Confucius Says

The last time I was in Sydney to visit my family, my grandmother commented to me that she thought I was complimenting more often my son than my daughter. I paused to think about this for a second before voicing my disagreement, feeling the remark was neither true nor fair. But it did raise a good question. She told me that when she was little, her parents referred to her older brother as their pride, and to her as their sunshine. For many years she felt that she was the less worthy sibling, until as an adult she understood that no one can live without sunshine. I grew up in a family of two girls and we bore the opposite treatment – in a quest to make both daughters feel equal, my parents were usually careful not to compliment one without complimenting the other, or to make compliments too personal which could highlight our differences. It was frustrating, even though I never felt anything but loved.  So, how do you avoid your children thinking they’re the modern version of Cain and Abel (without the tragic end), whilst praising one or the other when they genuinely deserve it? Well, don’t look at me, I’m not the Confucius of child rearing! The great man once said “life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated”, so I’m going to try not to overthink this one. How do you approach the challenge?

 

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