Skip to comments.Kids thrive on discipline
Posted on 01/03/2004 6:50:17 PM PST by Holly_P
Is the parenting culture poised to come to its collective senses in the new year? Well, probably not. But at least common sense is getting some attention in some quarters.
In the article "Are You a Parent or a Pushover?" in the January issue of Parents magazine, author Kellye Carter Crocker reported on a Parents survey that showed most mothers expressing "deep concern over today's discipline methods."
For starters, 88 percent said parents "let children get away with too much."
Magazine surveys may be notoriously inaccurate, but still this reveals some level of angst over how kids are being raised.
As Crocker wrote, parents may be "sensing what mounting evidence is starting to reveal: Some of the discipline strategies that have been in vogue in recent years just aren't working."
"Elaborate systems that give kids multiple chances, prolonged discussions about the 'feelings' behind bad behavior, negotiations about consequences and so on are often ineffective."
Well, excuse me, but, um, "duh."
Time magazine, in its Dec. 15 edition, ran a compelling piece titled, "Does Kindergarten Need Cops?" It was subtitled, tellingly, "The Youngest School Kids are Acting Out in Really Outrageous Ways. Why?"
As the authors, led by Claudia Wallis, put it, "Temper tantrums are nothing new in kindergarten and first grade, but the behavior of one little 6-year-old in Fort Worth, Texas, had even the most experienced staff members running for cover."
"Asked to put a toy away, the youngster began to scream. Told to calm down, she knocked over her desk and crawled under the teacher's desk, kicking it and dumping out the contents of the drawers. Then she began hurling books at her terrified classmates, who had to be ushered from the room to safety."
A child with "oppositional defiant disorder"? Well, no. As Time revealed, this kind of outrageous behavior is escalating dramatically among so-called normal, healthy, middle-class kids, like this one.
Time reported the child-advocacy group Partnership for Children just completed a survey of child care centers, elementary schools and pediatricians throughout the Fort Worth area.
It showed 93 percent of 39 schools responding said kindergartners today "have more emotional and behavioral problems than were seen just five years ago." A majority of day-care centers, which host the tiniest tots, revealed that "incidents of rage and anger" have increased over the past three years.
Ronald Stephens, director of the National School Safety Center in Westlake Village, Calif., said this is true across the country. He told Time, "Violence is getting younger and younger."
Time cited such problems as "economic stress," though youngsters have lived through far more stressful times without 3-year-olds stabbing classmates with forks, as the authors describe one tyke doing.
Time suggested there may be too much time in child care, a politically incorrect but at least sane observation, and the authors looked to academic pressure, though it's helpful to note that's waxed and waned for a century.
The authors largely blamed violence in the media. Well, OK. But then why do many kids who see the same images not act this way, and how is it then that adult criminal activity has been on a significant downward spiral for years?
What the Time authors didn't do is give anything more than a glancing nod to parents and how they raise their kids.
Talk about a root cause.
As Ronald Simons, a sociologist at the University of Georgia in Athens, told Parents: "Without structure, children become self-absorbed, selfish and unhappy - and they make everyone around them miserable, too."
He cited studies that show kids raised by authoritative parents, meaning loving moms and dads who set firm limits and stick to them, "excel academically, develop better social skills, feel good about themselves and are happier overall" than peers raised by lax or excessively harsh parents.
Interestingly, Simons echoed other research that finds the longer the child behaves poorly the more permissive parents become, setting in place a terrible cycle that ends - who knows where? With a healthy 6-year-old attacking her teacher?
I call it a modern-day commitment to the "cult of the always-contented child." We parents are committed to our own pleasure and to the constant pleasure of our kids, too.
We worry they won't like us if we give them anything less. Tragically, we don't worry about the consequences of sending them down such a self-destructive path.
In more technical terms, Simons told Parents, "There's an (unfortunate) fear that it's traumatic for a child to be disciplined and to hear 'no' too often."
Ah, a slim ray of common-sense advice on parenting. 2004 may already be looking up.
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How times have changed. Back when I was in school, if a kid acted out like this, they were the ones hauled out of class...and by their ear!
Thanks to the Liberals, everyone but the unruly ones are pulled out of class. Yet another shining example of the socialist tripe the Left forces on us.
I am 18 years old and that would have been so in my school too. (That the offender was punished - Not the rest of the class)
My experience is not typical though, as I did not attend public school.
Had a similar situation back some time ago. I was at an arcade playing games with my younger brother in tow. I was absorbed in the game when all the sudden I felt a fist punch me in the side.
It really hurt, and I thought it was my brother rough-housing a bit too much, so I spun around and sent my fist hurtling toward what would have been my brother's midriff.
I nailed this six-year-old kid right between the eyes. Sent him straight to the floor. The look of shock on his face told the whole story: he thought he was supposed to be able to do whatever he wanted and get away with it. And someone (me) had just lowered the boom (albeit unintentionally).
Later learned that the kid was a real terror. Funny, he was always very respectful to me after that day... ; )
There are NO multiple chances, discussions (of the type referenced here) or negotiations in this house.
Does my 5 year old act up at times and throw a tantrum? of course, she's 5 - but she is also old enough to understand there are consequences to her behavior.
My 5 year old IS in public school and that is exactly what happens when they act like this - I know because it happened to my daughter one day.
I also purposely chose this school district when we decided to move.
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