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Parenting “Maven”

Dr. Karl Pillemer is gerontologist who has spent the last several years talking and writing about advice from people in their seventh decade or older. One of his key insights is that you should look for a “maven”—an expert or source of wisdom. This would be a person you admire and would like to be like. Their advice can help you achieve your goals.

When I was pregnant with my first child, I found such a “maven unit” and their advice helped me be a very successful parent. I looked at all the different family units of our coworkers. Some parents barked out orders and then fought with each other or their children when the orders were not followed. Some parents seem to plead with their children to do the “right” thing or say the correct thank you. One family seemed to work incredibly well. On many family decisions, everyone’s preferences were considered but the parents generally made the decision if the family members could not agree. I asked this family which child rearing philosophy they used. The parents said that they liked Richard Dreikur’s Children the Challenge. I found the underlying theme of that book incredibly helpful in approaching my parenting years. Dr. Driekurs wrote during the early 1960’s when the hippie and antiwar movement upset many people. He spoke about my generation as demanding more voice in the government and in the family decisions. He recommended helping children learn that their actions have consequences. His approach to parenting fathered many subsequent manuals such as Systematic Training for Effective Parenting, or S.T.E.P., and Parenting with Love and Logic. I highly recommend these 2 systems whenever you’re struggling with either your toddler or your teenager.

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