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T. Berry Brazelton on Self-esteem, Spanking, and Vegetables!

The New York Times website has a blog called “Well” that recently interviewed Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, one of our country’s most known (and loved) pediatricians.  He’s the author of at least 24 books on parenting, child development, and the like, and he’s a bit of a hero to me. 

In the interview, Dr. Brazelton and co-author Dr. Josh Sparrow answer questions from readers, on several topics including self-esteem, spanking, learning from your kids, and nutrition.  I wanted to highlight 3 things for you from the interview.  On self esteem, they describe the importance of unconditional acceptance from the parent, and the opportunity for challenge, failure, and success as keys to building self-esteem. 

On spanking, they say:

Our belief is that spanking is not necessary, can be harmful, and certainly does not serve the purposes of discipline.

And on nutrition, Dr. Brazelton says:

Vegetables! I hated them as a child — and I still hate them. My younger
brother hated them more. As I watched my mother hover over him for
hours trying to shovel vegetables into him, while completely ignoring
me, I began to hate my brother even more than vegetables. Now you know
why I became a pediatrician — to stamp out vegetables, and to overcome
my guilt at wanting to kill my brother!

He goes on to advise parents: “Forget about vegetables!” and focus on exposure and avoiding power struggles instead.  It’s great advice, of course!

To read the entire post about self-esteem and spanking, click here.

Or here for the article about nutrition.

2 Comments on “T. Berry Brazelton on Self-esteem, Spanking, and Vegetables!

  1. Brazelton is one of my heroes too. I think his parenting books were the first I bought a generation ago. I think he is so wise to point out that failing and being loved and accepted anyway is important in building self esteem – that it isn’t even good to always succeed. THat was a tough point for me as a parent, allowing the moments of difficulty and abiding, not trying to fix everything and make the problems go away. And the vegetable comments are funny! Thanks for this entry.

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