What I Have Learned This Year (2012) - A Child Grows

What I Have Learned This Year (2012)

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My pile of books

Happy New Year to you all! I hope 2013 will be a year full of good things for each of you: peaceful homes, employment, good health and love.

I hope for those things for myself too: but, here I am on New Year’s Eve with a cold, fighting off chills, thinking not about the coming year, but the past.

What have I learned from the last year?

Since we’ve moved, I lie on the couch outside my kids’ bedroom, making sure they don’t talk and giggle, urging them to get to sleep.  I wait there, reading with a portable night light, making my way through countless parenting books which I have always loved.

Tonight, it occurred to me that despite all the good parenting advice I have read, I really haven’t retained much. So, I thought I better write some of it down so that I could actually take what I have learned in 2012 to make it a great 2013.

So, here’s to 2013 where I improve on my parenting skills and actually use some of the advice I have sought.

I hope some of the advice I have read will be interesting to you too.

So, here goes:

Temper Tantrums
This is why temper tantrums are so important for healthy development. Tantrums take a child to the very bottom of his being, helping him to learn that anger and despair are part of the human experience and need not lead to lasting emotional collapse. If the parents can remain emotionally available even while firm in their position of denying something, tantrums also teach a child that he will not be left alone in his “dark night of the soul.” (Emotional Life of the Toddler)

Giving Praise
Indiscriminate praise make it hard for children to evaluate themselves realistically.
(The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids)

We must reinforce our children’s acceptable behavior and accomplishment with specific recognition and appreciation and avoid generic praise. Conversely, we must give specific feedback for unacceptable behavior and avoid generic criticism.
(Raising Self-Reliant Children in a Self-Indulgent World: Seven Building Blocks for Developing Capable Young People)

Rewards and Punishments
We should love our children enough to say what we mean and mean what we say- and be willing to run the risk of their temporary displeasure with firm follow-through.
(Raising Self-Reliant Children in a Self-Indulgent World: Seven Building Blocks for Developing Capable Young People)

A person who grows up getting too frequent rewards will not have persistence, because they’ll quit when the rewards disappear.
(NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children)

Media and Our Kids
The more educational media the children watched, the more relationally aggressive they were…This wasn’t a small effect. It was stronger than the connection between violent media and physical aggression….Ostrov theorized that many educational shows spend most of the half-hour establishing conflict between characters and only a few minutes resolving that conflict.
(NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children)

It’s becoming more apparent that girls who’ve grown up with a cell phone available aroudn the clock have a harder time making decisions on their own and trusting their instincts than girls in the past. After all, why not just text Mom or your friends to ask their advice rather than figuring it out on your own?
(The Drama Years: Real Girls Talk About Surviving Middle School — Bullies, Brands, Body Image, and More)

Encouraging honesty
What really works is to tell the child, “I will not be upset with you if you peeked, and if you tell the truth, I will be really happy.” This is an offer of both immunity and a clear route back to good standing….”Young kids are lying to make you happy- trying to please you.” …That’s why George Washington and the Cherry Tree works so well. Little George receives both immunity and praise for telling the truth.
(NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children)

Raising Girls
When girls are raised to be people pleasers, they learn early on that certain feelings are more acceptable than others….When emotions are ranked and valued, girls begin to question or even fear their most challenging feelings, often with destructive results to themselves and their relationships.
(The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence)

This is crucial for girls to understand: conflicts are opportunities for gain, not loss; they allow you to get the things you need to feel better and have more fulling relationships.
(The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence)

Raising Boys
Young boys are told to “be a man” when they stumble on the Little League field. Hold back those tears, brush off their hurts, and get right back in the game. Never show weakness, especially in front of opponents. Never reveal emotions because that’s a sign of vulnerability. The culture has taught our young boys to focus on the goal of winning at all costs, showing unbelievable physical strength, and never betraying emotional weakness.
(Manopause: Your Guide to Surviving His Changing Life)

Teaching Self-efficacy
The goal should always be to help the child learn about how to act on his own behalf…..Children who don’t feel that they “own” their lives, children for whom feelings, thoughts and actions come from outside as much as they come from inside, are at risk for being easily manipulated by others.
(The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids)

Five Steps for Helping Kids Own and Solve Their Own Problems

  • Lock in the empathy.
  • Ask your child, “What are you going to do?”
  • When your child says, “I don’t know,” ask, “Would you like to hear some ideas?”
  • Offer no more than 3 possible solutions. After each one ask, “How would that work for you?”
  • Allow your child to choose- and learn from the choice and your empathy.

(Love and Logic Magic For Early Childhood)

Children want to help and to feel needed, and they want to do important jobs….What we need to do as parents is to take time to coach and mentor children….Whenever we appreciate their contributions, no matter how small, we are helping them see themselves as capable people.
(Raising Self-Reliant Children in a Self-Indulgent World: Seven Building Blocks for Developing Capable Young People)

Whenever we prematurely solve problems for our children, we deprive them of the opportunity to come up with the novel solutions that allow them to add another tool to their arsenal. We also deprive them of the sense of competence that comes with figuring things out on one’s own.
(The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids)

Willingness to change our minds in the face of persuasive evidence teaches the child a higher form of consistency: the readiness to engage in dialogue about differing points of view.
(Emotional Life of the Toddler)

Mothers
Mothers who reflexively put up a “good front”, who deny the hurt or sadness or drepression that is so clearly seen by their children, miss the opportunity to teach that while life isn’t always fair, pain is always eased by love and connection.
(The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids)

Fathers
Today’s man no longer hunt for food, but this prehistoric insistence on earning respect through power and strength has not changed to reflect our modern society.  Men have remained trapped by antiquated definitions of manhood.
(Manopause: Your Guide to Surviving His Changing Life)

Talking about Ethnicity
Shushing children when they make an improper remark (about ethnicity) is an instinctive reflex, but often the wrong move. But shushing them only sends the wrong message that this topic is unspeakable, which makes race more laoded, and more intimidating.
(NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children)

White children who got the full story about historical discrimination had signicantly better attitudes toward blacks than those who got the neutered version. Explicitness works. “It also made them feel some guilt, ” Bigler added. “It knocked down their glorified veiw of white people.” They couldnt’ justify group superiority.
(NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children)

Baby Talk
Babies learn better from object-labeling when the parent waits for the baby’s eyes to naturally be gazing at the object. The technique is especially powerful when the infant both gazes and vocalizes, or gazes and point. Ideally, the parent isn’t intruding, or directing the child’s attention- instead he’s following the child’s lead.
(NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children)

Teenage years
In the families where there was less deception, there was a much higher ratio of arguing/complaining. Arguing was good- arguing was honesty. The parents didn’t necessarily realize this. The arguing stressed them out….Certain types of fighting, despite the acrimony, are ultimately a sign of respect- not of disrespect.
(NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children)

Sleep disorders can impair children’s IQ as much as lead exposure.
(NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children)

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