this book review hits so close to home!!
Madeline Levine, a psychologist who lives outside San Francisco, specializes in treating young adults. In “Teach Your Children Well: Parenting for Authentic Success” (HarperCollins), she argues that we do too much for our kids because we overestimate our influence. “Never before have parents been so (mistakenly) convinced that their every move has a ripple effect into their child’s future success,” she writes. Paradoxically, Levine maintains, by working so hard to help our kids we end up holding them back.
i’m seeing this play out in our house, in the contrast between our two boys, S – adopted when he was around 4 years old, and already educated and acculturated by his experiences in Ethiopia, contrasted with his little brother, J – brought to the states at about 14 months of age, and showing all the signs of a spoilt American!! so quickly!
S loves to have a job to do – put him to work, and his behavior improves immediately! whenever we set him to a task, i think of the kids i saw in Ethiopia, and in other parts of East Africa – 2 and 3 year old kids herding cattle and goats, 6 year old kids driving donkey carts, 7 year old kids hauling water, and other supplies down miles of road… Life is hard, and, in many parts of the world, outside the US, kids are very aware of this fact.
J resists all suggestions to help – he won’t pick up toys, he won’t brush his teeth, he won’t consider taking any independent steps, like dressing himself, or committing to using the toilet!! He repeatedly says he wants to be a baby, not a big boy! S, on the other hand, can’t wait to grow up, as quickly as possible,
so, how to bring J up to S’s level?? that’s a great question…
but, maybe, like the French (read the article), we need to start saying “No” and meaning it!!