Friday, November 2, 2007

Children are from Heaven

So the bad news is that I had training in Thousand Oaks and spent 7 hours in the car in just one day. I did get about 4 hours of good training out of it, but what a long day!

The good news is that I got to catch up on some books on tape. One was about self-esteem, and I'm embarrassed to say I don't remember the author. The other was "Children are from Heaven" from John Gray, the same author of "Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus".

He talks about the importance of compassion and leadership in parenting. Some of the areas he discussed that surprised me are as follows:

- Do NOT give children choices. Until about 10 or 11, children don't need choices and giving them options is actually stressful for them and erodes your power.

- Children don't need an explanation. Tell them what to do - they don't need to know why and telling them makes you weak.

I swear I've read in a thousand other places the importance of offering choices and giving kids a chance to make a decision on little things. Like giving them a choice of snack or what to wear. Gray says we should simply instruct them what to do. He cites an extreme example of the opposite of his advice - letting the child not wear a jacket to school and catching a cold. We've often strived to give choices on little things to help the kids engage and feel a sense of control, so this advice feels weird to me. Perhaps it should be "Go get dressed" not "Do you want to wear the blue sweater or green sweater?"

About the explanation, he again says that kids can't really reason until pre-teen/teen so that explanations are lost on them. This is despite the fact that the favorite word of most children is "why". I thought explanations were to help prepare them for their own decisions, but perhaps they are not equipped for that until much older.

Then again, we can give choices in other ways. Like we can take out the inappropriate clothes out of their closet before we tell them to go get dressed. Right?

Regardless of the minor points of the book on tape, children are gifts and I wholeheartedly agree that they are from heaven, so sweet and so pure.

Love 'em!


yertle said...

Parenting advice can be so interesting -- how you can read exact opposite opinions on everything pretty much with equal authority. That drove me crazy in the hospital after Lucas was born -- even the doctors and nurses didn't agree. I always end up back with what my mom told me "Trust Your Instincts". I figure each parent and each kid is different, so you have to figure out what works for your specific cases.

Sierra said...

Ya know, for every one piece of advice, there are about six others that contradict it. Every child is different and I prefer to just trust my insticts too. If I'm wrong, I can invest in therapy for Kaia when sh grows up.