Author Topic: What Happened???  (Read 21267 times)

Online serious crayons

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Re: What Happened???
« Reply #90 on: February 15, 2012, 10:52:54 am »
That makes me a good brother, a good cousin, and a good uncle. It does not make me a parent. If anything, it showed me that I don't want to be a parent.

 :)  That's a good lesson to learn!

The other thing I'd like to emphasize is that it's not just people who have no kids -- even those of us who ARE parents really only knows our own experience as parents. I know what it's like for a person like me to parent children like mine in a community like mine under circumstances like mine.

But I don't know what it's like to be a parent in Malibu or the South Bronx or Guatamala or Afghanistan. I don't know what it's like to be a parent of a kid who is disabled or bullied. I don't even know what it's like to be a parent of a child who is extremely timid or who has trouble keeping up in school, because those aren't part of my experiences. All I really know is my own experience as a parent. There are some universal truths, probably, but not many.

If I were dealing with any of those other circumstances, I obviously would try to figure it out as I go along, as all parents must. It's trial and error, with plenty of the latter.

My kids are atypical in their own ways, and one big lesson I've learned from raising them is that anyone claims to have easy solutions that fit all circumstances simply doesn't know what they're talking about. That's why I long ago stopped paying attention to parenting "experts" or, really, anyone who thinks they have answers for me but hasn't spent any time being me. And in turn, one big rule I try to hold for myself is to never, ever give any other parent unsolicited advice or criticism.

Even if it's solicited, I tread very carefully. I can ask questions or make suggestions ("Do you think it might work to do blah blah blah?"), but there's no way I can provide solutions with any certainty.



Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: What Happened???
« Reply #91 on: February 15, 2012, 11:08:29 am »
Think of all the money taxpayers will save when we finally cut Head Start programs.

Seriously, are they still around? I thought those programs got done away with years ago.  ???

I'm glad if they are still around.  :)
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Online serious crayons

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Re: What Happened???
« Reply #92 on: February 15, 2012, 04:56:21 pm »
Here's a blog post I just came across, written in response to a new book that argues that French parents are superior to American parents.

http://www.blogher.com/french-parents-are-superior-fact-most-other-parents-are-better-you-are?page=full

Quote
French Parents Are Superior -- Just Like All Other Parents
February 07, 2012 7:41 am by Josette at Halushki in Family

Dear New Parents,

Hi!

How's it going?

Feeling a bit tired? Maybe a little less spry these days what with the 2AM feedings or trying to keep up with a toddler whose main occupation is trying to find new ways to turn your hair gray -- licking outlets, hurtling themselves down stairs, not eating antioxidant rich foods?

Maybe you're feeling a bit overwhelmed. Out of your league. Like you'll never get the hang of this parenting thing and the guilt is starting to seep in with more and more "Oh, what have I done?" moments.

How can this be? You aced Calculus, run your own successful business, maybe you even know how to drive a stick.

And yet you can't quite get over the feeling that if there were a parenting pop quiz tomorrow during Gymboree class, the best you'd get might be a C+. B- if you had a venti cafe mocha and a Red Bull.

All other parents seem like they have it under control. Know what they are doing. Are even -- dare you say it -- better at this parenting thing than you are.

I'm going to save you some wondering:

They are.

Other parents are better.

They are better than you in all ways.

They are better at disciplining their kids, motivating their kids, and keeping their kids out of harm's way.

Their children will have more friends in school, lead more fulfilling lives, and never need therapy.

Their kids will rule. And it will all be because other parents were much better parents than you can ever hope to be.

Sorry.

It's a truth I learned too late to save my own kids. It took me 13 years -- on the Internet reading parenting message boards, reading parenting books and magazine articles, then reading parenting blogs, and finally downloading the "Why Other Parents Are Better Than You" app -- to understand completely all the ways I would never measure up.

It's been disheartening.

But more upsetting was the sheer length of the process of fully coming to terms with the fact that, well, I kinda suck.

I mean, compared to other parents.

Most recently, The French.

So, to spare you my time and effort in learning all the ways I could change (but probably won't) in order to be more awesome (but probably can't), here is the definitive list of all the parents who are better than I am.

In no particular order.

•Strict Parents
•Laid Back Parents
•Urban Parents who give their kids access to lots of Culture and Street Smarts
•Suburban Parents who have Backyards, Good Schools, and Soccer Coaches From Brazil
•Country Parents whose kids Learn Responsibility by Running Large Farm Equipment and Who Know Exactly What To Call The Chicken Hole That Eggs Come From
•Parents who vaccinate
•Parents who don't vaccinate
•Parents who keep a clean house and who carry hand sanitizer in order to keep their kids healthy
•Parents who allow their kids as much contact with germs as possible in order to build up their immune system and keep their kids healthy
•Breastfeeding Parents
•Bottlefeeding Parents
•Religious Parents
•Atheist Parents
•Parents who don't know whether or not God can help them be better parents
•Conservative Parents
•Liberal Parents
•Anarchist Parents
•Noam Chomsky
•Free Range Parents
•Kiddie Leash Parents
•Natural Parents
•Hi-Tech Parents
•Unplugged Parents
•Parents who don't allow cell phones at the age you gave your kid a cell phone
•Authoritarian Parents
•Authoritative Parents
•Positive Parents
•Permissive Parents
•Persuasive Parents
•Mary Poppins Parents
•Dr. Sears
•Dr. Brazelton
•Dr. Laura
•James Dobson
•"I Love Ezzo" Parents
•"I Hate Ezzo" Parents
•Younger Parents
•Older Parents
•Parents of only children
•Parents of two children
•Parents of many children
•The Cosbys
•The Brady Bunch
•The Waltons
•The Duggars Kramer (The Dad, not Kramer The Mother)
•Parents who pick up crying kids
•Parents who don't pick up crying kids
•Parents who co-sleep
•Parents who don't co-sleep
•Parents who spank
•Parents who don't spank
•Parents who care enough about their kids to send them to public school
•Parents who care enough about their kids to send them to private school
•Parents who care enough about their kids to send them to homeschool
•Parents who birthed their kids vaginally
•Parents who birthed their kids vaginally at home with help
•Parents who birthed their kids vaginally at home with no help
•Parents who birthed their kids vaginally with no help in a rain forest on the summer solstice
•Parents who didn't birth kids vaginally just because they like fancy groin scars
•Parents who didn't birth kids vaginally because they are men
•Parents-to-be who will never make any of the parenting mistakes you made
•Madonna and Angelina Jolie
•Straight Parents
•Gay Parents
•Married Parents
•Single Parents
•Sister-wife Parents
•Parents with a high school diploma
•Parents with a college degree
•Parents with a graduate degree
•Parents with no fancy book learning
•Parents who read parenting books
•Tiger Moms
•Russian Moms
•Scandinavian Moms
•Southern Moms
•Your Mother-In-Law
•Mother Teresa
•Martha Stewart
•Crafty Moms
•Parents who blog about their kids
•Parents who don't blog about their kids
•Parents who update all their kids' baby books
•Parents too busy parenting to update all their kids' baby books
•Uber Moms
•Type A Moms
•Good Enough Moms
•Slacker Moms
•Parents who take time for themselves
•Parents who get down on the floor and play with their kids
•Parents who get down on the floor and teach their kids
•Parents who teach their kids to put in flooring
•Parents who stay at home
•Parents who work at home
•Parents who work outside the home
•Parents who are at home outside
•Parents who let their kids drink from the garden hose outside
•Parents who let their kids eat Chicken McNuggets from the garden hose
•Parents who let their free range chickens hose down the home as one of their chores
•Parents who pay their free range chickens an allowance to hose down the home as one of their chores
•Parents of chickens
•Parents of Chuck Norris
•My Mom
I may have missed a few.

I'm kinda subpar at blogging definitive parenting lists.

But surely, that's enough to convince you that you'll never measure up, either.

So, you know...carry on.

Chances are that unless you are just really a complete jerk across several categories on a Venn diagram of types of jerks, your messed-up type of parenting is mediocre enough for your messed-up type of kid.

Even messed-up, you know more than you think you do. Maybe.

Still, you'll never be as good as Dr. Spock.


Offline Luvlylittlewing

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Re: What Happened???
« Reply #93 on: February 15, 2012, 05:14:53 pm »
I'm loving this -- especially the 'free range' parents.  Seems like whatever our parenting style, it will never be good enough.  Well, I am good enough as a parent, and so are 90% of the parents I know!

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Re: What Happened???
« Reply #94 on: February 15, 2012, 05:27:17 pm »
I love it when something written about parenting rings true and says something smart -- it happens so rarely. But this was the second case of it today!

The other time was when, in a David Brooks column, I ran across a mention of the book Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life by Annette Lareau. I had added that book to my reading list months ago but had forgotten about it. Now it's back at the top of the list. It's a fascinating sociological study comparing typical middle-class parenting approaches to typical approaches in working-class and poor families, based on the author's observations of families in those groups. (Note the key word "typical" -- obviously there's a lot of variation from one family to the next.)

The book's observations are fascinating, given the discussion we've had here over the past couple of days -- the attitudes here more or less mirror the patterns the author describes. Delalluvia, the ideas in this book could help explain why you, coming from the background you've described, would think an authoritarian and unstructured approach to parenting is obviously and unquestionably superior. And it would explain why I, coming from a middle-class background, would take a different approach -- mine is a fairly close approximation of the one she describes. (It also helps explain my differences with my ex-in-laws who, though nominally middle-class, both came from very working-class backgrounds.)

Delalluvia, if you mingle with a lot of middle-class people today (such as, perhaps, your former coworker), this may even explain why it appears so obvious to you that so many of them are doing it "wrong." And also wh,y when you suggested something that seemed so simple to you, your friend looked at you like you'd grown a third arm.

From Wikipedia's entry about the book:

Quote
Annette Lareau distinguishes between two different parenting styles: Concerted Cultivation and the Achievement of Natural Growth.

Concerted Cultivation: The parenting style, favored by middle-class families, in which parents encourage negotiation and discussion and the questioning of authority, and enroll their children in extensive organized activity participation. This style helps children in middle-class careers, teaches them to question people in authority, develops a large vocabulary, and makes them comfortable in discussions with people of authority. However, it gives the children a sense of entitlement.

Accomplishment of Natural Growth: The parenting style, favored by working-class and lower-class families, in which parents issue directives to their children rather than negotiations, encourage the following and trusting of people in authority positions, and do not structure their children's daily activities, but rather let the children play on their own. This method has benefits that prepare the children for a job in the "working" or "poor-class" jobs, teaches the children to respect and take the advice of people in authority, and allows the children to become independent at a younger age.



Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: What Happened???
« Reply #95 on: February 15, 2012, 07:37:55 pm »
I'm loving this -- especially the 'free range' parents.

Me, too! I'm sure I know what that phrase is supposed to mean, but, frankly, the image that came to mind when I read the phrase was kids letting their parents off the leash.  ;D
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: What Happened???
« Reply #96 on: February 15, 2012, 07:47:48 pm »
Quote
Accomplishment of Natural Growth: The parenting style, favored by working-class and lower-class families, in which parents issue directives to their children rather than negotiations, encourage the following and trusting of people in authority positions, and do not structure their children's daily activities, but rather let the children play on their own. This method has benefits that prepare the children for a job in the "working" or "poor-class" jobs, teaches the children to respect and take the advice of people in authority, and allows the children to become independent at a younger age.

Hmm.

That sounds benign, but I wonder does the author discuss what may be called the "dark side" of this style--or, for that matter, the "dark side" of the other style as well?

Obviously I have little contact with families with children, and the contact that I do have is usually as a witness to behaviors in public, but it troubles me when I think of all the times I've witnessed "directives" in the form of profanity-laced yells directed at kids who are hardly more than toddlers. I'm not sure I buy the part about teaching children to "respect and take the advice of people in authority." Maybe back in the mythical 1950s, but today? Independence is a good thing, but what about when that independence results in gangs of adolescents beating up people in the subway?

"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline milomorris

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Re: What Happened???
« Reply #97 on: February 15, 2012, 08:11:35 pm »
Seriously, are they still around? I thought those programs got done away with years ago.  ???

I'm glad if they are still around.  :)

Oh yes. they're still alive and well. I'll withhold my commentary so this thread doesn't go off-topic.
  The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

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Re: What Happened???
« Reply #98 on: February 15, 2012, 08:22:42 pm »
Me, too! I'm sure I know what that phrase is supposed to mean, but, frankly, the image that came to mind when I read the phrase was kids letting their parents off the leash.  ;D

It alludes to the title of a book called Free Range Kids, written by a woman who caused a big uproar when she wrote about letting her 9-year-old ride the subway alone. Her point is that we should trust kids to be safe on their own in public, without constant adult supervision.

I interviewed the author, Lenore Skenazy, last fall when writing about that Brooklyn 8-year-old who was abducted and killed while walking home six blocks from school. Her take was that while stories like that strike fear into parents' hearts, they extremely rare, and if parents are scared of anything they should be scared of letting their kids ride in cars, where they're much more likely to be killed.



Offline ifyoucantfixit

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Re: What Happened???
« Reply #99 on: February 15, 2012, 08:32:02 pm »


    Just an iinteresting aside.  We were at a restaurant the other day.  A mother, her two children, and her (obviously) parents came in and

sat next to us.  The oldest child was a girl.  I guessed about 6 or 7 yrs of age.  She had her on a harness, and leash.  The boy, who was obviously

younger than his sister by about three or four years.  He was not on a leash.  He was allowed to walk and sit by himself.  He tried to climb up

into a regular adult chair, and had difficulty, because it was a bit too high.  In the mean time, they brought him a high chair to sit in.  He happily

raised his arms, and allowed his grandfather to seat him.  The daughter was helped into her seat, and the mom removed the leash and harness.

The mom, then went and filled the plates for the children.  We were at a buffet meal.  While she was filling the childrens plates, and the

grandparents were aiding her, by staying at the table, until her return.  The grandmother got crayons and paper and entertaining items out of

her purse to keep the young lady occupied.  The grandfather just talked to the little boy, just by telling him that the meal was going to be

exciting and wonderful.  The boy smiled and waited for the food, with no problem.  Meanwhile the young girl was trying to get out of her seat.

Trying to grab all the provided things that were on the table.  The grandmother just patiently kept the things from her, and asked her to sit

in her seat and wait for the food.

  Before long the mom was back.  She sat the appropriate plates in front of the two kids.  Then the boy started immediately to eat.  The girl

had to be reseated in a forward facing position, and helped to learn to get the fork and spoons availability.  She finally started to eat.  The

whole group gave an obvious sigh of relief, at the now ability to find their own food, and to eat their own meals.

   I was totally intrigued by this action.  The mother, and the grandparents were so calm, so efficient, so prepared (the items in the purse.)

I was very impressed with the way they handled the episode.  No tantrums, no crying, no problems.  They were obviously very dutiful people.

Most people, (me included,) would see a child in a harness, and right away think "what a tyrant, how lazy."  Any parent that would place their

child in that kind of an imprisonment must be very lax or lazy.  I saw as I watched, it was a thing to keep the child from just simply wandering off

or running into traffic, or any of the other harms that might have insued.  They were prepared, they knew the problems that the child had

and were willing to deal with it in the least dramatic way.  No screaming, after the runaway child, no chasing them down the isles, no disruption

of the other diners.  I just wanted to applaud them..  They were a very effective cohesive, and loving bunch.  I was reluctant to leave, for

fear that I could have learned more, by observing them...  I have raised four grown children of my own.  I have had a large or a partial part in

raising many of my grandchildren.  I still have the priviledge of being a go to counselor of my own children, even though they are grown, with

grown children of their own.  I am a counselor to my grandchildren as well.  It is a job, I love, and would not change for anything in the world.

My family is my life.  My proudest achievement.  I relish every second of the whole thing.  From the first birth of my oldest daughter, until now,

when I am helping and enjoying great grandchildren. 

   I guess the whole point of this story, is to say, that with all of this history of raising and helping to raise children.  I can still learn from others. 

Someone that is dealing with an issue that I have not come in contact with..

   This young mother, was raising two children, one a boy, and one a girl.  You would automatically think that the older (girl,)  and the youngest

a (boy,)  were being handled in totally different ways.  They were being treated according to the needs of the individual child.  Not a one

size fits all approach..  Raising children, is both the most difficult job, and the most satisfying one ever attempted...



     Beautiful mind