By Peter Sessum
As a headline it seems harsh, but as parents we are in the business of raising children to be productive members of society. Anything less than that is a disservice to our children and society as a whole.
I remember reading about a parent who let his kid run rampant all over the playground. He didn’t want his kid to limit himself so he didn’t want to tell the kid no or let him think he was a bad kid. Of course that kid ended up in jail because he never learned that life has limitations and if your parents don’t punish you when you are little, society will punish you when you are older.
What if they are a good kid
Yes, not only should you punish a good kid but you should especially punish a good kid for doing something bad. The last lesson you want to teach a child is that rules only apply sometimes. What you end up with is an entitled spoiled brat.
I have seen this first hand. I had a couple siblings that were a handful, but my sister got good grades. She was polite to the parents so they put all their eggs in her basket. She was going to college and the rest would have to fend for ourselves. If she would break a rule it would be ignored because “she was a good kid” and they would let it slide. What it taught her was that the rules didn’t apply to her. Worse, it made another sibling resentful of the parents. Not a good relationship to have with your child.
It is okay to teach your kids that they are different from each other, but you should never teach them that they are better or worse than the others. Or that they are better than other people. People who think they are better are rarely kind to those they think are lesser. It is bad when a popular high school student calls other students ‘little people” but it is downright pathetic when a grown woman says that about others.
Time off for good behavior
Yes, everyone gets punished, but that punishment can be mitigated based on previous behavior. Even in the court of law a first offense is given a lighter sentence. You have to explain why the punishment is lighter. If the kid is given a 10 minute time out and you want to let the kid go early you have to explain that it was because they did something good. This reinforces that punishment will always happen but gives positive reinforcement for good deeds.
It is no secret that I have an exceptional child. I often say I have problems most parents wish they had. Despite that fact, I still punish my child for every infraction. I will, from time to time, pull her aside and talk to her about it. A performance review if you will. I let her know all the good things she does and puts her punishments in perspective. It lets her know she is not a bad kid because she gets punished more than her friends. Speaking of her friends, on a group outing when they were about 9-years-old one of her friends was yelling at her dad and called him stupid.
I looked at my angel of a child and said, “You know I would end you if you talked to me like that?”
“I know,” she said.
We have never had that problem. Even at 16 she doesn’t talk to me like that. If she disagrees with me, even if she is upset, she points out exactly what it is she disagrees with. This means that when she clashes with her parents she never gets punished for it. It also means when she gets punished, she knows why and takes responsibility.
Parenting is a journey, the last thing you want to is be responsible for raising an asshole.