Sunday, July 26, 2009

Quote of the Day

"Sometimes I think we're such a dumb species, we don't deserve to survive on this planet."
Ellen Silbergeld, PhD (or was it necessary to add that last bit)

Ironically, I agree with the first phrase often-times, and think she's probably onto something with the research on drug-resistent bacteria. It's the "we don't deserve to survive on this planet" bit that makes me shake my head at the arrogance of some professors.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Adoption and HIV

I found this interview about adopting kids with HIV fascinating.

Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3

Friday, July 03, 2009

How Children Learn Manners

This article has some interesting food for thought.

I remember hearing, quite some time ago, that the best way to teach children to allow others to go first is not by forcing them to let everyone else go first all the time, but by seeing others model the "after you" attitude. I think of our family gatherings . . . The youngest children are almost always served first, followed by the oldest people in the gathering (i.e. grandma).

It seems that as the children grow older, they naturally gravitate from being the one stepped aside for, to stepping aside for others. Sometimes, though, they do get some reminders or encouragement.

The thought about it not being polite to tell others what to say has me thinking. I do think that, as parents, it is our job to coach our children and instruct them. But I do also think that kids naturally tend to reflect the tones and attitudes that are used toward them, and this is definitely something worth being aware of.

Right now we're dealing with the issue of our kids correcting others or telling them what to do a lot. I realized last night that when one of my kids is rude and judgemental toward someone, my responding in a rude and judgemental tone is not exactly helpful. So, I've been working on my response to this.

If I respond by saying something like, "[Child's first and middle name], that is NOT the way you talk to someone! How rude!" then I'm really modeling exactly the type of behavior I am trying to correct--harsh, rude and shaming.

Instead, I'm trying to come up with an approach that is instructive while modeling the respectful, polite tones that I want them to learn--something like, "Oops, that didn't come across very politely. Can you think of a kinder way to say that?" And then helping them with some ideas to rephrase it.

I'm also realizing that I need to teach my children not to interrupt and to listen politely when someone else is talking not just by instructing them in those skills. I also need to make a concerted effort to give them my full attention and listen politely without interrupting when they are talking.

What do you all think, and how do/would you approach these kinds of issues?