Thank you to everyone who chimed in on my previous blog post about monster-rearing. Check out the comments here.
The commentary can be summed up in one sentence: Judge not, lest ye be judged.
Agreed. I swear, I agree. But I’m still entitled to an opinion, yes? Here’s how I think of it. When I was dating, I welcomed people’s advice and opinions. After 10+ years of dating, my strategy for finding a committed partner was not working. I appreciated when friends set me up, or told me to get online, or said to join meetups. Many recommended moving to Silicon Valley–home for many academic, employed, eligible dorks. Great advice, but can you imagine me commuting to a job in the city from say Palo Alto, when I already had a home in San Francisco?
If I’m a parent and I’ve got some rug rat throwing a hissy-fit and I’m not getting sleep, I would welcome any advice that would help me get the brat to bed. But I’ve noticed that parents are quick to get defensive rather than considering new options or spending a few minutes to think strategically. I would want to muster what energy I have and ask, “What am I doing wrong? I know there are parents who do a better job. What can I learn from them? What can they teach me?”
We have friends who have kids in elementary school. They insist they have parenting down to a science. We are always going out to drinks with them–so they are another great example to learn from. The mother claims that parenting is common sense and Americans simply don’t get it. Of course, this couple I speak of is British.
Daniel sent me the link to this article which is more evidence for why Americans are the worst parents ever. Based on research by anthropologist Elinor Ochs, children in Samoa and Peru are expected to help support the family at a very young age. “A video clip shows a girl around 5 years of age in Peru’s Amazon region climbing a tall tree to harvest papaya, and helping haul logs thicker than her leg to stoke a fire.” Here in the U.S., we’re ecstatic when our 5 year old shares his ball in the playground. We consider trifle things milestones.
Dean has a bad/good (you decide) habit of constantly saying, “Good job.” It makes me crazy. I fear our kid will be praised for very little achievement, and in turn, will end up going to community college. The horror, the horror! It boils down to discipline which I know kids not only need, but want.