But What If They Don’t Do What You Ask?

Piggle Wiggle

I wrote recently that I would prefer to teach empathy than obedience. As some readers pointed out, at issue here is also responsibility. If we focus on teaching children to obey their parents and other adults in their lives, we aren't teaching them to make responsible decisions for themselves. One of the things I try to emphasize to my children when teaching empathy is that they live in an interconnected world and their actions affect those around them. This is part of teaching responsibility as … [Read more...]

More Thoughts on Teaching Consent to Young Children

boy-chasing-girl

"When I was at Brogan's house, I kissed him," five-year-old Sally told me recently."Okay. Where did you kiss him?" I asked, curious what sort of kiss she meant."On the back of the head, because he didn't want me to so he was moving all around.""Wait a minute, now---""When we go over to Brogan's house again, I will run and catch him and kiss him again!" Sally proclaimed excitedly."Sally, what should you do if someone doesn't want you to kiss them?" I asked."Just get him … [Read more...]

“I am so, so sorry, Bobby”: On Apologies

children-hugging

I was sitting on the couch reading when I heard a sudden altercation in front of me, a yelp, and then Bobby was crying. "Sally, do you need to apologize?" I asked. I immediately regretted the question---I should have first asked what happened rather than jumping to conclusions. I'm not perfect. But Sally's response was immediate. "Yes mom, I do," she said genuinely. "What happened?" I asked. By this time I was holding Bobby on my lap, stroking his hair and trying to soothe him. He was still c … [Read more...]

Obedience, Empathy, and the Laundry Hamper

child-hugging-mother (1)

I was chatting with a friend about the results of a recent pew survey when she asked a question I found very, very interesting. I mean, if you teach a kid empathy, tolerance, and responsibility---do they need to be obedient? Or will they just do the things that are in the best interests of everyone? Like, "Hey, could you do the dishes?" "Sure." Because they realize they should help out with the house.  This is an excellent point.Let me offer an example: I would like my daughter Sally to pu … [Read more...]

Adrian Peterson and Black Parenting

born in bondage

Several of my commenters have pointed out that there's a racial dimension important in understanding the Adrian Peterson situation. This isn't about saying that what Peterson did in abusing his son was okay, but rather that it's important to understand the context within which black parents make their disciplinary decisions. As a white woman, I don't feel qualified to speak to this directly, but I want to point to several articles I've seen written on this dimension over the past few days. For … [Read more...]

James Dobson and Adrian Peterson

j_dobson

Two days ago, Focus on the Family's Jared Pingleton condemned Adrian Peterson's abuse of his son but defended corporal punishment. Yesterday I explained that the words Pingleton used to justify "appropriate" corporal punishment are the same words abusers use to justify their abuse. In the comments on that post, a reader pointed out, using quotes, that in the punishment he delivered Peterson was simply following the advice of Focus on the Family founder James Dobson himself. I looked up the qu … [Read more...]

Failing to Understand the Dynamics of Abuse: Focus on the Family on Adrian Peterson and Corporal Punishment

adrian-peterson-son-at-training-camp-9

Yesterday, Time Magazine's parenting section featured an article by Focus on the Family's Jared Pingleton. The article, titled "Spanking Can Be an Appropriate Form of Discipline," addresses the controversy surrounding Adrian Peterson's suspension from the Minnesota Vikings on pending child abuse charges after leaving open lacerations on his son. In his article, Pingleton makes a case for corporal punishment while clearly calling Peterson's actions abuse.Pingleton begins his article with this … [Read more...]


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