I have a 4 year-old, she listens most of the time. In fact, just Monday I received compliments on how well-behaved my little ones were. Tuesday morning, though, not so much.
Our morning started off very much as any other morning, wake-up, get the kids up, dress them while they watch a few minutes of television, I get the food ready for my son, hugs and kisses, and then out the door with daddy. This particular Tuesday morning, my 4 year-old decided listening was completely over rated. We struggled with her to put her clothes on and then further more struggled with her to put her shoes on. Then it came time for the coat. She just laid on the floor and refused to move to put a jacket on. I warned her that I was not going to repeat myself and if her jacket wasn’t on quickly, she would be going outside without one. She remained on the floor, heels dug-in.
So, I gave my husband my daughter’s jacket and informed both that she would be going to the car and into daycare without it. I was done repeating myself and she needed a reminder that listening to her mommie was in her best interest. Keep in mind it was chilly but by no means was she in danger from the cold; it was about 40 degrees outside. My husband called me later to inform she would be listening to me going forward, because she’d been cold.
This, as with so many things we teach our children, wasn’t just a simple lesson, Listen to your Mommie. Don’t get me wrong, I want her to listen to me. But, more importantly I was teaching her there are consequences to our actions. I believe this is something as a society we forget to teach our children. Sometimes we must obey authority and do as we’re told. If not, there are unpleasant consequences directly related to that action. In this case, not putting her coat on lead to her being uncomfortable and cold.
I have friends who are teachers and those with older children. We talk about children today and I believe we have a whole generation of children not learning this simple lesson. We have children in schools who are abusive to teachers and other students with parents who provide excuses and “save” their kids from due punishment. In reality they are do a grave disservice to their children.
What’s the result of such careless parenting? A society with a very little moral compass. Failing college students not because they are incapable of the work but because they don’t do the work. Children turning into adults who believe they are above rules. And often times, these adults have a very difficult time being an active, productive part of society. After all, when you’re an employee, you are expected to follow the rules. Eventually, I believe most people will figure out that sometimes they are wrong, they too must follow the rules. Why should we put our children though the tougher lessons when their adults when we can teach them when they are young?
In life, my daughter will be told to do things, I want her to know that she must obey authority (given that it’s not illegal, immoral, etc). She’ll be given homework and assignments that may not be pleasant. But, I hope, because of this lesson and many more to come, she’ll realize there is an importance to everything, even the little things. I hope she’ll know that mistakes happen and so do consequences. None of us are above these things. I hope she’ll continue to accept them and go forward learning from each of these consequences.