Think for a moment. The last time you were out to eat, or at the grocery store, or perhaps at the beach/ski resort/vacation destination. There was more than likely a kid there that could not behave, and the parent was either ambivalent, or being walked all over by the kid. Maybe it is because I deal with kids all day (young teenagers) and I just notice it more, but either way, there has been a serious lack of parenting from the recent generation.
Psychologists will say that the children are displaying "attention seeking behavior" or are acting out because of a social trigger that has encouraged them to do so. When I witness this behavior, I can't help but to think of how much trouble I would have gotten in if I had acted the same way as a child. Screaming, yelling, running around the room, throwing items around, disrupting other customers, all the while the parents I witness with these children ignore it as if it is someone else's problem. In the classroom, it is easier, as you put them at a desk and they realize they are in a work environment where they must behave. I've substitute taught for gym and music classes where there are no desks- those teachers are tough as nails, and patient as anyone I have ever met.
Another argument I have heard is single parent or low income families. Generally, these two are lumped together as two causes with a similar background. Parent(s) aren't home enough, the money isn't there to keep the kid entertained or involved in the activities to keep them out of trouble, etc, etc.
To that argument I offer these points:
- There are extremely low-cost alternatives to keeping the kids out of trouble. Investigate non-profit organizations in your area to keep the kids focused and out of the mall/streets/etc. The security guards at the mall on a Friday night are not the parents, YOU are.
- Investigate organizing neighborhood events. Where I grew up, we had block parties, big after school tag games, kick the can, football, you name it. While they aren't supervised activities, they give you a great opportunity to meet your child's peers, and find out who you approve/disapprove of. Ignorance is no argument.
-Just because it is a single parent situation does not mean that you cannot be a fantastic parent. You need to believe in yourself, and display confidence in your child to see respect.
-Assign the child responsibility at a young age. If you make it a habit early, it becomes a lifestyle. Start simple- Please, Thank You, Asking to be excused from the table at the end of dinner, rinse/stack your plates for the dishwasher, put away your laundry, make your bed everyday. Simple things that you can start young and instill as a lifestyle.
-Shut off the TV/video games. If you get your child interested in something that requires the mind or the body to work/think, it gets them away from the garbage that is modern media. I will admit, I certainly watch more than my fair share of TV/Video games, etc- but I know I haven't learned terribly much from it.
I have no children of my own, and am undecided as to whether or not I will have any of my own later on in life. This isn't inclusive, exclusive, or anything other than what was on my mind. Please feel free to comment, add your own advice (especially if you have experience), etc.