Today while reading blog posts I came across this great post by Mike Lehr (you can follow him on Twitter @MikeLehrOZA).
The title of the post is Oak & Apple Trees. The gist of the post is this. There are two types of people in the world. There are Oak type people that are inherently strong and resilient. These types of people can withstand much and yield much in the process.
The next type of person is the Apple type. Apple trees can also be resilient however the fruit that they produce depends upon how the tree has been cared for. If apple trees are well cared for they can produce abundant sweet fruit that many people desire. If not… then the tree will produce a little fruit that is tainted by worms and insects.
To me this perfectly illustrates the dynamics of nature vs. nurture conversation in the field of psychology/behavioral science. With each individual there are natural markers or tendencies. And. There is also the factor of how the individual was nurtured or raised.
Some children, no matter what they experience will succeed while others struggle.
Here’s my point. No matter what the nature part of the equations holds; everybody will be better and produce better fruit when they are nurtured well.
It is our responsibility as parents to nurture our children in a way that they can thrive in life and produce the best fruit that they are capable of producing.
Here are some suggestions:
Listen to and Affirm your children. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to agree with them.
Provide an Emotionally Safe environment for your children to be themselves and not be punished for it.
Demonstrate how Valuable your children are. Appropriate praise will get you farther than negative comments or yelling.
Living in the Information Age where social networking rules and immediate gratification is the norm raising children has become increasingly difficult.
There are many more obstacles for both children and parents to maneuver. Technology certainly has brought new dynamics and tensions to the family system.
As our girls continue to grow we as parents are forced to deal with these issues. As parents we see one of our major responsibilities is to invite our children into adulthood. To join them as the grow, mature, and individuate themselves from us.
My wife and I cautiously give our daughters more room to explore and expand their world.
One of the most frightening environments for me as a parent to allow our daughters access to is the online world.
The reality is that it's a big, scary, messed up world that in many ways is putting our children in danger. The last I checked that average for exposure to porn is 11. In most cases it is accidental exposure while doing homework.
With dangers like this lurking within our doors what are parents to do.
It's been my experience that parents either overreact or under-react. I believe it is necessary for us as parents to fight to find a balance of appropriateness.
With that said here are some guidelines that we use with our girls.
Start small. Instagram then moving to Twitter and so forth. In my opinion Facebook is not a safe choice for young teens. Access. We have access to all of their accounts. Monitor. We routinely monitor her accounts and the content. We also monitor their texting and phone use. Others. We recruit the help of our friends and family. Normalize. If you start with these boundaries in place it's simply part of the normal routine.