The worst part about being a parent is not the terrible twos or even the teenage years. It’s people too willing to tell you you’re doing it — or did it — wrong.
Several stories in the “news” today are intended to raise questions about the way we raise our children. In today’s Star Tribune, various “experts” decry the “self-esteem” movement “, “in which parents and teachers were told to reward and stroke kids pretty much constantly, supposedly to make them confident.”
If all kids get is kudos, it can be a recipe for lots of therapy later, he says: What are they going to do when they get even the slightest bit of criticism later in life, in college or on the job?
Well, OK, but what’s wrong with that paragraph? “If all kids get is kudos….” is hardly the underpinning of parents who are interested in instilling confidence in their developing children. It’s an argument built on a faulty assumption.
The article also says the “good eye” or “good swing” you hear parents yell at youth baseball games is also misplaced.
National Public Radio’s Fresh Air also jumped into the fray this week with an interview with psychologist Richard Weissbourd, author of a book called “The Parents We Mean to Be.” He takes on the ways to raise a moral child, with the clear admonition that that we’re not very good at it.
Yet we also found much that is troubling. Some adults hold misguided beliefs about raising moral children, and some parents have little investment in their children’s character. And the bigger problem is more subtle: a wide array of parents and other adults are unintentionally– in largely unconscious ways– undermining the development of critical moral qualities in children.
Next to losing a fortune in your retirement account, the easiest thing in America is to look at its youth and declare they’re entitled, self-absorbed, and poorly parented.
I say “prove it” with something other than anecdotes. Because I’ve got anecdotes, too.
And just to confuse you more, a study out today says parents have no effect on the behavior of kids.
I’ve never written a book on parenting, but I’ll impart what little wisdom I have on the subject: (1) Do the best you can. (2) If you turned out OK, raise your kids the same way. (3)Hold on tight (4) Ignore people who claim to be experts at raising kids. Anyone who’s actually done it and still has a shred of confidence in their parental ability, did it wrong.