Short, simple title for a long complex subject? I don’t believe so. We hear about it all the time, but we never see it put into practice: simple old fashioned values and techniques are the one real solution for raising well behaved children.
Who’s in Charge Here?
In these days of ADD, ADHD and the other alphabet soups of child behavioral disorders, you can still find lots of families who are raising decent, principled, friendly children. There are no tantrums, no bullying and certainly no Ritalin in their lives. They must have a special formula, a magic secret. Yes, they do. It is called parents in control (PIC).
When did America cede control of the family? Was it when T.V. took over as a babysitter? Was it when moms started working outside of the home? Was it when schools started being responsible for 3 and 4 year olds? It was none of them and all of them, depending on how parents reacted. The PIC have TVs, but they turn them off when homework has to be done, an inappropriate show is on, or just to let the child read or play for a while. Does mom work? Most likely, yes, but she has systems in place for not only childcare, but for child responsibility. Clean up your room, clear the table and take out the garbage become more important instructions when mom has less time. And even babies in child care know that the mommy or daddy rocking her to sleep or reading her a book is the one in charge, not Ms. Wilma at Happy Days Preschool.
The R word
And this is the real Secret. Responsibility. You, parents are 100% responsible for your children. It is hard work, no question. But this, more than almost any other responsibility must be taken seriously. I have heard many a parent say that it is easier to clear the table than argue with a child about it. That is the lazy way out. Your responsibility is to teach your children responsibility, and if you let them shirk their duty now, a life pattern of shirking will be set. Once the battle of turning the TV off is fought a few times, the child will realize it’s kind of fun to play. Remember when they were starting to talk and you constantly reiterated “please” and “thank you”? That constant reinforcement can never stop; it just expands to different areas. And yes, once again, it is hard work. Anything worth having is worth working for, and nothing is more worth having than good, decent well behaved children
It works, because it is work
I witnessed a mother with her two children recently. The ten-year-old accidentally stepped on the foot of the 8 year old. Surprisingly, in today’s modern age, the older child apologized quickly, without being told to by mom. The poor guy got a scolding anyway, because, as mom said, he needs to be more careful in the first place. She did thank him for apologizing but reinforced the lesson that you are responsible for yourself and your actions by being careful. That was definitely a PIC.