Re: You all are such good, kind commenters

1

This makes total sense to me and it is how I try to approach my kids. Within a broad range, I think kids will believe they are who they're told they are. (Obviously there are plenty of counterexamples and extreme cases, but it's a general approach, not an exact law.)


Posted by: freight train | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 8:44 AM
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Makes sense; it's interesting that there seems to be a difference in how to inculcate achievement versus kindness, but not really surprising. I also like that he includes links to the actual studies he discusses.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 9:00 AM
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"Someday, Zardoz, you will single-handedly destroy a major urban center, and be hailed as a god-queen."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 9:02 AM
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kids will believe they are who they're told they are

I keep telling mine they're lawn care and laundry drones, but it sure isn't taking hold.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 9:06 AM
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I tell mine they're sensible and reliable and have good judgment, and they seem to be intentionally inhabiting that role, mostly.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 9:13 AM
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3: TETSUO! KANEDA! KAI!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 9:21 AM
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Anyway: to build kindness and loving character, apparently you should just label the hell out of your child. make sure they get a solid classical education, including Latin and Greek and a proper appreciation of how the discipline of economics, which vindicates the Founding Fathers' understanding of human nature, of civil society, and of the capacity of the individual following his own conscience under the rule of law.


Posted by: Opionated Ridgeview Recruiter | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 9:22 AM
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3: TETSUO! KANEDA! KAI!

Alternatively: ""Strike first, strike hard, strike fast, no mercy, sir!"


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 9:24 AM
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Was this shared here before, or the other place?

A recent study has shown that if American parents read one more long-form think piece about parenting they will go fucking ape shit.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 9:29 AM
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Oh good, an example to repost my favorite Ossie Davis quotation ever:

"The only advice is a good example. You don't tell them a whole lot of anything. You should them by doing. You teach values by making choices in their presence. They see what you do and they make judgments on it."

"Making choices in their presence" is also what the best bosses I have ever had do, and what I try very hard to emulate.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 9:33 AM
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Whoops. "Should" s/b "show"


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 9:33 AM
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Also, while I generally agree with most points in the linked article, the author was the subject of a rather insufferable piece in the NYT last year.

Quite appropriately, the top "Readers' Picks" comments to the article all focus on how of course it's much easier to be perceived as a "giving" professor when you have an extremely supportive wife facilitating your life from home.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 9:36 AM
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In college, a friend of mine wrote a philosophy/psychology dual major thesis called "Making People Better People." I had just read Discipline & Punish for the third assigned time (class of '97, represent) and patiently explained to him why he was everything that was wrong with Western culture.

I suppose the article is applied Foucauldianism, after a fashion. Anyway, I'm no longer above a little soft-carceral child-molding.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 10:05 AM
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This makes total sense to me as someone who was, as a child, often labeled all four by the large # of adults in my house, and also often chewed out for not being one of all four. If you internalize being smart, and then fail to solve a problem, there is no obvious way to just be smarter. If you internalize working hard and fail to solve a problem, then next time you work harder. If you internalize being a kind person and then realize you were not kind, in some situation, it can strengthen your resolve to simply be a kind person next time---b/c kindness often simply hinges on a decision to pause and choose, which hinges on answering the question, "who am I right now." The resolution to be better can be made free of context, and can power through the next situation, despite context. If you are acknowledged for being kind and helpful in the moment, it's certainly nice, but it places that action in the context of the moment, with al its extenuating circumstances and ulterior motives, and the next situation may allow you to simply decide not to be helpful, rather than holding you to an internalized standard of who *you* are.
I dunno, I guess people can choose to be kind but they can't choose to be smart.


Posted by: Ile | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 10:47 AM
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If you internalize being smart, and then fail to solve a problem, there is no obvious way to just be smarter. If you internalize working hard and fail to solve a problem, then next time you work harder. If you internalize being a kind person and then realize you were not kind, in some situation, it can strengthen your resolve to simply be a kind person next time---b/c kindness often simply hinges on a decision to pause and choose, which hinges on answering the question, "who am I right now."

Yeah, this is pretty much what I was gesturing toward in 2. Thanks for spelling it out so well.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 11:16 AM
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Do be a do be but don't be a don't be.


Posted by: Mr. Do-Bee | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 1:00 PM
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a little soft-carceral child-molding

This is such a squick-inducing phrase.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 1:51 PM
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Yes, as you mold you might hear squicking noises.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 1:58 PM
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If your child has wrongly-shaped head, you can go to a baby head-shape doctor to get a helmet to fix it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 2:45 PM
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With proper medical care, squicking noises should be minimal.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 2:46 PM
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Anyway, I'm no longer above a little soft-carceral child-molding.

One scary thing about being a parent is that you can't *not* mold your child. It's not something you can choose to opt out of. It's happening all the damn time whether you intend it or not.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 3:32 PM
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http://education-portal.com/cimages/multimages/16/chinookflathead.jpg

What I hadn't known, until I started looking for that picture, was what the fashion was about:

Slavery was very common among the Chinook. For this reason, those that were ranked higher socially within the Chinook tribe practiced the custom of flattening their children's heads at birth. The Chinook would use a board to apply pressure to a baby's head, and this would eventually flatten the head. Flat-headed Chinook were the upper class of their society and having a flat head gave them assurance that they would not become slaves themselves.

Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 4:06 PM
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Thanks to this thread, I thanked Nia for being generous with jellybeans tonight and said that I'd expect it because she's such a loving girl. I do say that sort of thing a lot, especially to reinforce the sibling relationships, but both big girls internalized some pretty negative messages about themselves early on that can be hard to undo, and of course it's hypocritical of me to try because I'm pretty full of negative messages about myself. But I've gotten better about my body image, sort of, and maybe I can choose to be kinder in general and to myself. As I tell them, tomorrow you can make different choices.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 6:02 PM
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I've also yelled, "You are trying to act like you're unlovable, but you can't trick me! I know what a loving and lovable child you are and how you're kind and gentle and generous! So stop trying to trick me because I'm not going to believe you!" I don't know that I recommend that, but apparently it was a memorable iteration of the message, because it's been brought up again.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 6:03 PM
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"No more wire hangers fake selfishness, ever!"


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 6:30 PM
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Apparently a lot of child raising research shows that the only thing parents do for their kids that makes a difference is to pick where they live, and by extension pick their peer group. That's 90% of the influence of how they turn out, reading them Heidegger (but really: early or late Heidegger?) as bedtime stories or not.

Or maybe that was a Slatepitch? It sure gets the parents off the hook except for that real estate thing, which is a very Slate thing to do.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 04-14-14 6:54 PM
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22: Chinook weren't the only ones; check out these skulls, which look like something out of HR Giger.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_cranial_deformation


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04-15-14 1:50 AM
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22/27: I. . .what. . . .wow.

home of the flatheaded and the free?

24: That's really sweet. Surely the best thing one can do is be an example of *deliberate* and articulate loving kindness, and also be so loving and kind to the child they will want to emulate you? I feel like that's the real source of any loving kind tendencies I have.

Also now I want some jelly beans.


Posted by: Ile | Link to this comment | 04-15-14 1:55 PM
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