Martha Beck discusses raising difficult children from her experience and knowledge.
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The Secrets to Raising Difficult Children The secrets to raising difficult children, oh my, I wish someone would tell me. No, I have had wonderful children but I have had children with a variety of different issues. One child with severe ADD who is brilliant, another child with Down Syndrome who is very relaxed and mellow, and one child who is just a hyper-achiever. So, I am not sure there’s any such thing as an easy child to raise but what I will say is that the best mothers, the best fathers are those who are willing to be taught by their children. There’s a wonderful quote that I love from Lao Tzu, a Chinese philosopher, which says, “All streams flow to the sea because it is lower than they are, humility gives it its power.” The best way to raise children as far as I have been able to figure out is the same as coaching. You basically tell the child what you think is best and then you ask the child for his or her feedback and you listen. You let the stream flow to the sea. When children feel hurt and seen and when they know why you are doing what you are doing, even if they don’t agree with, it they know that they are loved. As my children have gotten older and more mature, we have been able to discuss the mistakes I made with them when they were younger. It turns out that they are brilliantly tuned in to my own shortcomings and so forgiving of me when I am willing to talk to them openly. So, as they grow it gets easier and easier, better and better. But from the very beginning, openness and listening is more important than what you tell them.
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