Sunday, April 4, 2010

An Instruction Manual For Kids

**I had to write a discussion paper on "Behavioral Self-Reinforcement" for class. I chose parenting. This is what I came up with. I thought it worth sharing, as anyone who is a parent has been through this! enjoy! Chelle }}i{{**

An Instruction Manual for Kids

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if children did come with an instruction manual? In a way they do, us. We take bits and pieces of our life as a child, add a pinch of being an example, and there you have it! Sounds like an easy recipe, right?

Being a mother, I have moments of failure, I think, “why doesn’t he listen to me? I must not be a good parent!” After discussing this inadequacy fear with other parents, this thought seems to be a common one. They bounce around, run off, and talk back to you, only for one reason, they are testing you, and your limits.

To compound upon our feelings of being a “bad parent”, we have other people telling us how to raise our child. Parents, grandparents, siblings, even perfect strangers will intercede. While their mission is usually good, sometimes the advice is not. We need to take the advice with a grain of salt and research on our own what is best for our child, for every child is different and responds differently.

“Both our nature, what is born in us, and our nurture, how we are conditioned, define who we are and what we believe. What we allow into our consciousness, therefore, weighs heavily on what we will become.” -C. Woolf.

It is said that we (as parents) need to apply appropriate discipline, stating that older children will need different punishments than younger ones. You have to remember your in charge. There is such a thing as loving, but firm parenting. Giving your child appropriate boundaries for their age is essential. Giving them a little freedom, is essential too. We must be willing to take some risk, this helps them ingrain in their mind consequences vs. choices.

There is a fear emerging of crushing a child’s spirit, thus turning the tables to where the child is in control, not the parent. How many times in a store do with see a child throwing a fit because they can’t get what they want (if you’re a parent, we’ve all been there, sort of a right of passage). Pay attention next time, see what the parent does, give in or not? Do they threaten or explain? Threatening a child with unreasonable threats is not the way to go, if you cannot follow through with the threat, it is not a “good” threat. What is a good threat? Something that will teach your child a lesson without causing serious trauma. For example, taking away toys or favorite things for a certain amount of time or time-outs.

The last thing, but most important thing I want to bring up is education. Parents need to stay active in a child’s education, we are usually the main “conditioner”. While schools are a great place of learning, children will apply and retain most of this knowledge within the home. Children are sponges, they absorb everything we say and do, (sometimes to my chagrin). One of my favorite things to do is take daily life, and turn it into a lesson. Two of my favorite impromptu lessons was a walk, where we discovered our shadows, and my son playing with several different sized balls turned into the solar system.

When using these points in life, we will still have feelings of inadequacy and people telling us we’re “doing it wrong.” But, when your child is independent, knowledgeable, and respectful, all those feelings and voices seem to melt away.



  1. Great post, mama. I'm honored by the props. Much love.

  2. Glad you like it! I chose parenting for my topic and I went, "I know a GREAT source!!" lol. Thanks for your lovely blog, I have been able to teach Xander so many cool things with help of your ideas!!! :-)