Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Are You Raising Doers, or Followers?

The duty of all parents is to raise a self-sufficient being that can function on their own.  It’s been said that a parent’s curse is that the job basically entails you pouring all this love and attention into a little person just so they can ultimately leave you and take that love elsewhere.  Yet especially in recent years, the trend towards coddling and overprotecting children has been growing, with parents becoming especially clingy rather than working to foster independence.

As Barbara Littman states in her book Everyday Ways to Raise Smart, Strong, Confident Girls, “in school and often at home, a big part of growing up is spent going along with what is happening rather than making things happen.”  The result is that children have very little experience in decision making.  When it comes to taking the initiative on their own, many kids don’t know what to do.

Thus parents should try to find more ways to get children out of the passive-submissive role and more involved in the “making things happen” role.  There are several easy ways to do this:

A)    When a problem presents itself, get in the habit of asking children what they think they should do as opposed to telling them what to do.  You can still guide them towards the correct answer, but this gets them accustomed to talking the lead and coming up with solutions on their own.

B)     Try to involve kids in planning family functions whenever possible.  Give them the job of researching potential vacation spots on weekend getaways.  Or let them pick on meal a week that they might enjoy and them involve them in the process of planning what needs to happened to prepare it – items to be purchased, preparations, and so on.

C)    Make a conscientious effort to follow their lead more often.  Kids are very imaginative and come up with some crazy ideas.  When is the last time you helped them develop one of these plans, even if it’s rather childish or silly?  Do so once, and I guarantee you that you’ll have a child who starts actively imagining all sorts of ways they might be able to change the world.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Fire Challenge Game

I’ve got an idea:  What do you say we poor rubbing alcohol all over you. Then I’ll grab a camera and light you on fire while filming what happens.

No? Does this not sound like a game you want to play? Startlingly, the answer your teen might give to this question is not an emphatic no, but an enthusiastic “Let’s do it!”  It’s called the fire challenge game and it’s the latest trend in dumb things kids are willing to do in their pursuit of internet glory.

Fire challenge videos are popping up all over the internet, featuring young people who light themselves on fire and emerge seemingly no worse for the ware.  But as you might imagine, things don’t always go as planned.  A number of kids have been seriously burned, and the screams of those victims is something you never forget.

Don’t assume that your kid is smart enough to know better.  All teens become temporarily dumb.  Talk with tweens, too, who are in the danger zone for mimicking what teens do.  Make sure kids know that the stunts which don’t go as planned don’t generally get posted on YouTube, and permanent disfiguration is an outcome just as likely as internet glory.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Overnight Lake

Here’s an off topic, but interesting story: A large lake has suddenly appeared overnight in the desert of Tunisia, stumping scientists as to how it got there.  Locals report that one day there was nothing there, the next morning a giant body of water was there. It’s a crazy world!

Check out the mysterious lake.