How Far Do We Go?
I often find myself wondering just how far I should go to interfere with the “discipline” methods that some people use on children. There have been many incidents that have happened in my life where I was left dumbfounded.
One of those happened when I was a child so I really couldn’t have done anything but the others happened when I was an adult. Should I have said or done something?
I am embarrassed to say that, when I look back, there have been several times when I did not do or say anything and perhaps I should have. I was just not sure at the time that it was my place to interfere.
Honestly, I’m still not sure. Just how far does the obligation extend to protect those children who cannot protect themselves?
When I was a small child of maybe 7 or 8 I went to school with a little boy of about the same age. One day that little boy asked me if I would like to see his new puppies. Well, I was delighted to see his puppies; I love animals.
This is a very important question for you to ask as a parent. Unfortunately, I can’t give you a one size fits all answer.
Because the answer is going to depend on the personality type of your child.
If your child is mostly a self starter, a leader, and someone who’s kind of self-contained and even a little bit shy and doesn’t really care what people at school think about them, you can definitely give them lots of leeway.
The looser reigns of discipline will be a lot better for this child because tightening down is going to provoke the opposite reaction. These fiercely independent type children don’t like to be held down or told they can’t do something. So if you do tell them they can’t do something they’re likely to do that just because you said they couldn’t.
You should definitely talk with them about what ever the issue is, giving good solid reasons why you recommend they don’t engage in whatever the activity, and then just say if you must do so be smart about it.
Give them a good solid bullet list of points they can get behind for not doing it. “Because I said so” is not going to cut it.
However, if your child is more of a follower, someone who easily gives in to peer pressure and cares a lot about what their friends and classmates think then you want to go with a more disciplinarian approach.
Because most likely what ever is cool is an activity you don’t want your child in this case to participate in. And you want to keep your child safe from these bad influences.
Unfortunately, for this type of child staying in with the “in crowd” is of paramount importance and leads the list of factors they base their decision on.
You should still give them a bullet list of solid logical reasons they understand as to why it’s a bad idea to be involved in this type of activity. Ask them questions about why they would and if any of your points are unclear.
The more you can engage this type of child and get them to accept in their own mind why this activity is no good for them then you’ll be far more likely they’ll say no when presented with the opportunity at school or with their friends.
The peer pressure will come but when your child believes it’s a bad idea they’ll be much more resistant to the peer pressure.
This can be a very tough issue for you as a parent and your child.
Fitting in at school, having friends, and being accepted is a basic human directive.
For some personality types it is a higher order priority in the decision-making process than others.
Bottom line, is to know what type of child you have and for more independent type children you want to give them a lot more leeway and recommendations instead of orders and commands.
For more follower types, who are more dependent, and look to others for their decision-making you want to have a tighter noose and more discipline.
Obviously, these are basic guidelines but when you put them into action you’ll have a much better results.
Time out for Toys
When my son was a young child he seemed to want to hang out with the wrong crowd. His toys all seemed to be of the sort that refused to put themselves away and were constantly getting in the way. They would sneak into places they didn’t belong, or lie in wait for the next human to pass by ready to lunge out and trip them up. Lego’s seemed to be the worse, always painfully underfoot or playfully being eaten by the vacuum cleaner.
To counter this wicked behavior, I choose to forgo spanking the offending toys, and instead started following the time-out method of correcting behavior. Most “pros” will tell you a time-out should be age appropriate with about 1 minute per year based on the child’s age. When it comes to toys, I have found that 1 day per offense works best.
I enlisted my son and assigned him the task of “teaching” his toys to return to the toy box and set up a one warning rule. All toys were given one warning to get to the toy box before the Mommy Cleaning machine would come through and scoop them all up for time out in the dreaded box on the top shelf of Mommy’s closet.
Billy turned out to be an excellent toy teacher and has gone on to “teach” gameboys, PSP’s, and even dishes and clothes to return to their proper place and avoid timeouts. And, I have learned that even the worst toys, can you say Legos, can be taught to become good members of a loving family.