearing at the time and felt misunderstood, angry and alone–didn’t it work?

So you worked the crappy job at the mall, plowed through the day even though you didn’t feel good, so you lived in a share with 4 friends in a sketchy neighborhood. Didn’t we survive these things and aren’t we the better for it? Yes. And so did every generation before who went through the same thing with their parents.

Resiliency comes from working the muscle of sticking with discomfort and seeing you can come out the other side. Confidence often comes from seeing that you can control yourself and get to a better place.

So along with the slogans, “Because I Say So”, “I Am The Head of this Family”, that we swore we would never say, but now claim them with delicious self-righteousness, let us add,”Sometimes Ya Just Gotta Suck It Up!”

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It’s Really Outer-Parenting vs. Inner Parenting
November 26, 2009 · Posted in K-5 Kids, Media, Mental Health, Parenting, Preschoolers, Pressure on Children, Spoiling · Permalink · Comments (1)

1101091130_400Over-parenting has made it to the cover of Time Magazine! An easy read, the article outlines how an over-investment in childrens’ “success” coupled with exaggerated worries about safety has lead to an odd combination of pressure and coddling.

What is really fascinating is that at the same time the American Psychological Association has released Stress in America 2009,  showing that parents are very out of touch with their children’s anxiety. Distracted by the focus on achievement and sheltering children from pain, parents are missing the point.  Children are capable of more independence and very much need our emotional support for their inner lives.

Since no parent wants to be unaware of their child’s emotional life this is a great wake up call. A reorienting of our values toward the inner life rather than the outer trappings will help children feel a real sense of protection and support.

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Outsourcing Manners
November 5, 2009 · Posted in Discipline, K-5 Kids, Parenting, Preschoolers, Spoiling · Permalink · Comments (3)

table+mannersA business card tacked on to the bulletin board at the pediatrician’s office advertises a new service: classes for children and manners. Surely you have to admire the entrepeneurial spirit of this business person, but is this service necessary?  Are we really at a time where we need to hire people to teach our children basic manners? Can’t we do this one ourselves? Teaching manners is on the parental job description.

In the eighties and nineties, parenting advice was so focused on the child’s needs that some specialists suggested that making your children say they were sorry when they didn’t authentically feel sorry was incorrect. Manners were seen by many as old-fashioned and rigid, not to be imposed. Fast forward to today.  Pick up any parenting magazine (the two that are left), and you will see an article every month about how to raise children that are not so entitled, disrespectful and unmannerly. I guess that old way of thinking didn’t really work out too well.

Social graces that were deemed sexist in the seventies and beyond, like holding a door open for a woman or giving up your seat were banished. Couldn’t we just have mandated everyone do it for each other to eliminate the sexism quality but keep the graciousness?  Now you can’t find a good feminist who doesn’t also say chivalry is dead with wistfulness.

Manners: “please”, “thank you”, “excuse me”, “I’m sorry”, “let me get that for you”, “after you”, are the lubricants of civilized social interaction. They are kind, respectful and much appreciated habits that we must teach our children by basically drilling them into their heads for years.  It is a parents job to remind, prompt, model and teach these nicities over and over and over again until they become automatic. This takes years. Kids will eventually learn these manners and will be able to to use them in public, in school, at a friend’s house.  With you, unfortunately it will take the longest and rudeness will die the hardest, becuase you are the parent. That’s on your job description too.

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Land Your Helicopters: The End of a Parenting Era
June 2, 2009 · Posted in Discipline, Education, K-5 Kids, Parenting, Preschoolers, Spoiling, Toddlerhood · Permalink · Comments (2)

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Ahhh, thank goodness!  Lisa Belkin, writer and author of the blog Motherlode trumpets the end of an era of over-indulgent parenting. In her May 31st, 2009 New York Times Magazine article “Let The Kid Be” she writes, “It seems as though the newest wave of mothers is saying no to prenatal Beethoven appreciation classes, homework tutors in kindergarten, or moving to a town near their child’s college campus so the darling can more easily have home-cooked meals.” A sentence that warms my heart.

Not that we haven’t been railing against this for years but it’s nice to have some back up. This does not mean the end to being a responsive parent– one that thoughtfully decides when to move in and when to lay back– it just hopefully signals that parents will no longer believe they are handicapping their children by letting them hand an assignment in late or not being enrolled in gymnastics, soccer, ballet, painting, and mandarin–all by the age of 2.

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