April 04, 2007

Getting Children to Adjust Their Behavior


"Do this because society says so, in less formal ways." You won't be fined or sent to jail for violating any of these rules but many times they may be just as important to obey as laws. These rules fall under the category of manners, or social customs, but they often are the standards by which your children's character is judged. Teach your children that they can act any way they choose, but other people retain the right to their own response and their own opinion.

Point out that these rules make most people's responses very predictable. "You can cut your hair in a Mohawk and dye it orange if you wish but remember that many people will then discount you as a meaningless person. It may not be right for them to do so, but it is very predictable."

The same goes for conduct in a public place… loud and boisterous behavior will, very predictably, be viewed as immature and will be criticized by most adults. Children will rapidly begin to get the picture. Children are fully capable of seeing cause and effect in these situations.

“Wearing a baseball cap at a funeral will be judged by most as being a sign of disrespect to the deceased. If you insist upon wearing one to make yourself more comfortable, then you predictably will be called a disrespectful person.” Kids need this type of advice.

Think of this like you would think of teaching your child to use a computer. They need some help in learning the commands to get the computer do what they want it to do. In life they need guidance in learning and choosing the actions and behaviors that result in the outcomes that they desire from life. You are the guide but they hold the power to choose their actions.

Give your children some great ideas to choose for the job of ruling their world.

Treat people in a manner that you would like to be treated.

If you are feeling sad try to make someone else happy; it will usually cheer you up.

It does not matter how deep or cold the water, if you have to go through it anyway. Get your feet wet.

A “Thank You!” will open ten times as many doors as a “Please!” and hundreds more than a “Gimme!”

Happy people meet more happy people.

Give your best and that is all the world can ask. Set your own standards.

Your family ought to have lots more of these types of ideas that your child can use to make their life more complete and that can lead them to make wonderful choices for themselves.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Mac, for some concrete ideas on appropriate dress. It seems that I am fighting a hopeless battle in getting my children to dress even closly to what I deem appropriate. They are 11 and 13 and the peer influence is so very strong. I do not want them to be "geeks" and understand that they want to fit in, but they must also fit in with our family values. What I have been doing--demanding, ranting and raving, has not been working but my kids have good brains and I think your comment about "you can choose what you wish but the world gets to judge" will be an idea I can use. Thank you for your guidance.