Meanderings

The folks at Nurture Shock at Newsweek offer a simple set of goals for parenting … Praise them less, and help them develop accurate awareness of how well they’re doing—so don’t try to spin them into believing they’re better than they are. Protect their sleep hours fiercely. When young children hurt each other’s feelings, give them a chance to come back together on their own. You might not see apologies or overt repair, but scientists are learning that repair can be implicitly implied when kids end up side by side again. Choose schools that don’t assign too much homework (more than an hour in middle school is too much), and the schools will finally get the message. Protect play time, and as children mature, help make sure they still have outlets for fantasy. By the time a child is 11, don’t encourage or expect her to tell you everything. Some things need to be none of your business. Set a few rules and enforce them, but in other domains encourage independence and autonomy. Teens need opportunities to take good risks. They need more exposure to other adults, and even kids of other ages—and less exposure to teens exactly their age. They need part of their life to feel real, not just a dress rehearsal for college. They will mature more quickly if these elements are in their life. Colleges have gotten better. It’s harder today to get into the top 30 name-brand colleges, because so many kids apply, but the next 70 colleges are now just as good as the top 30 were when you went to college, and the next 100 are darn good too. Care about your child’s education, not the notoriety of the name printed on his college sweatshirt.