Then he’s forced to do a job that no one asked him if he wanted to do (school). This “job” goes on for about 10 years when one day he wakes up and his body is bigger. He can communicate. He has a pretty good idea of who he is. And HE decides that he’s going to do what HE wants to do for a change. It’s as simple as that. But what would have happened had he been given some choices before he arrived at this point? What would have happened if his willingness had been consulted or his opinion sought? A very different picture, to be sure.
Educator and Humanitarian, L. Ron Hubbard, has this to say about the rearing of children:
“How would you like to be pulled and hauled and ordered about and restrained from doing whatever you wanted to do? You’d resent it. The only reason a child ‘doesn’t’ resent it is because he’s small. You’d half murder somebody who treated you, an adult, with the orders, contradiction and disrespect given to the average child. The child doesn’t strike back because he isn’t big enough. He gets your floor muddy, interrupts your nap, destroys the peace of the home instead. If he had equality with you in the matter of rights, he’d not ask this ‘revenge.’ This ‘revenge’ is standard child behavior.”
How does one handle the child, then? The same way you would treat an adult: with respect, consideration and admiration. It may be hard to break old habits, but it can be done.
Try a few of these techniques at home if your child is being defiant:
1. Apologize. For a time when you treated your child with disrespect or didn’t consult their willingness to do something. Take back harsh words. Tell them you were wrong. But you have to mean it.
2. Admire. Find something to admire about your child. Openly do so. And let them know that you love them—no matter what.
3. Adventure. Do something fun together and let your child decide what it will be (not a movie, please, but something with some interaction!).
In this modern-day world filled with electronic stimulation and less human contact, children need more understanding from their parents. With a gentle and caring attitude, even the most robust of rebels will once more become the loving children they indeed are. It may take time. But parents are the most patient people in the world. Give yourself some acknowledgement, too.
Cheri Hall has been an educator for over 30 years and the Executive Director of the Mojave Academy for the past 10 years. Cheri’s love of children and dedication to helping them learn is an ongoing source of inspiration to those around her and to many in the educational field.