Screen time is such an easy form of entertainment because it requires nothing of the participant and is always available; it’s no different to Generation X and Y kids being plopped in front of the TV all afternoon. Unsurprisingly, many parents find it gives them a much-needed mental break from the kids to cook the dinner, load the washing machine or any other number of other things that need to be done.
In last week’s post about our unplanned week at home, I promised I’d expand on an incident which occurred on Friday at a Hungry Jack’s restaurant.
For those who came in late, I had the kids to myself for a couple of days while my wife was interstate for a family funeral. We’d paid a visit to the hospital and, having stayed longer than we planned, found it was time to eat and we were still on our way home with no dinner started at home. On a whim I stopped at HJ’s to grab a bite and ate by the indoor playground.
A small four year old boy (we’ll call him Charlie) was near our table and was slightly interfering with our peace so his parents told him to move away. Charlie showed no signs of having heard, much less acting upon, his parents’ request, though he quickly bored with us and moved back to the playground on his own volition. Twice more his parents issued instructions while he was on the playground, both of which Charlie ignored to which his parents responded by doing precisely nothing.
For months we’ve been looking forward to Family Camp. It’s a week-long camp with other Christadelphians for parents with young children, and it’s all about helping each other raise children who learn respect, care for others and above all, love God. We’ve been twice before and loved it, so booked into this one as soon as we could.
Why do we discipline children? While there may be many reasons, ultimately I believe:
We discipline to teach children there are consequences to their actions.
We know instinctively that everything we do has some consequence, even at the simplest levels. If we turn on a tap over an empty glass, the consequence is the glass is filled with water. If we push a tall box, the consequence is that the box falls and possibly causes something to break. As adults we know that we are responsible for dealing with the consequences of our actions, but that’s not something children understand. As very young children we’ve done everything for them, so they see us clean up their mess at the table and put them to bed when they’re tired. They can’t take responsibility for their actions when they’re very young, but as adults they will do this almost 100% of the time. So between infancy and adulthood they need to progressively learn this.
This afternoon a young boy about 6 and his mum got on my bus. He walked in front of her as they walked up the aisle. His mum came to a vacant seat just past the turntable and said ‘here’ to her son, to which he responded loudly ‘NO HERE!’ and kept walking to the back. His mum shook her head in annoyance, and with a huff meekly followed him to the back.
Hands up who sees a problem here.
Does it really matter, in this case, where they sit? No. But what does matter is that she issued an instruction, he ignored it and then she allowed his word to overrule here. So the issue is one of authority – who’s in charge, rather than simply a choice of seat.
Our 8 year old daughter is a typical oldest sibling who’s capable of putting her two little brothers (6 and 4) in their place. I guess sibling rivalry is part of growing up, but we’ve been seeing a bit too much recently and eventually the teasing and bickering hit flash point when things started getting physical. Continue reading A touching moment→