Dear friend I know you mean well and you’re doing it out of love, but I think it’s time to look at the long term consequences of saving our children. As parents we need to take a step back and look at the big picture. Not just the isolated incident. Not just the here and now. But how these isolated incidents can impact the future.
We need to see how important it is for our children to experience consequences so they understand punishment even for minor infractions.
So that they can learn to adapt to change.
So they can learn to think things through to come up with an alternate plan instead of being devastated because things didn’t work out the way they should.
And so that they realize a small bump in the road is only that. And it shouldn’t be enough to “make or break” their day.
We need to allow them to make mistakes and suffer the consequences so they will turn out to be kind, appreciative adults who know they are prepared to handle anything life throws at them.
In essence, we need to stop rescuing them so they can learn to rescue themselves and in turn, we need to set good examples so they witness us doing the right thing even when no one is looking.
Enabling With The Innocent Rescue
Dear friend I’ve seen you rush off to save your child once again.
I have listened to your stories of how your child was wronged by a teacher.
I have sat in the office at school and witnessed you dropping off your child’s forgotten lunch box…once again.
Isn’t it funny how that works? She forgets it every day and you take it to her every day. Good for you! I would say you’re a well trained parent at this point.
Obviously you aren’t the only well trained parent because there were at least 15 lunch boxes sitting on the counter waiting to rescue their student from the perils of eating in the cafeteria or perishing from starvation.
You think I’m kidding? Well, I’m not. I asked the school secretary and she said this was the norm.
What happens if you don’t take the forgotten lunch box to school? What happens if she had to eat a meal she didn’t like or she chose to go without food because she didn’t like what was being served? Well, tomorrow I bet she’ll remember her lunch box before walking out the door. Or maybe it will take a few days for the lesson to be learned, but I can guarantee it will sink in sooner or later if you stick with your guns.
You see how this works?
Actions + Consequences= Change in Behavior
It’s not that hard really and you will be setting them up for long term success instead of short term comfort.
Dear friend several years ago at the kindergarten Christmas party I listened to you tell how your child had to “change colors” on the behavior chart for talking out of turn, how your daughter was innocent, and how the very experienced kindergarten teacher owed your daughter an apology.
There were a couple of different ways you could have handled the situation, but requesting (demanding) an apology was not the right way. What happened to saying, “Well honey, although you might not have been talking this time, I’m sure there were other times you talked out of turn and just didn’t get caught. I know how hard it is to sit quietly when you have something important to tell your friend, but let’s think about how hard it would be for the teacher if everybody decided to talk to their friends instead of listening to her.”?
Was the 5 year old talking out of turn? Maybe. Maybe not. But my bet would on the “maybe” and that’s how I would roll with it. Yep, it was a very minor infraction but these things happen all the time as an adult, right? Sometimes we get blamed for something we didn’t do, but we accept it and move on–if it was a minor thing. This is life. It’s not always fair, but at the same time we don’t have to fight every perceived injustice.
Why was it so hard to respect authority and then just move on? Why make a big deal out something that shouldn’t be a big deal? It was a bump in the road. Teach her to handle it with grace and to move on…
Teaching By Example…
Dear friend I saw you rushing your kids to school this morning. I saw you run the yellow light and I saw you blocking three lanes of traffic because you were the fourth car to run the “yellow” light.
I saw you go through the 4 way stop out of turn. Again.
“But it’s Friday and it’s been a long week.”
I know sister! Because it’s Friday and has been a long week for all of us!
But what about the other four days you did the same thing? It’s April and by now you should understand how the 4 way stop works at the school.
What kind of example are you setting for your kids when you blatantly disregard the rules?
If you don’t follow the rules especially when no one is looking, then how can you expect them to follow the rules?
Can these “minor” rescues lead to major law breaking?
Now let’s take a minute and see how these “minor” rescues might lead to major issues. Your child (or teen!) may mentally know there are consequences for certain behaviors, but if he has never experienced consequences will he truly understand the weight of these consequences?
Take a minute and think about the Affluenza Teen. And then think about rescuing your own kid from every slight in his or her world. Those rescues may seem innocuous at the moment, but what are the long term consequences? Are you raising the next Affluenza Teen? Will he or she do something that is so blatantly wrong because they think they can get away with it?
4 Bomb Threats at our high school and 1 threat at the intermediate school…
In the last 6 weeks our high school has been locked down four times due to bomb threats. The intermediate and middle schools next door were placed on lockdown too as a safety precaution. This week we also had a “threat” at the intermediate school (grades 3-5) which was quickly ruled to be a prank.
Is this the norm? What kind of place do we live in if we’re getting bomb threats at school? Surely this would never happen where you live! But it can and it might…
We live in manicured lawn suburbia where litter is picked up daily by the town workers. Everything is neat and clean and beautiful. Always.
We live in a place where it’s not uncommon for a first grader to get a new iPhone or a 16 year old to get a new BMW for their birthday or even a Lamborghini for that matter.
We live in a place where parents are “friends” to their kids more often than not.
And we live in a place where privilege may be the root of these bomb threats.
Did the kids involve think it was a prank where they wouldn’t be punished severely or at all? Did they not realize the true consequences of these threats? Did they think their parents could save them like they’ve been saved every time before?
I don’t know what they were thinking or why they did it, but I’m pretty sure their lives are over as they knew it and I hate to think being “saved” one too many times was the cause.
You may think I’m making huge leaps in logic here, but what if I’m right? Now isn’t that a scary thought?