Wednesday, March 16, 2005

The hurried child #2: the competent child

Elkind attacks the idea of the Superkid, competent to cope with anything that life, and particularly his parents, throw at him. He writes that by assuming our children are competent, we abdicate responsibility for nurturing them properly, putting them through early and prolonged separations, for example, or pushing them to learn to read or write at the age of 4.

Assuming that one's children are made of rubber and will always bounce back is a cheap excuse for not doing one's best as a parent. It is a cheap excuse for seeing one's children as reflections of one's own social status rather than helping them achieve their own goals.

The ideal, I think, is to 'spot' one's child. Assume they are competent to do what they are trying to do rather than hovering nervously, band aid at the ready, but be ready to offer help when wanted. And don't push them to join a football team so you can vicariously rekindle your boyhood dream of playing for Manchester United.

I think I'd be better off reading this, probably

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