A Stoic upbringing, Parenting basics

Wipe Your Nose: Common-sense Stoic Advice for Parents and Children

  Whining. Yelling. Not sharing. Grumpiness, laziness, stubbornness. Does this sound familiar? Yes, these are just a few things that we parents are guilty of. Oh, did you think I was talking about the kids? They do the same things, of course, but they’re just children. We adults should know better. Since I’ve become a Stoic parent, there have been…

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A Stoic upbringing, Parenting basics

Teaching virtue: Teachable moments and good judgment

Stoicism gives us many reasons to seek virtue: living in accordance with nature, fulfilling our rational purpose as human beings, benefiting the rest of humankind, finding eudaimonia. Once you embrace the Stoic way of life, it’s only natural to want these same gifts for your child. But children have a different psychological makeup than adults. They don’t reason and understand…

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A Stoic upbringing, Parenting basics

So be good for goodness’ sake

You better watch out You better not cry Better not pout I’m telling you why Santa Claus is coming to town   He’s making a list And checking it twice Gonna find out who’s naughty and nice Santa Claus is coming to town   He sees you when you’re sleeping He knows when you’re awake He knows if you’ve been…

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A Stoic upbringing, Parenting basics

Shaping your child’s character, not personality

It seems that everyone and everything in our world is obsessed with personality. Your personality type (of which there are many), Donald Trump’s personality, crafting a personality that will help you succeed in business or at cocktail parties. People are deemed desirable or undesirable on the basis of their personality: he’s weird, she talks too much, she’s desperate, he’s awkward.…

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A Stoic upbringing, Dichotomy of control, Love

Happy families: A Stoic guide to family relationships

  See an expanded version of this post on the Stoicism Today blog at Modern Stoicism. “All happy families are alike,” wrote Tolstoy in Anna Karenina, and “each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” When I first read this line as a teenager, I couldn’t understand what Tolstoy meant. How could there be many kinds of unhappiness, but…

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A Stoic upbringing, Parenting basics

Stoic cool

The other day, as I was flipping through stations on my car radio, I started thinking about the challenge of raising morally excellent kids in a world in which being cool means not really caring about anything besides yourself. No matter what kind of music or tv shows you like, it’s hard to escape the cultural message that being edgy,…

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A Stoic upbringing, Miscellaneous

Oikeiosis

Oikeiosis is a strange Greek word that has an even stranger (and to us, rather vague) meaning, and yet it was once central to Stoic thought and doctrine. When it is mentioned in modern Stoic writing, it has to be extensively glossed, since we have no true equivalent concepts in modern Western society. Translators have used words such as affinity,…

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A Stoic upbringing

Instructions vs. core principles

Some days I feel like I am constantly telling my kids what to do: get your feet off the couch, be careful with Freddy, use good table manners, play nicely together, clean up your toys. It’s annoying for me and for them, but often it seems there is no alternative to this steady stream of instructions. That’s why I stopped…

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A Stoic upbringing

A Stoic upbringing: The discipline of action

Of the three Stoic disciplines, the discipline of action may be the most natural to teach young children. While the disciplines of desire and assent have primarily internal processes and results, the discipline of action is more external and visible. So because children interact with other people every day, they have plenty of opportunities to learn and practice Stoic ethics–and…

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A Stoic upbringing

A Stoic upbringing: The discipline of desire

Epictetus advises Stoic novices to start by disciplining their desires and aversions, which makes sense because desiring things is one of our most primal instincts–we would hardly stay alive without it. As (social) animals we instinctively seek not only food and shelter, but also power and social status. But Epictetus tells us we must overcome our animal instincts and use…

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