Parent Allowing 6 Year Old To Be Disrespectful To Adults Will the Real Parent Please Stand Up

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Will the Real Parent Please Stand Up

I used to play baseball in high school and college. I even played in an over thirty league back in the mid eighties. When my child Sarah was born in 1991, basketball was not something I thought she would ever be interested in. She picked up the balls after I hit them, and got up to bat. She hit a few balls, and even ran the bases. Sarah had and still has athletic ability – good hand-eye coordination, agility, strength and flexibility. Well, when Sarah was 7, she came up to me one day and said, “Hey dad can I play soccer?” I said, “Sure.” So I went out and bought her a soccer ball, shin guards, and cleats. I signed her up for the recreation league in town. I have to admit I was very enthusiastic. We used to kick the ball in the backyard, and we were both excited about her first game.

Well, the first game came on Saturday, so Sarah and I went up to the football field. After some warm-up activities and a pep talk from the coach, the game started. To my surprise Sarah was in the starting line. She ran up and down the field for the first ten minutes or so, and finally had a chance to kick the ball. She took her first kick, missed the ball, and landed flat on her back. She got up, and came crying over to the side and asked, “Don’t make me play anymore, Dad, I can’t do it.” She refused to go back into the game. The game ended, and on the way to the car she continued to cry, “Don’t make me play Dad, please, I don’t want to.” I mustered up all my courage and told her sternly, “You’re kidding. You’re kidding. Now get in the car.” She got in the car and we went home. On the way home all I heard was a bunch of sniffing and whining in the back seat. I didn’t have a long drive home, but I can tell you this. She took me out. I was full of emotion when I got home. We pulled up into the driveway, and I sat miserably in the car as I watched Sarah get out and walk into the house, spinning and shook as she walked through the front door.

I sat stealing in the car and said to myself, “Who wants to play football anyway, dumb game.” I then tried to rationalize my thoughts by saying to myself, “Soccer’s for boys anyway.” I walked into the house, stood at the bottom of the stairs and called up the stairs, “SARAH.” She sniffed her way through “Yeah dad.” I said, “Come down here.” She came downstairs, and I said to her, “Look honey, you don’t have to play football, if you don’t want to play. It’s fine with me.” She said, “Oh thank you father.” She gave me a big hug and kiss and ran back upstairs. Honestly, I felt like a hero. I was her knight in shining armor. I had just come through for her, and given her exactly what she wanted. I was sure I had made the wise decision; I didn’t even have to ask her mother’s opinion. I figured out what the big deal is, no harm done. I was happy in the knowledge that I had allowed my six year old daughter to make her own decision.

Well, I have another daughter named Grace (Grace is 6 years younger than Sarah) who came to me when she was six years old and said, “Hey dad, can I play football play?”

I said, “Sure honey.” The same routine began again, the shin guards, the cleats, the football, the practice, and finally the game. But this time, the result was very different. Grace excitedly ran up and down the field from one end to the other. She never got close enough to even touch the ball, but she had a great time. Grace came off the field with a look of joy in her eyes and said to me, “Boy, that was fun Dad.” She played the first season, and she had a ball. She played the next season and made great progress. She wanted to score very badly, but she didn’t have the chance. She still loved the game. For her, every game was an event, a trip that ended with a snack and Gatorade, lunch, and a fun time spent with me.

While this was going on Sarah was into cheerleading, gymnastics, track, palates, and even some weight lifting. She loved designer clothes, getting her nails done, tanning, makeup and looking good. She looked at her weight and realized that she needed to spend a lot of time exercising to look good. She once told me that some of her friends on her track team had less body fat than she did and could run faster than she could. It was just a passing thought but I remember her saying it, and I definitely noticed that this was bothering her.

One day Sarah and I went over to the soccer field to pick Grace up from soccer practice. We arrived at the field, and Grace got into the car sweeping; her face was as red as a tomato. Sarah handed her a Gatorade and a snack in the back seat, and Grace sat right there, happily sipping her drink. Sarah looked back at Grace, then looked forward, looked back again at Grace again, then looked straight at me. She said, “Hey dad, why didn’t you make me play football?”

I said (defensively), “I wanted you to play. Don’t you remember? You kicked the ball once, missed it, and fell on your head. Then you begged me not to make you play again .”

She answered me with, “SO? Why didn’t you do me?”

Now I was the one who was starting to sweat. I said, “You didn’t want to play. You wouldn’t let up until I agreed not to make you play. Sarah then made a statement to me that I will never forget as long as I live. She said, “But father, you are supposed to be in charge.”

Where did I go wrong seven years earlier? At the time, it seemed like the right thing to do was to give in to what Sarah wanted. But it turned out that I had not done what she needed to do. I had let a six year old decide if she wanted to play football or not. What did she really need at that time? She needed me to tell her that she was going to play football because I, as a parent, knew what was best for her, and I was not going to give her a way out. She wanted me to be in charge, not letting her be in charge. I had accidentally dropped it.

When I teach my graduate courses, I ask my adult students the following question all the time. How many things did your parents get away with as a child that you wish you never got away with? I usually get a lot of surprised looks from my students.

Too often we allow our children to make choices and decisions that they do not have to make. I see it all the time in supermarkets, stores, and malls, parents giving in when their kids ask to buy something, or parents trying to get their kids to buy something. to force him to stop crying or stop running away from them. The children ignore their parents’ complaints. Usually, the parents say something to their children like, “What do you want to do?” Well honestly, who cares what they want, they are three years old!

I’m not entirely sure where this whole scene came from, but I have my own theory that Dr. Benjamin Spock had a lot to do with it. Spock’s first book, Baby and Child Care” was first published in 1946 just in time for the baby boomer generation. In his book he talked about feeding on demand, respecting your children, the need for flexibility, and the lack of need for worry The newspaper sold more than 50 million copies and was translated into 30 languages. Critics called Spock the “father of franchise.” In later years, Spock said that he never changed his basic philosophy on child care, it was necessary to respect children because they are people and they deserve respect. politeness

Give your children firm leadership.” Years later, he became more moral to me and said that parents should instill strong values ​​in their children and encourage them to help others. t like what he saw he in society and realized that he may have played a role in eradicating generations. He said in his book that parents were beginning to fear influencing him the child in any way.

I don’t claim to be an expert on child rearing, but I do know that if children are fed on demand they will want it. If they are allowed to say whatever they want they will be disrespectful. If they are not held accountable they become irresponsible. And if there are no consequences for inappropriate behavior they will not comply. Parents today always ask, What can we do with our children today? My question is, What are we going to do with these parents?

Once I gave up my natural right as a parent to make decisions for my children, I was never able to re-establish my parental authority. From the moment my daughter convinced me to let her make the choice not to play soccer, she learned that she had the power to make every decision that came her way, whether big or small. And the saddest part of all of this to me is that she blames me because I was NOT strong enough NOT to let her play a role she was never designed to play in her own young life.

Dr. Spock has since passed away, and I think many of us are looking for a new voice to give us sound advice to help us sort out the mess we’re in today .

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