Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Brat battle

Judith Woods on liberal parenting:

I would never have dreamed of giving cheek to my mother at any age. There was, at the heart of our relationship, a healthy degree of fear on my part, and steely resolve on hers. I knew, instinctively, that her word was final, argument useless and retribution would be swift and biblical if I was disobedient. Crucially, I was seldom hit (although a slap across the legs wasn’t unheard of); for my generation our parents’ approval was what we craved and its withdrawal was punishment enough. So where did that all go? What happened to the consensus that grown-ups are in charge and children should do as they’re told?...

The biggest mistake we can make as parents is to want to be our children’s friends. Yes, they may like us more, their classmates may think we’re cool, (Really? Gosh, isn’t that lovely!) but the truth is that they also see us as weak. And weakness in those who ought to be powerful will always invite contempt.

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