The Norman Transcript

Features

June 6, 2014

Children should not have control of the words ‘I can’t’

NORMAN — I recently asked a group of 50 teachers: “Raise your hand if you agree that when a child comes to an adult asking for help with an academic problem, the adult should help.”

Fifty hands went up.

So then I asked, “Now raise your hand if you agree that 80 percent of the time, on average, that a child says he needs help with a problem, he does not truly need help; he has simply reached the limit of his tolerance for frustration and wants someone else to solve the problem for him.”

Fifty hands went up. By the way, I’ve done this same exercise with subsequent groups of teachers, always with the same results, proportionately speaking.

Obviously, it makes no sense that someone would agree to both statements. They are contradictory. The true statement, of course, is the second one.

Therefore, adults should not be quick to help children with problems. Adults should not take children who say things like “I can’t,” “It’s too hard” and “I need help” at their word.

They should gently refuse to help. As in, “I know you can do that. You just need to think about it some more.” Or, “You’ve solved harder problems than this one. Are you feeling lazy today?” Yes, it’s perfectly OK to say even that.

Why do today’s moms feel that raising children is an inherently stressful endeavor? For lots of reasons, one of which is that with rare exception, today’s moms believe that when a child asks his mother for help, his mother should stop what she is doing and help.

The mom of 60-plus years ago was not inclined to help on demand, which is a big reason why moms of that bygone era did not complain to one another that raising children was exhausting.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Features
  • Helping cat with first veterinarian visit

    Dear Dr. Fox: A stray kitty adopted me a couple months ago and has since been tamed enough that I have found a vet to neuter him and do some much-needed dental work. My fear is that the poor boy will be so traumatized by this ordeal that ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Veterans Corner needs volunteer to drive residents to OKC VA

    Veterans Corner volunteer of the week David Sudduth has been with us for the last eight years. He is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force who served during the Vietnam War. David and his wife, Carolyn, have had their home in the Newalla area ...

    July 23, 2014

  • Low-cost and free cell phone options for thrifty seniors

    Dear Savvy Senior, What are the cheapest cell phone options available today to seniors living on a shoestring budget? I only need it for occasional calls. — Seldom Calling Senior Dear Seldom, For financially challenged seniors who only ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Harrah residents at home in restored vintage camper

    Sulphur — David Wiegert was quick to help a couple of newbie campers at the Buckhorn Campground on Arbuckle Lake in the Chickasaw National Recreation Area. What Dave offered was badly needed advice on setting up travel trailers, where to ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Historic quilt from Noble on auction block

    An alert quilter and teacher is concerned about a vintage quilt from Noble that’s being auctioned on eBay....

    July 20, 2014

  • Bark for Life brings pets into fundraising

    Local American Cancer Society member and Norman Regional nurse is at it again, raising awareness for cancer patients with an event that gets people moving. “Bark for Life” is a noncompetitive walk that will be from 8 to 10 a.m. Saturday ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Deadline for entering United Way’s The Ride extended

    Kids ages 3 to 8 are getting ready to roll on their decked out big wheel tricycles in an effort to raise money for the United Way of Norman. The Ride, a big wheel race organized by First American Bank and other local businesses, is ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Fundraiser set

    The Apple Gold Group, a franchisee of Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill and Bar, will host a flapjack fundraiser July 26 at Applebee’s, 500 Ed Noble Parkway in Norman....

    July 20, 2014

  • Sculpture brings tornado-torn community together

    After the May 20 tornado tore through Moore in 2013, hundreds of families were left to pick up the pieces. And it was in these old, shattered pieces of people’s homes and scattered debris that two local artists found something new....

    July 20, 2014

  • Keep toddler’s hair short to help end hair-pulling habit

    Q: Since our daughter, now 2 years old, was born, we have lived with my parents. Being the first and only grandchild, she has been the center of attention. Several months ago, our son was born and we moved into our own home. Almost ...

    July 18, 2014