One of the biggest challenges of being a parent (after learning the self-control necessary to not eat all the Halloween candy after bedtime) is finding the balance between protecting the kids and letting them make their own mistakes. For example, my kids have made the mistake of not hiding all their left over Halloween candy. I believe in using natural consequences.
What the ever-loving, craptastic, holy heck! I’ve seen adults reprimand kids countless times before, but it wasn’t until yesterday morning that I finally noticed what jerks grown-ups are when they talk to kids.
It began in the library at about 8:00. I overheard a woman as she was tutoring three middle school kids. The tutor, her voice already dripping with disgust, sighed, “Open up your textbooks.” One of the guys, who looked particularly bleary-eyed and tired, was slow to react and the tutor said, “Is this how we’re going to start? Really?” She was exasperated already and the kids hadn’t even settled into their chairs. She began to drone out the text and asked the kids questions that had clearly been designed by the chairman of the board of a mattress company specifically to put people to sleep. Over the next half hour, she split her time between reading aloud from the textbook and complaining that the kids a) needed to keep all the chair legs on the floor, and b) needed to wake up and answer the questions she was sleep-reading from the book. Continue reading How we talk to kids
First, click this link:
Did you click it? You didn’t click it did you. Nobody ever listens to me. Alright, fine. It’s an article from The Onion that describes an area dad who’s been on a parenting kick. They interview his daughter who confirms that he’s really been into the parenting stuff for the last week. But seriously, just click it. It’s better when you read it.
Next, please tell me I’m not alone in going on various parenting kicks. (This is called “upping the ask”.) Continue reading The never-ending, ever-changing quest for consistent parenting
Has anyone else spent an hour of their life in a conversation about the things that “set us apart from the animals”? You may have to think back. This is usually one of those senior year of high school type topics (right around the time someone in English class pipes up with the idea that maybe this world is just an illusion!). In the humans-are-different-from-animals discussion, somebody says opposable thumbs. Then somebody points out that a bunch of apes and monkeys and raccoons already did that. Then somebody says language only to set up the scene for a brief argument about whether Coco the Gorilla and vervet monkeys and dolphins and forest elephants are really using language. Then somebody says a soul and everybody else has to get solemn and nod respectfully. Well, that’s my recollection of how that conversation goes, anyway. Continue reading Parenting real kids works better than parenting imaginary ones
“Daddy, I’m bored.”
“You’re bored? Here. I’ll tell you a story. When I was a kid, my dad had a set of 1963 World Book Encyclopedias. An encyclopedia was a set of books. There were about 27 of them in all and they were supposed to give you an ‘encyclopedic’ amount of information, which means they tried to include all the information you could ever hope to ask. So you’d look things up like you would in a dictionary, but instead of just telling you what a word meant, it would tell you all about that thing or place or person.
Welcome to a Quick Rant. It’s like a rant, but quicker.
This article, in the University Herald, is headlined, “Young Men’s Self-Esteem Hurt by Female Companion’s Success” (sic, unless they intend to suggest that inadequate feeling young men all share a single companion). The article reports on a study (link is to a .pdf) published in The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology by Kate Ratliff and Shigehiro Oishi that describes how men and women respond differently to a romantic partner’s success. Super-brief overview: they found that men were more likely than women to exhibit lower self-esteem when their partner experienced more success than they did. Continue reading Time for a Quick Rant! Today’s Rant: Women’s Success and Men’s Self-Esteem