The Washington Post

Anna Quindlen: Why parents should take a Picasso-like approach to raising kids

Earlier today, I posted an excerpt from the new memoir by Anna Quindlen, “Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake,” (April, Random House).

Author Anna Quindlen. (Joyce Ravid/Random House)

Given her book’s attention to the generational shifts in child-rearing attitudes, I asked the expert at introspection, also a mother of three, which parenting trend from the past should be most embraced now and in the future.

Her response: Teach manners.

“When children are small, parents should run their lives and not the other way around,” she said.

“Choices are much too confusing for them: It’s not, ‘What do you want to drink?’ It’s ‘Apple juice or milk?’ ”

“You want to have fun with your kids, and no one has fun with someone who runs roughshod. Raising a child is a little like Picasso’s work; in the beginning he did very conventional representational things. Cubism came after he had the rules down pat. Children should have enough freedom to be themselves — once they’ve learned the rules.”

What is the single most important parenting lesson you learned from your own mother or father?

Related Content:

Mother’s Day without Mom

Why Washington parents don’t ‘ask their mothers’ for advice on raising kids


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