Tuesday, July 2, 2013

What Exactly Is Wrong With Teaching Your Child Right From Wrong?

   Discipline; the way people act you would think that this word is the worst cuss word in the English vocabulary. Even worse than saying this word is acting on this word. That's a crime, apparently. Well, I don't know about the rest of you, but I guess I am guilty. I know that some of you are not, but if my child misbehaves, there are going to be some consequences.
   Oh, I know all of the arguments. Self-esteem issues, development, they'll learn to behave negatively, and all I can say is this: I call bullshit. My argument is this: we are supposed to be preparing these kids for real life; the real world. We are supposed to be teaching these kids how to act in social situations, and how to succeed in life. And in life, there are consequences to actions. In the adult world, bad behavior is not ignored. In real life, not knowing how to properly interact with your contemporaries can cost you friends, relationships, and even career opportunities. Think that Little Johnny not getting his homework done is no big deal? What happens when you procrastinate on the job, and don't get a task done on time? Maybe you won't be fired, depending on exactly what the task was, but maybe you will. Certainly, when the time comes for promotion, that promotion is going to go to the person who does get the job done. That is a consequence. Think that Little Suzie picking on kids in the playground is just high spirits, just her being misunderstood? She does that at work, she's gonna get slapped with a lawsuit at best. Another consequence.
   Since all these kids are going to grow up to face all these consequences, what exactly is wrong with instilling that knowledge in them from the start? No one is talking about taking a belt and beating them bloody -- that's child abuse, and contrary to popular belief, there is a difference between child abuse and discipline. My daughter once didn't get her homework done on time, and I did find out. She was grounded for a week; no TV, no games, for a week. Because she had lied to me for a week and not done her homework. She wasn't emotionally scarred by that. She didn't doubt that I loved her. What happened was that she learned a valuable lesson about what happens when you do not do your job, and her job is school. Think that this doesn't mirror real life? If she was an adult, and she had not done her job for a week, she would have probably lost that job. Losing a job means losing income. Losing income means that you loose the privileges that you bought with that income. She learned that lesson now, as a child, when all she lost was a week's worth of TV and game playing. Small losses. And she has not done something like that since. She learned her lesson. And yes, sometimes kids need a few repeat to learn a lesson, some parents are going to have a harder time. But I have always been firm with my daughter. She knows that I will listen to her side of a story, her excuses, but if they are not reasonable, she gets punished.
   This is parenting. Parenting is hard. Parenting is not always family bonding time, or learning fun things, or hugs and kisses. Yes, those are important parts of parenting, but parenting can really suck sometimes too. Do you really think that I enjoyed that week that I took away her TV and her games? She was good about her punishment, I have to say; I was proud. She didn't whine or try to get out of it or beg for an early release. She did her time and paid her dues. But I felt like shit. I felt like the meanest damn mom in the whole world. But I want her to go into this world with a knowledge of how things are going to work. I was her to have the knowledge and experience that she needs to make good choices and get ahead. Discipline is a part of that; a large part. So next time you think that letting your kid's bad behavior slide, you might want to think again. I'm not saying crack the whip all the time, kids will be kids, but your kid also needs to learn that they are not always going to get away with behaving like demon spawn. 

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