Who is in Charge?

Jessica a three-year old was having fun on the slide. Her father said it was time to leave. “One more time on the slide” begged Jessica. “Okay”. She went down the slide. When she reached the bottom, the father said it was time to go. She quickly ran back up the slide. This time on the way down the father playfully grabbed her. She wiggled away and went on the slide again. Each time she came down the father said it was time to go.

“No. Not yet!” Jessica screamed louder as she climbed back up the slide. The father nervously looked around at the other parents in the playground. He finally started to negotiate with his daughter. “If we leave now we will have time to stop at the toy store.” This caught the girl’s attention. “Can I buy something?” “Probably not.” “Can I get ice-cream?” “Yes”.

The girl happily left the playground. What did she learn? 1. I don’t have to do what dad says. 2. Everything is negotiable. 3. I can get dad to do whatever I want. or 4. Rules are made to be broken.

Another time at the playground I saw a little boy, about 4, hit one of the other kids. The mother immediately said, “Josh, hitting is wrong. If you do that again we will have to leave.”

A few minutes later Josh hit the child again. I looked over to see what the mother was going to do. She saw Josh hit the child, but she kept talking to another parent. Josh didn’t leave the playground. Josh learned that mom doesn’t want me to hit but she won’t punish me so I can do whatever I want.

The only reason I mention these stories is because I have recently been spending a lot of time volunteering at the school and I am concerned about what is currently going on in the school classrooms.

Kids in the U.S. end up in classes that are often overcrowded and the teachers are underpaid. Almost every school field trip that I have been on at least one parent says afterward “I’m exhausted. I don’t know how the teachers do it!”

I don’t know how they do it either. They must be frustrated with parents for not teaching their kids to be respectful of others, listen and follow the rules. Many teachers are spending more time disciplining than they are on teaching.

Now is the time to stand up for what is important. Spend time with your children. Do you enjoy being with them? Are they polite, respectful of others, considerate and kind? Do they listen to you? Do you listen to them? Would you want to spend 24/7 with them?

Being a parent is a full-time job and sometimes it is extremely difficult to say “no”, even though we know in the end it is the best thing to do. Do you take time to teach your kids the lessons that are far more valuable than buying them whatever they want because “everyone has one” or because you are too tired to say no?

This is our future. Take action now and make a difference in a child’s life. Set the right example for them and be consistent. Learn to say “no” and mean it. Some day a teacher will thank you.