Everyone knows a kid like my nephew Tom.
Tom was the 2-year-old who threw a temper tantrum, just because. Maybe it was because his mother looked at him the wrong way, or he wasn’t allowed to put the sugary cereal in the grocery cart, or he didn’t want to take a bath.
He became the 8-year-old who was afraid of dogs — even really small ones. Later, he was the teenager who wouldn’t touch the gourmet meals his mom prepared and who thought fast-food burgers were the only food worth eating. He was the high school student who often found better things to do than attend all of his classes.
Tom’s issues are common — but how much time and energy would you put into “solving his problems”?
When a child like Tom is someone else’s, parents know exactly what needs to happen. Ground him, call the counselor and make him attend aversion therapy. But when he’s your child, you wonder what the right answer is, and you can become consumed with these issues and define him by his problems.
Parents want to be the best they can be at raising happy and productive children, but unfortunately, there is no “easy button” that applies to every family and every situation. With an array of parenting advice lining the bookshelves in bookstores or delivered to your screen via your favorite online search engine, only one thing is clear: There’s no one way to raise a child. There is no “right” way to raise a child either. Blanket parenting advice just doesn’t work for everyone. Parents have their unique strengths, and each child has his individual personality. The variations in innate abilities, strengths and environmental factors are endless.
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