Family is the thread of the fabric of society. When family is tight, the weave in the fabric is not easily broken. However, when family deteriorates, society suffers. During this past week the nation received a wake up call. That call is to parents. As parents we have a responsibility to teach our children respect: respect for themselves, respect for others, respect for property, respect for those in authority.
However, what we were seeing was all out defiance. Defiance is scornful disregard. It acts in contempt of; it challenges and provokes to strife; it dares and resists openly.
I have a saying: ‘you deserve what you tolerate’. As parents we need to realise that defiance to our authority will be challenged even at an early age. Everybody can recognise a temper tantrum in a toddler but that behaviour, if left to its own devices can become a much bigger problem later.
No matter what the age children need to learn that there are consequences to their actions. They need you to say ‘no’ and then have you stick to that word. Boundaries need to be clear and then enforced consistently. When our children were very little we would leave something out that would not be harmful to them and we would say, ‘no, don’ touch!’ The boundary was in place and then we would put actions to our words. If the child persisted, we would say it again in a firm voice. If they continued we would move them away. You could see the defiance in their eyes but we would not laugh it off. It is so important to begin to teach children early. When the child would respond to the command of ‘no, don’t touch’, affirmation was given, ‘good for you!’
Boundaries and consequences change with age. But they still need to be firmly in place. Don’t give up. You are teaching your child respect. If we would do our part in the home we would see the weave of the fabric improve and our communities would reap the benefit.