Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Are Children So Different Today?

    I recently overheard a person negatively state, "The children of today are not like the children
when I was a kid!" Really? My mind immediately pictured events in my own childhood, my own children and grandchildren, and the many kids that I shared a part in their lives. The strange thing is that I heard the same exact comment in the seventies as a first year teacher and frequently as a principal throughout the many years of my career.
     So just what is it that this statement is trying to suggest? Most often it is associated with a negative back sided comment referring to the behavior of a child and a belief that behavior in children was far better years ago. That is nothing but old fashion 'hogwash'. Children have been children forever!
     Let's be clear... it is us, the adults, that have not taken the time to understand the concepts of childhood. Our forefathers and many of our adults today have one thing in common - a lack of knowledge in a child's development and the importance of outstanding parenting! Here are just a few suggestions to consider:

  1. Start with a true and honest examination of your priorities as a parent. You may say that your children are #1, but does your daily interactions demonstrate it? When I see high tech devices constantly taking the time of parents I truly wonder...
  2. Become knowledgeable of this stage in the development of your child. Read! Watch videos! Listen to speakers! As an example, a parent was trying to help their second grade student with a math problem. The question said, "If 2+2=4 then what + 4=7?" The child couldn't figure it out and the parent became frustrated trying to get the concept across to their kid. Solution - at about the age of most second graders they finally begin to understand abstract thinking, but not all! Give them time to develop and they will eventually understand the concept. For now keep their learning very concrete and visual. Even talking about it can be too abstract.
  3. Discipline is always controversial, but let me say this. It is not enough to just keep talking about a behavior that is bad for the child. Keep in mind that behavior will always continue as long as the child enjoys it. If they do not enjoy the behavior, they will stop; but you as a parent must replace the inappropriate behavior with one that is appropriate and reward it until the new behavior is well established. Often parents extinguish the bad behavior and forget to establish the new one. This can result a whole new behavior far worse than the original one.
     I am sure that enough has been said for today about childhood, but keep this in mind as the Lorax might have suggested, "Who speaks for the children - who have no voice?" You do...

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