Sunday, December 02, 2007

Raising Children

Right at the top of my Christmas list is the wish that there was some consensus on how to raise healthy children. It seems to me that there are a lot of opinions but not much concrete research. Talk about peace on earth, good will toward men....for an inveterate do-gooder like me, information on child raising would be the solution to a lot of the world's problems. Unfortunately, we all seem to think we should know how to raise our children, and we stumble through it without having a clue - most of us, that is. A lot of us are clueless that we don't have have a clue.

I have a daughter with a toddler. She expects herself to already know how to take care of her, and when her strategies don't work, she doesn't know what to do. But she's ashamed to ask because she thinks she should already know. So, she gets very frustrated. Frustration leads her to yelling, which in turn leads to loud screaming and crying from the baby.

I can relate since I experienced the same thing. I read Dr. Spock and that was some help but a lot of what went on on a daily basis was just not in the book. I asked a lot of questions of other mothers but what they said didn't seem to fit. For example, I asked a woman I met at a company party, how she got her two-year old toilet trained. She said she just tied him to the potty chair until he went and wouldn't let him up no matter how much he screamed. Even though I didn't have a clue, I was pretty sure that was wrong. But boy, she certainly was sure she was right!

I longed for something definitive that would help me with the day to day situations I encountered. Never did find it. So, I just went along everyday feeling wrong and guilty - which made me depressed and a worse mother. From talking to other mothers, no one ever felt they were doing things right. Like me they had no way to judge, so if their children weren't always happy and perfect, they were sure it was their fault.

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