Thursday, July 10, 2008

Parenting Advice

MSN actually has a decent article on child rearing entitled "10 Big Mistakes Parents Make." Spoiling kids and inadequate discipline make the list as does not teaching kids to fend for themselves and making the mistake of not being a good spouse. Good advice.


Blogger TMink said...

It is indeed a fine article. I printed it out and put it on my wall so I can have this healthy reminder.


10:08 AM, July 10, 2008  
Blogger HMT said...

Good article. Kinda "Duh" but most "10 most important ...!" list articles are.

I agree with point #4: Don't praise mediocrity, but I disagree with the paragraph describing what he means. He's a sports writer and obviously "Type-A". No participation trophy? I'm all for it. How about no trophy at all. Play the game because it's fun, not because you need to win. Winning is great, I love to win, but if I play a sport or game it's because it's fun to play. That's the attitude I want my kids to carry through life.

10:09 AM, July 10, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One thing I've heard discussed as a mistake is praising kids too much for accomplishments acheived soley because they are smart or talented, and not praising enough for trying hard, even if they fail. Gifted kids will always be gifted, but they might grow up lazy. Not sure how I feel about that.

10:37 AM, July 10, 2008  
Blogger Helen said...


I'm not sure I buy that. Gifted kids aren't always "gifted." If they learn that there is no reward for being smart or talented, they can easily decide it is not worth pursuing.

10:49 AM, July 10, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the point was that kids who are praised when they accomplish something with ease, but not praised when they try hard, can end up with the attitude that difficult things are not worth trying. The idea was not to forget to praise effort in ADDITION to acheivement.

2:49 PM, July 10, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's fun to win. Perhaps we all downplay it to our children, even to ourselves - that winning isn't everything.

When I win a big job, I'm a heck of a lot happier than when I come in second place.

My girls' softball teams were always happier after a win than after a loss.

A's on their report cards brought smiles to their faces, B's and C's, not so much.

I understand the sportsmanship we are trying to convey. But I never lied to them, or to myself. While not everything, winning is a lot better than losing. Duh.

Fess up!

3:42 PM, July 10, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Yes. It's a fine line, I think. Best effort should be praised, and so should winning. But kids need to learn early that life doesn't have any big payoffs for consistently trying and failing.

The big mistake, as I see it, is the misguided attempt to convey that there is no difference between trying and winning, or that losing might hurt someones feelings and that's "bad", and therefore the "solution" is to eliminate winners - or make everyone a winner regardless of performance.

Learning to cope effectively with loss and losing and consequent disappointment is a normal part of a healthy maturation process. Trying to create a false alternate reality for children that denies the existence of loss and losing is ultimately destructive and yet another insidious form of child abuse. Collective socialist utopian mentality, anyone?

4:37 PM, July 10, 2008  
Blogger DADvocate said...

I like the list. I don't like praising mediocrity and I do like winning.

When my oldest son was an infant I read an article on emphasizing the value of effort and working hard. The logic was that intelligence, talent, etc. could easily be perceived as limited qualities by a child but they could always work/try harder.

It seems to be a pretty good approach so far. In sports I emphasize working hard and playing hard but play the sports you enjoy and have a chance of being good at. My oldest son and daughter have long lean builds. They're naturals at basketball and are pretty good.

My youngest son is heavy build. He quit playing basketball in the third grade but he's still tearing them up on the football field. If I had forced basketball (which was my sport) on him, he would be a bundle of frustration and anger.

5:58 PM, July 10, 2008  
Blogger Marbel said...

I thought that was very good. Had a slight problem with #7, about realistic expectations:

Don't have unreal expectations for your kids: The expectation you should have is for them to be happy.

Of course we all want our kids to be happy, but I don't want mine to expect to be happy every minute. I do things every day that don't make me particularly happy, and they have to sometimes too. The expectation of a happy-every-minute marriage surely causes some divorces.

I think "contentment" is a better expectation. That goes along with #1, spoiling kids.

6:12 PM, July 10, 2008  
Blogger Jesse said...

""Gifted kids will always be gifted, but they might grow up lazy."

Well said, Scottish. And no matter how "gifted" someone is, not everthing will come easy. They have learn early on that trying one's absolute hardest is what counts, not so much the results. (Although one will tend to drift toward endeavors for which the effort produces results, but anyway...) I wish I'd have learned that lesson a lot earlier in life myself.

I'm not sure the expectation as parents should be for kids to be "happy." I think the biggest responsibility of a parent is to prepare a kid to later be a healthy, mature adult. Sometimes that runs counter to the kid's childhood happiness or contentment, but lasting happiness is far more important.

[Disclaimer: I've never had children and don't spend time around them, so I have no such experience to speak from.]

6:47 PM, July 10, 2008  
Blogger pockosmum said..., exactly! My niece brings home report cards with D's and is told 'At least you tried'. She is praised regardless of outcome. There is no reason to try and do better, if her mother doesn't put in place consequences for poor grades, and doesn't say her grades are bad to preserve her self-esteem.

'Everybody's a winner' drives me crazy. It's an awful falsehood pushed in schools now, where everybody gets a trophy etc, but it will all crumble once they get out in the real world. Is there a job or profession completely devoid of competition, if even on a small scale? We are not equipping kids to deal with reality by making school experiences all 'nice' and 'safe' (no dodge ball or tag and definitely no fighting)and eliminating all competition.

8:24 PM, July 10, 2008  
Blogger Larry J said...

'Everybody's a winner' drives me crazy. It's an awful falsehood pushed in schools now, where everybody gets a trophy etc, but it will all crumble once they get out in the real world.

However, from many of the articles I've read and from conversations with managers, it seems many young people do carry that unrealistic outlook on like into the job world. The managers are being told that they must coddle the young employees instead of helping them develop an adult outlook on work.

Some young employees have a lot to offer but it seems they need to be praised for every bowel movement like it was when they were being potty trained.

8:27 AM, July 11, 2008  
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5:10 AM, June 08, 2009  
Blogger Serket said...

Here is a different link to the article.

P.S. More Chinese spam. I hope they don't have some ability to automatically comment on all of your posts at the same time!

12:12 AM, August 05, 2009  

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