Author Topic: How to raise successful kids?  (Read 12333 times)

tobitonic

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Re: How to raise successful kids?
« Reply #50 on: June 09, 2016, 12:02:42 PM »
That's exactly my point tobitonic. Your kids go to private school, have a stay at home mom, and will have college paid for. Those are huge advantages in life that are giving your kids a huge head start. Even if they have a low income job, they won't be paying off student loans. My sister will have none of those advantages. Also if I don't find a way to expose her to STEM she might not have any exposure at all, and the reason I want her to be exposed to it is so knows it's an option. Which is what we all want right? For our children to have options? It's basically Maslows hierarchy. It's easy to worry about how to teach kindness when you have all the basics covered. But my sister doesn't have the basics.

Actually, my kids are going to be homeschooled, partly because we're in direct opposition to the overwhelming focus on STEM, early literacy, standardized testing, and so on that characterize the public schools. And we can't guarantee they'll have college paid for; it's our goal. But to address your additional points...here's Maslow's hierarchy, per MMM:



Are you saying your sister doesn't have physiological needs (i.e., food) met? Or shelter? Or love? Because from reading your earlier posts, it sounded like you didn't think her dad was reading to her enough, even though he was reading to her, and you also didn't approve of her going to dance camp. You said she wasn't in a nurturing environment, but from the descriptions you've actually shared, she's not at risk of hunger or homelessness, she has a present father who reads to her and has the financial wherewithal to send her to camps in the summer, as well as the respect for her to provide her with opportunities that she'll presumably enjoy.

Your sister already has *huge* advantages compared to most kids around the world, and *huge* advantages compared to a lot of kids in this country (did you know that 20% of kids here, for example, have food insecurity? Or that the child poverty rate in the US is at 22%, or a 23k income for a family of 4?). She already has all the basics covered, and this is precisely where things like dance camps and time to play and socialize as a child may well do much more for her future than suggesting she's behind because she's not yet reading or that dance camps are a waste of time.

tweezers

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Re: How to raise successful kids?
« Reply #51 on: June 09, 2016, 12:29:03 PM »
I was going to chime in about not having the basics as well....if your sister is not getting her basic needs met then exposure to STEM shouldn't be your focus.  Assuming that she is safe, fed, housed, and loved I think you need to pull back.  The window to learn to read is huge, and dance camp is a perfectly legitimate and age-appropriate activity.   I have a 5 and 7 year old who read, and my younger child was reading before my older child was.  They're going to art camp for two weeks this summer with nothing else scheduled, and they're smart, kind, social, and inquisitive children.  Your sister has a lot of time to be exposed to things, and what you're exposed to at 6, or even 16, doesn't necessarily doom you to have a dismal future.  For example, and anecdote for sure, I'm an ecotoxicologist....I didn't have any science exposure until high school, grew up in a very modest family without private school/horseback riding/etc., and paid for university myself.

WGH

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Re: How to raise successful kids?
« Reply #52 on: June 09, 2016, 01:56:51 PM »
As a parent I am always looking for tips and ways to do better. A lot of this has been mentioned but I'll throw in what I have learned with my toddlers. First and foremost realize quite a bit of their personality is set before they even come down the birth canal. My daughter loves structured games while my son love animals and can play for hours with his little toys. She is calm and he is a little hyper. She loves heights while he gets scared if I swing him above my head. Point is there's a lot out of your control. So don't beat yourself up over everything like you failed because they didn't go to some camp or something.

1. Set boundaries and be consistent with their application especially among both mom and dad. If a certain behavior is deemed punishable then the punishment should be consistent, immediate, and drastic for it to stick as a lesson.

2. Read to them at least every night. Even if it's past bedtime or whatever, even if you are tired. If a bath is missed or dinner was Cheetos meh it happens but don't skip on the reading. Personally I'm the same on teeth brushing as well.

3. Board games and puzzles. Learning to follow steps, take turns, be patient, be a good winner/loser. Builds bonding opportunities as well.

4. Free play. Let them loose in the backyard or in their rooms with action figures, stuffed animals, whatever and make up their own games. Lots of good research on the benefits.

5. Everyone loves to beat up on TV. I grew up watching Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers, Reading Rainbow, and 321 Contact. When I got a little older it was Transformers, Thundercats, GI Joes, TMNT which looking back was just mindless violence with little to no educational benefit. A majority of the shows out today actually have quite a bit of benefit and education. My kids picked up on shapes, colors, letters, numbers, and quite a bit more from shows they've watched. Like everything else all in moderation. A parent shouldn't guilt themselves into therapy because of an hour or two of TV.

6. Activities. Not essential IMHO. My daughter loves her gymnastics class but my son prefers free play on his own. If you can afford these and want to do them great. But I don't believe a parent should feel that it's necessary. I am of the same mind with preschool.

7. Teach them to value their money and possessions. Allowances, saving money, all that jazz.

8. Be a good role model. Kids pick up on hypocrisy.

9. School. Make this a priority. My SIL allows her daughter to miss days because they stayed up too late the night before. Ugh. The focus should not be on the grades but on the effort and on attendance as key. So much of life is just showing up.

10. Empathy. Got to foster it. Teach them to understand that others see the world differently than they do. That everyone at least deserves courtesy. To not stereotype and understand our biases. I take mine every Black Friday to go donation shopping. We load up the basket with discounted stuff and they help me pick. I give them a limit on the spend and they help me find the best deals. Then we take it all and donate it. So I teach them math, bargain hunting, and doing for others all at once.

Good Luck!

mozar

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Re: How to raise successful kids?
« Reply #53 on: June 09, 2016, 02:25:09 PM »
I don't need a lecture about poverty in the US, I know all about it. It's hard to talk about, which is why I didn't mention it, but my dad doesn't give her enough food in my opinion. My sister's cousin was physically abusing her for awhile. My dad lives in a one bedroom apartment with his schizophrenic sister. My aunt sleeps on the floor and my sister sleeps on a cot. So she's really not in that great of a situation.

I think she can still turn out OK, but I want more than that for her. I think it's perfectly reasonable to want more for your kids/ younger siblings. I think some posts are getting a little hyperbolic by suggesting that I think my sisters life will turn out dismal because she took a dance class.
I'm afraid she'll turn out average and in the future my fear is that average won't be enough for her to be able to pay her own bills and live on her own. There's nothing unusual about wanting your kid or sibling to be above average it's just rare to admit it.
@tobitonic you are purposefully making choices of what your kids are being exposed to. I wish to do the same thing.

And there's no reason for me to pull back because I haven't said anything to my dad at all. I'm just putting my thoughts out here on the forum because I find feedback from mustachians to be tremendously helpful.

tweezers

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Re: How to raise successful kids?
« Reply #54 on: June 09, 2016, 03:25:33 PM »
In an earlier post you were concerned that your sister would be average and unsuccessful because couldn't yet read and wouldn't have the opportunity to meet rich kids at private school, sleep away camp or horseback riding lessons.  With no disrespect intended, these aren't the things you should be worried about if she's underfed and not safe. 

MrsPete

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Re: How to raise successful kids?
« Reply #55 on: June 09, 2016, 04:16:15 PM »
I see what you're saying now, and do agree ...

we're naturally steering them toward post-secondary education, however that looks for them, and aim to support them through that experience financially and with lodging to the best of our abilities, as well as with lodging beyond the college years, as we're not in the belief system (though many here are) that supporting our kids in such ways will be detrimental to their "success"...because we're all using different definitions of success.
Yeah, sometimes posts need clarification. 

I also agree with helping kids financially as they launch from high school to adulthood.  We're paying for our kids' college educations, and it hasn't been at all detrimental to them.  Our oldest just graduated (on time, no debt, excellent GPA).  She is studying now -- literally right this minute -- for the test that'll grant her a professional license, and she has a start date for her first professional job the first week of July.  She has been nothing but grateful for our financial support and has said numerous times that she felt motivated to work harder in college because she wanted to be a good steward of the money we (and her scholarship donors) paid for her education.  She didn't "grasp" how difficult student loans could be until she went away to college and heard her dormmates talking about the debt they were taking on /the fact that they already felt stressed about it -- she was shocked. 

Our youngest has only completed one year of college but is headed towards the same good results in a different field.  I'm 100% happy that we have covered college for them. 

ltt

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Re: How to raise successful kids?
« Reply #56 on: June 09, 2016, 05:25:28 PM »
Mozar, .....you have an opinion that your father doesn't give her enough food, can you tell us why? Can you give her additional food, if needed, or would you be imposing?

shelivesthedream

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Re: How to raise successful kids?
« Reply #57 on: June 10, 2016, 01:13:17 AM »
Mozar, here's a thought. Why don't you write to her? Regularly, once a week on the same day, rain or shine, whether she replies or not, snail mail or email. It will give you the opportunity to be a good role model for her (you can talk about how you make choices and overcome difficulties by giving small examples from your daily life) and hopefully provide some reliability and consistency in her life (if you think her living situation is unstable). The key will be to keep on writing, same day every week, and never skip a letter. Then when she's eighteen you can send one final one packed with all the life advice you can think of and let her know you'll always be there for her. I think it can be helpful for children to have an adult outside the immediate household they can trust and talk to (like a godparent) but you need to establish the bond with small everyday chat before they'll trust you with the big stuff.

englyn

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Re: How to raise successful kids?
« Reply #58 on: June 10, 2016, 02:17:38 AM »
Mozar, here's a thought. Why don't you write to her? Regularly, once a week on the same day, rain or shine, whether she replies or not, snail mail or email. It will give you the opportunity to be a good role model for her (you can talk about how you make choices and overcome difficulties by giving small examples from your daily life) and hopefully provide some reliability and consistency in her life (if you think her living situation is unstable). The key will be to keep on writing, same day every week, and never skip a letter. Then when she's eighteen you can send one final one packed with all the life advice you can think of and let her know you'll always be there for her. I think it can be helpful for children to have an adult outside the immediate household they can trust and talk to (like a godparent) but you need to establish the bond with small everyday chat before they'll trust you with the big stuff.

^^^ This is a really good idea. Teach her someone cares about her. Give her that security. I wish my father had done this :(

StarBright

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Re: How to raise successful kids?
« Reply #59 on: June 10, 2016, 07:46:34 AM »

I'm aware of the research in early reading. The research I've seen has been on head start programs for poor kids where they get instructional fatigue because educators are trying to make up for poor home situations. So it could be correlation not causation.
 

I think the above comment (which seems to imply the research might not apply to your sister's circumstances) and the earlier comments about her having dance camp vs not being exposed to "Elite" people led many of us to believe that your sister was simply in a middle class situation as opposed to your more upper class upbringing. I don't think anyone was trying to lecture on poverty but to reassure you that you did not have too much to worry about.

Given the additional information that your sister is apparently food insecure and living in a more precarious environment I think you have a whole different kettle of fish. Things to be concerned about:

-Is your aunt's schizophrenia controlled by medication. Is she good about taking her medication? If she has this under control then that is great!

-Food insecurity in the summer is obviously a huge issue in low income households. Summer is the time most low income students are likely to go without lunches, etc. Can you confirm that the dance camp will be supplying lunches for your sister? If not, there are lots of charities that get brown bag lunches to kids in the summer - can you see if there is one in your sister's area?

-Additionally, can you get food to her? I'm thinking of something that could be framed as a special summer "treat" from her sibling- like various snacks that you can have shipped via amazon or put something really special together and just ship it out yourself. You could put together a care package of things like granola bars, applesauce packets, fruit leather and augment the snacks with coloring books, crayons, sticker books, regular books etc. That would be a pretty awesome thing to get in the mail!

-The dreaded summer slide - in the situation you describe it does sound like summer slide might be more of an issue. At your sister's age the biggest concern would be continued exposure to reading. You say your dad is reading to her so that is good. You can also read to her over skype - my mom reads books to my kids over Skype all of the time and they love it! Games are good for reinforcing numbers at this age - maybe dominoes or something fun like "trouble" - number recognition and counting should help avoid slide for a 6 year old.

Again, good for you for being concerned for your kid sis. Hope some of these suggestions are helpful.

mozar

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Re: How to raise successful kids?
« Reply #60 on: June 10, 2016, 09:05:24 AM »
It's hard to explain. She's not actually poor. Her parents have middle class incomes. My dad works two jobs with one job has overnights so I think he's too tired to think about food for her. He also doesn't seem to think that kids need food. So it's not for lack of money. When I was a kid he was reluctant to give me food too. So it's more of a neglect situation than a food insecure situation. I did have a talk with my dad about giving her more food  (in a nice way) he seemed receptive.

I can see how I came off as a wealthy braggart. When I was growing up I was so hungry I slept through all my classes. The opportunities I had to be around wealthy kids I saw that eating regularly was normal and the agency they had was much more than the middle class and poor kids I grew up around. I moved a lot and I was exposed to a very wide variety  of socioeconomic and racial and ethnic diversity. The more money people had the more opportunities their kids had, the more food there was around, etc. So yeah I do want her to be exposed to people who are wealthier than her even if she was a happy go lucky middle class kid.

So I am saying three different things. 1 is that I want her to be exposed to "elite people" (yup Im really saying that) in hopes that she can see people in better situations and learn to emulate them like I did 2 do more than just dance class (which will be free btw, don't know if they serve lunch) to get a chance to acquire more technical skills because I know that people who can afford to or want to, start sending their kids to robotics camps and science camps pretty early on , and 3 even if she was a regular middle class kid I'd want her to be exposed to more stuff too.

In this country people tend to say, whatever their socioeconomic situation, that they are middle class. People don't want to admit that there are differences between the classes. For me, the ability to observe wealthy people when I was growing up was a huge privilege. Originally I wanted to title this post "so what do you rich people do for your kids?," but I'm glad I didn't, lol. I'm starting to think that paying for kids college is a good idea, for example. Although I'm not willing to work extra for it myself.

Those are great ideas for sending her care packages. I was thinking about making her some granola bars for her weekly drive from my dad's apartment to her grandparents.
My aunt is doing OK. About 5 years ago she finally got meds that stabilized her. She has a hoarding problem though so space is getting tighter.
So I hope where I'm coming from makes more sense now.

mozar

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Re: How to raise successful kids?
« Reply #61 on: June 10, 2016, 09:22:20 AM »
@MrsPete: how did you teach your kids to be grateful for receiving money?

little_brown_dog

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Re: How to raise successful kids?
« Reply #62 on: June 10, 2016, 10:09:13 AM »
@little_brown_dog if you have more examples I'd love to hear them

Hmmm let’s see…

On romantic dating – Parents were always willing and interested to hear about our love interests. They encouraged us to talk about them without prying, and were genuinely friendly and hospitable when meeting the newcomers. However, if our chosen partner was less than stellar, they immediately spoke up and let us know that they did not like this relationship. They weren’t going to stand by and just pretend they didn’t see unhealthy patterns, but they always made us feel like we could still go to them to talk, complain, seek advice, etc. Occasionally they had to be really firm about their opinions on the subject. As women, we were never told to be ashamed of our bodies, and we were never told that sex was only for specific circumstances or specific people. It was described almost like any other bodily function - just as eating can be mundane and unimportant (take out to survive the day), or amazingly indulgent (chocolate cake on your birthday), or really meaningful (thanksgiving with family), sex could be the same way. They did not encourage promiscuity in any way, but they didn't act like sex was this huge deal either.

I think these attitudes really helped me as an older teen and young adult. I never felt like a slut if my boyfriend left me because I didn't view sex as this thing you can only do with one person. When I was assaulted, I never felt like damaged or used goods - again because why would I? Sex was just something that happened - sometimes it could be loving, other times boring, and yes occasionally violent and unwanted. But the act of sex was not a reflection of ME and who I was as a person. Maybe because I don't attach much morality to sex, it was easier for me to let it go. Sure it was scary and terrible and I felt like crap for a little while afterward, but I didn't experience a crisis of identity that many victims go through. I didn't feel damaged or scarred, I wasn't afraid to have sex, I never stopped enjoying sex, and I didn't become irrationally afraid of men. I was just someone who had a scary experience but who survived it. That's all.

On physical appearance – Here is where some people might say my parents screwed up a little bit. My parents were always willing to give us a compliment on our looks and routinely reminded us that we were attractive. But they did not blindly believe we were gorgeous. For example, my mother would never agree that I have the looks to win Miss America, and there definitely were times where she suggested no dessert or going to the gym if I complained about feeling fat. She would flat out tell me if a shirt was too tight or unflattering, but she would always follow up with a constructive remark “why don’t you try this shirt? I think it will work better with your body and the color will look so pretty with your eyes.” I think this was a decent approach, but many people nowadays might not agree. My parents do not believe every child/teenager is physically beautiful and deserving of a modelling contract– they believe every person is valuable in his or her own right. And they believed in teaching us about our physical strengths and how to handle/accommodate our shortcomings with clothes/accessories/lifestyle modifications so we could feel better about ourselves.

On talents and hobbies – Again, parents were very supportive and always willing to let us try whatever we wanted. T ball, to soccer, to tennis, to horseback riding, skiing, music, and theater. They praised our efforts when we weren’t so great at something, and spoke highly or even gushed when we obviously excelled at something. If we hated doing an activity, they would let us quit after we put in a decent amount of time. We had to show them we genuinely were not interested. They never forced us into playing a sport for years, or demanded that we engage in any specific hobby.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2016, 10:22:30 AM by little_brown_dog »

MrsDinero

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Re: How to raise successful kids?
« Reply #63 on: June 10, 2016, 10:31:23 AM »
I don't need a lecture about poverty in the US, I know all about it. It's hard to talk about, which is why I didn't mention it, but my dad doesn't give her enough food in my opinion. My sister's cousin was physically abusing her for awhile. My dad lives in a one bedroom apartment with his schizophrenic sister. My aunt sleeps on the floor and my sister sleeps on a cot. So she's really not in that great of a situation.

I think she can still turn out OK, but I want more than that for her. I think it's perfectly reasonable to want more for your kids/ younger siblings. I think some posts are getting a little hyperbolic by suggesting that I think my sisters life will turn out dismal because she took a dance class.
I'm afraid she'll turn out average and in the future my fear is that average won't be enough for her to be able to pay her own bills and live on her own. There's nothing unusual about wanting your kid or sibling to be above average it's just rare to admit it.
@tobitonic you are purposefully making choices of what your kids are being exposed to. I wish to do the same thing.

And there's no reason for me to pull back because I haven't said anything to my dad at all. I'm just putting my thoughts out here on the forum because I find feedback from mustachians to be tremendously helpful.

Are you in a position to have your sister live with you?  It sounds like if your dad has food but is deliberately withholding it from your sister, among other things, than your sister might not be in the safest environment.

okits

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Re: How to raise successful kids?
« Reply #64 on: June 10, 2016, 12:21:49 PM »
You mentioned you only see your sister once a year.  Is it feasible to increase that?  Even spend a long weekend or week with her visiting you?  You're not her parent or guardian so changing her circumstances can be tricky and indirect (suggestions to your dad vs. just doing something you think appropriate), but through you she could be exposed to a lot of new things (like an abundance of food so she has enough to eat, more sustainable attitudes towards finances, creative and intellectual opportunities for learning or expression, etc.)

As far as "so what do you rich people do for your kids?", I've only been a parent for a few years but I would currently boil it down to making our kids #1 (or devoting whatever it takes) in terms of time, effort, and money towards their health and development.  What this entails will vary depending on the child's needs, but if you don't have a healthy, neurotypical kid free from additional challenges this could mean pouring a lot of time and money into medical and monitoring appointments and extra effort into developmental activities.  For a kid without extra challenges that could still mean money and time into educational and artistic enrichment.  For us this has meant less time for career, less income, less personal time, delayed FIRE.  I think of our DD as a "rich kid" because her parents can and want to make these sacrifices in order to redirect resources to her wellbeing (compare your dad's work schedule and possibly energy level making him too tired to think about food for your sister.)

For your sister, none of these sacrifices are your "responsibility", but any resources you're willing to direct her way will probably make a positive difference.  For your own, future children, being the parent who is not too busy to find and try solutions to their challenges or needs, will devote the energy to teaching them and engaging them, spend (or forego) the money to look after their health and give them opportunities, and generally put their wellbeing first will be a huge advantage to them.

(I'm kind of foggy from kid-related fatigue, so not sure if I've expressed my thoughts clearly.  Let me know if not and I can try again.  :-)

mozar

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Re: How to raise successful kids?
« Reply #65 on: June 11, 2016, 10:09:51 AM »
@little_brown_dog thank you!

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Are you in a position to have your sister live with you?  It sounds like if your dad has food but is deliberately withholding it from your sister, among other things, than your sister might not be in the safest environment.

She could live with me but that's a very last resort kind of thing. I agree with the idea that kids shouldn't be taking away from their parents unless it's a very dire situation.

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You mentioned you only see your sister once a year.  Is it feasible to increase that?
I could make some suggestions of things she, our dad and I could do together. My dad has very poor time management skills/ planning skills so I have distanced myself from his life. Hanging out with him means I have to clear my schedule for the whole day because he's usually late, he will probably lose his wallet and we will have to spend a couple hours tracking it down, getting lost around town, surprise visits to his friends/ relatives...but I just got a job where i can take off work with relatively little notice so I could suggest meeting them at a museum in the middle of the day.

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her parents can and want to make these sacrifices in order to redirect resources to her wellbeing

This is a very good point.

Thanks all for the kind words, and helping me sort through my thoughts/feelings. It's like therapy x 100%.

Goldielocks

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Re: How to raise successful kids?
« Reply #66 on: June 12, 2016, 01:56:37 PM »
She could live with you for summer holidays, though.  That is quite common and nice for everyone, all around.  Why not invite her this summer?

mozar

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Re: How to raise successful kids?
« Reply #67 on: June 13, 2016, 10:17:37 AM »
Probably not the whole summer but I could ask about a week. There are summer camps near here but that would take advance planning with my dad, which he's not good at.