Magazine article Work & Family Life

Raising Kids to Be Good People, Not Just to Feel Good

Magazine article Work & Family Life

Raising Kids to Be Good People, Not Just to Feel Good

Article excerpt

We can all agree that we want our kids to become self-reliant, ethical, compassionate adults. But are we doing what it will take to accomplish this? The current trend is to shield children from emotional or physical discomfort.

"We tend to overprotect kids but at the same time expect a high level of skills and achievement," says clinical psychologist and parent educator Wendy Mogel, Ph.D. in her wonderful book, The Blessing of a Skinned Knee.

"We cater to children's whims yet pressure them to achieve at all costs-academically, socially, athletically...because we want them to succeed in a 'new world'," she says. But who knows exactly what skills a child will need 20 years from now? All we really know for sure is that the character traits of honesty, tenacity, flexibility, compassion and optimism will continue to be valuable.

With warmth and humor, Dr. Mogel provides advice on key issues: (1) teaching respect for adults, (2) doing chores, (3) keeping your expectations in line with your child's temperament, (4) mealtime battles, (5) coping with frustration, (6) avoiding overscheduling, overindulgence and overprotection and (7) helping your child develop independence and self-control (see front page article)

She provides insights into the differences between how we treat boys and girls, noting that while we've come a long way in terms of gender equality, we're still ignoring what she calls the "other protection" that boys and girls need: the protection of young boys' natural rough and readiness and protection of girls from feeling that they must excel in everything all the time. …

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