A provocative parent speaks out

Listen along here if you care to...

If that's what it takes I'll have to be a provocative parent. Simply put, as a provocative parent, I want to get you excited about taking control of your child. I've had enough of this nambie pambie new age way of dealing with kids. As in most things, what goes around comes around and I hope the older ways return before it's too late to save the kids born after 2000.Who knows... maybe the studies of the future will determine that it's OK to spank your child, only on the bottom and never in anger. Or maybe it won't be out of the question to actually teach, and drive home, the basics in reading, writing and arithmetic. As a provocative parent I wonder why more parents don't speak out. Why did our generation give up these tried and true foundations... for the sake of being politically acceptable? For enabling our children to develop better socially? Hogwash!

I don't think the new fangled ways have had their desired effect. Have a look at Trends in Juvenile Violence. It's one of the reasons why homeschooling has become more popular, and why the metal detectors at some US high schools work better than those at the local airport.

Face it, this provocative parent says there are no bad children. Just bad childhoods! William is 6 months old, crawls well and poops a lot. Is he bad? At 13 months he took his first steps and knocked a candy dish off the coffee table. Is he bad? At 24 months he magically flipped someone the bird after peeing in their face, lying on the changing table. Is he bad? At 4 years he threw a tantrum in the grocery store? Is he bad? In grade one, he told his teacher where to go! Is he bad? No... but someone close to him was.

Kids are never bad, they just display bad behaviour. In many cases we might correct bad behaviour. This may sound like a fine line, but it is very different. I put the responsibility squarely on the shoulders of the parents. Parenting is a very difficult job and becomes more so as the environment around us fills up with more childhood distractions.

Without sounding like a prude, if parents could bring themselves to monitor and gauge the effects of outside stimuli on their kids, they would never have to say, "What can we do, he's a little terror". Please... look around you and then give yourself a shake. There's a provocative parent talking.

Did you pay attention to his/her...

Quality of Friends, Play areas/hangouts, Bedroom walls and tidiness, Compositions and drawings, List of chores, Copying others' apparel, Video games (violent/meaningless), TV shows (non-educational/informative), Language used with elders, Language around the house, Courtesy for others, Respect for neighbours, Behaviour in a store, Smoking and drinking?, Desire for body modification, Lack of hobbies, Consuming interest in professional sports

OK, the smoking and drinking was for your benefit. Now go through the list again and ask yourself how many of these you fail at. Even a handful of failures on this list is enough to have a life-long negative effect on your child. Your attitudes and prejudices filter down, even if you think you are hiding them. And hypocrisy looms everywhere. You can't disapprove of something for your child at one moment but do similar behaviour yourself the next. It loses all validity.

Parenting by good example early, while monitoring and evaluating the effects of the world on your child, is easier than spending thousands on a child psychologist later. The task is not complex or hard to learn. It just has to start from within and be genuine... before the baby comes home from the hospital.

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