Trust The Children

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Socialization (Part 3)


So what is the root premise of the concern that some parents have when they express their doubts about a child being "normal" socially, if they don't use the public-Private / classroom-playground option of instruction?

I probably don't altogether understand it, because I rejected it so easily in our own case. Even so, I mostly felt they were suggesting that a person needs to "practice" getting along with others, and that the only place that could happen was where there were a lot of children. Having to negotiate relationships with all these different people also attending the public/private system they seem to believe, is the optimum environment for the development of social skills.

In his book, Playground Politics, Stanley I. Greespan. M.D. writes:


As children move through their seventh and eighth years [age not school class], their horizons expand and their world grows. Children begin to move from the family-oriented stage of development out into the rough-and-tumble world of peer relationships. They move away from the intrigues of triangular relationships at home and enter the world of their peers, immersing themselves in the politics of the playground.
Children now define themselves a little less in terms of the way their parents treat them and more by how they fit in with the peer group at school.Their self-image now begins to be defined by the group, by the pecking order that prevails on the playground- instead of being determined solely by their parents or by their inner convictions
In everything from athletic ability to popularity to looks, brains and clothes, children rank themselves against others.
(Pages 9-10)

I don't know about you, but if this description is even close to correct, it raises all kinds of red flags for me.
1. Substituting other children's values for parent's values in value maintenance.
2. Rough and tumble
3. Children defining themselves by their peers instead of family, God or inner convictions.
4. Fitting themselves into a pecking order
5. Constantly ranking themselves against others breeding a judgmental nature, pride, envy etc.

What I always heard from my coaches was NOT practice makes perfect, but PERFECT practice makes perfect. If you want your children to respond to life's situations in a productive and meaning way, there has to be something better and more useful than going to school and the playground and getting your brain, ego and self esteem exposed constantly to attack.

Our children have to eventually go into the battle of life, but WHEN they go is largely the choice of the parents. Sending them out into the world without being prepared is like sending soldiers into battle with no helmet and wearing only fatigues.

I felt early on that I would choose the moment in time when they were prepared for battle. And that would be when I felt that that they would have a better than even chance of coming off the victor.

I know some parents never send their children into the "real world". The kids grow up weak, and as young adults find themselves handicapped. Wrong choice to never send. Normally a selfish choice really. Parents trying to shield themselves from the pain of their childrens "adventures" and unfortunate events" However, there is nothing wrong at all with biding your time and giving them the advantage of some maturity and true self confidence, while measuring their readiness.

What signs do you look for in your children that tell you they are more ready than before to venture out into the world and succeed?


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