My wife and I have been reading some parenting books. Most of them are crap, honestly. But, not all of them. Some of the best advice we’ve gotten thus far is from the late psychologist, Haim Ginott.
Ginott was a school teacher and a child psychologist in the 1950s and ‘60s. This was a time when there were two basic schools of thought around parenting. You were either a disciplinarian… like… “spare the rod and spoil the child” sort of thing… and then there was the opposite approach of compassion and “free range” parenting where you let your kid do pretty much whatever he or she wanted.
Ginott came along and took the approach of “why not both?”
One of his many revelations in child psychology was that “dependency breeds resentment”. The more dependent your child is on you for everytihg, the more they will grow to resent you as they become an adult. They’ll rebel and eventually… you’ll end up with unruly children. So… help your child and keep them safe, but also let them struggle and fail. Let them be free but create safe boundaries… boundaries appropriate for their age. Don’t give them adult responsibilities without the corresponding freedom of an adult.
Obviously, this approach takes practice, patience, and a lot of work on the part of a parent and teacher.
His approach was to set firm boundaries for kids with a zero tolerance policy for bad behavior… but also acknowledge their feelings instead of denying them or making superficial judgments about them. He would, in essence, create a safe space for kids to express themselves and make the environment conducive for being honest so kids weren’t afraid to speak their mind. At the same time, he didn’t tolerate unruly behavior like if a child hit another child or an adult… that was totally unacceptable.
Back then, it was a revolutionary method of interacting with kids.
In some ways, it still is.
Why do I bring all this up?
For starters, I really dig Ginott’s style.
It jives well with the way I see my own clients. I want to keep them safe without having to micromanage their investments and other finances. Tis part of the reason I don’t do investment advisory services or managed investment accounts.
When clients are free to make choices within safe boundaries, they often do very well for themselves instead of relying on me to do everyting for them. So far, it’s worked out well and it’s an approach that’s illustrated over and over again in my client case studies. Check them out if you have a chance.