growing up [TED talk] – would recommend

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Adventures as children – is there generational change going on?
– how do parents today ensure children have adventures?
[to give them the childhood they should have]
– initiative: “Tinkering School” (make go karts, use tools)
– kids are encouraged to do dangerous things [for some children, this is a child’s first exposure to such tools – IDEA: to counter the parental urge to “OVER-PROTECT”

– 5 things you should let children do (valuable opportunities to interact with the world around them)
– 1. Play with fire
– 2. Own a pocket knife
– 3. Throw a spear
– 4. De-construct a household appliance
– 5. Drive a car (the steering wheel) while sitting on your lap.
[proprioceptive skills/motor skills development]
[creative skills rather than being a consumer]
[trust/bond between parent & child]

the one thing that makes us who we are is how we were parented
– “all joy & no fun” book by Jennifer Senior – about “parenting crisis” & anguish today; lack of parental confidence in what they are doing; parents are stressed out about how their child will turn out; marital satisfaction is lower; often parents do not enjoy parenting
– parenting today is new; concept if childhood is new & has only been about for approx 70 years; before this children worked & were regarded as economic assets (now they are emotionally priceless); homework is work for parents (checking); driving kids to sport practice; we know we do not know what the world for our children is going to be & what they must train for; sleep training; self-esteem; we need to work on making them happy;
– have expectations of parenthood
– have expectations for child (we want them to be happy – happiness or self-confidence is not something that can be taught like riding a bicycle)
– some kids will not be happy (we can provide opportunities/enable these opportunities by encouraging the child to be productive, to be moral (to do good, to be decent, to have a work ethic, & know how to love)
– desperate quest to make child happy (ultimately anxiety-provoking for the parent)

– what’s harder growing up or being a parent?

1960s – pregnant & single – you were a threat to society; adoption/foster more common
– story about child being separated from his parents in the UK
– when 11 years old – pre-adolescence – misbehaviour (his foster parents were religious & believed he was possessed by the devil – they abandoned him/gave him back
– children can smile/live through the most incredible pain
– by 17 years old he realised he had nothing/no relationships
– we are our story – families build stories – but stories can become so airtight that we suffocate ourselves because we blame others & carry them around with us
– as an adult (20 yrs later) he forgave his foster parents
– let go of the past so you can live in the present

author of books (Gay/different)[writer: Andrew Solomon]
– resilience & hope
– school exclusion & bullying on the bus
– endured childhood by a mix of endurance & avoidance
– a better self/a narrative if triumph in response to early experiences of hurt
– develop an image of ourselves through our struggles
– stigmatised identity
– enrolled in sexual surrogacy therapy as an adolescent (to change his sexual identity)
– can endure great pain if we have a purpose
– St Paul – “when I am weak, then I am strong”
– coming out: parents saw accurately that the way I was would fuse great pain for me, but also he came to realise it caused them great pain (a child’s & parent’s identity are intertwined)
– sheltering children from pain is a parenting problem; we need to learn how to be a good parent to the type of children we ACTUALLY have
– all parenting involves accepting children as they are as well as recognising what needs to be changed in our child
– intrusiveness & neglect [balance – protect & engage – good parenting involves a balance between “holding on” & “pushing away”]
– find the ecstasy in the ordinary joys of life

Source: TED talks broadcast date 1 August 2014

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