A Caveat

Mind you, kids aren’t born as a blank slate. They are born with a personality. Even before birth they have a personality, which is part genes and part other factors. Women who were pregnant more than once know this well. My parenting strategy works well for my kid and her personality. For other kids, it might be a bad idea.

For instance, Klara is extremely careful and cautious. Even when she was a baby and didn’t yet walk, she’ll crawl around, and if she found something on the floor, she would never just stuff it in her mouth, although I could see she really wanted to. She’d look at me, waiting for permission. If I said no, she might wince or grumble but she always obeyed. She even threw tantrums only after making sure her dress wouldn’t get crumpled in the process. Many children are a lot more impulsive because that’s their personality, so they need more supervision. I’m not advocating my method as a universal one. Absolutely not! Parents know their children and adapt parenting to their specific needs.

7 thoughts on “A Caveat

  1. Oh yeah, this is the opposite of me. When I was 2 I’d leave the house and wander off and they wouldn’t know where I’d gone for hours (luckily we didn’t live anywhere near a road.) My sibling were a lot like Klara, so my parents didn’t know how to deal with me! My mother was used to kids who would do what she requested, even as toddlers.

    In spite of this, the laissez-faire generally work out pretty well even for me, I think. It only worked for chores when I was little though; I quickly grew to HATE cleaning and I still do.

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  2. My eldest, and my nephew, both were fine with very gentle guidance, and are cautious creatures. My younger two are nothing like that, which was a bit of a shock– I am constantly plucking the toddler off the table, removing the scissors and kitchen knives from his chubby little hands, and removing the chairs from the the kitchen… which he has pushed in there to reach all the fun stuff. And middle child, very similar at that age, now plows headfirst into everything, and gives 100% to the effort. Never dithers, never hesitates, all go.

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      1. “they have their personalities already well-formed by the time of birth. So cool.”

        Evolution in action. If all babies were the same then in extreme crisis situations they would be much more vulnerable… a healthy mix of personalities helps insure that some small children will survive no matter the nature of the hazards of the world when they’re born….

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          1. “Evolution mostly prunes the variants that are not effective”

            Well in most human societies the selection pressure is very small children is very small so you’ll get a much broader variation.

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            1. An important part of selection is selection of a mate. A large amount of variation across society depends on who in that society succeeds in reproducing rather than who simply survives.

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