MENOMINEE - The day for some parents includes arguing with their children about breakfast, homework, clothes to wear, chores to do around the house, and cleaning their rooms. The list goes on and on, along with the turmoil, until the parents acquiesce to the child, instead of taking a stand.
This pattern repeats itself over and over until it is learned by the child that if they persist long enough, they will get their way.
On the other hand, the parents rationalize their lack of taking a stand for some of the following reasons: it might affect the child's self-esteem; it's not democratic; the child will dislike them; and they want to be the child's best friend.
The sad thing is this pattern is common in many homes throughout the United States. My question to those parents is "When are they going to be the adults and step up and be a parent?" I am not the only one who questions this. These feelings resonate throughout our society from poor to rich, and among all races.
I encourage you to explore the following methods when your child does not follow your directions.
1) Consequences - Logical consequences such as loss of computer privileges, video games, and cell phones can all be effective ways to let your child know they will lose certain privileges when they make a choice to misbehave. It is important to set a certain amount of time for the consequences that fits the severity of their behavior
2) Follow through - When you are giving consequences, it is essential that you follow through with your plan. You will likely receive much resistance from your child so be persistent. By being consistent with your discipline, your child will quickly learn that you are serious about your expectations. As a result, your child will change their behavior. This will not happen overnight, as these behaviors have taken time to be learned. Be patient.
3) Praise - When the child begins to change in a positive manner, praise them for the improvements they are making. You should be sincere about the praise and offer lots of it.
4) Love - Above all, continually tell your child that you love them. Explain to them why you love them regardless of the negative choices they make.
In conclusion, to change a child's behavior, a parent needs to give logical consequences, follow through, praise, and love. Remember, being a parent is stepping up and taking those tough stands. It is what He has entrusted us to do.
Dan Paul is the administrator at Menominee Catholic Central Elementary School. His columns will explore family relationships. They will be published the first Wednesday of each month.