Resource: Amy Henry, “Are you raising a Nellie Oleson?” World Magazine
Summary: Little House on the Prairie offers parents a how-to guide for raising thankful rather than bratty children.
Amy Henry decided to celebrate her two daughters’ accomplishment of reading all the Little House on the Prairie books by sitting down with them to watch the first two seasons of the television show on DVD. While watching, she realized that the series is “quite a primer on how to or how not to raise a brat.” Using Harriet and Nels Oleson as a negative example, she shows how such indulgent parents create children with “entitlement issues” who are undisciplined, whiny, and ungrateful. By contrast, Charles and Caroline Ingalls lavish “love, not love-substitutes like candy and gifts.” They taught their children to work hard, understand the value of money, and take pride in a job well done – resulting in sweet, grateful children, not brats.
Perhaps the best gift we can give our children and grandchildren this Christmas is a set of the Little House books and DVDs to read, watch, and discuss together. More than anything, we need to lavish love and to model the virtues we desire to see in our children throughout the new year.
(The article is available at
http://online.worldmag.com/2009/11/26/are-you-raising-a-nellie-oleson/ A subscription to World may be required.)