Quotations on the Children Themselves
page VII

When a child first catches an adult out -- when it first walks into his grave little head that adults do not have divine intelligence, that their judgments are not always wise, their sentences just -- his world falls into panic desolation.  The gods are fallen and all safety gone.  And there is one sure thing about the fall of gods; they do not fall a little; they crash and shatter or sink deeply into green muck.  It is a tedious job to build them up again; they never quite shine.  And the child's world is never quite whole again.  It is an aching kind of growing.

John Steinbeck in East of Eden


And as a few strokes on the nose will make a puppy head shy, so a few rebuffs will make a boy shy all over.  But whereas a puppy will cringe or roll on its back, grovelling, a little boy may cover his shyness with nonchalance, with bravado, or with secrecy.  And once a boy has suffered rejection, he will find rejection even where it does not exist -- or worse, will draw it forth from people simply by expecting it.

John Steinbeck in East of Eden


In group discussions, girls spoke openly to me about their intentionally covert aggression. When I visited the ninth graders in Ridgewood, they threw out their tactics with gusto, prompting the semicircle of bodies to lean forward, nearly out of their desks, as eager affirming cries of "Oh yeah!" and "Totally! " filled our fluorescent white lab room. Walk down the hallway and slam into a girl-the teacher thinks you're distracted! Knock a girl's book off a desk-the teacher thinks it fell! Write an anonymous note! Draw a mean picture!

Rachel Simmons in "Odd Girl Out"


The gift of space is sometimes invaluable, something as simple as giving your child some occasional "mental health" days off from school. Educators may be angry at me for suggesting days off, but I have seen how grateful children can be when they have been given the space to relax and figure things out. (Such a day is not to watch television. It is for sleeping late and having parent and child spend a different kind of day together.) Such days enable many kids to rediscover their courage. I think of it as providing space for development.

Michael Thompson, The Pressured Child: Helping your child find success in school and life


American mothers chat endlessly with their babies... unconsciously giving the message that the baby is an individual and worthy of such attention.  Gusii mothers of western Kenya feel that such verbal attention produces an adult that will be self-centered and selfish and not fit into the family system.

Meredith Small  in "Kids: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Raise Young Children"


Children have taught me that no matter what they say, they are always searching for a relationship with an adult that is challenging and supportive for them. It's also crucial that it's clear the relationship means something to the grownup, too.

Michael Thompson, The pressured child: helping your child find success in school and life


The good child cries very little, he sleeps through the night, he is confident and good-natured. He is well-behaved, convenient, obedient, and good. Yet no consideration is given to the fact that he may grow up to be indolent and stagnant.

Janusz Korczak


Small children disturb your sleep, big children your life.

Yiddish Proverb


Throughout the world future generations of children and families will be much more interrelated. In order to protect the future for one child, we must protect it for all.

 T. Berry Brazelton and Stanley I. Greenspan in The Irreducible Needs of Children


Children want to feel successful. This craving is so powerful that you can always count on it. Adults sometimes lose track of this fact and start to believe that kids don't want to succeed in school. Children may confuse us by doing self-destructive things. Because they are scared of being humiliated they don't study for tests. They fail to "try."

I believe that the central task of raising a child is to understand who that child is, what her strengths and limitations are, and the myriad of ways in which she is different from her parents. What makes watching a child trot off to school so tough for a parent is that there is perhaps no setting that drives home a parent's sense of helplessness as acutely, nor any place that emphasizes the stylistic differences between parent and child, the way school does. Having a child in school hammers home the discrepancies between a parent's dreams and the sometimes ruthless reality of a child's abilities and experience. Each child must construct her own school journey, according to her own abilities and temperament, and in light of the pressures and personnel she encounters. Even if we have a child extraordinarily like us in temperament, so many other variables will certainly be different. We cannot predict what is going to happen when our children go to school.

Michael Thompson, The Pressured Child: Helping your child find success in school and life


... until the age of three and a half, children simply cannot classify something as belonging to more than one category at the same time. For instance, a red ball cannot be categorized as a round ball and the color red at the same time. Likewise, three-year olds given a novelty toy such as, say, a large sponge painted to look like a rock, find this kind of subtlety to confusing. In their mind, the object possesses only one characteristic, not both at once. It is a rock or it is a sponge.

Children are not cruel but they are good at mindlessly copying cruelty and bias.

Invite your children to voice their feelings. This is an obvious but easily forgotten step when it come to soothing a child who has been the subject of hurtful jabs. Often we want so badly to jump in and fix the situation that we forget to stop and let out child simply talk.

Does Anybody Else Look Like Me? A Parentís Guide to Raising Multiracial Children by Donna Jackson Nakazawa



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