Friday, January 05, 2007

The Danger of Raising Nice Kids - Ch. 4

So some people (well, just Liz :) ) have asked if I finished the Nice Kids book. I did in fact. So I will share some more with you.

Ch. 4 - Embracing Authenticity

I know I say I love each chapter....and I do! This one especially as it related to me being real to my kids. Am I who I say I am? So here are some of the quotes from the book that struck me the most.

1. Don't ruin your relationship with your child over an issue of discipline. You can influence your child if you have a relationship with her, but you can't if you are alienated from her. Don't sacrifice the relationship over one area of misbehavior. Kids will act up. They will make mistakes. They will disappoint us. They will act immature, impulsive and irrational. They'll act like children.

I grew up in a house of fairly heavy discipline....not that it was a bad thing....and I know we were fairly heavy handed with Kade's discipline early on. We accepting no misbehavior....really didn't allow much room for kid-ish mistakes. But I have realized that for Kade, that kind of discipline, doesn't work. He needs relationship through the discipline and that is how we get through to him.

2. The values you model in your daily dealings with your child will determine the result. Your authenticity will pass along your values to your child. Everything we do teaches our children something about life and becoming a mature individual.

I'm a yeller. When I get frustrated or upset, I yell. Yet I'm always telling the kids not to yell. Last night I yelled at Kade after he had yelled at me out of frustration. Then I realized, it's what I've modeled for him. So I apologized and we sat down and talked about how yelling won't help solve our problems and how we need to help hold each other to that. Our problem got solved quickly because I was honest and authentic with him (I think!)

3. We are held hostage by a cultural climate suggesting that moral training of our kids is inappropriate. Take a look around. Most kids don't have a clear, internalized sense of right and wrong. They don't respect rules. They don't respect authority. And they don't perceive the consequences of their unethical behavior. They may have refined their manipulative techniques and know how to put the right 'spin' on things, but their duplicity doesn't produce integrity.

Kids with integrity are becoming more and more rare. Parents need to realize that the little lie they tell about their child's age, to get the cheaper movie price, is speaking volumes to their integrity.

4. Looking good on the outside and not having it together on the inside leads to deception as the standard operating procedure in the home. It becomes an unspoken but practiced value. and then a little further on When you are authentic, you create an atmosphere of truth and grace. Within that environment your child will grow to become authentic as well.

I do not want my kids growing up under the burden of 'everything is fine.' Because sometimes it is not fine. It seems to me that we often say we are fine because we don't want anyone else to know we're undone, causing them discomfort in knowing how to deal with us. I have quit saying I am fine if I am not fine.

5. If we are going to teach our kids values, we need to give them some training wheels. We need to let them have a few crashes and a few bandaged knees. It is better for them to learn while they are under our protection and watchful eye than to have them learn in the big, bad world when they are on their own. The home is where they can learn without the full impact of negative consequences. They can learn between trial and error without being devastated. Try to affirm progress and don't expect perfection.

This last year Kade has had a lot of opportunties arise to learn about trial and error. I am pleased to say that there is some progress!!

6. Authenticity is grace and truth in relationship. It's the kind of truth seen when we are courageously honest with each other. No pretending. Nothing hidden. It's the kind of relationship that is grounded in grace. I define grace as love in relationship: not allowing anything to interfere with our relationship because I love you.

For our kids to have it, we need to have it.



Simplyliz said...

I'm glad I asked... it's a lot to digest! I'll have to read it a few more times and think.

The first point is really speaking to me, about not alienating your kids.

Anita said...

I might have to get that book. I really agree with these points and I wish my DH would stop doing that lying to save money, too. He does it a lot! :(

Chrissie said...

I really agree with all of that...except the part about not saying you're fine when you don't feel fine.

I'm currently reading a book called 'Watching the English' (I blogged about it on 29 Nov if you want a peek at my blog). Anyway...she is an anthropologist and has made a study of the English (stroke British) and our behaviours. However, having said that, I think one point she makes is true in lots of just manifests in different ways.

So...(waffle) the point she makes is in the UK when we are making a connection with somebody we invariably talk about the weather. (there is a relevent point to this... bear with me - LOL). Hence people think we're obsessed by the weather. Whereas in fact we're not. What we're actually saying when we say, "My word, it's cold today isn't it?" is "I want to talk to you, will you talk to me". America I think the connections are made in different ways (having lived there). You guys are much more prone to say "Hi - how are you?" to someone that you're standing in line with or passing on the street (the British hardly EVER do that!!!). But you're not really asking how someone is. You're just saying "I'm making a connection, I'm being polite, will you be polite back".

And so the impolite thing for a British person to do is say, "Well...I think it's quite mild today actually" and in America it would be "I'm fine!".

Now, I know you're talking about our children here and being authentic with them, but I think it has to be judged on the type of connection we're making at any given time. Some days our kids just are 'checking in' and they don't really want to know if we're feeling poo or otherwise. Other days it's appropriate to offload a bit.

And I think also that we need to allow them to be children and us be parents (we're not their friends). We have to keep some of the everyday burdens away from them...they're not mature enough to cope with all the stuff adulthood throws at us. So sometimes "I'm fine" is good, even if you're not.


Great post though!

Chrissie said...

Sorry correction...

(I wish you could edit comments!!)

I'm retyping this paragraph...

And so the impolite thing for a British person to do is say, "Well...I think it's quite mild today actually" and in America it would be "I'm not having a very good day actually!".

Catherine said...

The sentence that leapt out at me was, "Kids with integrity are becoming more rare." How scary! Why is that?

Julie O said...

I agree with all of these points. Since my health has been of concern and quality of life has been more of a topic I have had to really focus on points 1 and 2. I use to yell so much, it was a total control thing. I have had no choice but to be broken of this habit. I will still yell in occasion but it is nothing like it use to be. I have seen how my oldest would do it in return and still does because I still will. I know completly that controlling my children is not going to give them the memory of a loving mommy when I am gone. I now approach them with the relationship in mind and always make sure to point out and apologize for when I am wrong.
This reminds me that I do need to allow for both of the girls to "act like children".
Point #4
I am with you on this. I was really struggling to live every day and was still telling people I was fine. I didn't want to be a burden to people. God broke me of this also. I would be so hurt when people wouldn't understand what I was going through and now see it was because I wasn't allowing them to be a part of me, truthfully. Now I am more honest and will say things like "today is not a good day" or "i'm having a hard time right now" and even "I am doing great today". I completly agree with Chrissie on this point. Why not just come out and have a conversation? Why not care enough to say "i'm not having a very good day can I talk to you about it"? We do need to care more because in doing that we will raise children who do and they will be viewed as having integrity. Love reading all the comments it's fun.

Denise said...

That is really interesting! I need to keep following up on your updates. Really makes you think.