Saturday, April 8, 2017

We've Forgotten Tough Love is Not Child Abuse !

Society frowns on physical and emotional abuse disguised as discipline, yet the modern hands-off approach to raising and educating children isn't working either.

Where once kids were caned for misbehaving in class, these, days they are praised for simply turning up to school. We've gone from one extreme to the other.

In the decades leading up to the 1995 banning of corporal punishment in Queensland government schools, were children more inclined to respect, if sometimes fear, their teachers? Did they feel similarly about police officers and others in positions of authority, including parents and grandparents?

In trying to atone for past abuses that invariably arose when an angry adult meted out too much ''discipline'', we've become too soft on kids.In trying to become our children's friends, we've blurred the lines that must exist if young people are to learn respect for others and take responsibility for their actions.

 I hear some principals find it's not the kids - its the parents who refuse to buy into their children's learning. If homework isn't done or behavior is unacceptable, mum or dad either shrug it off or tell the school it's their problem to fix.

A teacher friend at a private primary school says parents refuse to believe their little darlings could do anything wrong. The teachers are picking on their child.

It gets worse. Last year the Queensland government took the unprecedented step of introducing a Respect Our Staff campaign after 150 parents were banned from schools because of violence or threats of violence. It's not surprising, given such brilliant role modeling by these types of ignorant filth that in the same years 174 teachers received compensation after being assaulted by students.

Child psychologist Dr Michael Carr (below) says the trend of ''wussifying'' children has reached the point of ridiculousness. We have created ''a wave little princes and princesses who know no boundaries and never hear the word 'NO'. We see their tantrums in airports, restaurants, and shops and they are often pacified with an iPad or phone game,'' he says. 

New research from Harvard University says narcissism is bred early as adults fail to admonish children and instead shower them with hollow praise. This leads young people to think they are better than everyone else, and that rules or social mores do not apply to them. This cannot end well.

Here we are in 2017, with a generation of young Australians struggling on many fronts. As acedemic standards slip against international benchmarks, violence is on the rise. Figures from the Criminology Institute shiow teenagers aged 15 to 19 are the nation's most dangerous people, carrying out the greatest number of bashings, robberies, abductions and sexual attacks.

At the same time, suicide rates among 16 to 24 year olds are at their highest in 10 years. In most cases the wussifying reaches a tipping point where these children can't accept the world is not the way they want it and they are not the center of attention to maintain their high degree of self-esteem.

Some people blame the obsession with social media and there is evidence that it breeds narcissism and an inflated sense of self at the expense of the wellbeing of others. But I believe it is not one thing,
but a combination of factors that shapes the way children develop.

In the past, as now, parents and educators play pivotal roles, but so does community culture. If society does not value respect and acceptance of personal responsibility, how are kids expected to do so? I am not suggesting a return to the days when children wre beaten for misbehaving but we have to find the right measure of tough love that teaches kids that failure and disappointment are growth opportunities.

The Way I See It.......effective discipline doesn't require physical punishment but it does require setting boundaries and enforcing limits. It means teaching children that Life doesn't always go their way, and that's OK.

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