Wednesday, May 2, 2012

When I say NO… I mean it!

I am in an endless state of shock. It shows on my face and there is nothing I can do to hide my astonishment. This phrase bounces around constantly in my head, “For God's sake… what are they thinking?

I know it’s not a perfect world but don’t give up the good fight. Children are most definitely hard to corral. I know this first hand! My two year old constantly tests his boundaries.

When will little things become a priority? Things like saying hello, putting away toys and basic table manners. Children must be taught to act according and be held accountable for their actions. This process does not start at two, five or ten. It’s up to parents to teach these important lessons from the very beginning.

Life’s basics include combing little heads of hair, brushing tiny teeth and putting on shoes. These are daily non-negotiable tasks. They are some of the most important life skills that will ever be taught. How will children learn personal pride without parental guidance? 

Charlie arrived at school yesterday in a disheveled state. His hair was sticking strait up from the back of his head. The shirt he wore had been pulled from a laundry basket. A coin toss could only decide if the shirt was clean or dirty. The sight even caught the eye of the principal. She said, “Charles did you get up late?” Dad responded, “We did good today.” By the way… it should be well!!! Good or well, Charlie’s father should be ashamed of himself.

The best learning tool for children is modeling good behavior. That of course means parents need to do their best. They need to make their beds and children need to follow course. If parents throw their dirty clothes on the floor; they should expect the same lack of effort from their offspring. These important life lessons can only be taught at home.

Are you afraid of a toddler shedding tears? Well… this will really scar you. Children cannot parent themselves! Mark my words... the parents will be the ones crying at their child's 15th birthday party if tantrums and bad behaviors are tolerated. A parent must lay a solid foundation for their child or pay the price long after puberty has passed.

I worked with a woman who single handedly raised two daughters. Her constant mantra was, “If they always enjoy living under my roof…I haven’t done my job.” She gave her girls the best education she could afford. The right tone was set by having high standards. It also helped when she provided what was needed and not what was wanted. Prom dresses were economical and limos were not an option. She always said, “If I give them everything now they will have nothing to look forward to in life.” This woman sacrificed a lot but it paid off in the end. The oldest has graduated from Harvard and her youngest is attending Cornell.

My current mantra is, “I do not negotiate with terrorist!” When I say NO… I mean it! You can cry and scream at the top of your lungs but I will not acknowledge your request.  I will not speak until silence fills the air and you look into my eyes. Only then will I discuss your distress.  In our living room or in a public space my child rearing methods never waver.  Most importantly, the last words my son always says are , “Yes Sir.”

We as a nation argue about ways to make our country better. We also debate about our failing educational system. In my eyes it’s not up to our nation's leaders but the parents that populate this land. Good study habits start at home and teaching manners are a parent's responsibility. Our children are our nation's most precious resource. American parents need to understand the important role they play and take responsibility for what they have created. 

You only get one chance at raising your child. So... stop hiding behind your electronic gizmo and turn off the TV.  Time passes very quickly and what you do to your child can never be undone. I leave you to ponder on the words of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, “If you bungle raising your children, I don't think whatever else you do matters very much.”

1 comment:

Caroline said...

I totally agree with everything you have said!