mornglory: (Default)
Here's a section I like even better from Elizabeth Pantley's Kid Cooperation(1996, p125):

When mother's, or father's, measure their self-woth based on their child's behavior, it's all too easy to feel personally threatened by episodes of misbehavior. Parents caught in this way of thinking may have trouble acheiving distance and a sense of seperateness required to take action rather than react to what their children say and do. It also makes it hard for children to develop the seperate sense of self they need in figuring out just who they are -- and who they aren't. This problem is demonstrated in the common analogy comparing children to clay -- they are formed into a finished product by their parents. Hogwash! I have three childen, close in age, same parents, same home, same school; yet they are as different as day, night, and afternoon! I think a better analogy than the traditional "clay" story would go something like this:

Children are like seedlings. Some are like apple trees, some orange, some maple. SOme may be more like tomato plants or rosebushes. Parents are like gardeners. The must water, weed, and thend to their young plants. They must know when to support the young plant with a stick, or protect it with a jar. A good parent, like a good gardener, can help a plant become healthy, vibrant, and full of fruit. But a parent, like a gardener, cannot change an apple tree into a maple tree, or a tomato plant into a rosebush.


I really like the gardening metaphor. It resonates for me.

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mornglory

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