“I thank you, my wife thanks you, and someday, likely my children will thank you.”
From the archives: 1996
When I first saw a post by Sarah on the misc.kids newsgroup, something hit a deep chord. I wasn’t sure what it was, but I knew I had to find out. So I joined up. Recently, I realized what it was.
Among the writings Sarah has been sending me I read this:
“All too often, parents have a view, and when their child does not agree with it, they say ‘What did I tell you? He’s irrational. He is not open to reason.’ In fact, it is they, the parents, who are not open to reason, not the child. They have a preconceived notion of what the outcome of the disagreement must be.”
Suddenly I was back in my childhood, screaming words to this effect at my parents, knowing it would do no good but screaming them anyway. I found myself with a heart wrenching wish that someone like Sarah had been there to deal with my parents and rescue me from their tyranny.
I never have given up much of the wisdom of that little boy that I was. I would not be ashamed today to frame and hang on the wall the letter I once wrote to my parents comparing their methods to Hitler’s. I have always been somewhat proud of that little boy.
So I know that I would be the most despicable of hypocrites if I do not discover what there is to all of this Taking Children Seriously. If I could have had one wish back then, it would have been to be taken seriously, not out of pity or grace, but because I really did deserve it. I had some good theories. Even though no one knew it.
My two little boys deserve better. Yesterday, when my 16 month old son was pulling at his shirt as if he wanted to take it off upon first arriving at some friends’ house, I might have ignored him until he gave up because he had no good reason to do it. But I didn’t. I helped him take it off…
Later… we went for ice cream. Those kids treated him as if he was their favorite person on earth.
My sixteen month old son’s theory was better than mine. I don’t need any more convincing about the validity and value of the Taking Children Seriously theory of learning…
I thank you, my wife thanks you, and someday, likely my children will thank you.
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