Thursday, May 31, 2018

Are You a Carpenter or Gardener Parent?

I just listened to an informative podcast by NPR's Shankar Vendantam about parenting.  You can find the link here.  He interviewed Alison Gopnik, psychology and philosophy professor at Berkeley about two models of parenting, the carpenter versus the gardener model.

Listen to the podcast and see what type of parent you are.

The one thing that bothered me about the questions Shankar asked Alison was his narrow definition of success.  He seems to define successful children as those who are in the top 5% in any given field.  Ug.  Will we ever get past this?

I do think Ms. Gopnik was able to challenge him with her science on parents who allow children room to grow, explore, create, fail, innovate, etc.  Gardener parents don't expect a certain result by using certain tools and instruction manuals in raising their children (like carpenter parents do), instead, gardener parents help their children plant the seeds, step back, allow variables to derail the expected result, and ultimately accept whatever happens.

Parents are much less stressed out when they can adopt this mode of parenting.  This really is about parents living in the present by not expecting their kid's future to turn out a certain way and by being okay with what happens each day.  Some days may even come with pleasant, unexpected, wonderful surprises if you just sit back in wonder at what is growing in the garden we call our children's lives.

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