Posts tagged: conscience


By , January 3, 2008 1:15 pm

Raising Flexible, Resilient, Self-Confident Children

ONE HUNDRED YEARS AGO, Sigmund Freud confirmed everyone’s worst fears: Yes, human beings were voracious bundles of desires, ready to devour the world.
Society had to instill a strong superego, a conscience to hold the id’s desires in check. The job fell to authoritarian parents. The children produced obediently took their places on the assembly lines of industrializing nations.
 However, later theorists like Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow insisted that human beings also have inborn tendencies toward altruism and cooperation. Rather than subduing a monster with authoritarian rules, parents could see themselves as “gardeners,” providing the right conditions for the unfolding ofeach child’s inborn potential.
Expectations also have changed in the work world. Today’s workers are asked more often to be part of idea- generating teams and to work cooperatively than to be assembly line workers. They must be creative and flexible enough to retool their skills formany job changes in a career. Obedient rule-following no longer insures survival.

However, some worried that the more “permissive” childrearing espoused by theorists like Dr. Spock led to a generation which could not conform to any limits. However, it is the total lack of limits that produces out-of-control children. Children like freedom-within-limits. They need boundaries to feel loved and cared for. And they need to make choices in order to build self-confidence.

You Must Set limits…

Parents need to strike a balance between setting limits and allowing choices. Authoritarian parents who must prove that they are boss and do not allow their children choices stifle creativity. But overly permissive parents who do not set limits produce children unable to cooperate with other people and to respect boundaries and follow rules.

I’ve seen children afraid to choose a toy for fear of being yelled at for doing the wrong thing. I’ve also seen children running in the streets, not wearing bicycle helmets when riding their bikes, and playing with firecrackers because parents were unable to set limits and stick to them. Setting limits is a way of caring as much as giving a child some power over decision making.

If you want your child to grow up able to negotiate and cooperate, you’ve got to teach those behaviors now: “I do lots of things for you. If you won’t do what I need, then I won’t feel as good about helping you when you want something.”
Here’s a list of simple limits I enforced with my child from toddlerhood: (Read more at Creative Edge Focusing’s website)

See our Interest Area: Positive Parenting

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