have much more privilege then we had growing up.” The key, she says, is in how we approach the good fortune we have. “I think we concentrate too much on huge changes. There are small things parents can do every day. Things like practicing gratitude in our families, and understanding the connection between hard work and privilege—that fast and easy is not a smart ethic.”
Know the difference between praise and being resilient to shame It seems like the rules for parenting are constantly changing. First, we don’t praise enough. Then we praise too much. This summer’s “You Are Not Special” commencement speech from Wellesley High School was a YouTube sensation. So if we’re not supposed to
praise our kids, how do we instill them with the sense of worthiness that Dr. Brown promotes? “The issue is not the amount of praise,” she says. “It is the intention. If (the praise) is to lessen our guilt for not being present, that’s a problem.”
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Brown suggests that instead of focusing on praise, parents can focus on how to raise kids who can cope with the inevitable shame that comes from, for example, flunking a test. “If you want to raise shame-resilient kids, live yourself and make mistakes.” She also believes that there are no guarantees about success, but who parents are as adults can be an accurate predictor of how children will be when they grow up. At a recent appearance in Northfield, Dr. Brown concluded her remarks by reminding the audience that home should be the place our children feel safe to be themselves, and their sense of worthiness is borne from how we act and treat ourselves. “You can’t give your kids more worthiness than you have.”
11/6/12 6:23 PM
2012 Gift Guide, Brene Brown, Holiday Theatre & more!