Reading Notes – Dear Parent: Caring for Infants with Respect

My Notes

  • “Many parents, teachers, physicians, and other professionals spend time and energy trying to speed up development, to force children to do what they cannot do, or to teach them what they are not yet capable of. How sad. Nobody gains except the many who take money by manufacturing gadgets which supposedly speed up the natural developmental process.”
  • “While some people may respond to the voice of reason and begin to question what is really best for their infants, I fear many more will be lured by multi-colored parachutes and flash cards of painters and brain parts. As a result, more and more babies will be tossed up in the air, taught irrelevant information, treated like objects, and fed data like computers. It is like force feeding the child with food he or she cannot digest.”
  • “Parents may try so hard to “teach” their children that they do not realize just what the children are learning from them. When infants do not understand what is being asked of them, all they learn is to respond to their parents’ cues, however unintentional they may be — facial expression, tone of voice, subtle gestures. Infants learn to perform, like elephants in the circus—not appreciated for just being themselves, but for doing tricks.”
  • “Parents may not realize the high price they may have to pay for their ambitious endeavors to speed up infancy and interfere with natural growth. They may never connect early stressful training with problems frequently encountered later on: from sleeping and eating disorders to nervous and self-destructive behaviors (hair-pulling, nail-biting, stuttering, nervous tics, or anorexia); from disinterest, bored and unmotivated students to early school dropouts and drug abusers. While the effect of any environment is dependent on the child’s personality, vulnerability and resilience some of these children may need intensive psychotherapy at some point. But I have yet to hear of a single case in which a person (coming from loving parents and an average, responsive environment) sought therapy because he or she had not been taught enough during infancy.” p 152-153
  • “I consider safety the prerequisite for implementing the RIE approach. By safety I mean an environment which is so totally safe that, even without adult supervision, the infant or toddler would be totally safe…” p 157
  • “I wish children could grow according to their natural pace: sleep when sleepy, wake up when rested, eat when hungry, cry when upset, express feelings, play and explore without being unnecessarily interrupted; in other words, be allowed to grow and blossom as each was meant to.” p 163
  • Recommended reading from Magda: The Art of Loving, by Erich Fromm (purchased)
  • Favorite Article: Does RIE Make a Difference? p 171