Positive Parenting vs Being a Parent = Reality Parenting

Reality Parenting

Bob and Carol have a blended family with two children each. Carol’s son Ben at 13 is the oldest of the four. Both parents work, so one of the challenges they have is having family time, all six of them together. Another challenge is finding time to be alone—just the two of them.

One Sunday, recently, Ben was ragging on his mother Continue reading

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Turning Power Struggles into Emotional Intelligence II

After reading “Turning Power Struggles into Emotional Intelligence” Lyn decided to try the approach and told me this story about her two-year-old daughter Uma: Continue reading

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What Good Schools, Happy Families and Successful Adults Have in Common

An educated person has the ability and inclination to use judgment and imagination in solving the problems that confront them at work and at home, and to participate in the maintenance of democracy.

-David Berliner

Happy families are all alike. Every unhappy family is unhappy for the same reason. (Tolstoy only got it half right.) The same principle holds true for schools.

That reason came to me yesterday, when one of the men who was working on our new home in Decatur discovered I was an educator and wanted to talk. He started with: “If you ask me, the problem with our schools is all about discipline. The problems all began when parents stopped supporting the authority of the teacher. Continue reading

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Teaching, Learning and Creating the Conditions

After reading “Daphne goes to School” (last week’s post) Daphne’s mother wrote me a long email which she concluded with: “I guess the question I am asking is: “How do we encourage exploration and confidence without leaving a child unprepared for the judgment and criticism they’ll have to deal with later on? And at what point does “education” end and “the real world” begin? Or is your idea that an environment of experimentation and exploration early on will create a confident, centered person who isn’t shaken by the competition that will come?” Continue reading

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Just Say Nothing

We want our children to grow up to be decision makers. We also want them to make good decisions. How can we get them to do the right thing and treat them as if they know what they are doing at the same time? How can we treat them as if they know what they are doing, when we half know that they don’t?

As I was saying goodbye to early childhood teacher Gretchen Ott on my last day at Children’s Day School, she reminded me of a very important technique. She said: “A long time ago I learned the trick of not saying anything. If a student did something I knew he knew was wrong, I would just give him a look. I’m still perfecting my look, and I wish I did it more.” Continue reading

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Don’t Get Mad; Get Creative.

Margaret had a classic class clown in her second grade one year. Ruben was smart, active, inquisitive, and made the class laugh several times a day, disrupting Margaret’s lessons. She found him infuriating, but fury was not recognized as an acceptable professional approach. By the third week of the year, she was sending him into the hallway for a “timeout” as a regular practice. That Friday, she lost her temper and sent Ruben to the principal’s office.

Over the weekend Margaret worried, thought, wondered, pondered, stewed, and talked to a friend about what she should do to fix this problem. Only three weeks of school! It just couldn’t go on like this. Nonetheless, Monday morning she arrived at school without a plan. Continue reading

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Parenting as Leading

How can we get our children to behave? Simple: Parent like the great conductors. Itay Talgam shows us how it’s done in his TED talk “Lead like the Great Conductors.” Simple, but not necessarily easy. Bob’s story about how his five-year-old son resolved a conflict gives us a vision of what the result can look like.

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Don’t Get Mad. Get Even

How to get kids to do their homework?

Last night a mother told me that one of the most important things I taught her was: “Don’t get mad; get even.”
“Really?” I replied. (I mean, that doesn’t sound very professional.)
“Yes,” she said. “It’s my mantra. I say it to myself all the time.”
“Like, when?”
“Like yesterday, Brian [age 6] said he wasn’t going to do his homework.

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