Voices of parents and teachers
The biggest thing for parents to develop in children is self-esteem - encouraging them in their strong points. It's devastating to compare children, though it's very hard not to. It's a matter of comparing them to themselves. They are the measuring rod.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
It's very hard for some parents to take a stand. I think you've got to stand up for what you believe. If the kids see this, they'll eventually understand. It's not easy, but you hope it will pay off later.
We have insisted with our children that if you start something, you have to stick it out. If kids have been raised to have the freedom to start and stop, start and stop any activity whenever they want, I'm afraid it will be a lot easier in later life to start and stop things like relationships and jobs. Marilyn Hedstrom, mother of nine, Hopkins, Minn.
As we get older we tend to underestimate the trials and decisionmaking that kids and adolescents have to go through on a daily basis at school. It's traumatic. It's hard. It's exhausting. We look at our own problems and seem to underestimate their problems. But they are tremendous in their eyes.
Kids on the whole wish they had more restrictions. They find they cannot set their own boundaries and their own limitations, and they'd like to have some structure. Penny Kodrich, school psychologist, Eden Prairie, Minn.
In those families where the mom works to help out the whole family, and the kids see how they are beneficiaries of that and have responsibilities because of it, and it's part of a family enterprise, it's my experience that it's more helpful than harmful. But the bad one is when, for whatever reason, one or both parents begin to feel so overwhelmed by the combined responsibilities of work and kids that they use the benefits of the job to get away from the kids. The results of that are devastating.
The strongest influence on any kid's life is the parent. Some parents don't recognize it because when they experience conflict they tend to feel they're no longer important. They begin to feel sorry for themselves and stop being a force or a presence in a kid's life. There isn't any doubt in my mind in working with kids and parents that those parents who remain an active force in kids' lives are far and away the most important influence. Robert St. Clair, junior high school principal and father of six, Hopkins, Minn.
Teens are pushing limits, trying to see how far you'll let them go. They're screaming loudly to get you to change the limits. Yet they do want limits.
I think parents who give a lot of love can get away with stricter discipline; it's a tradeoff. If you really convince a child of his worth in your eyes, that he is precious and important to you, then you really don't have a problem with discipline. Mother of four teens, Needham, Mass.
What do teen-agers want? They want their parents to help them grow up. And they want their parents to listen to them, instead of just judging them and nagging them. They want their parents to give them good firm guidelines, but flexible ones. I think they also want more responsibility - maybe because I want it for them.
Parents need to treat them as important individuals, which means listening. And it means allowing them to have opinions. You don't have to agree with it, but you've got to listen to it.
You don't just create an instantly helpful child by saying, 'I need you, you'd better do this.' You have to work at it. But when you've trained them - because you do have to train kids - they do take satisfaction from it. They eventually realize their lives run better when they do their share.
Kids who have a talent or an ability or are involved in sports or something that they want to pursue in school are very lucky. Very seldom are those the kids that really fall apart. Beth Winship, author of syndicated teen-age column, ''Ask Beth''