Headline, August 20 2021/ ''' '' THE PARENTING TAP '' ''' : HONOURS


 TAP '' ''' : HONOURS

!WOW! AS MUSE : IN THE FULLNESS OF TIME - PARENTS, the world over, will rely on The World Students Society for inspiration, maybe distraction, and of course, for lots and lots of fun.

OPINION : A SMARTER WAY TO MAKE CHOICES. What parents can learn from the strategies of well-run companies.

Parenting deliberately isn't going to give us all the control we want. If the past 18 months have taught nothing else, it is the lesson that some parts of life are simply beyond our control.

TAKING A CUE FROM MY PAST LIFE as a business school professor, I thought about how well-run companies make important decisions. They are deliberate. They have structured processes - evaluation steps, meetings, a timeline. This is what is often missing in our parenting.

In my own case, I made a business of using data to make decisions in early parenting - relying heavily on what science said about the choices I was considering. Unfortunately for me, the data approach is incomplete when the logistics of a household with older children come into the picture.

I found myself scrounging for any scrap of data that might help, and then making decisions sometimes almost at random, often at the last minute. The haphazard aspect of this process was stressful. Not having a plan resulted in what felt like an avoidable fuss.

And then I realized, there are better ways to do this.

Concretely, deliberate parenting means two things. The first is being clear up front about what is important to each family member and what is important to the family collectively. Some of this is abstract; most parents try to get their family aligned along some core values.

But a larger part is answering questions like, What would my ideal Tuesday look like? This may seem mundane, but your life is made of Tuesdays. If your Tuesdays are not what you hope, you may not be as happy as you can be.

WHEN WE BECOME PARENTS - WE expect to be many things : someone who wakes in the middle of the night and who cleans up food from the floor ; someone who comforts, who loves, who disciplines, who celebrates.

What we perhaps did not expect is to take on the job of the logistics manager. It creeps on us as children age. The floor may get cleaner and the mid-night wake-ups less frequent, but in their place is the stress of competing demands on our children's time and ours.

Which school to go to and how to get there? Is evening math tutoring necessary? What do we do about summer camp? How can three children with two parents be at three birthday parties on Saturday at 2 p.m.?

Making these questions more challenging is that they feel weightier than early parenting choices, that they matter more in the long term and that making a mistake is somehow worse.

On top of this, an older child has more demands and more opinions. The decisions feel important and hard, and many parents feel lost as to how to make them well.

Consider this : One day, your 9-year-old daughter arrives home with the exciting news that she has been invited to join the travel soccer team. She really wants to do it. In fact, she insists, if you do not let her, you will literally ruin her life.

It's easy to think of this as a question about soccer, about one activity. But it's not; it's a question of priorities.

The soccer team may have four evening practices a week and one weekend day [at least!] spent at tournaments. If you say yes, this will take over a lot of your days. [Of course. if you say no, you'll ruin your daughter's life]

For many of us, the pandemic has brought these decisions into a new light. During lockdown, we turned off so much of what we were doing.

As families reemerge, there is an opportunity to choose what we actually want to return to. Our schedules are blank slates, waiting for us to design them in a way that we might like better. At the same time, we have to make all these difficult choices anew.

Early parenting experiences haven't necessarily prepared us. With a baby, so much is immediate. With toddlers or older children, most parents know that ''giving in to the loudest whinning '' isn't the best way to decide, but it's hard to know what to replace that with.

In my family, we have decided that having dinner together at 6 p.m., is among our most important priorities. I could give several reasons for this, but the main reason is simply that for both my husband and me, it's part of an ideal day. Recognizing this shapes a lot of other decisions.

Here's one example : My daughter's primary athletic activity is running, and at some point a fellow parent mentioned a youth running club at the local high school. When I looked into it, I found out that it meets at 6.p.m. twice a week, conflicting with dinner.

That made it a nonstarter, and I don't know that I even raised it with the rest of the family as an option. But if we hadn't established, up front, that dinner takes priority, I can easily imagine having made a different choice. And after a few more choices like that, our ideal day would be gone.

It would be a mistake, though, to think that in this stage of parenting, personal preferences are all that matter. There are still places where the data is compelling enough that parents would be wise to consider it seriously.

Parenting deliberately - in any decision - isn't going to give us all the control we want. If the past 18 months have taught nothing else, it is the lesson that some parts of our life are simply beyond our control. And there is so much at stake.

If I choose the wrong school, or allow my child to use the social media too early or fail to nurture some special talent, am I forever affecting the person my child can become? That is really what it is about.

The choices we make will shape, at least in part, the adult our child becomes. We can never know whether our choices are right. But every parent can have the confidence to know that we made the choices in the right way, that we did our best in the moment.

And that, itself, should deliver comfort.

The Honor and Serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on Parenting and Future, continues.

The World Students Society thanks author Emily Oster, a professor of economics at Brown University. and the author of ''The Family Firm : A Data Driven Guide to Better Decision Making in Early School Years, from which this essay is adapted.

With most respectful dedication to all the Parents of the world, and then Students, Professors and Teachers. See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011 :

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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