Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Children behave!

Its tough being a kid. In some ways you are absolutely powerless and some ways you are full of power. Have you ever noticed how some kids get whatever they want? They have their parents wrapped around their little, chubby fingers.

I think we SHOULD give kids power.... but there is a delicate technique. Kids should work for getting what they want (whether its a shiny sticker, candy or a trip to the park) by doing something nice for someone else or behaving well.

You should NOT however, give kids what they want because they act charming or to stop them from crying. I see too many parents giving their kids whatever they want just to stop them from throwing an embarassing tantrum. What I want to tell every parent, teacher, neighbor, friend is this.... Some kids cry when they are genuinely upset.... but many cry just because it is the only power they have. You mustn't give in. And absolutely don't look at them. If in public, act like it's not your kid.


Take this kid for instance. If someone who didn't know him saw him looking so upset, they might think "Aww, look at that poor kid crying on the bus. Someone must have done something awful to him." See, kids always get sympathy simply for being kids. I see them as little drunk people who can't vote.

This kid ran away on a field trip. We did a head count and were short one. Our hearts raced. When I found the little rugrat I made him sit on a rock and take a time out. He cried maniacly. In a polite but firm and cold tone I said "You are gonna sit on this rock until you get it together." When my eyes were occupied elsewhere he ran away AGAIN, and this time I took him to the bus (where I took this shot). Then I didn't look at him for the rest of the ride. Later, he calmed down and fixed himself.


At 8:27 PM, Blogger Fly said...

I know what you mean with the way many parents reward their children just to keep them from misbehaving. I think what is missing in most children's lives is a sense of responsibility.

My parents took the reward to shut him up approach with my brother and what they have now is a spoiled teenager who they can't control because he doesn't have any sense of responsibility towards anything other than getting what he wants.

I was raised a bit differently, because of eddy. At age 7 with two working parents I helped with much of the feeding, changing, etc of eddy. I cleaned, cooked, did the dishes, laundry etc. I'm not bragging here I did it cus I had to. My mom was in the hospital months after my brother was born and I had to pull my weight. I wasn't rewarded for it really, just given a sense of self worth - and a bit of responsibility. I wasn't proud of what I was doing - I did it cus I was supposed to.

Our kids don't have that sense of being expected to do much of anything these days. I mean I look back and wish I had a more normal childhood myself, but well I think kids that run a muck tend to be kids lacking responsibility. I'm not saying parents should expect their 3 year olds to change their oil and water the ficus, but start off small. Start em with making sure they dress themselves, or clean up their toys, etc. Then move onto rotating tires or cleaning the gutters.

I have a soft spot for kids crying - but well I never really did with eddy. I never hit him - to this day I havent. But I promise you even now, he's scared that he might see the oneday that I might.

Personally I don't think thats right either - but with my brother there isn't much I have left to use. He has no fear of my parents, because whenever I take something away from him like say a ride to a party the night before SATs my dad turns around and drives him himself.

I can't win. I just hope when I have kids - I'll have more ability to influence the controls in my child's life.


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