Quotations with a Perspective on Parenting and Children
Page IX


If today I had a young mind to direct, to start on the journey of life, and I was faced with the duty of choosing between the natural way of my forefathers and that of the... present way of civilization, I would, for its welfare, unhesitatingly set that child's feet in the path of my forefathers. I would raise him to be an Indian!

Luther Standing Bear (Ota Kte, Mochunozhin)
(1868-1939) Oglala Sioux chief

 

Respect the child. Be not too much his parent. Trespass not on his solitude.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

I think parents should forget the genius bit - what you want is a human being, a mensch, not a genius.

Jerome Bruner

 

Parenting is disruptive, with the possibility of harm, but also the possibility of growth.

Frederick Grossman

 

A child tells in the street what its father and mother say at home.

The Talmud

 

Science has established two facts meaningful for human welfare: first, the foundation of the structure of human personality is laid down in early childhood; and second the chief engineer in charge of this construction is the family.

Meyer Francis Nimkoff

 

He has quit the awkward stage; he is out of the teens.

Terence, 166 BC

 

. . . perhaps a child who is fussed over gets a feeling of destiny; he thinks he is in the world for something important and it gives him drive and confidence.

Dr. Benjamin Spock

 

Parents who are afraid to put their foot down usually have children who step on their toes.

Fortune Cookie

 

Teach your child to hold his tongue, he'll learn fast enough to speak.

Benjamin Franklin

 

The young always have the same problem , how to rebel and conform at the same time. They have now solved this by defying their parents and copying one another.

Quentin Crisp

 

There will always be some curve balls in your life. Teach your children to thrive in that adversity.

Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe

 

Listen to the desires of your children. Encourage them and then give them the autonomy to make their own decision.

Denis Waitley

 

It's always been my feeling that God lends you your children until they're about eighteen years old. If you haven't made your points with them by then, it's too late.

Betty Ford

 

I hope, if you should live to grow up, you will endeavour to be very useful and not spend all your time in pleasing yourself.

Elizabeth Fry

 

There is no knowing how or why dread comes on a parent. Of course many times apprehension arises when there is no reason for it at all.  And it comes most often to the parents of the only children, parents who have indulged in black dreams of loss.

John Steinbeck in East of Eden

 

In those animals that do care, why do some rely on mothers to raise the offspring and others, fathers? Or fathers and mothers? Why is parenting a lifelong job for some animals and temporary employment for others? What, if anything, can we learn from the startling array of parental behaviors in other animals about being a human parent--a father or a mother--or about what it takes to be a good parent?

As I delved deeper and deeper into parental care, I realized that it was no coincidence that I should have seen that small door, opened, and entered it. I had been circling this subject for a long time as I struggled with the legacy of a family in which long lasting marriages were rarer than hen's teeth and parents often put their needs ahead of whatever children they had brought into the world. Long, unexplained absences of both my parents had left their mark on me, and when it came time to have children of my own, parenting had not come easily. Sensitivity had not been high on the list of my family's most valued character traits; plus, I was filled with the dogma of the seventies, the idea that children should not interfere with one's career. Mindlessly, I headed off to my office on the day I returned from the hospital. But my daughters gradually brought me around. They, who had never learned to conceal their hurts, taught me how to mother them. They schooled me in sensitivity until, finally, I began to find that terra firma that some people are born knowing and others are raised on.

Susan Allport, A Natural History of Parenting

 

We can keep from a child all knowledge of earlier myths, but we cannot take from him the need for mythology.

Carl Jung

 

People are divorced from nature, their time is polluted, they live in sprawling cities with no centers and few natural meeting places, neighborhoods that can barely be called neighborhoods--an environment that no longer nurtures children and which drives family life deeper into itself. To speak of these things as "children's issues" is to consider them in their diminutive form and make them easier to dismiss. These are no more children's issues than they are solely women's issues. When I asked one father what he thought about the problem with children today, he responded: "Is there a problem with children? I don't think so. I think there's a problem with us."

Richard Louv in his book, "Childhood's Future"

 

In fact, in parenting as in all human behaviors, the dictates of biology are often ignored, denied, or overridden for all sorts of social or cultural reasons.  The way we bring up children, in fact, often reflects more about our social history and our folkways and our traditions than what babies and children might need and expect.

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

 

The child of Mary Queen of Scots,
A shifty mother's shiftless son
Bred up among intrigues and plots,
Learnèd in all things, wise in none.
Ungainly, babbling, wasteful, weak,
Shrewd, clever, cowardly, pedantic,
The sight of steel would blanch his cheek,
The smell of baccy drive him frantic.
He was the author of his line --
He wrote that witches should be burnt;
He wrote that monarchs were divine,
And left a son who -- proved they weren't!

Kipling

 

Do not mistake a child for his symptom.

Erik Erikson

 

Over the course of three years I met with groups of parents, children, and teachers around the country. These conversations usually took place in classrooms or homes. Occasionally I sat alone with individuals. But group interactions of ten or twenty or thirty people often revealed more about the connections among people and the environment around them. Children were surprisingly open; sometimes embarrassingly so. After some of the sessions, teachers would comment that they had known kids today were more open than in previous generations, but they didn't know kids were that open. Again and again students would come up to me after class and say, in various ways, "We never really talk this way about these things." Parent sessions that had been scheduled to last one hour would almost invariably be extended, by the parents, to three or four hours. Often, late at night, mothers and fathers would linger outside under a porch light, and one or two of them would remark that they had seldom had such a chance to talk to other parents, to reveal their fears, to understand that they were not alone. Despite the ever-expanding supply of "how to" parent books and the general agreement among parenting experts that the most useful experts parents can turn to are other parents, parents today feel isolated from other parents. Their confusion is seldom shared in any deep way. There is no time, or appropriate place, or they have not realized their need to share these feelings until they actually begin to share them.

Richard Louv in his book, "Childhood's Future"

 

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