Becoming a parent

I have thought a lot about the kind of parent I want to be and the kind of parent I don’t want to be. Obviously, I don’t know if I’ll be successful in either of those pursuits, but I’m going to try. In the ongoing Mommy wars, the task of how to actually raise children to be responsible adults seems to have been pushed to the periphery, in favor of discussions on breastmilk, co-sleeping and babywearing. Thus, I was heartened to read this in Sunday’s paper. This article articulates how I strive to parent. (Well, except maybe the withholding praise part). I know I will fail often, but I intend to try my best.

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7 Responses to “Becoming a parent”


  1. 1 Sara H August 9, 2012 at 8:49 am

    I was really intrigued by the idea of the kids who weren’t told they were awesome having the confidence to try more difficult things. I see how that works, but on the other hand, it just seems wrong not to tell a kid they did a good job. Or maybe “nice work,” “good effort”, etc. are the middle ground – I think those are the buzzy things to say these days – praising the effort, not the smarts.

  2. 2 kateandgracie August 9, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    I totally agree! I thought it was fascinating — and it makes sense to me in terms of cultivating the courage to go forward (not wanting to risk your “smart” title by not trying increasingly harder projects), but the idea of not telling Mollybear that she did a good job on something seems impossible and not a goal I’m really interested in achieving. I agree there has to be a way to praise and reward and, at the same time, encourage greater efforts without a fear of failure.

  3. 3 kateandgracie August 9, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    And let me clear, right now if she rolls over, I praise her as if she’d brought about world peace and shower her with ridiculous amounts of attention. Well, honestly, she doesn’t even need to roll over for me to do that. So, basically, what I took from the article is that I will not be doing Molly’s homework, but I will still be smooching her and basking in her glow.

  4. 4 Sara H August 10, 2012 at 10:43 am

    The article did give me pause – I’m all “good job!!!” 80 times a day. Possibly raising a child by quasihelicoptering, I guess. 😉 I figure I can wait to worry about it until later when we understand more of each other’s words.

    Is Miss M rolling over? Oh boy, on to crawling pretty soon! 🙂

  5. 5 kateandgracie August 10, 2012 at 11:54 am

    Ha! Yeah, I’m pretty sure the article wasn’t directed towards parenting babies and toddlers…At least I hope it wasn’t. Yes! Rolling over! Both ways — it’s so cute! A couple of nights ago, we caught her asleep on her belly and Aaron asked me if we should flip her over. “No!” I said, “If she’s adept enough to roll onto her side to sleep then that is where we leave her.” Of course, after he fell asleep, I went into her room and quietly nudged her back onto her back because I couldn’t stop worrying about it. Next time I looked at her, though, she was back on her tummy. Too cute.

    But crawling scares me!

  6. 6 Erin Curran August 13, 2012 at 10:22 am

    Check out Po Bronson’s book “Nurture Shock” Chapter 1: The Inverse Power of Praise. http://www.amazon.com/NurtureShock-New-Thinking-About-Children/dp/0446504122#_ This book was all over the place a few years ago. Lots of food for thought!

    Basically what I’ve come to understand is be specific and focus on the action/behavior so the child feels good about “sticking with a difficult math problem” versus “being smart”, for example.

    I think this issue of “how to use praise” gets at two big issues – how to build self-esteem that comes from within the child (versus seeking external approval) *and* how to help children learn to be resilent and not give up when things are hard.

    I love this post: http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/familydevelopment/W00009.html

    And yeah, I agree, this stuff is geared toward the non-baby/toddler kiddos! Who’s really going to say, “I noticed that you used your abdominal muscles to roll over”!?!?!? ;-P

  7. 7 kateandgracie August 13, 2012 at 11:13 am

    Ha! Brilliant! Thanks, Erin. I will check both of these links out.


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