Over the last 15 years I have had the wonderful opportunity to work with teachers and parents in helping them wake up and truly understand why their children behave the way that they do. One of the most difficult concepts to get across to a parent is their role and responsibilities in the raising of their child and how to effectively discipline them. Discipline is not a bad word, by the way. When I was growing up being disciplined was a virtue and led to leading a more successful life. Now some people hear the word discipline and only associated with physical punishment. Children yearn for discipline and structure. The problem comes from the adult in the child’s life believing that there are other people responsible for teaching their child how to behave in hopes that they will behave the same way with that adult. If you are a parent or a teacher reading this post, I invite you to think about who you expect to implement rules and consequences so that your life is easier?
I have presented continuing professional development workshops on behavior management strategies in schools and conferences across the country. I continuously hear teachers placing responsibility on the parents for the way that the children act in the classroom at school. They say things like “if only their parents would…
- Discipline them at home.”
- Feed them better food.”
- Make them go to bed.”
Of course as a teacher they know that that is better for the child however they don’t realize that when they blame parents they throw away their power while they put the responsibility of the child behaving in the classroom on the parent. Unfortunately as humans we create expectations of how other people should be that only exist in our minds and then get upset at that person for not fulfilling the expectation that we created for them without even letting them know what the expectation was. Read that last sentence again and slowly until it makes sense.
That is completely unfair to the person that the expectation was created for and now there is upset between the two people because communication wasn’t clear.
As a parent, do you have an expectation that your child’s teachers will teach them how to behave and discipline them so that when they come home they will behave and be disciplined for you? If you do, how is that working? It probably isn’t. Try on that a child tests every individual adult that they meet and based on the way that the adult responds and reacts is the way that the child interacts with that adult from now on.
Whoever lets the child get away with whatever they want is the one responsible for the lack of discipline. Whoever reinforces consequences for negative behaviors no matter how much the child cries or throws a fit is the one that the child will listen to and be disciplined for. That’s it. If your child doesn’t listen to your instructions the first time, then just be responsible that you have trained them incorrectly and now start the training over.
I have spoken to many parents who only get to see their children for two to three hours an evening and makeup some silly story in their minds that they haven’t seen their child all day and they feel bad about not giving them what they want.
If you are more interested in appeasing your child instead of teaching them rules and how to act in a civilized society, then just be responsible that it is more important for you to be selfish than to be a strong parent. I know that is a strong statement and it is a fact. So now you get to choose.
Next time your child breaks a rule, do you let them get away with it and appease your selfish want for quiet or do you choose to be the powerful parent and teach them that there are rules and consequences in life? The actions that you take will be mimicked by your children. What would you choose? Good luck.