Thursday, May 17, 2012

Peace, love and understanding!

A couple days ago I saw the article about the 9 year old who wanted to peacefully respond to the Westboro Baptist Church members who were picketing at Washburn University in Topeka, KS.

I'm sure he felt safe holding up his sign with his Mom nearby and it may have been different if he was with his friends. Either way I'm glad to see his Mom support his desire to stand up for something that he felt was important. After all the things that parents are posting on their's or their child's Facebook to shame their misbehavior, this mother's posting of the indicident on her Facebook page was a nice change of pace.

How do we teach our children to be caring and empathic towards all people in an age when a lot of children are more interested in their Wii game then current events.

1. Don't be afraid to express feelings and talk about them openly within your family. Reflect what you think your child is feeling and show him that you will understand and honor his feelings even though you may not agree, "I can see that you're feeling really angry with me right now because I've told you no."

2. Discuss current events but also explain to them that there are others who have different views and it's ok to agree to disagree.

3. Model anger management especially when your child is being disrespectful. This can be very hard to do but is a gift that will help them with every conflict that occurs in the future.

4. Don't spank or use harsh judgment when disciplining your child. Everyone makes mistakes and kids need to know that they can make amends and move forward.

5. Try not to vocally express your judgment of others or their lifestyle or actions. Teach your child tolerance and that everyone has a right to live their life on their terms whether we agree with their life choice or not.

6. And last but not least consider joining a parenting or support group. Lots of parents get stuck on issues and discipline techniques from time to time and having the knowledge to consider an alternative teaches self-acceptance and a willingness to learn and grow at any age.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

I'll use ridicule and embarrassment, that will teach her!

I recently read the article about the mom who wanted to punish her daughter for talking back to her and was confused about what exactly she wanted her daughter to learn.

My first thought was that she wanted to teach her daughter to manage her anger so that she would speak to her with the respect that she is due. I also assumed that she wanted her daughter to understand what respect looked like so that they could have a relationship that was loving and nurturing which would leave the door open for opportunities to teach.

I soon found that my assumption was in error:

"Denise Abbott says her daughter Ava mouthed off, so she changed her daughter’s profile picture. It shows a picture of her daughter with an “x” over her mouth and reads, “I don’t know how to keep my mouth shut.” It also encourages people to ask why she is being punished.
“We decided to do something that I know would totally impact her and that the next time she started that, she’d think, ‘I don’t want my face all over Facebook again with a red ‘x’ over my mouth,” explained Abbott."

Did Ava have respect or conflict resolution modeled for her so that she knows how to handle her anger and disagreements with her mother in the future? No, she learned revenge so she will probably repeat the behavior but just be more sneaky about it next time. That will probably keep her from getting a red 'x' over her mouth on Facebook. So...I guess Ava's mother was successful.

Respect is not forced, it's learned. And the impact of modeling respect is much greater when a parent is faced with disrespect