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Parents Who Don’t Parent

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It is a shame that children do not come with instruction manuals when they are born. 

Although, most parents figure out how to raise their children quickly, using advice from books and magazines, grandparents, and good old common sense there are some parents who just do not have a clue. Possibly, they were a product of bad parenting themselves, so they do not have a good model to base their parenting skills on with their child.  Whatever the reason, it seems that these parents and their children have the ability to upset any unsuspecting person in their immediate range.

Case and Point:

     Calvin, an unruly child, comes to school in kindergarten. This child does not share, talks back to the teacher, and bullies other students.  A meeting between the parents and the teacher is set up, and the teacher explains the problem to the parents.  Rather than supporting the teacher, who is trying to help Calvin, the parents blame the teacher for not giving Calvin enough attention.  

     This scenario continues with Calvin and his parents all through his elementary education.  Each time Calvin’s transgressions are revealed to the parents, they deny that it is Calvin’s fault.  The denial becomes quite ridiculous; however, there is no amount of documentation can convince them that Calvin is a terror in the classroom.

     Calvin is suspended, receives detentions, other students fear him, and teachers tremble when they find out he is in their class.  Every time Calvin’s parents come to school to save him, they reinforce his bad behavior.  According to Calvin, the teachers are just mean.  They do not like him.  They just pick on him. It is never Calvin’s fault.

     In high school, the same pattern continues.  Calvin’s parents fight about Calvin’s treatment at the school board meeting, they write nasty letters to the editor of the local newspaper, and they even accuse a teacher of abusing Calvin.  The school asks him to leave. His parents register Calvin in a new high school, but it is not long before the same behaviors become evident.  Poor, poor Calvin.

The story of Calvin is one that could have been avoided, had his parents taken the advice of his kindergarten teacher and all the other adults who tried to tell them there was a problem.  If Calvin’s parents had used common sense and taught Calvin to be responsible for his actions, he probably would have stopped the behavior.

Children are not born knowing right from wrong.  It is up to the adults in their lives, generally their parents, to teach them these lessons.  A child, who never receives consequences for his or her actions, has no measure of what is good behavior or bad.  It is a free for all in the child’s mind. 

Carolyn Turner states in her article entitled, How to Help Children Learn from Experience, that “…everyone learns from their mistakes, even adults. It’s often called “learning the hard way” and usually the most effective lessons come from bitter experience.”  Giving Calvin some “hard loving” would have afforded Calvin’s parents more time to enjoy his experiences and less time fighting his battles for him.  For Calvin, learning from his mistakes would have made him a happier, better-adjusted child who could be independent and successful.

When parents fail to parent their children by allowing them to escape the consequences of their actions, they set the child up for failure.  Sometimes, not only in childhood, but also in life.  Someone will have to pay for mistakes made, and if it is not the child, then it will be the parents. The probability that Calvin will be going to mom and dad to get him out of jams later in his life is very large.  Therefore, it will not be his fault he wrecked the car, failed at his marriage, or worse yet, that his child is a monster.

Making good choices and being responsible for one’s actions are characteristics that human beings do not arrive in this world possessing. Every incident in a child’s life is an opportunity for a lesson.  It is up to the child’s parents to grasp those opportunities and use them to raise a happy, responsible child that is a joy.

 

Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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Lying Eyes

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Pinocchio was a wooden boy who made his father’s job easy.  Whenever Pinocchio lied, his nose grew longer.  If only parents and teachers had the benefit of a growing nose to warn them that a lie was coming. There are strategies that can help parents and teachers avoid the potential lies from their children and get to the truth.

1.  Avoid asking questions.  If you suspect a child of lying, do not ask questions like why? or did you?  State the act you suspect them of doing directly.

Example:  “Adam, I do not want you to swear like that, again. I am disappointed in your choice of words.  There will be no more TV for you this evening”

By making the statement, the child has less time to make up a lie. The statement catches the child off guard, and generally, he or she will admit to the act.  If the child truly did not swear, the reaction and body language will let you know that the child is innocent of the crime.

2.  Pay close attention to eye contact.  Liars will avoid direct eye contact.  One way to tell if the child is lying is to observe whether the child looks at you when you confront him or her with the offense.  If the child is young, this strategy is telling, however older children may be accomplished at lying and look you directly in the eye.  Nevertheless, there are still little telltale signs such as erratic blinking or moving the eyes from side to side to identify a lie.

3. Watch for body language.  Blushing or red flushed skin can be a sign that the child is not giving the whole truth.  Some children will touch their nose or face when they are lying, while others will fidget and wring their hands.  Lying makes people nervous and this nervousness is a good sign that something is not right.

4. Is the child being overly defensive?  Often, when a liar is confronted their first reaction is to be defensive.  The child may blame another for the infraction or try to make the adult feel guilty for asking.  This should make the adult stop and ponder what the child is trying to hide.

5. Catch the child in the act.  The best way to catch a liar is to observe them doing the act. This may take a bit of patience and time on the part of the adult, but it is a good way to stop an habitual liar when other methods are not working.

The ultimate goal of parents and teachers should be to teach the child that lying is not the answer.  If the child learns to admit when he or she has made a mistake and how to accept the consequences, the instances of lying can be eliminated as well as the unacceptable behavior.  

Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
 

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

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The Glass CastleThe Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Jeannette Walls writes her deeply disconcerting memoir, The Glass Castle that recounts her life growing up with dysfunctional parents. Jeannette’s father was an amazingly intelligent man who could teach his four kids physics, geology, and fearlessness when he was not drunk. Jeannette’s mother was an artist who would rather get lost in her art than feed and raise her children. Mother and father were a perfect storm of two people who should never have had children. The memoir takes the reader on a tour of great ups and horrific downs for this wandering family.
From the very beginning, I was completely enthralled with this book. The story is expertly woven and easy to read. At times, the book touched a nerve, and it would make me so angry with Jeanette’s parents that I would just have to scream. This was a great book for my book club where we discussed the story with emotion and dismay. I would highly recommend this book.

View all my reviews

Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
 

It is Okay

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When our children misbehave or have a bad day, as parents we often think it is somehow our fault.  You ask yourself if you are strict enough.  You feel embarrassed and inadequate around other people who see your child misbehaving.  It is a gut wrenching worry that makes you feel like you are a failure.

The fact is…there are days when your child is not at his or her best.  Murphy’s Law says that it will inevitably happen at the hockey game, grandma’s house, or the grocery store.  People will see, offer advice, or look down their noses.  But, those people, (whose child has had bad days, too) are really not important.  What is more important is that you have handled the bad behavior with a consequence that fits the crime.  That you have consistently expressed that the behavior is not acceptable, and then, let the incident go.

What we forget as parents is that kids are not born with the innate ability to distinguish between right and wrong.  It is our job to teach our children to behave.  And, as long as we are doing just that, then there doesn’t need to be embarrassment, self-loathing, or belittling of our parenting skills.  You are not a bad parent if your child misbehaves.  Bad parents are those who do nothing, or worse, defend their child when he or she behaves badly.

Finally, the rule is…if you are parenting, then you cannot be a bad parent.  Peace…

Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Parenting Everyday

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Consistency, consistency, consistency!  You ground them, you yell, you show your displeasure, but it still does not seem as if your discipline measures are working.  What should you do?

Many parents, teachers, and specialists have spent many hours worrying and debating over subject of discipline.  The answer, however, is simply consistency.  No matter what your discipline style may be, if you consistently administer it, you will see results.

The biggest mistake that anyone who lives or works with children can make is not being consistent.  Kids are very intelligent, and they know, no matter the age, how to play the system.  Therefore, if your system is inconsistent, then the behavior will be inconsistent, too.

How does one become consistent?  Easy, every time your child breaks a rule, written or unwritten, you consistently give a consequence.  You may wish to think about what consequences are appropriate for each rule that is broken and the age of the child.  For instance, if your child comes home late from visiting a friend, then the child should have an appropriate consequence.  Maybe the child has less time next time he or she wishes to go to a friend’s house.  On the other hand, if a child does not complete his or her homework, possibly less TV or gaming time should be taken away.  The point here is that it really does not matter what consequence is chosen.  What matters is that you give one for every infraction.  Eventually, one will not be needed.  Your child will know what is expected and do it.

Now, this is not so simple.  Often it requires a great effort to have a whiny, grounded child sitting in your living room with the TV off. However, if you can persevere, your angst will be short-lived.  Your child will take your rules seriously and try to abide by them.

That is not to say, that your child will never misbehave or break a rule.  Undoubtedly, it will happen.  However, if you have been consistent with your discipline, your child will move quickly to the correct road.  The simple fact is that it is the parent’s job to keep their children traveling as straight down the road of life as possible.  If the child veers off the road, the parent’s responsibility is to put them back on the road, consistently. Eventually, the child grows into adulthood able to make good decisions and choices.  The whole reason for parenting in the first place.

Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
 
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