I know my first blog post also has this title, but it’s so appropriate! And this follows along the same lines.
My younger daughter (not really mine, but that’s beside the point) shared this article on Facebook. She’s the mother of two – a 16 year old daughter (god help her) and a 10 year old son.
What is an appropriate age for a child to learn to take responsibility for his/her actions (or inactions)? I think the most impressed I’ve been with a child was a six-month old, just learning to stand, who understood a simple, quiet ‘No’. Our house isn’t child-proof. Matthew was always welcome.
How does a child learn manners without hearing “Say ‘please’ / ‘thank you'” as he/she learns to talk. AND hearing parents and siblings say those simple phrases.
When should a child learn that things and privileges are EARNED? How can a child learn that without daily/weekly chores, an allowance – and guidance?
How does a child learn respect if it’s not given and shown? ‘Do as I say, not as I do’ is very possibly the LEAST effective teaching method. Unless, of course, it’s enforced by force. Then it’s called ‘fear’ – not respect.
Respect. That’s a complicated concept, isn’t it. How do you distinguish respect for an individual from respect for a position/office? And how do you teach this distinction to a child without that child feeling like you’re teaching that it’s OK to lie – sometimes? At what age can anyone understand that you can respect your teacher or President or parent or friend and not respect the way that person acts in certain situations?
Want a tougher one? How about “I love you, but I don’t LIKE you very much”?
Back to the original thought: When do you as a parent (start to) teach all these life lessons? When does your child learn that she/he is not always going to win, not always going to get an A, not always going to be the most popular or the smartest, not always going to get the job, the raise, the promotion?
I worked in New York State government for twenty years, the last several in a training department. In management/supervision classes, we heard managers tell of phone calls from parents of employees. Yes, mommy or daddy called the supervisor of their adult child, who in some cases had a Master’s degree, to find out why little darling hadn’t received a promotion or HAD been chastised or penalized for an infraction (tardiness or not getting assignments in on time). ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? We had to struggle not to ask that on more than one occasion.
One last question. If you were that child whose parents always took away the sting, how do you feel about it now?