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.
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