System Status: Mail server SSL certificate updated; some older mail clients (e.g., Eudora) are having problems. See welltech.374 for more info.


inkwell.vue.335 : Hara Estroff Marano, A Nation of Wimps
permalink #276 of 295: David Albert (aslan) Thu 18 Sep 08 13:19
    
It is surely important to have high expectations for our children. 
The question that I think is being raised, however, is whether it can
be counterproductive to have expectations that are TOO high.

When a goal is out of reach but not TOO far out of reach, one might
strive for it and, possibly, achieve it, or else attain a lower but
still worthy goal.

When a goal is so far out of reach that achieving it is obviously
impossible, the tendency is not to even bother trying.
  
inkwell.vue.335 : Hara Estroff Marano, A Nation of Wimps
permalink #277 of 295: Steve Bjerklie (stevebj) Thu 18 Sep 08 13:34
    
In parenting, it's also critically important, I think, to distinguish
a kid's goal from a parent's goal.   
  
inkwell.vue.335 : Hara Estroff Marano, A Nation of Wimps
permalink #278 of 295: Hara Estroff Marano (haramarano) Thu 18 Sep 08 13:57
    
YES, VITALLY IMPORTANT TO DISTINGUISH A KID'S GOAL FROM A PARENT'S
GOAL FOR THAT CHILD.

AND AS FOR EXPECTATIONS, IT'S LESS A MATTER OF HOW HIGH THEY ARE THAN
HOW THE ARE COMMUNICATED. (ooops, sorry for the caps. didn't mean to
shout. keyboard was in caps lock mode. rushing here.)

paying attention to a child only when getting As or even the mere
wordless raising of an eyebrow at a B can communicate expectations in a
way that can permanently cripple a kid emotionally. 

kids don't really want to disappoint parents. and they need their
love. 
  
inkwell.vue.335 : Hara Estroff Marano, A Nation of Wimps
permalink #279 of 295: Jennifer Simon (nomis-refinnej) Thu 18 Sep 08 15:59
    
Well said, caps and all.
  
inkwell.vue.335 : Hara Estroff Marano, A Nation of Wimps
permalink #280 of 295: Hara Estroff Marano (haramarano) Thu 18 Sep 08 19:20
    
now i have a moment to finish the thought. because kids don't want to
disappoint parents and really want their love and approval, they adopt
the inflexible goals a parent communicates in that raised eyebrow. (or
they just might decide they can't meet those expectations and decide
they are screw-ups, and then do their best to live up to that label.)
the child, who then believes parental approval is conditional upon good
performance, then becomes a perfectionist...about as sure a one-way
ticket to misery as exists. perfectionism is awful because it keeps
people living in fear of mistakes, focused on the very thing they most
want to avoid, and thus dwelling in negativity. and without a secure
sense of self because parental love is so conditional. these people
can't take risks. they just drive themselves, and many people around
them, crazy. they can't take critical feedback. etcetera.

there's nothing wrong with high expectations per se. but sometimes
kids can't meet them. and when they can't the best response isn't anger
or disappointment on the part of the parent. it's best for a parent to
ask a kid how s/he feels about his/her performance. if a kid isn't
humiliated or backed into a corner, then the child feels free to voice
his/her own disappointment. then a parent can say, what do you think
you need in order to do as well as you want. the child owns his own
expectations and experience, feels understood, and stays motivated.

but sometimes a kid doesn't meet the parental expectations because the
child doesn't value that domain of performance so much, and it's much
more important for the child to do well in some other arena. parents
need to heed that.

and sometimes, for any number of reasons having to do with development
and its timing, kids need much more time to meet expectations and
sometimes they have to fight their way around obstacles (inner or
outer) to carve their own path. call them late bloomers. sometimes they
just see things differently. we need to find a way to value this.

as a culture, we put very much emphasis on early achievement. but in
the long run, it doesn't get you much (ok, so you get into harvard.
great bragging rights, but so what?). for one thing, it's likely to
keep you focused on meeting conventional benchmarks of success. you're
not terribly likely to be innovative. there's a reason you seldom hear
about child prodigies after they become adults. they don't break new
ground.   
  
inkwell.vue.335 : Hara Estroff Marano, A Nation of Wimps
permalink #281 of 295: David Albert (aslan) Fri 19 Sep 08 03:38
    
Interesting Boston Globe article on what it takes to get kids to walk
(even 10 minutes) to school.  The reasons mentioned in the paragraphs I
quote here will be nothing new for those of us reading this topic, but
I found it apropos enough to want to quote them:

"One major obstacle remains: parents who are fearful of letting their
children leave home on their own. In response, school districts have
made sure that their walking groups are led by an adult....

"Walking advocates say the risk of harm to students walking to and
from school is low....

"The data doesn't show a lot of accidents on school routes or kids
being snatched, but if you talk to parents you would think it's an
everyday occurrence," said Karen Hartke, a project manager at
WalkBoston who works with schools."
  
inkwell.vue.335 : Hara Estroff Marano, A Nation of Wimps
permalink #282 of 295: Hara Estroff Marano (haramarano) Fri 19 Sep 08 04:53
    
it's kind of pathetic that a Whole Project (a whole wing of
WalkBoston) has to be organized to get kids to walk to school. but if
that's what it takes, it's better than nothing. and yes, nothing new:
parental fears way out of proportion to the reality. 

the funny thing is, i don't think parental anxiety is anything new. i
think parenting and anxiety have gone together since the beginning of
time. what is new now is that parents impose their own fears on their
kids to restrict their kids' lives. that's new. before, you gradually
let your kids do things while you kept your own fears in check, and
step by step you let out the leash.
  
inkwell.vue.335 : Hara Estroff Marano, A Nation of Wimps
permalink #283 of 295: Mr. Death is coming after you, too (divinea) Fri 19 Sep 08 09:37
    
I don't know. I have a near miss in the school parking lot, or on the
streets surrounding my child's school- invariably with some cell
phone-yapping numbskull driving a tank-sized SUV- on a near daily
basis. Perhaps my fears of my daughter getting hit are not unfounded. 
  
inkwell.vue.335 : Hara Estroff Marano, A Nation of Wimps
permalink #284 of 295: Betsy Schwartz (betsys) Fri 19 Sep 08 09:51
    
It's a vicious circle. Unless more kids are roaming around, there *is*
an increased risk.  There are more parents in cars (and on cellphones
in cars!) and fewer kids for company and protection. It's one thing to
talk about a time when kids were allowed to run free before dark, but
it feels very different when you send your kid out to play and she
doesn't find any other kids out there, only a few lone adults. 

I let my daughter walk to afterschool in fourth grade, but she was
often walking *alone* as she got farther from the school building. She
was a grade-schooler heading towards the middle school so her path
wasn't a common one. I let her run some risk because I thought it was
still very low, in daylight in our quiet town, but I made dang sure
that she walked the long way with the light and the crossing guard
instead of the short way where a kid has been hit every couple years.
(I *believe* she tells the truth about that, but I do see many kids
walking that way in the morning). 

When we went to the playground alone as grade schoolers, we found
other unaccompanied kids our own age there. That isn't so today.
  
inkwell.vue.335 : Hara Estroff Marano, A Nation of Wimps
permalink #285 of 295: Hara Estroff Marano (haramarano) Fri 19 Sep 08 11:19
    
betsy, i agree...in fact, it's really difficult to send a kid out
there alone to play. play with whom? so well-intentioned parents really
do face a dilemma. that's why i think even just a couple of parents in
an area have to get together to carve out the opportunity/space for
activity...set it up, in a way...and then step back and not monitor it.

there are lots of ways neighborhoods could be made safe for kids to
walk. adults lobbying to get speed bumps installed. stop signs on every
corner in a residential area. and yes, more kids and adults out
locally would have an effect, too.

drivers (and even pedestrians) on cellphones are  a menace, and not
just to kids. if i'm driving on the highway, i try to get away from
them as quickly as possible. even with headsets, talking on the
cellphone distracts drivers...and pedestrians. the evidence is clear.
  
inkwell.vue.335 : Hara Estroff Marano, A Nation of Wimps
permalink #286 of 295: Mr. Death is coming after you, too (divinea) Fri 19 Sep 08 13:22
    
There's an unusual number of them in affluent 'burbs, I think. 

The kids in our neighborhood are outside all the time, playing,
unsupervised. We just don't let them cross the racetrack street on
their own. Too many people have been hit and injured at that corner. 
  
inkwell.vue.335 : Hara Estroff Marano, A Nation of Wimps
permalink #287 of 295: Hara Estroff Marano (haramarano) Fri 19 Sep 08 20:41
    
a neighborhood where kids are outside playing all the time? wow. i
want to move there!!!! even tho my  kids are grown and fledged. i love
the sound of kids playing.

hey, i just want to share with you a message i got today on my website
(www.nationofwimps.com)from a mother who just nails the issues. she
has the unusual perspective of raising older and younger kids, and so
experiencing personally the culture change in parenting.

Great book! I thought I was a slacker mom! I've been a parent for 23
years. My youngest is 11. There is a large difference between the
parents of my 23 year old daughters friends, and the parents of kids
my
11 year old's age. When my oldest was little, we let coaches coach and
enjoyed watching the games. We let teachers teach, went to parent
teacher conferences, and the Christmas play. With my younger
kids,parents coach, are the scout leader, room mother,tutor and lunch
lady. I was always made to feel like I wasn't pulling my weight if I
didn't want to build gingerbread houses, or go to every kids sports
practice. Practice! I always felt like my kids don't want me there
every time they turn around. And frankly, I don't always want to be
there. Parenting is a not very stimulating sometimes mind numbing
adventure. Also when I'm around, sometimes my daughter turns into my
whiny kid instead of the confident 6th grader she is. I want to thank
you for writing this book. I was starting to question myself. Because
my daughter is the baby, I was tending to micromanage her. This book
reminded my of what I knew already, of how things used to be. My
children are not stupid, incapable or incompetent. I shouldn't treat
them like they are. Lisa 
  
inkwell.vue.335 : Hara Estroff Marano, A Nation of Wimps
permalink #288 of 295: descend into a fractal hell of meta-truthiness (jmcarlin) Sat 20 Sep 08 11:04
    

I just happened to notice this story today that ties in with the
book and discussion here:

http://www.healthcentral.com/newsdetail/408/618486.html

Parental Involvement in School Has Its Limits

FRIDAY, Sept. 19 (HealthDay News) -- While it can be a good thing for
parents to advocate on behalf of their children, there's a point where
children need to assume that role for themselves, says a Saint Louis
University School of Medicine expert.

"That's the only way kids will be able to learn the skills they'll need to
take care of themselves when they become adults," Dr. Ken Haller, an
associate professor of pediatrics, said in a university news release.
...
  
inkwell.vue.335 : Hara Estroff Marano, A Nation of Wimps
permalink #289 of 295: Hara Estroff Marano (haramarano) Sat 20 Sep 08 21:11
    
yes, the article ties in nicely. and here are the wise doctor's
parting words:

A parent's job is to prepare children to be responsible and capable
adults. Decrease your involvement over time and let your child live his
or her own life.

They are worthy pausing over: Let your child live his or her own life.
  
inkwell.vue.335 : Hara Estroff Marano, A Nation of Wimps
permalink #290 of 295: Lisa Harris (lrph) Thu 2 Oct 08 07:46
    
Just checking in here to say that my kids rode their bikes to school by
themselves today.  And they made it there on time (okay, I admit I had to
check).
  
inkwell.vue.335 : Hara Estroff Marano, A Nation of Wimps
permalink #291 of 295: Gail Williams (gail) Thu 2 Oct 08 10:47
    
Yay!
  
inkwell.vue.335 : Hara Estroff Marano, A Nation of Wimps
permalink #292 of 295: Steve Bjerklie (stevebj) Thu 13 Nov 08 14:26
    
Interesting review of "Nation of Wimps" as well as a few other similar
books (plus one that's dissimilar: "Huck's Raft: A History of American
Childhood") in this week's New Yorker.

"The Child Trap: The rise of overparenting," by Joan Acocella:

http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/books/2008/11/17/081117crbo_books_acocel
la
  
inkwell.vue.335 : Hara Estroff Marano, A Nation of Wimps
permalink #293 of 295: Lisa Harris (lrph) Thu 13 Nov 08 15:24
    
thanks, steve.
  
inkwell.vue.335 : Hara Estroff Marano, A Nation of Wimps
permalink #294 of 295: Jennifer Simon (fingers) Thu 13 Nov 08 19:20
    
Yes, thanks, very interesting.
  
inkwell.vue.335 : Hara Estroff Marano, A Nation of Wimps
permalink #295 of 295: Ed Ward (captward) Thu 15 Nov 12 01:27
    
Because of a phenomenal amount of spam directed at the comments for
this topic, I am freezing it so as not to have to delete 20+ comments a
day from spammers. 

It is Inkwell's policy that discussions remain open for readers, and
this policy remains. If anyone wants to comment here, please write to
me, capt ward at well dot com (with the first name as one word) and
I'll unfreeze and post. 

Sorry for the inconvenience.
  



Members: Enter the conference to participate

Non-members: How to participate


Non-members: Please enter your comment or question:
All non-member comments are read before posting. All spam is discarded.

Your email address:
We will only use this email address to contact you for clarification.

Your real name:
Your name will be used to identify your comment if it is posted.



Subscribe to an RSS 2.0 feed of new responses in this topic RSS feed of new responses

 
   Join Us
 
Home | Learn About | Conferences | Member Pages | Mail | Store | Services & Help | Password | Join Us

Twitter G+ Facebook