Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Book Reviews and Excerpts: Price of Privelege

The Price of Privilege By Madeline Levine, Ph.D.

Our parenting style and homeschool philosophy were affirmed in reading this book. Here are some excerpts from the book.

“We are overly concerned with “the bottom line,” with how our children “do” rather than with who our children “are.””
“Perhaps the single most important ritual a family can observe is having dinner together. Families who eat together five or more times a week have kids who are significantly less likely to use tobacco, alcohol, or marijuana, have higher grade-point averages, less depressive symptoms, and fewer suicide attempts than families who eat together two or fewer times a week.”
“When external measures of success are all that kids can think about, their ability to find meaning in their work is diminished… What they really need is to be educated about the values of perseverance and perspective, and to understand that learning and performance are not always the same thing. They need to see that their parents value effort, curiosity, and intellectual courage… Studies show that children who are internally motivated ont only learn more and perform better, but, perhaps most important, they enjoy their work more, making it more likely that they will be willing and eager to try their hand at increasingly difficult challenges.”
“A child who consistently gazes into loving eyes, into eyes that notice and take pleasure in his uniqueness, is being helped to develop a healthy sense of self.”
“Kids play because they are driven to touch, taste, manipulate, explore, and confront their environment. Parental involvement for safety reasons is essential. However, when parents become overly involved, play no longer retains its function as an activity where children develop independence, competence, and a sense of control, and instead becomes another arena in which children become overly dependent.”
“Researchers have shown that children as young as four years old who can control their impulse to eat sweets placed in front of them are more likely to be both academically and socially successful a decade later!”
“By allowing them to get occasionally bruised in childhood we are helping to make certain that they don’t get broken in adolescence. And by allowing them their failures in adolescence, we are helping to lay the groundwork for success in adulthood.”
“Worrying that kids won’t be able to maintain their grades if they are expected to straighten their room, set the table, take out the garbage, and do whatever else is appropriate for their age and needed by the family (wash the car, walk the dog, mow the lawn) is a sign of misplaced priorities.”
“Children need to see that we value their character first, their effort second, and then their grades.”
“Authoritative parents are concerned with things other than simple compliance or being “pals” with their kids. They place a high value on cooperation, social responsibility, and self-regulation, and their children then to be socially adept and responsible. They also value achievement and self-motivation but do not overly emphasize competition. Authoritative parents promote autonomy by encouraging their children to figure out how to approach challenges on their own, rather than prematurely stepping in and problem-solving for them.”
“While most research has focused on the value of maternal warmth… a father’s warmth and acceptance are strong predictors of academic success, social competence, and a low incidence of conduct problems in adolescence.”
“A child who is constantly admired for a particular skill frequently becomes less interested in trying out new things.”
“We can be myopic when we insist that high grades, well-known schools, or particular professions are the royal road to happiness. A life well lived takes many forms. Carlos Castaneda cautioned: “All road are the same… Choose the one with heart.” “Heart” differs for each of us, and when we insist that our children be gratified by the same things that have gratified us, then we limit the roads they can travel on, road that may be closer to their own hearts.”

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