Recent read

Last night I finished Raising Children Who Think for Themselves by Elisa Medhus, MD.  I liked it very much.  Basically, it teaches parents to teach their children to be internally directed, empathetic, moral, and confident people rather than externally directed people who make decisions based on the peer and popular culture that soak their lives.  Not only does it teach kids to think through their actions, but to be responsible for the consequences of their actions ~ both good and bad.  It’s interesting, because it seems that this method would be somewhat of a relief for parents because it takes the pressure of their kids behavior off them.  Parents are responsible for teaching children how to be internally directed, but they aren’t responsible for their actual behavior.  There’s no begging, pleeding, cajoling for good behavior.  Crummy behavior gets kid crummy results.  On the other hand, parents can’t take responsibilty for their kid’s fabulous behavior.  Again – that’s all the kid’s.  I think an internally directed person (kid or adult) has a stronger sense of self and can more easily deal with life’s struggles without thinking about it.   

At the end of the book there’s a section on how to handle specific behavior problems.  It covers bullying, homework hassles, whining, lying, alcohol, drug, and cigarette use, tattling, running away, aggression, disrespect, tantrums… to name a few.

There was one chapter of the book I didn’t care for ~ a section on helping children develop their intuition.  I do believe in intuition, but this section felt a little false to me.  Some might like it.  Parts of the chapter on teaching empathy didn’t sit right with me either, although other parts I liked quite a bit.  I think it was a matter of personal style more than anything else. 

Generally, I think it is a book with great ideas that would need to be practiced.  However, rather quickly they would become a natural part of the way you talk to your kids.  Funny thing, I think by raising my child this way I will become more internally directed and I see that as a very good thing! 

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3 Responses

  1. I see you didnt like the section on helping children develop their intuition? Could you describe a bit more what you didnt like about that section since you do believe in foster this in a child…

  2. I absolutely for this kind of parenting — choices and consequences. I’m convinced it’s the way to go.

  3. Chris,
    What I don’t like about the chapter on developing intuition is that it goes beyond teaching a child to trust their gut reactions. I do think that people who are internally directed have good reason to trust their gut – especially if followed by more active reasoning. However, this section gets into teaching techniques that the author believes will strengthen intuition that to me seem like she believes in psychic abilities and she’s trying to tap into that. I simply don’t buy into that.

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