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Raising Responsible Children
Graydon G. Goss, MD
Kids don't come with instructions. Parent education, if it occurs at all, typically ends before children are even born. The same loving adults who attend Lamaze classes, investing hours in preparation for the moment of childbirth, have a tendency to believe that child-rearing skills will thereafter be acquired naturally.
Taking birthing classes seems to make sense since we don't ordinarily remember being born. We all, on the other hand, remember being kids, and therefore believe that as a result we'll automatically know how to raise our own. After all, how hard can it be? What new parent can picture their newborn screaming obscenities during a tantrum or being suspended from school for fighting?
Even if we do anticipate such problems in the future, most of us figure we'll handle discipline the way our own parents did. After all, we turned out all right, didn't we? Some of us have terrible memories of childhood and plan on simply doing the opposite of what our parents did. Either way, most parents just "wing it".
Speaking both as a child psychiatrist and as a parent, I admit having been unpleasantly surprised to discover just how hard it can be to deal with our own kids. Our memories of childhood are very selective. Most of us have no idea of what our parents really went through. And, perhaps most importantly, the world has changed a lot since the fifties and sixties.
This is the Introduction to a book I am writing based on my experiences as a parent, as well as what I've learned while helping other parents and teachers with other kids. I intend it to be easy to read and, I hope, even a little fun. The whole notion of discipline has developed a negative image, and child rearing is all too often conceived of as a complicated and exhausting process. I would like to dispel such conceptions and instead focus on the positive aspects of raising responsible children.
Knowledgeable parents have no trouble maintaining control of their kids' behavior.
My goal, then, is to help you learn some simple, common sense techniques for raising kids that even other parents will like. Likable, responsible children develop healthy self-esteem and take pride in doing well. They're a pleasure to have around. They function as helpful, contributing members of the family team.
Raising responsible children is fun!
Little kids are easier to control than hulking 17 year olds. The earlier that parents learn structuring techniques, therefore, the better. The principles I'll discuss, however, will work for any child or adolescent. We'll start by dismantling some common myths and work toward some universal truths regarding parents, children and their relationships. Once we've got the essentials down I'll focus on some of the more common questions parents and teachers have asked me during the past ten years. Hopefully, you'll find many of the answers to be applicable to your own offspring.
If you have any questions or comments regarding the contents of this little book, I'll be happy to respond to e-mail submissions.
Sample Chapter One of this Book
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