Bragging

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The following is a selection from the book Raising Children Who Think For Themselves by Dr. Eisa Medhus. From the chapter titled "Specific Child Rearing Challenges - How to Handle Them to Encourage Self-Direction", the following introduction is offered.

"The best way to make children good is to make them happy." - Oscar Wilde

Here are some inner-directed suggestions that will help with some of the most trying child-rearing difficulties we may stumble upon. All of these approaches are designed to preserve your children's ability to rely on internal dialogue instead of external influences to assess and correct their behavior. Using this section as a ready reference will help you raise a self-directed child, even if it means carrying the book, tattered and tear-stained, to the market, in the car, or at home. There are some challenges that, I hope you will never have to face, but others will be as inevitable as a pimple on prom night.

To get to self-direction, there are a few universal caveats for every one of the situations that follow. First, our children need to understand and agree with both the need for the furl and the consequence for breaking it. Only when they come to agree with our rules, through their own internal dialogue, will they become self-directed. Second, look to your own parenting strategy as the possible source of some of the problem. Are you over-controlling or over-protective? Either trait can elicit an externally directed response, as your children react to an unhealthy situation. Third, remember for all these parenting challenges how important it is for you as parents, to model the right behavior. If you're expecting your children to act one way and you act another, the double standard will throw a monkey wrench into their whole internal dialogue machinery.

And lastly, don't forget to laugh.

Why they do it

Children brag to try to convince other people that they're better than they really think they are. Somehow, their self-esteem has taken a beating in the past, and they're struggling to repair it.

Logical consequences

When your children brag, they'll get whatever consequences they deserve from those who have to put up with it. Tell them how most people might react, though, so that they'll have something to think about when their friends roll up their eyes and walk away.

Solutions toward self-direction

Teach your children to find ways to appreciate who they are and discover their own inner sense of worth. Eventually, these thoughts may become incorporated into their internal dialogue.

Ask your children questions to stimulate their internal dialogue: "How do you feel when someone else brags? Don't you find it annoying?"

Use impartial descriptions and information: "Johnny seemed to wrinkle up his nose when you were talking about all the karate awards you won. It may have made him angry." "In our family, we try to make our friends feel good about themselves, instead of trying to prove that we're better."

Role-play bragging scenarios with your children, first with you, then with them, playing the braggart. Again, this will help them develop internal dialogue about bragging.
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