Four Foundations

What Do You Expect?

Every generation seems to think that those who follow are setting new standards for bad behaviors.  And, at the risk of sounding like an old fuddy duddy (thanks, Keyuri) I’m not sure that bullying, entitlement and self-centeredness are matters of opinion.  They’re sad facts.

Does this sound familiar?

“Children these days are tyrants.  They not only talk back to their parents, teachers and elders, but they expect every luxury, gobble their food, chatter incessantly, and sneer at any attempt to control them.”  If that sound like the ‘host rant’ of the latest talk radio show about parenting… well, it’s not.  It was Socrates — in the 5th century, B.C.  Evidently parents have been concerned that children were not eagerly accepting direction and training for some time now!

We seem to have confused discipline with punishment.  Children without the benefit of parental discipline and guidance are left to their own to figure out socially acceptable standards of behavior.  It’s a form a child abandonment.

I don’t remember ever seeing a written list of ‘rules’ when I was growing up… and I did not provide my son with that sort of list when he was growing up.  There were, however, lots of discussions about expectations and standards.  Morals and values.  There was rarely any doubt in my mind about how my parents would feel about something I was about to do — or not do.

And when I did things they didn’t agree with I paid — whether or not they found out what I had done!  The feeling that went along with doing something that would disappoint or embarrass them was punishment enough.

Of course when the DID find out about some of my transgressions, they made it perfectly clear that they did NOT believe that “that feeling” was anywhere NEAR punishment enough! Although it didn’t happen often  their version of reality included apologies, cleaning and repairs.

Expectations provide context for decisions.  When kids know their parents values their strive to uphold them.  And a good role model makes following the path even easier.

2 Comments

  • Moms Opposed to Bullying

    Excellent post, as always, but I especially like this one and the reference to Socrates. I think people have confused punishment and discipline and although many of the things chilren do today are versions of past behaviors, we are responding to them differently, if at all.
    We are not teaching our children or giving them tools for the future and the result is people who are overwhelmed with daily life and unable to handle consequences. I feel as though there is a frailty among the population that is concurrent with different and sometimes more challenging circumstances and the result is more medication, more violence (although some would say violent statistics are down), and more inability to interact with our neighbors and peers. Of course that could just be me… Thanks for your work and thoughtful posts!

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