To spank or not to spank, that is the question. How do you teach respect? Will your child’s strong will conquer you before you conquer it? If you are a parent, you have probably thought about at least one of these questions and experienced the confusion of trying to figure out the best way to raise your children.
According to Dr. Kevin Leman, psychologist, author and speaker, we have arrived at a place in history where American families have become child-centered. American parents have become permissive and democratic and American children have become spoiled, sassy and out of control.
Many of today’s popular sitcoms and commercials portray children in adult roles with little respect for their parents. The parents on the other hand are shown as ignorant, out of touch with the culture, dumb and not smart enough to raise a child. Innocent and comical as it may appear, this role reversal seems to encourage teens to be disrespectful to their parents and other adults, discounting their authority and understanding about life issues.
If a child wants to do something and their parents say no, they just sneak around their backs and do it anyway. Instead of earning money to buy new shoes, many teens believe their parents should foot the bill. The idea of doing chores around the house without being paid is often referred to by many young people as unfair and beyond the call of duty.
Dr. Leman believes that allowing young people to operate in this manner is not preparing them for the real world.
“There are certain realities by which children are going to have to live their adult lives,” said Dr. Leman. “The sooner we start teaching what I refer to as the rules of the game the better.”
- You’re never going to be the center of everyone’s attention—not for long at least. This means that children should not be the center of attention in their families. Parents should be the center of attention.
- Everyone must obey a higher authority. Therefore, parents should expect children to obey, not hope that they will obey.
- Everyone is expected to be a contributing member of society. Too many children constantly take from their families without ever giving back. Dr. Leman suggests parents ask themselves if their children are ever expected to perform routine chores around the home for which they are not paid. The only acceptable answer is yes.
- Everyone is responsible for his or her own behavior. A child who does something bad ought to feel bad about it. Too often parents feel bad when a child does something wrong. Why should a child accept responsibility for his own behavior if someone else does it for him?
- You can’t always get what you want and what you do get, you get by working and waiting. Children should receive the things they need and a conservative amount of the things they want. More children need to hear the word “No!”
- You experience happiness, which is the elixir of success, in direct proportion to how sensitive to and considerate you are of others. Self-centeredness and unhappiness go hand in hand.
Dr. Leman says if parents raise their children according to rules one through five, they won’t have to worry about rule six. Dr. Leman admits that teaching your children these rules won’t create “perfect kids.” We all make mistakes and sometimes children have to learn these lessons the hard way, but by making them aware of the real world children will have a better chance at becoming happy, well-adjusted young adults.
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