The Parent-Teacher-Child Connection: Parenting Lessons from Pirates?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Parenting Lessons from Pirates?

Excellent advice from my friends at www.nanny.net ...

The popularity of the Pirates of the Caribbean films have led to a surge in pirate popularity in the last decade; themed parties for kids and adults alike, novelty items and a flood of books and films have appeared to cash in on the pirate craze. For parents of pirate-crazy youngsters, here are a few childcare lessons one might take from the canon of pirate legends.
  1. Travel With a Like-Minded Crew – Solo pirate ships often created alliances with a fleet of other ships in order to reduce the chances of being taken down in an attack. This safety-in-numbers approach is easy to apply to parenting; banding together with a group of like-minded parents can be a great way of trading childcare and building a support system.
  2. They Had Rules, Too – Pirates operated under a strict code of rules and regulations; though certainly different from the rules of the law-abiding set, they carried their own consequences for disobedience. Creating guidelines that work for your family is much more important than arbitrarily using a one-size-fits-all approach that may not be effective.
  3. Pirate Ships Were Organized Outfits – Though most tend to think of a pirate ship as a group of ne’er-do-wells with no organization, this wasn’t the case. Each ship had a routine and a battle plan in place; running your home like a well-oiled machine might be a good parenting method. Children need structure, and to know what to expect each day.
  4. Everyone Played Their Part – Each person aboard a pirate ship had clearly defined roles and were expected to perform certain duties. Similarly, being sure that each member of your family knows what’s expected of them from day to day is important for a child’s well-being and happiness.
  5. Women Were Pirates, Too – Teaching gender equality can be as simple as pointing out that some of the most feared and successful pirates of their time were women. Though encouraging little girls to become sea-faring criminals might not be the intended result, this can serve as a great jumping-off point for a discussion about equality.
  6. Marooned Pirates Had to Make Their Own Way – Inspiring a measure of self-reliance and independence in kids by telling tales of pirates marooned on deserted islands can be exciting and encouraging. Using survival as a parable for overcoming great odds is an entertaining way to impart valuable lessons.
  7. Most Pirate Stories are Myths – The things that most of us think we know about pirates are purely fictional; similarly, many of the things that new parents expect to encounter or think that they know are based on old wives’ tales. Take a hint from pirate lore, and research what you’re told on your own.
  8. Mutiny Was Typically a Calm Discussion – Another pirate myth is that mutinies were always bloody, violent business. In fact, they where generally very calm discussions in which a captain was simply replaced by someone the crew felt was more suited. Encouraging your children to feel comfortable approaching you with grievances and discussing them calmly is a great way to stave of mutinous youngsters in your own home.
  9. There Was Nothing Glamorous About Piracy – Explaining the very real dangers and hardships that pirates faced can be a good way to open a dialogue about glamorous depictions versus reality. Gently explaining that many things aren’t what they appear can be easier, using piratical life as a template.
  10. Work Was Distributed Among Many – Pirates understood that tasks were completed much more quickly when they were split among everyone aboard; this example is a great way to show kids that working together to accomplish something they’d rather not do can make the time and task pass by more quickly.
And I'll add #11 ... Find the gold wherever you go - So often, parents look for and recognize the bad things their children do (poor grades, disobedience, destructiveness, etc.)  Instead, find the good things your children do and reward the positive behavior with a simple hug, kiss, star on a chart, etc.  I think you'll find that gold is more valuable than rusty metal!

Happy Parenting!

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