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I’m still flabbergasted by Rassie and Siya’s boys from this small country who humbled the Mighty Empire.
During the past week, I also had a discussion with the lovely Snapdragon about the theories behind raising children. Which, inevitably, led me to combine the issues: how do we raise the three-year-old Egg to be a well-adjusted adult with morals and an independent intelligence?
I don’t necessarily want her to be a try-scoring machine or scrum in the Bulls front row, but I hope she doesn’t get into trouble constantly and respects the world.
Those questions forced me to do a lot of reading and the overwhelming message was that success depends on parents more than the children.
Experts say successful children’s parents make their offspring do chores to teach them to contribute for the betterment of the whole. Their mothers work, parents have higher socio-economic status and they are taught grit.
Well-adapted children’s parents also have a healthy relationship with each other. They have attained higher education. And they teach their young kids maths.
Good parents also have high expectations. If you expect a lot of your kids, they will most likely live up to it. If you don’t … they will still meet your expectations.
A strong relationship between parents and children is also important. But the number of hours spend with kids does little to predict the child’s wellbeing. Emotional contagion – where people “catch” feelings like they would flu – is real. If a parent is exhausted or frustrated, that emotional state could transfer to the kids.
Experts said good parents value effort over ability.
And parenting style is vital. An authoritarian style (parents try to shape the child based on a set standard) or a permissive style (non-punitive parents who don’t hold children accountable) can be harmful. An authoritative style with respect for authority and morality but a fair amount of freedom, is much better.
All this info make things difficult. How do I tell Snapdragon she slips up on these guidelines? And even worse: how do I tell myself?
After all the reading, I’m a well-informed husband. Maybe I should be a smart husband too and just keep my mouth shut.
Dirk Lotriet. Picture: Alaister Russell
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