Same Game, New Rules: Parenting in 2018
Raising well-adjusted children has always seemed difficult, but now the task — as well as the duty to protect them — seems more difficult and necessary than ever. As our lives are disrupted by technology and identity is viewed with more nuance than ever, how do we parent well in 21st century? How can we work to support our children instead of confining them? What stresses do boys, girls, and nonbinary children experience today that they had not before? What new opportunities do our children have, and how do we harness them for the benefit of our families and societies?
- 2018 Festival
Professor Joseph Nelson has seen first-hand how harmful stereotypes can be to children as they develop and grow. Whether it’s in the classroom or at home, adults pigeonhole children into thinking and feeling in ways that adults expect them to. Black boys, for example, are seen as hypermasculine, hypersexual, and violent, and they’re more likely to think of themselves in those ways because of how adults treat them.
Author and professor Lise Eliot follows up on Nelson’s comments with a reminder that adults may tell children to follow their dreams, but they often still think of children as hard-wired to follow a certain path because of their race, gender, etc.
Lise Eliot: We may say to [boys], ‘you can be anything.’ But part of us really doesn’t believe that. There really are these narrow things you can be. We wouldn’t be too excited if you turned out to be a nurse or a teacher or a caregiver. So boys get this very mixed message, and it makes it a challenge for them. And it diminishes the range of things that they can feel accomplished and creative in.
For many educators, standardized tests are both loathsome and a fact of life. But they’re most often talked about in context of teachers and school performance, not their impact on student development. Watch as Lise Eliot and Joseph Derrick Nelson discuss how a better vision of standardized tests might help both teachers and parents:
Are single-parent families a source of hardship, the result of hardship, or both? Moderator David Leonhardt dives into a topic that has been dogging American society for centuries. See how Lise Eliot responds to his question:
Prepare to be uncomfortable, warns writer Sarah Rich. Children are embracing ideas of gender and identity that invite ambiguity, and it’s no secret that many people don’t respond well to ambiguity.
Big IdeaFrom a cultural standpoint, where I think we’re headed - where I hope we’re headed - is to the idea that individual people are going to express themselves in many ways and gender doesn’t have to be the number one primary sorting mechanism for how people distinguish themselves starting at a young age.Sarah Rich
But Joseph Nelson reminds us that our best resource for learning to support children who adopt ambiguous identities is the children themselves. Listen, ask, and learn, says Nelson, and work together to build a support system.
First it was TV, then it was computers, now it’s cell phones. Cell phones are incredible pieces of technology, but in some ways they’re also a pandora’s box. How should parents and educators incorporate cell phone use into the daily life of children?
The smartphone generation
In response to an audience question about appropriate cell phone usage for children, Sarah Rich argues that the best thing we can do is to model for children what a relationship with cell phones looks like.