Monday, April 10, 2006

Good parents can fail easily through their own ignorance

Too many parents make life hard for their children by trying, too zealously, to make it easy for them.
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, poet, dramatist, novelist, and philosopher (1749-1832)

"I want my kids to have it better than I did." This was a mantra for North American parents for decades after the Great Depression. It's still a mantra for immigrant parents who built new lives from nothing when they moved to western countries from poorer nations.

But what is the "it" that these parents want(ed) their kids to have? In most cases it involved possessions, stuff, things the children can use and show off to their friends.

This, the parents assumed, would make the lives of their children better than their own childhood years. In some cases, it worked. In many, the parents were disappointed at how ungrateful the kids were.

Children have many needs that precede and always take precedence to possessions. Unless these needs are filled, the possessions are nothing more than cheap and hypocritical substitutes for what they really need.

Children don't want to be disrespectful, rebellious or ungrateful to their parents. If they are, it's because their needs were not satisfied, even if their physical wants were.

'Turning It Around' teaches what those needs are. Unlike any other book of parenting, TIA teaches what children need from the point of view of the kids.

Why are book stores not overflowing with books about what kids need, so their parents will know ahead of time? Because adults tend to look at childhood from the point of view of an adult. TIA is a book about kids, telling what kids need.

Having lived through childhood does not qualify anyone as an expert on what kids need. In many cases, it qualifies an adult to be an expert on what their own parents failed to provide. Even then the adults aren't certain of what those things are.

It's in the book. Get the book. Excuses for parental failure are no longer needed.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to give paents the tools they need to be parents.
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