Sunday, August 04, 2013

Raising Respectful Children In A Disrespectful World

Raising Respectful Children In A Disrespectful World

By Jill Rigby

Published by Howard Books, 6th August 2013

As Christians, we are called to be counter-cultural, to live in the world, but not be of it, mindful always that our heart's true home is with God. Living our lives this way can be tough indeed, but raising children to be respectful of themselves and of others is tougher still.

The world's "experts"  are busy telling us that we just need to nurture our children's self-esteem instead, but  look at the world around you and see what awesome results that has led to. We can see a "Me me me first, foremost and only" generation all around us. No thanks.

Jill Rigby looks at raising children not primarily to have self-esteem, but to have both healthy self-respect and  equal respect for others, which is psychologically much healthier for them and for those around them.

How does she achieve this? By setting behavioural boundaries and  teaching children self-discipline as well as teaching parents that they also need to set a good example to their families and to be consistent  in how they discipline their children. She really does mean discipline in its truest sense as in "disciple", and definitely not punishment. She advocates being firm but fair, loving and respectful towards children, always being a parent and not trying to be a child's best friend.

I found myself nodding my head in agreement with virtually every page except where she spoke about putting her twin sons on a strict four-hourly feeding schedule as soon as possible after birth.  As a  midwife, breast-feeding advocate and mother I cannot in my heart say I endorse or agree with that, but I must be fair and honest and say I have never ever had to face the challenges of raising twins, so if that worked for her, that is great, but it may not be the best advice for other mothers.

She covers the whole gamut of parenting problems and dilemmas from tots to almost adult teens, and although she would not say she has always got things right herself, she is insightful and honest about her own failures. Like her, I am just as concerned about teachers'comments about my children's attitudes and behaviour to staff and their peers on end of year report cards as I am about their actual grades. I want my children to do well, but I also want my children to grow up to be decent human beings, and if you share that concern, I am sure you will enjoy reading this book.

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