If you haven’t seen this, watch it. It has been circulating around Facebooks and brings tears to most eyes, certainly to mine.
Also reminds me of one of my favorite stories about “impossible kids”. The mother came to me for help when her son and daughter reached their teen years. Up until then the kids did pretty much as they wanted and if problems arose, it was never thought to be the kid’s fault. Home life according to Mom was peaceful then, now everything seemed a fight.
As so often happens when kids are allowed too much freedom, by the time d the teens years are reached the kids challenge authority in a way that drives the most tolerant and loving parent bonkers. Teens are supposed to rebel in order to establish independence. Parents who don’t enforce any rules, often have their hands very full. So it was with these two. Grades were falling, classes cut, curfews broken, and both kids were hanging out with the toughest group in town. Mom feared drug use among other things.
When I saw Mom, one of the things I asked was if the kids followed any rules without argument. Mom said they were never cruel to younger children, old folks, or animals, and they always fastened their seat belts. In fact, her son had escaped serious injury in a car accident when all others in the car had been badly hurt. He had been sitting in the back seat and had his seat belt on. Turns out the only rules the parents lived by were these two: be kind to other living things and stay safe-wear your seat belts.
Often the rules children cling to most strongly are the ones parents model consistenly and enforce no matter how a child protests the enforcement.
My advice,therefore, have as few rules as possible, model them, and enforce them consistently. I suggest the 4 R’s work as a starting point:
- Respect self
- Respect others
- Respect property
- Respect the law
Of course these can be turned into a hundred little rules and when raising a child, that is inevitable. but using the 4 R’s as a starting point, makes explaining and planting the basic ideas of what matters somewhat easier.
Stay strong and alway fasten your seat belt and your child’s.