Here in the States it’s common to find parents who are their child’s friend. What do I mean? I mean that they hang out together, drink together, smoke together and even on occasion do drugs together. The reason why is a school of thought that if you actively participate in your child’s life doing these activities you know what they’re doing and can ‘gently guide them to better alternatives’.
I call bullshit.
If a child is taught at a young age that their parent is their friend they’ll assume that they don’t have to listen to them. You don’t always listen when your friends tell you something even if it’s for your own good why should you listen to your parent then? If a teen is taught that it’s okay to ignore the drinking laws by their parents you’re setting a standard that will carry over with that child through their life. Laws don’t apply to me as long as I don’t get caught.
As a teen I had friends with these types of parents and they all had a very rude awakening as adults. They also had drug problems by the time they were in high school.
You are a parent and it’s your job to mold your child into the best adult they can be. It is a heavy responsibility knowing you are shaping them to be the best person they can be for themselves, their family, their friends and for society. You are not your child’s friend you are their parent.
Does this mean your child should hate you or that you can’t have a good relationship? Of course not. Towing the line however between too much discipline and not enough isn’t easy.
The biggest key is to find the one or two things that resonate with your child. Some children quickly comply with the mere threat of a spanking. For a while my son would swiftly turn his attitude around when my step-dad held his finger and thumb apart and glared. It was an implied threat that worked. I asked my step-dad what would happen if those fingers touched and he told me he had no idea. My son’s imagination and an implied threat was all that was needed.
Now that my son is almost ten we need a new way to discipline. It’s been a challenge to say the least. Nate is very much like myself. If the desire to do something is greater than the desire to avoid punishment nothing can stop us. I now know the hair pulling frustration my mother went though.
Techniques I’ve used in the last three weeks:
Grounding; in his room, no electronics, can only leave for food or bathroom
Spanking; this used to terrify him but now I just get glared at. I spanked him on two occasions before abandoning it.
Withdraw of Lego Land; he wanted to go to Lego Land for his birthday. I told him we’d think about it then told him never-mind he didn’t deserve it after his abysmal behavior.
Withdraw of birthday and presents; I told him he lost both due to his attitude.
Taking all Toys Away; after a particularly spectacular yelling match he lost all toys. He managed to incite my quick temper to the point that my yelling could have made a banshee quake. To work off all that fury I busied myself with removing every toy from his room. Yes, every toy. I moved boxes and boxes of toys into my sewing room. He must now earn each and every one back. I did however leave behind his books. Despite having trouble reading we read to him every night before bed and he has over 50 books. I left them all. Needless to say he’s spent a lot of time reading this week.
Surprisingly it wasn’t taking away Lego Land or celebrating his birthday that started his good behavior back up. It was taking away his toys. Partially I think it’s his meds not working right that’s causing his bad behavior. Some telling signs in my son is the inability to sit while eating. He literally walks in circles while eating a meal. The inability to keep eye contact is another indicator that his behavior might be med related. That, however, does not excuse his behavior. Explain it yes, excuse it no.
A lot of people in the States would think that removing his toys is a form of abuse. Sadly this shows the mentality of my countrymen. They put a lot of importance on physical things. My son’s behavior, however, has greatly improved. He knows he can earn those toys back. I explained plainly, once I calmed down, why I was angry and where he was heading in life if he kept his attitude up.
My son still loves me. My son still does his best; he fails a lot but he’s a kid what matters is that he’s trying. Most importantly my son respects my authority as a parent knowing that no matter how harsh the punishment it’s for his best interest.
As for Lego Land… my husband wants to go possibly even more so than my son. I rolled my eyes at my husband and told my son he can earn it back. I have a feeling we’ll be making a very long drive in the future.