January 31, 2003

Does anyone read this blog regularly, but not this blog - Rational Parenting - regularly? I guess there must be some (and definitely vice versa of course). To those few I say, do make a point of reading this latest posting today, about the value both to parents and to children of parents having a network of friends. Quote:

… nobody needs support networks more than parents do.

So far so relatively obvious. But this is where it gets really good, I think.

But I wonder how many people think of the advantages to the children, of having extra adult friends around? Whether or not those adults want to be "babysitters", interaction between them and children can be beneficial on both sides, and lead to very satisfying and mutually educational friendships, with none of the baggage of the conventional parenting role. And it seems likely that children who get a chance to observe adult interaction, and listen in on adult conversation, and have their questions answered when they are interested enough to ask, are learning something very valuable indeed.

If you tell people ideas verbally, they can pick them up rationally. If you demonstrate ideas in action, a whole lot of inexplicit extra material is added to the theory. This is what I think is conveyed by the expression, "Actions speak louder than words". So, better than just helping your child have all the friends he wants and solve the problems he finds with them in good ways, is also helping yourself to do the same and making sure your child knows about it and sees it in reality. There are things we can learn from watching people interact that we can't easily learn any other way.

As I say, really good stuff. Although me now being part of Alice's own network of friends, I am very biased.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 02:16 PM
Category: Parents and children