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Thread: Family and Parenting

  1. #141 The Best Things I’ve Learned About Raising Children — by Leo Babauta 
    I don’t consider myself a parenting expert, but I have helped raise six kids (along with their mothers), and being a father has been one of the most rewarding things in my life.

    And while I’m not a perfect father, I think I’m pretty good at it. Mostly because I absolutely love it.

    Eva and I also have some slightly non-conventional parenting ideas that might be useful to parents who are always looking for new ways of thinking about things.

    So I’m going to share the best things I’ve learned about raising children, not because my way is the best, but because it’s always helpful to have a discussion about parenting.

    A really important note: Much of the work of parenting, if not most, was done by my kids’ moms (my wife Eva and my first two kids’ mom). I can only take a little credit.

    Here are some of the best things I’ve learned:
    Leo proceeds to offer 18 lessons he has learned and discusses each briefly. Two of his lessons are Let them direct their own learning, and In the end, they will be the person they are. You don’t get to decide who that is.

    The Best Things I’ve Learned About Raising Children — by Leo Babauta

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  2. #142 The Challenges of Raising a Digital Native | Devorah Heitner, Ph.D. | TEDxNaperville 
    Often these days, we worry about our children on the internet. We teach them a long list of dos and don’ts and hope they turn out to be effective communicators and responsible digital citizens. Is this the best approach? In a world where the internet permeates our lives, how do we keep our children from being too connected or not connected enough? What can we do to create a new digital citizenry that safely and effectively rules the internet?

    Dr. Devorah Heitner is the founder and director of Raising Digital Natives, a resource for parents and schools seeking advice on how help children thrive in a world of digital connectedness.

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  3. #143 10 Things I've Learned From 10 Years of Parenting — by Lynn Shattuck 
    Somehow, I’ve racked up nearly a decade of parenting.

    While I’m constantly humbled—and often humiliated— by this whole mom gig, I’ve learned a thing or two in my tenure.

    Here are some of the highlights:

    1. Kids show up with their own personalities.
    2. The nature of everything is change.
    3. I’m so not the parent I thought I’d be.
    4. Time flies when you’re having kids.
    5. Guilt is inevitable—suffering is optional.
    6. We’re mostly just wingin’ it.
    7. And, the huge decisions we’re faced with aren’t actually that huge.
    8. Our children literally change us.
    9. Being perfect isn’t our job.
    10. It gets easier.
    The descriptions that accompany each of those highlights are delightful.

    10 Things I've Learned From 10 Years of Parenting — by Lynn Shattuck

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  4. #144 How Inuit Parents Teach Kids To Control Their Anger — by Jane Greenhalgh 
    Back in the 1960s, a Harvard graduate student made a landmark discovery about the nature of human anger.

    At age 34, Jean Briggs traveled above the Arctic Circle and lived out on the tundra for 17 months. There were no roads, no heating systems, no grocery stores. Winter temperatures could easily dip below minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

    Briggs persuaded an Inuit family to "adopt" her and "try to keep her alive," as the anthropologist wrote in 1970.

    At the time, many Inuit families lived similar to the way their ancestors had for thousands of years. They built igloos in the winter and tents in the summer. "And we ate only what the animals provided, such as fish, seal and caribou," says Myna Ishulutak, a film producer and language teacher who lived a similar lifestyle as a young girl.

    Briggs quickly realized something remarkable was going on in these families: The adults had an extraordinary ability to control their anger.
    As this fascinating article continues we learn how Inuit mothers (primarily) teach their children to control their anger.

    How Inuit Parents Teach Kids To Control Their Anger — by Jane Greenhalgh

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  5. #145 4 Easy Ways to Build Your Child’s Self Esteem with Your Words — by Dr. Laura Markham 
    “If you want your children to improve, let them overhear the nice things you say about them to others.” – Haim Ginott

    Children rely on us to interpret the world:
    “That’s HOT, Don’t touch!… Now we wash our hands … We can walk now that the light is green … We always … We never … This is how we do it … The sky is blue …”

    So what happens when they hear:
    “You’d lose your head if it wasn’t glued on … That was a dumb thing to do … You drive me crazy … Why can’t you … You never … You always…”

    Or overhear:
    “You won’t believe the day I’ve had with that kid … He’s so irresponsible… She never does her chores without me hounding her … He can’t control himself … She has such a temper….”

    They believe it.

    Even if they don’t show it, even if they act like they don’t care, on some level our children believe everything we say about them.

    This could demoralize every parent at times, because we’ve all said things that we later wish we hadn’t. But instead, let’s use it to our advantage, and to our children’s advantage. Why not leverage our children’s trust in what we say to empower them to become their best selves?

    Our words don’t have to be perfect. But what we believe will eventually come out of our mouths. So what if we practiced these four habits?
    4 Easy Ways to Build Your Child’s Self Esteem with Your Words — by Dr. Laura Markham

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  6. #146 The 11 Life Lessons It Turns Out I’ve Taught My Six Kids — by Leo Babauta 
    On my 46th birthday recently, my (mostly adult) kids wrote out a list of lessons I’d taught each of them in their lives so far. Each wrote their own list, and my wife Eva sweetly put them together in a notebook.

    As I read through them, I felt like crying. It’s so incredibly touching that they appreciate what I’ve been trying to pass on to them, things I’ve been learning and want them to understand.

    As a father, there are few things more meaningful than to see how you’ve helped your kids through your example and talks over the years. We have a mixed family of 6 kids, aging from 13 years old to 26 years, and all of them are wonderful human beings.

    It turns out, there were some lessons that all or most of the kids put on their list, which I’m going to share with you here. These lessons they had in common made me wonder if these were the more powerful lessons, or if they were simply the ones I talked about the most.

    So here they are, roughly ordered in how frequently they showed up on my kids’ lists:

    1. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, and it’s okay to fail. This was tied (with the next one) as the most common lesson on their lists — it made all their lists, I think. I really love that this lesson hit home with them.
    The 11 Life Lessons It Turns Out I’ve Taught My Six Kids — by Leo Babauta

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  7. #147 10 Habits to Strengthen Your Relationship with Your Child — by Dr. Laura Markham 
    “I can’t believe how things with my daughter have turned around, since I started focusing on connection.” – Zoe

    We all crave those close moments with our children that make our hearts melt. Connection is as essential to us parents as it is to our children, because that’s what makes parenting worth all the sacrifices.

    That connection is also the only reason children willingly follow our rules. Kids who feel strongly connected to their parents WANT to cooperate, if they can. They’ll still act like kids, which means their emotions will sometimes overwhelm their still-growing prefrontal cortex. But when they trust us to understand, to be on their side, they’re motivated to follow our lead when they can.

    Researchers remind us that we need five positive interactions to every negative interaction to keep any relationship healthy. And since we spend so much time guiding — aka correcting, reminding, scolding, criticizing, nagging, and yelling — it’s important to make sure we spend five times as much time in positive connection.

    There are days when all we can do is meet our children’s most basic needs. Some days it’s nothing short of heroic simply to feed them, bathe them, keep an encouraging tone, and get them to sleep at a reasonable hour — so we can do it all over again tomorrow!

    Here are twelve habits that don’t add time to your day, but do add connection. Simple, but incredibly powerful, these habits heal the disconnections of daily life and build emotional intelligence. You’ll find that using them daily changes everything.
    10 Habits to Strengthen Your Relationship with Your Child — by Dr. Laura Markham

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  8. #148 How to Motivate Kids to Practice Hard Things —by Maryam Abdullah 
    According to a recent survey by the Society of Human Resource Management, 97 percent of employers say that reliability is a very or extremely important qualification for an entry-level job; it’s at the top of nearly everyone’s list. How do parents help their kids learn to be reliable—people whom others can trust to consistently do their best work?

    One place to start is to teach kids the importance of practice. Kids practice to reach all kinds of goals—writing their names, dribbling a basketball, playing a song on the guitar. But they aren’t always motivated to practice, and they don’t always practice in the right way.

    A highly effective and well-researched technique called deliberate practice allows you to repeatedly work on a mental or physical skill with the aim of getting better in the future. Research suggests that children as young as five can start to understand deliberate practice, and children and adolescents who engage in it make gains in school achievement and motor skills.

    By encouraging them to engage in deliberate practice as they get older, we can help our kids achieve their goals.

    What is deliberate practice?
    How to Motivate Kids to Practice Hard Things —by Maryam Abdullah

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  9. #149 Why Are Dutch Kids the Happiest In the World? — by Katherine Martinko 
    The secret lies with Dutch parents, whose approach is radically different from that of American parents.

    In 2013, Unicef released a ‘report card’ that assessed children’s wellbeing in 29 of the world’s richest countries. It concluded that Dutch children are the happiest of all, based on five categories: material wellbeing, health and safety, education, behaviors and risks, housing and environment.

    The Netherlands scored highest in both behaviors and risks and education, and its excellent scores in the other categories put it firmly in the leading position, followed by four Scandinavian countries. (The United States was at the bottom, worse than Greece but better than Lithuania.) Even Dutch children vouched for their own happiness, with 95 percent “reporting a high level of life satisfaction.”

    There is nothing more wonderful than thinking of children who are joyful about their own existence. That’s precisely how it should be. Childhood is a time for making memories, pushing boundaries, having great fun. What’s tragic is that Dutch children’s innate happiness stands in such contrast to many children in North America, who seemed to be plagued by chronic unhappiness.

    Kids may be similar the world over, but their parents are not. The way in which a child is raised has everything to do with how a child turns out, particularly when it comes to happiness. It seems the rest of the world (are you listening, USA?) could learn a thing or two from the Netherlands. After all, isn’t happiness what every parent ultimately wants for their child?

    So what’s different?
    Why Are Dutch Kids the Happiest In the World? — by Katherine Martinko

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  10. #150 Parenting Pollution? What’s That?! — by Laurie Gerber 
    (To my amusement the question in that attention grabbing title is never directly addressed. It's a great article, though.)

    The other day I received the text, “Your kids are awesome! I’ve gotta study your parenting.”Who, me? My kids?! What a compliment! It came from one of my oldest friends after my three kids (ages 16, 14, and 3) went over to meet her one-year-old.

    My first reaction was to give all the credit to my husband. Not a huge humility leap for me, as he is a former head of a Montessori program and “patient” is basically his middle name. Over the years, I have really learned a lot of tricks from him — his generally stable behavior and the way he sets clear expectations are cornerstones of what works about our family culture.

    But that text got me thinking: if we are seen as role models of parenting, should we try and to “bottle” it? I decided to come up with our four best parenting hacks. Hacks that work for everyone: those with kids, those without, those with grown kids, and those whose kids are “not speaking to you right now” (we’ve all been there).

    These hacks are designed around “creating your family culture” because, as The Handel Method has taught me, designing your life is much more efficient than making changes after the “tantrum” begins. These are the pre-tantrum hacks so that, perhaps, the tantrums never occur (ummm)…or occur less frequently — I have a three-year-old for goodness sake! I’ve learned that the more you put into the design of something, the more likely it is to succeed. Humans get tripped up when we think something should “come naturally” rather than put some thought, time, and heart into it.
    Parenting Pollution? What’s That?! — by Laurie Gerber

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