Here are my favorite quotes from Chapter 6.
“Everything up to this point leads us to one overwhelming question: Why do we do it? If conditional and control-based parenting are really as bad as they say they are-and more important, if they’re as bad as scientific research and real-world experience show they are-then why are they so popular? Or to put it differently, what holds so many of us back from being better parents?”
“The reasons we parent as we do might be said to fall roughly into four categories: what we see and hear, what we believe, what we feel and, as a result of all those, what we fear.”
“It’s the most obvious explanation for why we treat our children as we do: We learned how you’re supposed to raise kids from watching how someone raised us.”
“The less aware we are of that learning process, the more likely we are to reproduce parenting patterns without bothering to ask whether they make sense. It takes some effort, some sharp thinking, even some courage to step back and decide which values and rituals ought to find a place in our new families and which ones are pointless and even pernicious.”
“Bad discipline is easy. Very little is asked of us when we respond to children’s misbehavior by doing something unpleasant to them. “Doing to” strategies are mostly mindless. “Working with” strategies, on the other hand, ask a lot more of us.”
“Our culture isn’t especially supportive of children in general, nor is there a surfeit of fondness for particular children unless they’re cute and well behaved.”
“If kids are not held in great esteem, it becomes easier for parents, even basically good parents, to treat their own kids disrespectfully.”
“A study of more than three hundred parents found that those who held a negative view of human nature were more likely to be very controlling with their kids.”
“If we wonder why parent-child relationships are so often adversarial, we have to understand this as one more symptom of a hyper-competitive society. The moms and dads who are most likely to try to control their children, and who do the most damage to them, are the those who need to win.”
“Lots of people believe that when any individual, even a small child, does something bad, then something bad should be done to that individual in return. So many parents see punishment as a moral imperative.”
“As a rule, when your basic emotional needs have not been met, those needs don’t just vanish when you’re older. Instead, you may continue to try to satisfy them, often in direct and even convoluted ways. That effort sometimes requires an exhausting, near-constant focus on yourself in order to prove that you really are smart, or attractive or lovable. What’s more, the people who need you to focus on them, notably your children, may find you emotionally unavailable.”
“What distinguishes truly great parents is their willingness to confront troubling questions about what they have been doing and what was done to them.”
“We’re unlikely to meet our long-term goals for our kids unless we’re ready to ask the following question: Is it possible that what I just did with them had more to do with my own needs, my fears and my own upbringing than with what’s really in their best interest?”
Phew! That was a lot, but it was a very important chapter. What struck you the deepest?