I wrote my last post from a purely emotional point of view. It sprung from the fiercely protective part of " Mom me" that would like nothing better than to see my kids sail into adulthood unscathed by adversity, untouched by harm and full of self esteem. But alas this is not possible.
The world is not a perfect place in which to raise our kids and although I adamantly oppose many of Amy Chua's parenting methods, I concur with her major issue, we in America overparent our kids. We save them when they can learn from their mistakes, hide many of life's truths in order to protect what we perceive to be, their fragile psyches and often allow them to drop pursuits they find the least bit challenging. This does not allow children opportunity to grow. It robs them of true feelings of mastery and pride in their accomplishments.
It is not always easy to get children to do what we would like them to, for instance comply to rules, finish their homework, or practice the violin. But in today's tough, competitive and lets face it, rather cruel world it is imperative that we foster in them the lost arts of resilience and perseverance. If we can reach these goals as parents, our children can and will grow into strong and capable adults who are able to handle any stress that will no doubt come their way.
There is no perfect parenting method. Each way has positive and negative attributes. We need to pay mindful attention rather than passive. We have to choose when to be firm rather than fair. We might opt to talk or take time out to listen. At times we need to reevaluate our own personal perceptions so we can clearly see the reality of a tough situation. It all comes down to finding a balance , consistency in our approach as well as consideration for the qualities, strengths and weaknesses of each child.
Being both a mother for life and a chef by trade, I can boil this debate down to very simple terms. To raise kids with only self esteem and no motivation or determination is to bake bread with water and no yeast or salt. Just as the bread cannot rise minus yeast, our children cannot rise to meet life's inevitable challenges without some very integral ingredients. It is up to us, parents to fill their larders.
[image: Damara Kaminecki, "The Destroyer Backstage", Woodcut and Chinecolle, 11x15, 2014.] In this edition of Postcard from Paris, Matthew takes us to one o...