Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Teach Your Children

I have had it with the excuses.

"They're only being kids."

"It's just girl stuff."

And my favorite, the resigned, shoulder-shrugging, "Well, what can you do?"

The answer is that we can raise our kids.

Toddlers take toys from other children. They pitch fits when they don't get their way. I had one with a proclivity for shoe-throwing during fits of pique.

All of that is normal toddler behavior. It's common, and it's expected. But when your child snatches a toy from another kid, you don't say, "He's just being a toddler. What can I do about it?" Instead, you return the toy and explain that one doesn't do that. You teach your child--through example, discussion, and discipline--that it's not acceptable behavior. With enough reinforcement, the child learns to become a member of a civil society instead of the playground terror.

Too often, I see parents abdicating their responsibility with older children. Rather than acknowledge that their child was wrong, they get defensive. Rather than discuss the issue with their child, they get dismissive. Because childhood cruelty is commonplace, they act as if it's acceptable.

It's not.

We must teach our school-age children acceptable behavior in the same way teach our toddlers. Just because they can dress themselves, our work isn't done. At every step of the way, it is a parent's job to teach appropriate behavior and make good and kind humans.

We may not be able to put our kids in time out anymore, but we can lead by example. We can call them out on inappropriate behavior. We can discuss, and we can discipline.

Before we can do any of that, we have to first acknowledge that cruel behavior is not acceptable. Prevalence does not require acquiescence. "Girl drama" may happen, but it doesn't mean it's right. "Kids are so cruel," but we don't want them to be.

They aren't destined to be, unless we fail to teach them otherwise.

1 comment:

  1. Susie
    Where have u been? I missed your blog.