Discipline and Behavior
Jenny doesn't see herself as a grown up. When dealing with her kids, she easily regresses to being one of them. She says things like, "Aw, come on..." and "I don't care." Children deeply resent a parent who is afraid to parent. Being an adult is a scary thing. It means taking responsibility for our lives and our actions.
Q It makes me so sad that our 15-year-old son shows no respect for either his mother or me. In fact, he laughs off any person of responsibility - teachers, coaches, etc. It is very confusing for me as we have always given him the material and moral support he has demanded. Yet he doesn't seem to appreciate this at all. His impudence is so extreme that he even mocks us in front of our friends. We have tried to explain to him that his behavior is unreasonable but he laughs us off, telling us that we're old and don't know anything. How do we deal with him? A I believe that your indulgence towards your son is the direct cause of his arrogant disrespect.
Although the times and family make-up have changed dramatically, the foundational principles of intelligent parenting survive. Research has provided clear fundamentals that direct children toward confidence, security, and achievement. Furthermore, there are a fair number of day-to-day options available in raising children from which parents can choose. The children of this millennium will continue to be influenced by much more than their families; however, parents and grandparents continue to set the important foundations.
AN ALL-TOO-TRUE ONE ACT PLAY IN THREE SCENES Jenny, 38, is the mother of Jesse, 11 and Joshua, seven. She works part time as an advertising sales rep for a local newspaper. On the side, she writes a restaurant review column on small, little-known restaurants called Hole in the Wall and she also writes poetry for herself. She reads lots of books on parenting. Her husband, Jim, an account executive at an ad agency, usually gets home just before bed-time. SCENE I Wheedle, Cajole, Repeat and When in Doubt, Bribe Jenny is cutting salad for dinner. She wants to get rid of the few dishes in the sink but sees that the dishwasher is full -- and clean.
Q Dear WholeMom, I feel it's never too late to train my biological kids to pick up, although I have always taught them to pick up after themselves since they've been little. They usually do what I say. When my 16-year-old non-custodial son stays with me over the weekend, he always cleans his room before he leaves without my asking. My stepson is a different matter. He must have always been very sloppy and gets away with it, especially at his mother's house. When he comes to stay with us, he brings his sloppy habits with him and when I or his dad ask him to clean up, he usually does not do it.
Jenny has it right when she says she thinks kids need structure, chores and rules. She recognizes that she has trouble following through. That's one step in the right direction. Jenny tends to request something of the kids and then immediately begins compromising and modifying her position.
This drama illustrates a typical situation in marriage. Both partners are absolutely right. Yet neither one can acknowledge the other's point of view.
Andrea is 100% correct. You can't be successful in life unless you're focused and are able to delay your gratification. You've got to know how to say, "No." That's what discipline is and it's the job of a parent to help his kid understand that.
On the other hand, Ron's also right. There's too much emphasis on work and productivity in our culture. We have forgotten how to make time for friends, for family and for ourselves. We are a society of driven people who have sacrificed home and family for the marketplace.
Their challenge as a couple is to learn how to reconcile their differences so that they can teach their son how to integrate a life of friendship, play and entertainment with discipline, achievement and productivity.
How can Ron and Andrea learn to hear each other's point of view?
What do you think is their real point of difference?
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