See the older post: Disciplining your Kids at Work to learn more about physical discipline (ie. spanking, ear tugging, etc).
Now regardless of whether you believe in physical discipline (I firmly believe that as a child I needed it and I am thankful my parents used ear tugging and spankings at an early age to get their point across that tomfoolery will not go unpunished).
However at a certain age these kinds of punishments don't work any more. This is something every parent knows.
Thus begins a period of "being grounded", being denied dessert after dinner, not being allowed to watch TV, play on the computer, no talking on the phone, etc. At least these were the punishments I was familiar with being grounded during the 1980s and 1990s.
These days being grounded means being sent to their room where many kids now have their own TV, laptop, cell phone, so "being grounded" isn't really much of a punishment unless the parents also take away those electronic devices. I would argue however that the cell phone is an emergency device and should never be taken away. (But you might start handing the bill to the teenager and let them pay for it so they learn to cut back on their rampant usage.)
I remember once wracking up a huge $1,500 phone bill back in August 1997. Thankfully I was working and could pay for it, but in retrospect that money could have been spent on something else. I learned to discipline my phone usage after that incident.
The thing is self-discipline is a rare thing amongst children. Most children will simply run amok (like the kids in Lord of the Flies) if there is no one to tell them what they can and cannot do.
Case in point.
When I was 14 there was an incident at a gathering of neighbours outside the old Salem School and Church. It was basically a community BBQ and I noticed a bunch of kids bullying another kid, running around hitting each other with sticks. So being one of the older (and therefore more responsible) kids I took their sticks away and threw them over the fence.
Two of the boys went to complain to their father, claiming I had bullied them and/or hit them. The father came over to talk to me, telling me to leave his kids alone and threatening me. (I don't remember the exact words, it was 18 years ago.)
"All I did was take their sticks away and throw them over the fence. If you would discipline your kids this wouldn't be a problem."
At which point he threatened me some more and claimed his kids were perfectly disciplined.
To which I believe my response was "Bullshit. You're not even watching them." and basically berated him about the finer points of discipline, a fact which no doubt embarrassed him in front of his neighbours and he realized there was nothing he could do about it so he made one last threat and stormed away.
And THIS is why people should discipline their kids (whatever your methodology, providing its legal), so that your kids don't embarrass you in public, run amok beating up other kids, burning down churches and/or eventually becoming mass murderers. (Everyone blames the parents when the mass murderer strikes. Sometimes the mass murderer also kills their parents.)
Children should be encouraged to enjoy sports, express their creativity, to read, to show off their ability to learn and their intellect... and discouraged from bad behaviour which will cause trouble and mayhem both in the present and the future.
A neglectful parent is not a proper parent at all. Parenting requires you to actually pay attention to your children. Not paying attention and you reap the consequences.
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