“Boys Will Be Boys” and “Children Don’t Always Do As They Are Told”
We all have these phrases at one time of another in our lives. As a martial arts instructor, I have seen many hundreds of children over the past 20 years and in my experience the phrases are true. I’m sure most school teachers will say the same.
Both phrases may be correct at the same time be an improper attitude by the parents, teachers, coaches, mentors, care givers, etc. That attitude gives way to they are just children and that is what children do. I’m not talking about a child being silly, goofy, or having a wild imagination. Nor am I talking about children under 3 years of age. What I am referring to is the constant poor behavior that is not addressed properly of excused away.
Today and for the past forty years a cultural shift has taken place. Throughout time this a normal situation. One generation will change the next especially with a globally connected world. This article refers to both the economy and the village that once existed. With both parent working, 25 to 50 miles or more away from home, there is less structures time for the parents to “Parent” or even develop parenting skills.
Parents come home after working all day and are tired and stressed. Fast food is more often the dinner. Video games and live streaming have taken the place of quality parent to child interaction. Today most parent don’t get to see their child interact with other children outside of a brother or sister, or even other adults.
Most if not all children want to please their parents to gain favor or attention. They have fun at the theme parts, the movie theaters, and other weekend activities. The problem they don’t get to see the behavior around other children much. They will correct their other behavior when with parent to get what they want. But, sooner or later the problems show up if the parents are paying attention.
God Help The Teachers
The teachers or guidance councilors send a note home to mom and dad about a problem at school. The parent says to themselves, “boys will be boys or kids will be kids”. The child may be disruptive in class or acting out, or their grades are not what they can be. The parent sits down with their child and has a discussion and all is fine. This may be just a warning sign and should not be disregarded.
Weeks later more notes come home with the child, or worse yet the dreaded “phone call”. Now you need to go to the school for a conference with the teacher or a neighborhood parent. You find out that your child’s social skills are lacking and something must change. You’re concerned but don’t exactly what to do. This time you have a stronger talk with your child and threated to taken some privilege away from them (video games, TV time,) as a form of punishment. Everything is great for the next several days.
WHAT IS CAUSING THE PROBLEM?
Many parents never want to look inside the family dynamics for a possible problem of the child’s constant bad behavior. A divorce will have a profound effect on a child (parent never learned what a good relationship is and married the wrong person from the beginning). Never think this is not big issue and your children will adjust well to divided home. The increased divorce rate is another cultural change that affects children and their behavior.
Not all parents have the same parenting style. Some don’t use corporal punishment of any kind. There are others who use physical discipline to excess. The school systems used paddling decades ago. The question is, is one style better than another? Some children will respond to either and others will not. Consistency in discipline is crucial. Parent must agree as how and how much; sarcastically, if they can agree on anything!
MANY FACTORS THAT CAUSE CONSTANT BAD BEHAVIOR
- Parents who ignore bad behavior.
- Parents who are un-involved with their children.
- Contradictions in discipline methods between parents.
- The environment they live in.
- Bad peer pressure.
- Bad diet or the food the child consumes (obesity).
- An actual imbalance in the body chemistry, could be genetic.
- Poor academic skills caused by reading problems from bad eyesight or poor hearing.
- Bad parent behavior (child’s family life sucks).
- Divorce, drug use by parents, not enough money to support children, etc.
The above list most issues, by not all. Most of the problems can be resolved with good parenting skills and proper medical visits.
Parenting is more than just having children. It is loving your child enough learn how parent well. All women have the genetic makeup to protect their children but not to raise them. Humans must learn how to be a good parent by watching others, reading, asking questions, researching or any other number of ways. Good parenting is a learned skill and not the ability to procreate.
Children Change With Age – Good and Bad
We all know a 3-year-old is not the same as a 7-year-old and 7-year-old is not the same as a 14-year-old. With all the information, available why are so many parents failing at developing parenting skills as their child grows? Parents with an understanding of child development at different ages is just the start. Ask any teacher if they have student (kids) with behavior problems. Most will respond with “we don’t have kids with problems we have parent problems”. Reading a book once every 3 years about parenting would put you above the grade curve.
Go to any community ball field that has baseball, soccer, or football, etc. Most of the parents are involved with their children enough to sign them up, pay the fee, and at least drop them off at the field. Some stay for practices and the games. Many do not. No, I am not going to talk about the parent bad behaviors at the games.
Other way parent get involved with their children is through dance, gymnastic, music, PTA, scouting and others. But for every child that has a parent involved there is another child whose parent comes home from work feeds them fast food, doesn’t check homework or even tries to understand how their child is doing. Some kids get the video game out or streams some movies for rest of the night.
The Involved Parent
The involved parent will spend time at the movies on weekends or go bowling. Other involved parents will go to the soccer game or a local theme park. The caring parent will spend time in fun, laughter, and silliness with their children doing some activity together. This is while watching their child grow emotionally, physically and mentally. The involved parent is always correcting disrespectful and deviant behavior, at the same time setting a good example.
Most all, if not all, will say they love their children and want the best for them. At the same time, some of the parents curse at their children and each other and not want their children to do such a thing. The parent will argue, as most parent do, but the kids don’t get to see them make up and forgive, if they even do.
Kids watch their parent divorce and start dating someone else (this is hard on children). Deadbeat DADS (irresponsible father) are getting to be more common as the years’ pass. This leaves society to pay for the child’s upbringing. Many times, this lead to the entitlement mindset by the mothers and children. Every day I see kids whose parent aren’t married and don’t support the other children they have from a previous relationship. This is irresponsible as we all know. The social welfare system pay for the children’s need when the parents can’t or won’t. It seems that having children, of which you can’t afford, is rewarded by social programs. Your tax dollars are hard at work to serve the irresponsible.
This problem spans all races, religions, and ethnic backgrounds. The problem gets worse year-after-year. Don’t misunderstand me, we need to help those who can’t provide for themselves, the children. The answers must start with the individual and our society.
If you have read up to this point you either agree with me or you are concerned about your own children. Parenting is one of the most challenging and rewarding jobs a couple or a person can have. If you love your children, and I assume your do, keep learning with an open mind. Sorry but love does not conquer all. Love is not an emotion, it is a commitment. Therefore, many marriages and relationships fail. Many want to feel (selfish) their relationship and are not committed to making it work. Life, work, individuals and relationship dynamics change. Without a strong commitment and personal growth things, and life will fall apart.
WHAT IS THE ANSWER?
We all know there is no one answer to problem children so let’s start with asking some basic questions about yourself. The answer to the questions my give incite to what needs to be done.
- Do you spend enough time with your children? More than one child requires more time for individual interaction.
- Have you read at least one or two books on parenting? Education is more than just a high school diploma. We all need to develop specific skills this is especially true in raising children.
- Do you get drunk in front of your children? (BIG ONE) Bad example to set. Children can see the differences from one drink to relax and being buzzed. We all need to relax but some overdo it.
- Do you curse at your children because of their bad behavior and then expect them to not use the same foul language?
- Do you discipline your children with consistency and love?
- Can your children come home and feel relaxed (stress free) and safe?
- Do you argue or have different opinions about child discipline with your spouse or significant other?
- Does child feel safe around the “exes” boy/girl friend?
- Does your child bully and tease other children? This is a sign of anger problems and you should find out why they are angry and taking it out on others.
- How many times have you or your exe’s been married or in and out of relationships that effect your children?
These 10 questions are only a starting point to help with good parenting. I did say good because no one is perfect and mistakes are made. There are many other factors to consider in developing your parenting skills. Telling your child, you are sorry when you make a mistake is a great example for children to learn. It teaches them no one is perfect and mistake happen.
Research has shown that most children under 10 don’t have a logical brain. They feel and live by emotions. They see mom and dad as “god like”. Mom and dad, even if divorced, give boundaries to children. Children learn who is in charge and how far they can push to get their own selfish way. This is unless trust and authority were not set in place from a younger age (3-7 years old). Children need boundaries and must be taught respect for rules and authority.
The respect for authority will carry on in later years for most children. Pleasing mom and dad carried into respect for teachers and coaches. The respect for rules carries into the classroom and playing field. Of course, some corrective disciple will be needed along the path toward adulthood. If early childhood discipline was not taken seriously them the path may be very difficult and wearisome for all involved.
OMG The Teen Years
The teen years is the time for exploration of mind and body. That subject could fill volumes. Teens will test boundaries of their choices. If they were taught the importance of respect, self-discipline, manners, good character, and authority they will grow up fine. Did I mention all this will require a tremendous amount of work and time on your part as a parent? The rewards can last the rest of your life.
All said and done we as a people chose which path we take in life. All of us can make choices of improving ourselves both mentally and emotionally. We have the right to improve our character and attitudes. Parents can give their children a great start on personal progress by instilling values of honesty, kindness, forgiveness, respect and humility (the painful one). But to influence children you must spend time with them to cause the change you want. Get involved with your child in a meaningful way or don’t have them.
Thank You For Teaching Your Children The Small Things
For those parents who do spend time teaching children to tie their shoes, pick up their mess, and be respectful, … etc., thank you for doing your job well. If the children are our future then we all need to help them grow mentally, physically, and emotionally in direction best for them. We all have different ways of accomplishing things (parenting). There is no one best way to rear children but you need to find what works for your child/children.
My final words are, spend time with your children and their activities. Listen to their teachers. Watch how they interact with other children. Make necessary adjustments in your child’s behavior as needed. If you don’t know how to rear children, then learn. There is plenty of resources available. Teach them what respect for people is and why. Be consistent in discipline and don’t let them wear you down and take control. Learn what it takes to raise children to a young adult and do not guess at it.