Friday, August 10, 2012

Supporting egos

Today's comments was inspired by an article I read by a professor of anthropology who was discussing the differences between telling children "good job," or "thank you" in response to work that has been done. She makes a fine point, that is worth considering, although frankly I think that the differences she mentions are ones of style, and that parents can feel good about themselves in their interactions with their children whether they tend to say good job, thank you, or have some other non-verbal, perhaps more subtle way of conveying their approval. Further, parenting is a complicated task. We parents have matured and stay relatively the same once we reach the point that we are raising children, whereas children are changing in large amounts year to year. They may not respond the same next year to what you did that worked so well this year. Good parents are usually very good at some stage of a child's development and not so good at another. But in the end, all parents are critically important to their children and I daresay, their most important teachers.

Where parenting can go awry is not from following your natural inclinations as from being sent off center with yourself, and this is exactly what happens to parents of children who are homework trapped. The schools have so much authority to dictate what must be done, that parents lose their right to employ their judgment in deciding what to do when a child has trouble with his homework. That sheer lose of authority costs the child much more that any value that could be accrued by getting the particular assignment done.

Dr. Kenneth Goldberg is a clinical psychologist with 35 years of professional experience in dealing with many different psychological issues. He is the author of The Homework Trap: How to Save the Sanity of Parents, Students and Teachers and currently works in his own private practice.

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