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Watch What You Ask!

Posted on March 21, 2011 at 3:31 PM

Just because you are a grown up doesn't make you right.

A small child was in trouble at school recently. It was obvious as he was sitting, head hung, feet swinging in an oversized chair in the office.

My heart always breaks for these kids. Especially the ones who are repeat offenders. This is precisely why I didn't go into social work by the way - my heart can't the misjustice of a child. Remeber Jurassic Park, by chance? I walked out of it. Not because I was scared, I was mortified at how badly the children were being treated by the dinosaurs. 

So what?? I'm a softie!     but I digress....


Back to small child:

adult stands over child, points finger and asks "How would YOU like it if someone talked to you THAT way?"

small child responds but

angry adult shouts "I don't want to hear it!"

small child attempts response again but

an even angrier adult shouts louder "I DON'T WANT TO HEAR IT!"

ok, this is wrong on so many levels....

Firstly, angry adult asked a question but then cut small child off when the expected or approriate answer wasn't given. How disrespectful!! How can a child learn to be respectful if the grown ups in his or her life don't model it for them?

Secondly, don't ask a child a question that you may not want the answer to.

BAD IDEA: "Don'tcha wanna finish your chicken mcnuggets? (pause) Well, I won't bring you here again if you're not a good eater!"

GOOD IDEA: "I see you've not eaten any chicken mcnuggets. Please eat."

I suspect in the school scenario angry adult wants to the small child to understand that he choose hurtful words that are not allowed in school. Wouldn't it behoove angry adult to explain in a developmentally appropriate manner exactly what the expectations are?

BAD IDEA: "Why did you use those bad words?"

GOOD IDEA: "When you say bad words it hurts your friends feelings"

Children are children, not short adults. They don't think like you do. They don't behave properly. They are  loud and rambunctious and naughty!

NEWSFLASH: This is all normal behavior!

If you want to discipline a child for misbehaving you must first BRIEFLY explain what they've done wrong and then give them suggestions on what is appropriate behavior.

What do you do with a child who knows the rules but continues to disobey? Well you don't demean them. Shaming a child doesn't teach anything about what TO do. It only makes a child feel badly about themselves. Instead, consistently stick to your consequences. A child can grow weary of being sat down in timeout or the naughty chair. The question usually is who will outlast who? The child? or The angry adult?

Categories: Parenting on Purpose Journal, Life Thru My Lens

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