Lesson for a Guilty Mom

It is a good thing I am old enough to not take it personally because the comments on this essay are all over the place. It is interesting to see what people pick up on and what they don’t. In an 800-word article, you can only scratch the surface. I wrote a whole manuscript expanding on this, and still, it is not enough.

I suppose I should be glad that it pushed some buttons. It is like lancing a boil– but wow! Look out! You are going to get hit with some nasty stuff.

 

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Second Chance

Today I have an essay up on The Establishment. It was a hard one to write and a hard one to share.

The title I gave it was “Second Chance,” because while the essay addresses a deeply fraught relationship, I also think that it points to the fact that we are not trapped when we have choices about how we treat others.

It is important to me: this issue of judgment, of being quick to judge–and to condemn–before taking time to understand. I believe that the key to saving ourselves, each other and our world lies in empathy. Not in blame or even forgiveness. Empathy.

More Barry Schwartz: Why We Cling to Beliefs and Ideals

Nick Wetta, from Story Riot, has a great interview with Barry Schwartz about  Why We Cling to Beliefs and Ideals.  Nick put together a quick video as well.

I can never get enough of Barry. He just makes such good sense. His thoughts about making work meaningful are of particular value to parents, whose work raising children can often seem full of mundane, repetitive tasks.

Here is a link to my interview with Barry, this one about children and choice.

 

 

Children and Choices: An Interview with Barry Schwartz

In my new book, Parenting in the Here and Now, I reframe many of the issues and challenges that today’s parents face. One of those issues concerns the role that choice plays in raising children.

Choices seem to be the all-purpose go-to remedy now. An article in the Wall Street Journal about the importance of chores—a topic that is very close to my heart—included, almost as an afterthought—that parents should offer their children choices about what chores they do. A recent article in the Washington Post suggested that parents model boundaries and consent by offering their toddlers a choice between chewy dinosaur vitamins or gummy robots. Faced with a temper tantrum or a power struggle? The answer is always the same: offer choices.

Our misunderstanding of the role and value of choice has had a profound impact on families. By digging deeper into how children learn to make choices and by asking questions about not only how much choice is healthy, but also about when choice is appropriate, we can dispel common myths and find practical steps that parents can take in their own households, steps that will bring their families into more balance, steps which will help form the foundation for building their children’s capacities to make good choices.

And so I turned to Barry Schwartz to add his insight and perspective to the discussion of this issue. He is a professor at Swarthmore College, where he has been teaching in the fields of psychology and economics since 1971. In his book and TED Talk of the same name: The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less, Barry Schwartz takes aim at a central tenet of western societies: freedom of choice. In his estimation, choice has made us not freer but more paralyzed, not happier but more dissatisfied.

In our interview, Barry Schwartz discusses his thoughts on why we hold freedom of choice so dear, on the challenges of making good choices, and on what parents might consider when they are choosing when to give choices to children.

Barry is warm, funny and wise. I think you will enjoy hearing what he has to say. Click here to watch our interview, and I encourage you to watch his TED Talks, The Paradox of Choice and The Loss of Wisdom, and if you have the time, to read his books by the same names. The questions he asks are the questions that we all need to ask.