Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Stay the course

When I was a teenager I pushed the envelope that's for sure. My parents set clear boundaries for me, but I was in truth a tad bit rebellious. I was an only child but believe me I wasn't as spoiled as one might believe. But I was head strong and determined to experience life. That said, when I was defiant and disobeyed the rules I was more than willing to take whatever consequences came my way. I missed many a school dance or sporting event because of my groundings. My parents never left me off early; though I did do some begging and pleading they stuck to their guns.

As a parent I was not very good at that - sticking to my guns. As a child my daughter was so well behaved. It wasn't very often that she needed a time out, or punishment of any kind. Of course the teenage years proved to be a very different story and I for one was not very well prepared. Looking back - one of my worst parental offense was the inability to stay the course with the consequences set forth from her "defiance". I strongly urge all parents, regardless of the age of your child to take this to heart. It is one of the most important lessons you can learn. The earlier you learn it, the better of everyone in your family will be.

In our particular situation I always began to feel sorry for Ang when she was in trouble. I know that I spent most of my life trying to make up for the pain of her young life and the voids that were left in the wake of others dirty deeds. That was my rationale. As good as my intentions may have been, the back lash was devastating. She did not learn to respect my authority and I often let her run rough shot over me. I urge you to consider your specific situation and rectify where necessary.

When consequences are rendered they need to be followed to the letter. Clearly define the consequence and course of action so that everyone has a true understanding of what is expected and stay the course. No matter what. No time off for good behavior. No giving in when you see they are bored or sad or angry. Guess what they are going to be bored, sad and angry. Punishment is not supposed to be fun. It is suppose to be a deterrent from repeating the unacceptable behavior. I guarantee, if you lose your backbone your child will use it to their advantage in the future. The media is constantly showing our youth how to scheme. While we are trying to teach responsibility, respect and good values our youth are hearing vulgarity, disrespect for authority and seeing violence as entertainment.

Drug and alcohol use in teens continues to climb. Our youth are experimenting earlier than ever with drugs, alcohol and sex. They are spending their time texting, instead of learning how to truly communicate with each other. Without strong boundaries, clear expectation and the willingness of parents to stay the course with the consequences of improper behavior it only further solidifies to our youth that more and more we live in a society where "anything goes". Is that what you want for your children?

Stay the course folks... take back your family...your children will respect you for lessons you teach them... after they get through the "I hate you for ruining my life" stage.

God Bless

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