No, Praising Children Will Not Make Them Selfish

I grew up in a conservative home where I frequently heard about the problems of valuing children's "self esteem." Today, I live in a world where people often put down millennials by talking about how we all got participation ribbons as children, and somehow that means we all think we're extra special, or something like that.And then I come upon blog posts like this one, titled An open letter to my children: you're not that great: In the row ahead of me a family has taken hot pink duct tape a … [Read more...]

Lying to Children Is Not a “Joke”

I recently saw the above cartoon shared on Facebook. Bizarrely, I saw it shared by progressives, and "liked" by progressives---and not just any progressives, progressive parents who embrace positive parenting.  I was surprised and taken aback. Sharing cartoons that turn child abuse into a joke isn't okay, and this isn't okay either.When did it become okay to joke about lying to children? Make no mistake, that is what this comic is talking about. What does it say about us, as a society, that w … [Read more...]

What Happened to Teaching Kids to Respect People’s Name Preferences?

When I was in middle school, I briefly tried out the youth group at my family's evangelical megachurch. I was homeschooled, and wasn't used to being around so many public schooled kids, and I had no idea how to fit in or even identify with any of the kids there. But the real problem I ran into had to do with the youth group leader. See, he wanted the kids in youth group to call him Andy*. My parents forbade me from calling him that, and required me to call him Mr. Jones*. And because I refused … [Read more...]

The State of Children’s Rights in Our Society Is Abysmal

"No, I'm sorry, if there are no bruises CPS won't even take the report," the woman from the ChildHelp hotline told me over the phone. "There's nothing they can do.""But her mom keeps yelling at her, and they're going through her stuff," I insisted as I pulled up to a red light. Making the call in the car wasn't my initial plan, but it would have to do. "Surely there is something I can do?""No, I'm sorry, if there are no bruises they're not doing anything against the law.""Okay, thank … [Read more...]

Part of Parenting Is Letting Go (School Edition)

School approaches, and in my Facebook feed I've seen many posts by moms sending their children off to kindergarten for the first time. They're worried. They're scared. They talk about crying over their impending separation, and about wondering if maybe they should keep their children home a few more years---homeschooling is better known, now, especially among the more progressive hippie types who grace my friend list. The tenor at school orientation was similar.On some level this feels … [Read more...]

When Positive Parenting Doesn’t “Work”

Last week I wrote a post about struggling to convince my three-year-old son, Bobby, to take a nap while on a camping trip. I thought about how my parents would have handled they situation---by spanking the child refusing to lay down or stay still---and then about the problems with punishing children for age-approripate behavior that they will grow out of in time. I ultimately solved the situation by suggesting that Bobby and I pretend we were hiding from dinosaurs, a game that he engaged in … [Read more...]

Child Development, Jumping Frogs, and Evading Dinosaurs

We went camping earlier this year. You know, the lovely peaceful sort of camping at an out-of-the way campsite, with hikes, 'smores, and afternoon naps in the tent. Well. Sort of. One afternoon as we all lay down in the tent for a nap, three-year-old Bobby decided he was a frog. He had walked quite a bit on our hike that morning and ought to have been tired out, but kids are nothing if not unpredictable. Six-year-old Sally decided she would take a nap, but Bobby? Nothing doing!Sean and I … [Read more...]