Submitted by Lake Forest Country Day School
Dr. Michael Thompson addressed an audience of parents and educators on October 22 at Lake Forest Country Day School for a talk entitled “How to Raise Responsible Children.” Over 150 people attended the event, which was free and open to the public. The Michael Thompson lecture was part of LFCDS’ “Special Speaker Series.”
A renowned child psychologist and the New York Times best-selling author of Raising Cain and Best Friends, Worst Enemies, Dr. Thompson noted that while there is no single, correct method of parenting, it is essential that children be held accountable by loving and supportive adults in multiple frameworks. With today’s parents leading increasingly busy lives, the role a school plays in supporting this essential structure becomes crucial. A child’s connection with a school that provides a consistent framework of rules and expectations is critical to raising responsible children, Dr. Thompson mentioned.
Dr. Thompson’s lecture highlighted factors that help produce children “who are able to navigate the social dynamics and moral demands of group life.” Dr. Thompson noted the importance that schools play in providing a secure base and a strong sense of connection. For parents, this is their primary role in the first three years of life. Children with a secure base do better socially, they are bolder, more exploratory, and they leave their parents with more confidence. Dr. Thompson mentioned that this is a fundamental first framework. Dr. Thompson also noted the importance that an extended framework outside of the school plays for developing responsible children. The addition of a supplementary group of friends and other adults who can provide guidance and consistency for children creates a vital second family structure that helps children learn to navigate their way through life.
Dr. Thompson also mentioned some key parenting tips during the lecture. Among these suggestions was an emphasis on parents making a conscious effort to spend quality time with their kids in a non-forceful way. In this sense, Dr. Thompson mentioned that the most valuable parent-kid times are often during those moments when conversation occurs spontaneously. Parents need to be ready to listen and focus on what their child is saying to them during these impromptu situations. Finally, Dr. Thompson mentioned that discipline is still an essential component in parenting, and that parents must be consistent in establishing and enforcing a solid a set of expectations and rules that children can live by.
Lake Forest Country Day School will continue hosting its “Special Speaker Series.” More information will be forthcoming. For a full recap on this event, please visit https://www.lfcds.org/MichaelThompsonRecap.