Quote of the Day


Raising Children Who Think for Themselves by Dr. Elsia Medhus

I borrowed a copy of Raising Children Who Think for Themselves by Elisa Medhus, M.D. from Dandy's therapist because I picked it up and it just fell open to the section on sulking and pouting. Dr. Medhus has this to say:

Make it a rule that if your children try to get something by sulking or pouting, they definately won't get it under any circumstances.
Yup - that's what we do.
No sulkers or pouters allowed in your personal space. They have to take it elsewhere . . . (p. 258)
Yup - we do that too. I got so excited that I'm doing something right that I immediately read that portion aloud to Dandy. He did not seem as happy about it as I was, and in fact did not seem to think I should borrow the book. Funny boy.

The book did not live up to my expectation however, as it was written to a different audience. Over and over, Dr. Medhus asks questions along the lines of "How many times have we, as parents, done thus-and-so" where thus-and-so is some variation of a keeping up with the Joneses line of thought. Dr. Medhus assumes that we as parents are externally driven and often lost me thereby.

That being said, she did have some useful nuggets that I am going to capture by blogging them so that I can remember them later; my mind is a sieve these days.

Nugget #1 - instead of presents, ask for donations to the library, used or new books that we can read and then present to the local library (p. 146). This emphasizes experiences and sharing over possessing and keeping. Dandy obsesses over things, so I think this may be a good tool for him.

Nugget #2 - is The Level System (p. 117-118) which is actually for teens, but I can modify it for our family. In this system, everyone wakes up with full privileges and with each significant infraction loses a level of privileges, ending up at the bottom with only
. . . doing their schoolwork, completing their chores, eating at regular mealtime, trimming their toenails, and picking the lint out of their belly-button.

We've done something similar with chore camp (which grew out of boot camp). What I like about this variation is that we can post a list of house rules and a chart of privilege levels and then, when a rule is broken, matter-of-factly examine the chart and see what the consequences are. I like that I can be as laid-back about this as I am when I say "Oh I notice you are using your outside voice, please go outside (yawn)."

They can't spend all their energy railing against me when we have set it up as house-rules. I am merely the notification aide, not the sheriff, prosecuting attorney, judge, and jailer.


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