The Joy of Giving It All Away


Kevin Salwen, coauthor of The Power of Half.
Topic: One family’s decision to stop taking and start giving.
Issues: Realizing how much each of us has; what can you give away? The importance of volunteering; starting a family conversation; tapping into anger; experiencing the lives of others.

Stop Taking and Start Giving + Healthy Twins + Ending Defiance


Kevin Salwen, coauthor of The Power of Half.
Topic: One family’s decision to stop taking and start giving.
Issues: Realizing how much each of us has; what can you give away? The importance of volunteering; starting a family conversation; tapping into anger; experiencing the lives of others.



Joan Friedman, author of Emotionally Healthy Twins.
Topic:
A new philosophy for parenting two unique children.
Issues: Recognizing each twin as a unique individual; fostering each child’s separate friendships and activities; coping with the stress that comes with caring for two babies at the same time.



Alan Kazdin, author of The Kazdin Method for Parenting the Defiant Child.
Topic: Parenting a defiant child without pills, therapy, or battles.
Issues: Why most of the parenting advice we get is guaranteed to fail; a research-based and proved approach that is guaranteed to work.

Kids These Days: The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

In recent years we’ve heard a lot about “Generation Me”—young people born between 1981 and 2000, which makes them 32 and under—who are constantly being characterized as selfish, having overinflated egos, no work ethic, and no empathy. Books, articles, TV shows, and every other kind of media insists that today’s young people are qualitatively different than young people of a few generations ago. But is that really true?
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Daddy, why can’t you just get money out of one of those machines?

When my first child, who’s now 22, was less than a year old, I took her to an FAO Schwartz store in New York, thinking that she’d have a ball with all the toys and stuffies. But no matter what I pulled off the shelf, she was always far more interested in playing with the price tags than with the toy itself. Ten or 12 years later, I found it endlessly entertaining that she still had her obsession with price tags, saving up her clothing allowance to buy herself jeans  at $150/pair (I get mine at Costco for $12/pair and have never seen the point of paying much more than that). And in all the years in between, I can’t even count the number of times when she, presented with a “No, bunny, I don’t want to buy that right now,” would come back with, “Daddy, can’t you just get money from one of those machines?”
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Encouraging generosity

Dear Mr. Dad: My wife and I have always been actively involved in worthwhile causes and regularly volunteer at an organization that helps disadvantaged people in our community. Our children are now eight and ten. Is it too early to teach them the importance of generosity, and how do we do it?

A: Congrats to both of you for not only choosing to be part of such a worthwhile cause, but also for wanting to grow the spirit of generosity in your children. Communities all across America need more people like you, especially since many of them don’t have enough funding to help those in need.

The simple answer to your question is that it’s never too early (or too late, for that matter) to teach your children about altruism and to lay the groundwork for a lifetime commitment to helping less fortunate than themselves. This is particularly important since they live in a “me” centered society, where far too many people put their own needs ahead of others’, or ignore other people’s misfortunes altogether.
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