Can you remember a time when after countless attempts, your two year old wouldn’t stay in bed, so you let them stay up until they finally fell asleep in your arms and you carried them to bed?
Has your four year old ever, packed a tantrum that screamed the supermarket down, so you gave him/her a kinder surprise to shut them up?
Have you noticed how many young people today, hog the footpath, loaded with a body language that says, “get out of my way” and then attempt to stare you down as they walk toward you?
Have you ever heard young parents of today, give their children, a choice of treat options if they behave while in a shop?
Well, I have and I’m sure many others have too.
Why do you think this is? Are we too lazy to put the child back to bed? Are we afraid that people will stare at us in the supermarket and think we are bad parents? Why do the street hoggers’ project so much “entitlement” and Why do young parents bribe their children to behave?
I think parents, particularly parents of today (modern parents), do it because they are afraid that their child will see them as bad parents, as mean and uncompromising parents, but most of all, they are afraid that if they discipline their child, their child will not love them.
We are the adults, we are the teachers, our children are not adults, they are our students. It is our responsibility to teach them the rules of life, no matter what age we are. So when a four year old challenges you with a look of contempt, nip it in the bud, right then and there. If you don’t, you have just handed over the balance of power to the child and they will runs rings around you, probably for the rest of your life.
Children must be guided, steered and shaped in order to learn and understand boundaries. Reward them after the fact (not with sweets). Learn the “Look” that says, behave while we’re in this shop. Teach them respect and expect respect. They cannot thrive if there are no boundaries and no rules.
*It is an act of responsibility to discipline a child. It is not anger at misbehaviour. It is not revenge for a misdeed. It is a careful combination of mercy and long-term judgement. Proper Discipline. Clear rules, make for secure children and calm, rational parents.*