Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Socratic Method of raising children

I heard this Dr. Laura call the other day, and then shared it with Dennis this morning. We had quite the discussion about it.

Can't say I related to this specific problem.
I remember my sons praying for more babies.
But I do relate to the's a part of life.

I think I tried to interject too much positive, rather than allowing them to come to that conclusion themselves. I did believe in letting them "own their own feelings" as I learned in my college speech class. But I wish I had stayed quiet, and listened more.

What do you think?
Do you think this approach works?
Would it work on you?


grandmapeg said...

I was like you Jill in trying to interject the positive things about a situation with my children. I tried to listen but at the same time I should have listened more and stayed quiet. The one thing I didn't hear Dr. Laura answer with this lady is what do you tell this boy when he asks her "why" they are having more babies, or is Dr. Laura suggesting that the boy will come up with his own answer to this? To me, it seems that the boy wants his mom to answer the "why" in this situation. Maybe I just didn't pick up on Dr. Laura's answer thoroughly. I can see the wisdom though in this method of dealing with a child's anger. Once again you have brought an interesting topic to your readers. Thanks for sharing.

Mary said...

I TOTALLY agree with this method of dealing with ALL of our kids' emotions. They do ask us why and we do guide them when they ask, but then they process their own feelings and deal with them in a productive way, and they've developed a lifelong skill of working through difficult feelings.

I also think it would have been good for the mom to answer the "Why" regarding having more babies by describing her own emotional process in making the decision (in terms appropriate to his age, of course). She could have said something like: It is a hard decision to have a child because babies cost a lot of money and create a lot of work, etc, but the problems are balanced out by the love and laughter, etc, etc. It could be a great opportunity to model the thought process.

I probably interjected too much, as well, when my kids were small, but I did try to let them solve their own issues as much as I could stand. I got better at it as they grew older.

Brock said...

I hate being "validated" when I know the other person doesn't actually agree with me. To me that is condescending. I do agree that a parent needs to be in constant communication and try to see a child's perspective. I think it is a parent's job to help guide a child through such a major transition...Anger is a natural part of life and it is important to teach children to not be afraid of it, but to also teach them how to deal with it. To validate a child's anger all the time is to set that child up for a lifetime of expectations of validation... Perhaps that happened to Dr. Laura and that is why she is so rude.

Jill said...

You make me laugh Erin. hey, maybe that IS why Dr. Laura can be so rude.

Actually I was surprised by Dr. Laura's solution to this because she usually acts like she sees the child as the enemy, who needs to be controlled and punished. She usually sets the child up for anger and for retaliation. This time she took a different angle and I like this one much better.

Rebecca said...

I must say I agree with Dr. Laura. It you read the book "I don't have to make everything all better", it tells you that most people do not want you to fix their problems, or lecture or whatever, they just want someone to listen to them. I think this is true with kids too. I do this with my kids and it is amazing.

Jill said...

I read that book too Rebecca and it was life changing. I still think about it and it has been nearly 10 years since I read it. Den and I also went to one of their weekend marriage seminars which we quite enjoyed.

the Rich girl said...

I'm not convinced that the child will "come up with the answer." I think if he is as stubborn as I am, or as smart aleck as many of the kids I've known and know, he'd say, "Yeah! What is in it for me?" and wait for his mom to give him ideas or get him started. I think that if he's determined to be ticked off, he'll be ticked off.

And I have to agree with Erin. Kids are smart. He will totally be able to tell if his mom is being condescending. I hope she really thought through the conversation she wanted to have before she had it.

But, hey. I've never had kids. . . so I'm just theorizing.

Jill said...

I completely agree that we should not be condescending, or untruthful in anyway. I think we can sincerely validate someone's feelings without taking them on as our own. I don't think we even have to understand feelings at all to validate them.

So I agree that kids are smart and will know if their mom is just doing a number on them. Looking back, I just saw myself as trying to give my sons the Pollyanna version when they were sad or upset. It's hard as a Mom watching your kids suffer and I just wanted to make them better. Instead, I should have just listened more and let them work out their feelings instead of me trying to jump in and change them.

Dorothy said...

Wow,Doctor Laura can surely can get different reactions from all of us, I don't like her in general however, this sounded pretty good and much like her my attitude would be similar, as this is not one of his choices he's the child....

Dorothy from grammology

Eileen said...

You know, Jill, I had this exact same scenario with my second son when I was expecting my fourth baby, my older son and my daughter were very happy with the news, but my son (he was seven at the time) looked crestfallen, he did not want a new baby in the house at all. I was so disappointed with his reaction and I'm ashamed to say that I let him know I was disappointed.
Oh, if I had to do it all over again I would handle it so differently.

I do try hard to validate my grandson's feelings now, and I can see that at four (almost five now) he really seems to appreciate that. I don't think that by validating their feelings we are condoning bad behavior, I just think we are letting them know that they have a right to their feelings, and a right to express them in an acceptable manner.

But I do agree with the other comments here that Dr. Laura was a little 'huffy' with the caller, and she really didn't fully answer all the questions the caller had. I hope if things don't work out perfectly the way Dr. Laura says they will that the caller is back on the radio with a 'Now what?!' question!

All the best,

Richard said...

Mom and I had the same conversation when she announced she was carrying the twins. I was 13 at the time and they were children # 6 and 7. She told me she would double my allowance and have you (Jill)do all the cooking and cleaning if that would make me feel better. It worked out very well, I think.

Jill said...

Richard, with you I start laughing before the first sentence, because I know what's coming.

Lisa said...

I agree with Dr. Laura. The caller is so classic too. Everyone wants to be heard; that's why we're always on our knees right? We want someone like the Lord to be on our side. Human nature is funny. Enjoyed this one.

Brock said...

In a long, long line of bad Dr. Laura calls, this, for me, ranks as one of the very worst. That's got to be one of the most off-putting, relationship destroying pieces of parenting advice I've ever heard.

Sue said...

I'm not a big fan of Dr. Laura (my mom loves her), but I do agree with her here.


Sue said...

I should add...I would let them have their anger, but still hold the line against any behavior that impacts others negatively.

For instance, I get that you're mad, and I get why you're mad. But you can't hit your sister. Etc.