Just Being Parents

Posted on July 25, 2012 · Posted in Parenting

The actual definition of Parents is “the caretaker of the offspring of their own species”.  Sometimes parents must wonder what species their children belong to when these strange creatures do some of the things they do.  Take for instance the child who suddenly gets the bright idea that they can fly if they take a towel out of the bath room, tie it around their neck to make a cape out of it, and jump off the top of the bookcase in the study.  It certainly makes a parent wonder how this child could have come from their loins.

Another example is the child who decides that at the age of six, they have been in the car enough times to absolutely know how to drive.  They’ve been told that at 9:30 at night that there is not going to be any trip to the Baskin Robbins for ice cream cones and to go to bed.  Determined to go get ice cream, they get the keys off of the peg by the back door, get in the car, start it, move the handle to “backup”, and back right into the car parked across the street.  It’s actions like this that makes some parents understand why some species eat their young.

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And then there’s that stubborn little Miss Tooty who is determined to take all the pink crayons from everyone else’s package for her coloring book because she will “only color with pink”, or mauve as the case may be.  When told to share, and that she can’t go around taking everyone else’s pink, all that is received is a defiant stare, a pouty face, and an extremely determined look of “watch ME, I can have what I want!”  It’s children like this that makes parents think “I brought you into this world, I can take you out and make another one just like you”, and rethink that thought of even wanting another hard-headed one just like this one.

So just how do Parents teach kids that these are common sense and courtesy issues when they are making these choices?  Most of the time children simply make the decision at that exact time, and don’t stop to think ahead and see what the consequences of their actions might be.  There are many different philosophies on how to teach common sense and courteous thinking to children, but there are still some general guidelines that can help:

  • Be a model of the good behavior, and point that out to the children when there are choices to be made, which is the best choice based on common sense and courtesy.  Let them have fun, but make sure they fully understand that the Parents are the boss and the consequences of not taking time to think thing through clearly.
  • Explain to them why their behavior doesn’t reflect common sense. When they don’t use common sense, stop them right then and there and talk to them about the choice they are making and why it is the wrong choice.  If it’s embarrassing to them at that exact moment, that’s ok because they will get over the embarrassment and maybe the next time they consider their actions because they remember their parents weren’t embarrassed enough to let their behavior go unpunished.  Remember that it’s certainly fine for the child to be just a little bit afraid of what their parents might do to them when they are misbehaving.
  • Reinforce courteous behavior.  When they are discourteous to others, then appropriate and consistent punishment must be applied – stop them at the moment they are discourteous, make them apologize and apply the courteous behavior.  If they are very young, sometimes it’s just a matter of consistently pointing out the lack of courtesy, and it gets them to think through the situation; starting this thought process is a habit the child needs to be developed at a very early age.  Consistent repetition of these lessons is necessary throughout their lives, and modeling the courtesy is imperative.

Sometimes Parents need to lighten up and not take life so seriously that they have forgotten to have fun.  Many times this is why children are put into their lives in the first place because adults have forgotten that the world is a fascinating place in which there is much to learn and so many ways to enjoy life.

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