Book Review – Raising Children Who Think for Themselves

Raising Children Who Think for Themselves

“Truth resides in every human heart, and one has to search for it there and to be guided by the truth as one sees it. But no one has the right to coerce others to act according to his own view of truth” – Mahatma Gandhi

This is the quote that open many pages of this book, and this is true indeed the reason why i read this book. I want to find out way and tips on helping educating my daughter about value in life. Parenting skill can be very challenging if we are not willing to learn about it. I like to do extra miles hoping this effort will bring benefit to my daughter, therefore reading books on the topic is always excite me more than just reading fictions or novels. This is like a natural drive since i become mother, my books preferences are always parenting books compare to rest.

It is every parents dream to be able to raise a successful, competent, self-confident, and independent child which eventually able to fend off outer evils like drugs, alcohol, gangs, violence and suicide as well as helping them sidestep inner pitfalls like cynicism, eating disorders, irresponsibility, and poor impulse control. These dilemmas can sometimes make our children future appear downright bleak!

This book starts with a very handy introduction that give us 5 essential qualities of self-directed-children which later on the content of the chapters will be illustrated in detail. those 4 essential qualities are:

1. high self-esteem/self-confidence – these child feel good about themselves, because they have learned how to rationally assess themselves in a way that helps them grow rather than tears them down.

2. Competence – these children have the ability to understand and manipulate their surroundings, because self-directed children don’t perceive failure as something that whittles away their sense of worth, they feel comfortable taking new challenge and exploring their own intellectual and physical limits.

3. Independence – these children become competent, what follows is a sense of independence – the ability to rely on internally derived decision.

4. High moral character – these children are free to make choices for the right reasons – reasons that have nothing to do with others expectations or approval – their choices are more inclined to be ones that serve their own self-interest rather than the interest of others.

5. Being an asset within the group – as the pack of animal theory of human behavior postulates,we are all driven by an intense desire to belong and to have a meaningful place within a group, and we behave and think in ways that will satisfy that longing. Some children choose to belong by doing and believing whatever the group dictates. They choose to beg for the pack’s acceptance by selecting conformity over contribution.

On top of those 5 essential qualities of the self-directed children what I found valuable from this book is the tips to help children rebound from failure. The author firmly believe children inherently accept their failures if they think they won’t be judged by others. Some of the tips are discussing our own mistakes with our children, not denying opportunities to excel as a consequences for misbehavior, sharing lessons we’ve learned from our own mistakes, teaching the value of failed attempts as well as teaching children to strive for personal excellence not perfection. It is also teaching the children to separate failures from self-worth as well as accepting suffering as a good thing.

On chapter 7, the book also highlight the importance and tips of helping children handle real world influences. There are tons of reasons kid get into trouble with drugs, alcohol, abusive relationship or free-sex. SOme of them are: feeling powerless, peer pressure, exploration of inner awareness, facade fatigue, escape from pressure, cry for help, revenge, curiosity etc. Modern technology can bring sadness to our child life as well without proper parenting control that can bring misleading lifestyle or self-worth.

I also value the tips the book given us about *Consumerism VS. Simplicity*, teaching our children that people are more important than things, de-emphasizing material goods by reducing the number of gifts for our children, de-consumerizing birthday celebration, understanding that our children don’t have to have things to be happy, helping them reflect on their purchases, modeling simplicity in our own lives.

The book also discusses about sexuality – teaching our children what sex is really all about, defending modesty in life style and appearance to focus their energy on the right part, developing meaningful friendship with the opposite sex, modeling good expressing for sexuality by displaying our affection and closeness with our partners in the presence of our children, teaching children the risk of sexual irresponsibility, discussion our own past sexual choices, preventing our children from watching movies and televisions shows that tout a warped sense of sexuality.

The book chapter ended with SPECIFIC CHILD REARING CHALLENGES – i have to tell you that this particular chapter is like a *KNOW HOW TO DO* dictionary for parenting in today’s era. It give us the illustration of bad incident and how to handle them to encourage self-direction. For example : aggressive physical act, alcohol, drugs and smoking, annoying habits, bad grades, body piercing, tatoos, other body embellishments etc that you can not think of.

I put effort to write this review because I know, this is one essential book that parent need to refer back from time to time again.

Happy reading.

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