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Parental Ethics


A parent was observed in front of a local activity center remarking to her child that he is "…just a bunch of trouble." "You're always acting up," she remarked, "If you keep doing that, I will take you home!" A father was observed driving with a car full of children, swerving around others just so he could get to a red light and wait. A parent began to chase after his son when the son refused to comply with a parental request, speaking louder than necessary so that the entire neighborhood could listen. These people are acting in a problematic manner with their child in a way they would NEVER do with coworkers or friends. Lack of parental ethics is the cause for this. There is no actual standard other than the Golden Rule. It seems we parents can do whatever we want, even if it doesn't work, over and over again.
Let's look at the phenomenon of parenting. Our job really is to raise these young ones into adults. What does an adult do? An adult, a real one, assumes responsibility for his actions, is assertive, persistent, polite and respectful of others, and completes or achieves set goals. Perhaps, that can be the blueprint for our parental ethics. Know what it is that we must do to get our child to become a successful adult and then do it. We can treat our children as if they are "growing adults."

Knowing what we should do is as important as knowing what we should not do. We should not ever respond to our "growing adult" when he does something with which we disagree. What we should do is wait until he has done it right, then we can respond. See, the trick in this whole parenting thing is you are dealing with an immature child who is unaware that if he never learns how to live correctly as a real adult, he will be unsuccessful. The immature child will make poor decisions at times and require correcting, and that is where you come in as a parent. Respond to your "growing adult" personally when he has done something correct; avoid him when he has not. Sooner or later, he will come to understand that when he does things as you wish, he gets your attention and vice versa. You are the sculptor here.
Parents often discuss their dissatisfaction with their child because "he often interrupts me, he is uncooperative, and he is disobedient, stubborn, and has a bad temper." A child exhibits these behaviors originally by accident. Should he find that it serves no purpose, he discards the behavior. Yet, if he finds that someone important will interact with him when he is stubborn, aggressive, disobedient, or uncooperative, the immature part of him says: "That's good. Mom talked to me, I'll do that again! Thus, when a child misbehaves repeatedly, it is likely due to the fact that we, as parents, have been mis- guided in our role and have misguided our child to believe that this behavior is useful, as we have given our approval for the behavior by being attentive to the child: Bobby, stop that! I thought I told you not to talk back. You did not clean your room yet, why not? How many times do I have to tell you to do something? Remember, every time that you interact with your child's bad behavior, you are actually encouraging it. Beware.
Our mistake as ethical parents is to assume that our child is as mature as we are, thus we ask "why?" all the time. We are smart enough to figure this answer out without having to ask our 8-year-old. Children are immature and require your consistent guidance. You are in charge of a "growing adult" who must learn to assume more and more duties every day so that by the time he is 18, he is quite capable of assuming legal adult status and being a capable individual. Our children can be expected to do more than just take out the trash. In fact, they should be slowly learning to perform every task in the house that you perform now. Get them to participate with you in any and every home task. They can watch you be persistent and successful. As they mature, they can be expected to take on more and more of the task responsibility. That is the way past generations did it, because children were the expected laborers of the family. You may recall, back in that era, children were much better behaved and significantly less violent. Maybe those parents had something back then. Maybe it was parenting ethics.

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