Parenting expert and best selling author Barbara Coloroso shares her three foundational principles of child-rearing, how to get kids to be accountable for their actions, and what we can do as parents to raise confident, happy children. --- This interview is unlike any we’ve done so far on The Knowledge Project. We’re talking parenting with one of the foremost experts in the field, Barbara Coloroso. Her work was introduced to me by the mother of one of my son’s friends, (possibly as a hint towards my parenting), and once I started reading her books, I knew I had to get her on the show. Her style is spunky, hard-nosed and compassionate all at the same time. And the qualities that her methods instill in children, mirror those that I want for my own kids — kindness, accountability, curiosity, and self-reliance to name a few. I’ll admit, as a father of two boys, I had selfish motivations to get Barbara one on one, and hopefully get the inside track on how to master this parenting thing. If you’re a parent, uncle, aunt, or interact with children in any way, you won’t want to miss this captivating interview. Here are a few highlights from our discussion: I came up with three basic tenets. One, kids are worth it. I believe they're worth our time, energy and resources to help them become all they can become. Second, I won't treat them in a way I, myself, would not want to be treated. And third, it must leave my dignity and the child's dignity intact. I felt that bribes and threats, rewards and punishments, which by the way, have become an insidious part of our culture, really interfere with raising an ethical human being. I want a child who will stand up for values and against injustices when it costs them, not when they're getting rewarded for being good because it's all about getting caught. Praise-dependent, reward-dependent children make wonderful henchmen for bullies. They will do the bully's bidding because they want whatever reward that bully is dangling in front of them. If you make a mistake, it's a very simple formula. Simple doesn't make it easy. With a mistake, you own it, you fix it, you learn from it and you move on. We want assertive lines, not aggressive or passive. Our climate today of adult discourse doesn't help our kids at all, with these virulent attacks and dehumanization of another human being, which is what verbal bullying does. So we need to walk our talk and talk our walk. Discipline is not something we do to a child. It's something we do with a child. Punishment's adult-oriented. It's imposed from without. It arouses resentment and teaches kids to respond out of fear, or fight back, or flee. Discipline, on the other hand, means to give life to a child's learning. If it's not life threatening, morally threatening, or unhealthy, let it go. Let them experience the consequences. I really dislike it when people say, "My teenager's my best friend," I say, "Get a life." They need a mentor. They don't need a friend right now, not you as a friend. Then in adulthood, you can become their friend and you better become a good friend because they do pick out your nursing home. We have 105 words for penis, and 125 for breasts, and only one for an ankle. We have to start young teaching kids to use their proper words. I want a little boy to say something like, "My penis feels funny," instead of using all these euphemisms, wee wee, sausage and bacon, or twigs and berries and all the different words that we use. Deep caring is not liking somebody. I tell kids, “You do not have to like every kid in this classroom, but you must honor their humanity.” Deep caring is a must to relieve somebody else's suffering, and wishing them well, which by the way, is the antithesis of mean and cruel. Listen and Learn --- For comprehensive show notes on this episode, including a full edited transcript, go to https://fs.blog/podcast/ Is your brain hungry for more? Don't miss out! Sign up for our weekly "Brain Food" at https://fs.blog/newsletter/ Follow @farnamstreet on Twitter for mind-expanding content.
The world-renowned surgeon, writer, and researcher Atul Gawande shares powerful lessons about creating a culture of safe learning, the critical difference between a coach and a mentor, and how to ensure constant improvement in key areas of your personal and professional life. *** Atul Gawande is one of the most impressive individuals I’ve had the pleasure to interview. He’s one of the world’s top surgeons, a researcher, a prolific writer at The New Yorker, a multiple time best-selling author, and a husband and father to boot. In this fascinating interview, I’m sure you’ll find that Atul is wise and generous with the lessons he’s learned over a dynamic and accomplished career but also maintains a childlike humility, curiosity and eagerness to learn. We cover a lot of ground in our discussion, so here are a few excerpts to give you a taste of what you can expect: I like having a lot of irons in the fire. I like being a jack of all trades and finding the edges between things is often where I have something to add. [My ideas] come from digging in deep enough to understand the gap between what we're aspiring for and the reality of what we're doing and then trying to figure out where the bridge is to narrow that wide gap. When we all have a piece of care or a piece of a problem, very often none of us can actually see what the outcome is and the owner can't see the function of the system. So then you start finding things like data really matter. We've been fantastic at breakthrough innovation and we've had no real understanding of follow-through innovation. I think it's partly that the follow through innovation can seem like it's only about nuts and bolts, instead of about recognizing that there are ways that you can actually influence and have control, some degree of control, with regard to the world around you. For most of human history, for like 99.99% of it, our world was governed largely by ignorance. We did not know the diseases that could afflict the human body or understand them, let alone what to do about them. We didn't understand how societies rose and fell. We didn't understand how economics worked, even in the most basic components. Even if we were to come to a complete understanding of all the laws of the universe, we won't be able to understand all of the interconnections and all of the particularities and how they all interconnect. We're always making our best prediction and effort to be able to drive that, and so grappling, something about that is deeply human. In other industries that I've seen that have been able to create that space, you know, engineers on successful teams are able to create, and you can see on teams within the same organization and the same research lab for example, you can see good and bad culture within the teams, but when the leader has made it so people can actually speak up with an equal voice. People from the highest level to the lowest level, they have all been able to contribute, and when that exchange is the way that it occurs, then you know you're there. The pedagogical theory is you go to Julliard, you get your 10,000 hours of practice with the violin, and you then head out into the world and you're responsible for the rest of your self-improvement along the way. That model is the primary one in professional life, most musicians, in medicine, in teaching, in business. The other model is mostly out of sports and that's the coaching model, and that says, I don't care if you're Roger Federer, you will have blind spots when it comes to your own improvement and you need a coach. Over time I think what we've been learning is the coaching model beats the teaching model, and has significant advantages. The fact of rising health care costs is not the problem. What is the problem is, how much of the costs are rising that are not actually connected in any way to value. I'm ruthless about prioritization. I just try to do no more than a couple of things at a time. I may do something different in a couple of months so it can make it seem like I'm doing a million things at once, but I'm not actually. I'm only doing one thing at a time. --- For comprehensive show notes on this episode, including a full edited transcript, go to https://fs.blog/podcast/ Is your brain hungry for more? Don't miss out! Sign up for our weekly "Brain Food" at https://fs.blog/newsletter/ Follow @farnamstreet for mind-expanding content.