Hi, my name is Teacher Kean from Teaching Worthy. I’m a licensed headmaster with the Ministry of Education and a certified HRDF trainer. My job is to help parents become better parents.
As a parenting and teaching expert, I’ve seen many parents get confused and frustrated because they’re getting conflicting opinions as to what their roles as parents really are.
Let me give you an example: should your children be brought up to be like the Germans? Independent, strong, hardworking? Or should they be brought up like the Scandanavians? Happy and carefree?
Which is better? Your friends, colleagues, family and social media will each try to influence you. Everyone will have a different opinion.
Well, parents certainly have multiple roles, but I want to talk to you about what I regard as the MOST IMPORTANT ROLE. But first, story time!
When I was teaching in an international school, I had a 9-year old student who was quite the little monster. He would disrupt the class, bully his classmates and even steal. Eventually, the other students learnt how to deal with him. They ignored him and left him alone.
Can you guess what his mother did? His mother complained to the principal of the school saying that the other kids were bullying her child. She also demanded apology letters from the parents of the other kids. That mother was definitely raising a kid to become the emperor of the universe. In her eyes, her kid could do no wrong.
Here’s the ironic part, though. A few months after that, in a shopping mall, I saw that same student beating his poor mother in public. It was painfully obvious that even the mother disliked her own child. If his own mother can’t stand him, can you imagine what other children and adults feel about him?
So here’s what I think is our MOST IMPORTANT role as parents. We have to teach our children how to behave so other people will actually want to interact with them. In other words, we have to teach them how to be socially desirable. A lot of the time, this means we have to bite the bullet and to DISCIPLINE or to PUNISH our children when they go overboard.
Why do I regard this role as so much more important over all the other roles? 2 reasons:
Firstly, if we do not discipline our kids, their negative behaviour is definitely going to annoy us. After a while, this feeling of annoyance is going to develop into resentment. What this means is that we will secretly start to dislike our own children. And let me tell you, it’s impossible to be a good parent when you are annoyed at your child. You’ll start to snap at them, you start to over-react, and you listen to them less.
Secondly, If you do not like your own children, NO ONE ELSE IS GOING TO. Nasty kids will be ignored by other children. Other adults (like teachers) will also treat them differently. As adults, we all try to avoid interacting with nasty kids simply because it is unnecessary drama. As you can see, it is a vicious cycle. Nasty kids don’t practise enough to deal with other kids and authority figures. Now what happens when this kid grows up and goes to work? He’s going to have a hard time!
So why are some parents SO AFRAID to discipline their children? It’s because we want to be “friends” with our children. Also, we are constantly judged by other people whether the way we discipline our children is wrong. But here’s the thing. If we don’t discipline our children, this harsh and uncaring world will certainly do it for us. If we don’t do the dirty work, someone bigger and nastier will do it for us, but they will be much dirtier doing it.
As parents, we also have to give our children the confidence to experiment and grow. This means that we have to be consistent in our punishments and encouragements. When we are consistent, our kids learn to trust us.
Our kids need to be confident that we will correct or discipline them when they go overboard. They also need us to be their biggest fans when they try something new and fail. We need to be there to say: “I know this hurts very bad, but you are STRONG ENOUGH to get through this.”
It’s a bit sad, but the world we live in IS full of challenges and heartbreak. It’s not correct for us to protect our children forever, and to fight their battles for them. At some point, we have to teach them the social tools and skills necessary so that they can become good, productive and likeable members of society.
So, please, punish your children when you need to. Teach them that it is wrong to hurt others, and that they have to put in effort to be polite and strong. Because, if you don’t, someone nasty is going to punish them for you, in a way you certainly will not like.
If you need more practical steps or if you require specific advice, please do not hesitate to contact us at www.teachingworthy.com. Thank you, and please remember to share these lessons which are worth sharing.