I know, it really is amazing. Thank goodness we have millions of dollars funding this kind of invaluable research. I’m sure most of us have been running around supposing that parental death would have little or no impact on today’s youth.
by Jessica Fox, M.A.
What do parents do when they have little reason to trust their teenager because they have caught them in a lie so many times? Many parents’ first thought is “I’m not going to let them pull one past me again!” Today, parents have ample opportunity to catch their adolescent in a lie. Years ago it was not so easy for parents. But now there are Facebook statuses, Twitter, and all kinds of ways to check where your teen is or says he or she is.
Unfortunately for the teen, it is all too easy for their parents to figure out a computer password or make a privacy settings prohibited. It is unfortunate for these same parents because while parents think they are being smart and resourceful, they are actually modeling deceitfulness and dishonesty for their children and reinforcing that going behind somebody’s back is acceptable. Of course parents should monitor what their children are viewing on the Internet, but there is a fine line between “monitoring” and just plain spying. If you want your teen to stop lying it would be more beneficial to have consequences that fit the crime. Or, if you are going to go behind your teenager’s back and checks or her text messages, emails, tweets, Facebook, etc., then tell them that you are doing it and at least model what the truth looks like!
If your teenager has given you reason not to trust them it would be a good idea to reevaluate what discipline looks like in your household and come up with some creative consequences. However, if you are one of the few lucky parents with teenager who is compliant, follows the rules, and meets his or her family responsibilities, then giving your teen a little freedom and privacy will most likely enhance his or her decision-making skills, increase self-esteem, and promote a healthier relationship between you and your child. They will probably be more likely to tell the truth if they feel you trust their abilities as well!
- A roof over their head
- Enough clothes to be warm and comfortable
- Enough food to be healthy
- Medical care
- Transportation to school
- An audience to address grievances and requests—IF and only if they are expressed respectfully
- No physical, sexual, emotional abuse
- A bare minimum of privacy (more can certainly be earned)
My family and I went for a walk uptown the other evening for some ice cream. When we got to the ice cream store, my 6-year-old noticed a young boy, maybe 2, who had a leash. For those of you who don’t know what I’m referring to, there is a harness that the child wears that is connected to a real leash, which the parent holds onto.
My daughter looked at me to explain what she clearly perceived as something bizarre. I simply said, “I guess some parents feel that they need a leash to keep their kids close and safe.”
As I thought about it, I was aware that I was feeling pretty judgmental about these parents. Who the heck needs to tether their child—especially inside an ice cream store? I can understand in a crowded festival or an airport or something like that, but an ice cream store? If anyone needs to be tethered, it’s our U.S. Senators. Anyway, I thought to myself, “Do they know how silly they look?”
On the other hand, I acknowledge that some parents do not know how to (or even recognize that they can and should) maintain control of their children in public and so a leash makes sense to them. Maybe their child ran into the street once and was almost turned into a kid pancake. That would be enough to make a normal parent paranoid.
So I’m struggling with how I feel about the leash. I mean for young children. If you’re putting a leash on your six-year-old, then you’ve really got problems.
Let me know what you all think of leashes for children. I’m curious what collective wisdom and experiences are out there.
Now that I think of it, leashes for teenagers doesn’t sound like such a bad idea…
Photo by: niimo
We had just sat down for a bite at this beachside/streetside grill when this child and her mom came strolling by, both of them munching on some snacks. My camera sat on the table in front of me. I instantly clicked it on, didn’t even take it from the table for the sake of time and remaining unnoticed. I swivled it to face them. The height of the table was perfect, the distance was ideal.
I don’t mean to criticize this mother in particular, I don’t know her circumstances, I don’t know her life. But this photo makes me wonder how she intends to help guide her child once she is too old to be leashed, too old to be controlled. Unfortunately a leash is not the same a discipline… I think it is summed up well by a statement I heard recently: We in America are seeing a major problem with four year old terrorists because parents won’t discipline their kids.
- They didn’t brush their teeth at all.
- They brushed their teeth but then took the time to meticulously dry their toothbrushes.
- They brushed their teeth but my wife then came and dried the toothbrushes.
- The children were bought a new type of “quick-dry” toothbrush.
- Aliens intruded our home and dried out the toothbrushes.
- The child has a biochemical imbalance in the frontal lobes, which makes him unable to make good decisions, except of course when the child is watching TV, playing video games, or building with Legos.
- The child is possessed by the spirit of Sponge Bob Square Pants, which mysteriously releases its grip from the child when the child is watching TV, playing video games, or building with Legos.
- The child possesses the ability to behave, but has not yet learned how to inhibit his impulses or obey his parents, and will when his parents properly motivate him to do so.
If ADHD is really a mental illness, a neurobehavioral or even neurological disorder, it should not be cured so simply by parents. But it is cured that simply*.
Many clinicians have worked with children diagnosed with all three types of ADHD—Inattentive, Hyperactive-Impulsive, and Combined—by equipping the child’s parents to enact and enforce consistent, strict, fair, and loving limits and boundaries. Dr. David Stein is one psychologist who has gotten astounding success with children formerly diagnosed with ADHD. Howard Glasser has taught scores of schools how to provide appropriate behavioral intervention to radically change children who once seemingly could not behave properly in a classroom.
I have worked with children for 18 years in a variety of settings, including schools, residential homes, inpatient hospitals, and private practices. It is a joy and pleasure to work with parents who want to be the agent of change in their child’s life and who commit to doing so without a diagnosis. Almost every one of those families—when they consistently and properly employ reasonable discipline—have transformed their child from one who “has ADHD” to one who does not. Many of the children had been diagnosed ADHD by professionals who are eminent in the field of child psychiatry.
Heck, if I can train parents to make such fundamental change in their children and cure a “serious neurological disorder” in such a short time and with such simple principles and techniques, I should be up for a Noble Peace Prize. I’m not holding my breath.
*Notice I did not say “easily”, but “simply”. Reasonable discipline is simple. Enacting and enforcing it can be very difficult for parents who do not know how or lack the will or ability to do so. Some parents are so locked into permissive parenting or rely on methods that worked well for one child that they can’t conceive of another way to do things. Others are so overworked, overstressed, and overwhelmed that they simply do not have the will. Yet others are stuck parenting on their own with no support from spouse and other adults. This makes reasonable discipline genuinely difficult, but it does not change the reality that if proper limits are enacted and enforced, the child will respond to them—usually rather quickly.