The Hidden Messages We May Be Sending to Children

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Here are two articles that have received a lot of attention recently and are definitely worth reading.  The first article from David Brooks exposes the underlying message of conditional love and control that parents can inadvertently send to their children when the parents think they are praising or helping. “Parents unconsciously shape their smiles and frowns to steer their children toward behavior they think will lead to achievement.”

“Parents two generations ago were much more likely to say that they expected their children to be more obedient than parents today. But this desire for obedience hasn’t gone away; it’s just gone underground. Parents are less likely to demand obedience with explicit rules and lectures. But they are more likely to use love as a tool to exercise control.”

This article makes me think of Aaron Cooper’s (author of I Just Want My Kid to be Happy!  Why You Shouldn’t Say It, Why You Shouldn’t Think It, What You Should Embrace Instead) talk at school a few years ago.  He, also, talked about this unspoken conditional love when parents say, “I just want my child to be happy…”  Cooper finishes that thought be adding on what is often really being said, “…as long it fits my definition of happiness.”

The second article from Matt Richtel picks up on that thread of hidden messages to children from parents and from schools:  “But here, and in lots of other ultrahigh-achieving communities and schools, Ms. Pope said that children are picking through the static to hear the overriding message that only the best will do — in grades, test scores, sports, art, college. ‘In everything,’ she said.”

Posted in 12-14 - Chris Ambroso, Montessori in Action