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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Parents and kids

   
Author Topic: Parents and kids
Stephen Wolfe
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Okay, so I'm assuming that most of the people here are adults, and it seems that many of you have kids.

I wa sjust wondering how may of you have kids that also enjoy writing, and how much of it do you think that they got form you (the rent).

I was just curious becauseboth my parents are educators, (my mom a high school enlgish teacher, and my father has to write kids shows for a living), but I never felt that I learned anything about writing from them. They've never critiqued any of my work, and I've never read any of their own work, but I'm sure it's no coincidence that all 3 of us love writing.


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JBSkaggs
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I think kids want to emulate their parents and pick up a love of things- even if it is only by example.

Of course some kids hate everything their parents do.

I try to help my kids but they prefer strangers as teachers. They feel like they can be open and more honest with a stranger than Dad and his judgemental gaze.

JB Skaggs


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djvdakota
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I think a large part of it is that families pass on a tradition of love for literature to their children. And anyone with a good knowledge of good literature and a good solid basis in the fundamentals of grammar can easily come to learn to write well--and learn to love it.
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MaryRobinette
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I'm not a parent, but I know that my parent's influenced my writing by making sure I had access to good literature. So your parents may not have actively taught you, but--I might be giving tricks away here. My parents have recently been letting me in on ways in which they deliberately influenced choices without ever "teaching" me. If your folks critique other things in front of you, they may be passing coded messages about your work. As an adult, I am constantly amazed at how much smarter the grownups are than I thought they were. Sneaky devils, all of them.

(I'm 36 and still dodging grown-up status.)

[Edited to add this forgotten thing]
My mom read to me at bedtime from before I have memory. When I was in first grade and we all trotted to the library for the first time, I wanted to check out Nancy Drew. My teacher wasn't going to let me because she thought I needed to pick something more suitable. I still remember opening the book and reading out loud from it to prove that I was past "See Spot Run."

Yay for my Mom and Dad!

[This message has been edited by MaryRobinette (edited May 12, 2005).]


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djvdakota
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By the way, I do have kids. Both my literate children write (the other's a bit young yet). My oldest writes some incredibly beautiful poetry, my son loves to write comics and, when he has the inclination, writes stories with amazing skill for a ten-year-old.

These two both emulate their parents' love of reading and read far beyond their grade levels.

Proud Mama!


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Lullaby Lady
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I homeschool my children, and while I believe that some of their talents are heredity, I am also a big believer in the power of example. I know that my kids will not study, write or read unless they see me do so. I am a very musical person, and my children have followed suit-- it is a big part of our family culture, but not something I have forced upon them.

I know many kids go through times where they don't want to be anything like their parents. But most people inevitably go back to their roots.

~LL


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RFLong
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I have very young kids (3 years and 7 months). Obviously, they have yet to produce anything approaching a submission-ready manuscript

However, Diarmuid will continually pick up notebooks and pens (mine if he can lay hands on them) and tell me he is working. He adores books and at playschool, one of his favorite things is to read a book quietly by himself. He will sit down anywhere (and I mean ANYWHERE) if he wants to read - home, supermarkets, parks...

Even the baby is starting to show an interest in books. She sits on my lap and gets very excited when I open a book.

Thing is, they pick it up from my husband and myself. Just as we picked it up from our parents. All the grandparents are voracious readers. My father writes. Both my sisters have published non-fiction in their fields (child psychology and art). And our parents picked it up from their parents. Cousins, grandfathers, brothers and sisters - the fights at the bookstalls of jumble sales are the embarassing thing.

Anyway, my 2 cents worth.

R


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dpatridge
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i'm only barely an adult myself... and that only legally, i'm still dodging the reality of it

however, my parents are very literary people. and they also used some other tricks to encourage us to become literate. for one thing, when they didn't want us kids to know what they were talking about, they would spell the words out. i was so proud of myself when i was first able to crack the code

my dad would read Lion, Witch, and Wardrobe to us on the way to Church and home and to Grandma's on Sundays as well.

i think the biggest thing that pushed me to enjoy reading, however, was the fact that i COULDN'T do it when i was younger. as soon as i could i felt like i had a lot of catching up to do. i've been catching up with that imaginary race ever since


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Three Minute Egg
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My mother read a lot when I was a kid but I don't remember her ever reading to us kids. My dad didn't read at all. We didn't get a TV until I was around 12. By then, I'd read every Reader's Digest Condensed Book, the set of encyclopedias, most of the school library, and anything else I could get my hands on.

With my daughter, we try to strike a balance. She is surrounded by books, gets them all the time for Christmas, birthdays, etc. My wife also reads a fair bit. She's taken to writing in her diary (she's 13 going on 44, BTW). She writes a lot of poetry - I'm no poet, not sure WHERE that comes from, but I'm glad to see it.

It's tough sometimes, with all the other distractions of modern kid life, to get them to sit down and read. Too easy to flip on the tube.


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Keeley
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My parents read to me just about every night until I was 10 (we read as a family). By then I was staying up late reading by myself. I was 6 or 7 when they read The Wind in the Willows and I never lost that image of Mr. Toad sitting in the middle of the street, watching the automobile drive away, with a toot-toot on his lips.

My kids are too young to produce anything written. However, my third-born (barely 3) is quite a talker and has a definite gift for both comedy and grammar. The two older children seem to be more musically inclined and that's where their father steps in. He's always drumming or playing something on the piano or, more rarely, pulling out his guitar so the kids can dance to his musical musings. They get a kick out of that and so does he.

That said, all of my children (except the eldest child) tend to look for a book when they're bored. Even my youngest (13 months).


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