NDSU Extension - Sargent County


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Babe Ruth and Parenting

Babe Ruth and Parenting 7/14/17Earlier this week, Tuesday, July 11, to be exact, would have been the day to celebrate Babe Ruth’s 103rd anniversary of his debut as a major league baseball player.   As a youngster, he was often absent from school without good reason.  Referred to as “truancy,” by age seven it is what led his parents to decide he was more than they could handle, so they sent him to an orphanage.  That would have been in 1902.  He lived there until he was 19 years old when he started his career in major league baseball. 

The facts of Babe’s early childhood made me think about the differences in parenting back then compared to now. 

A publication from the University of Missouri Extension addresses the topic of positive discipline and child guidance.  It states, “Every adult who cares for children has a responsibility to guide, correct and socialize them toward appropriate behaviors. Positive guidance and discipline are crucial for children because they promote self-control, teach responsibility and help them make thoughtful choices. The more effective adult caregivers are at encouraging appropriate child behavior, the less time and effort they will spend correcting misbehavior. Family specialists agree that using physical force, threats and put-downs can interfere with a child's healthy development.”

Focusing on the development of the child is the foundation for effective guidance and discipline.  Preservation of the child's self-esteem and dignity are key elements of effective guidance and discipline.  On the other hand, actions that insult or belittle are likely to cause children to view their parents and other caregivers negatively, which can inhibit learning and teach the child to be unkind to others. Acknowledging a child's efforts and progress, no matter how slow or small, encourages healthy development.

Parenting includes teaching children self-discipline.  It is a demanding job.  Being a parent requires patience, thoughtful attention, cooperation and a good understanding of the child, along with knowledge of one's own strengths and struggles with disciplinary issues. Unfortunately, the only preparation for most parents is their own experience of being parented. Such past experiences may not always be helpful in raising children.

Children are usually curious, creative, and active.  Those traits can lead to things that parents and caregivers might not expect.  And while it is not possible to prevent all misbehavior, there are many positive steps adults can take to be proactive and minimize misbehavior.  A few of these approaches include: 

  • Set clear, consistent rules
  • Make the environment is safe and worry-free
  • Show sincere interest in the child's activities
  • Provide appropriate and engaging playthings
  • Encourage self-control by providing meaningful choices
  • Focus on the desired behavior, rather than the one to be avoided
  • Build children's self-image as trustworthy, responsible and cooperative
  • Give clear directions, one at a time
  • Notice and pay attention to children when they do things right
  • Take action before a situation gets out of control
  • Be encouraging
  • Set a good example.
  • Help children see how their actions affect others

 Source:  http://extension.missouri.edu/p/GH6119

Photo Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/22711505@N05/24656072473  (downloaded 7/18/17)

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