Parent Guilt Trip

2nd timeIn his book Think a Second Time Dennis Prager asks readers to question their opinions about many of life’s greatest issues. Early on he warned readers that “serious thought is as strenuous as serious exercise” while emphasizing “unclear thinking is a major source of social and personal problems.” I made notes from all of the chapters and re-read Chapter 9, “When Good Homes Don’t Produce Good Children,” multiple times. Each time my parental guilt monitor rose. I know that was not Prager’s intent, but his suggestions and questions elicited that response from me.

Here are the key points that resonated with me from Chapter 9.

READ the book and SHARE your feedback in the COMMENT section below. Did you experience a sense of guilt as you read Chapter 9? Or, is that just my Catholic upbringing coming through, yet again?

  • Goodness is rarely put first. More parents are concerned with their child being a good student and/or athlete than developing their child’s goodness. It isn’t easy to raise a good person as opposed to a person who is merely not bad.
  • Most well-educated parents believe people are basically good. We are born neither evil or good. All have tendencies for both. Therefore, goodness needs to be cultivated.
  • Many parents are more interested in being loved than being responsible parents. “It is difficult to discipline someone on whom you are dependent for love.”
  • Ask your child, “What do you think I most want you to be?” Choices are: Happy, smart, successful or good. See what the response is. As parents we clearly communicate what we care about most. In the end, parents of good children who are moderately successful are far happier than the parents of highly successful children who are moderately good.
  • Teach children to excel. Not win.
  • Self-control is infinitely important to being a good person, more so than self-esteem.
  • Children need more time with their parents. Quantity of time does matter. This often conflicts with thinkers who promote that quality trumps quantity. Both matter. Actions and choices prove what is valued by you as a parent.

I want a do-over!

I didn’t read this book until my son, Alex, was age 20. When I asked him the question above, he responded with the answer that most mirrors my value system. It was not “good.” Of course, no one gets a do-over and most of us believe we did the best we could at the time we were parenting our young children. Chapter 9 did raise my parental guilt level but it’s never too late to be aware and to emphasize “goodness” in our children. Thanks Dennis Prager. I did think a second time and a third time and a fourth time. Well, you get it!

Copyright. May 2015. Linda Leier Thomason

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