How Can We Help Kids’ Behavior?

Quotes Blaming Others~

Teens want to party young

Kids are over-exposed to harm at younger and younger ages because of generally low societal standards.

For many years I’ve heard and seen memes reminding parents that it’s not up to schools to keep kids well-behaved; it’s the parents’ job. I would agree with this but for all the negative environmental variables that are unaccounted for—and account for parents who, despite all they read in advance to train for the event, complain their kids didn’t come with a manual.

What I’m saying is that we can’t just put the onus on others; if we want to see a positive change for the world’s children, it’s going to have to be a concerted effort from all adults who have anything to do with kids. Which means just about all of us.

There is an increasing amount of negative variables put upon increasingly younger kids. Those variables are leading kids far from virtue. We have reached not Bethlehem, as the poet W. B. Yeats lamented we would not unless we acquired virtue; rather, we have slouched to Gomorrah.

Simply look at what we try to shelter our kids from and the problem is self-evident. There comes a point that no matter what parents do, kids will be exposed to their worst nightmares through television shows, movies, music, pop culture, fake food, fake news, their friends and even bad adults. Not that all of it is bad, it’s just that so much of it is!

Double-Jeopardy and False Awards

Kids stop trying

When kids are rewarded just for showing up, they learn they can get by without having to  try.

The environment both outside and inside the home has many parents feeling their job has been irretrievably usurped. Obviously, teachers also feel the same about their job, not only because of behavioral problems, but reasons having to do with the ridiculous expectations the school system places on them.

It’s double-jeopardy for teachers who have to teach under the impossible protocol imposed by the system while at the same time address the lack of self-discipline possessed by their charges. And therein lies the source of the problem parents, teachers, and just about everyone has with kids: their lack of self-discipline, in general.

How did today’s kids, in general, come to have a lack of self-discipline that spawned memes blaming others for it? To answer that, we can look back at how my generation, now grandparents—and how today’s parents, grew up. Each generation was more entitled than the last, because each generation was determined to make life easier for their kids.

For example, some of us as parents or teachers even went so far as to give all the kids participation awards—regardless of whether they deserved an award or not. We raised generations of kids who thought they were more wonderful than the previous generation, for doing less. In fact, some of those kids may now even be some of us, as today’s parents.

The Perfect Storm

play life positively

Kids need to learn positive thinking early to set themselves up to win at life.

This created a lot of folks who didn’t learn how to try. It also created a lot of folks who didn’t learn how to cope with their shortcomings or their emotions. As they enter the world of so-called adulthood where new expectations are put upon them, they too often find themselves falling short! 

I believe not having great coping skills has caused all of us a lot of frustration. Along with an excessive availability of opioid drugs people use to check out from emotional pain as well as physical pain, it may have contributed to the perfect storm for the heroin epidemic young adults, teens, and even youth face today.

So that brings us to the perennial question: How can parents safeguard against or reverse what we and our society has put into process? What can we, as parents, grandparents, and teachers teach kids that will inspire them towards the virtue of self-discipline, which will lead to good life outcomes? You can read about that HERE, and I will go into more detail in my next blog. Till then,

Stay positive!

Rori O.

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  1. Shane C

    Very interesting take. I am a special education teacher in rural Michigan with a large low socio-economic population, over 80%, which results in free/reduced lunch to all students. This may not mean much to some but, as you may know our students are coming to us already at a disadvantage. I think you hit the nail on the head. There are many variables but the responsibility to children is on all of our shoulders. Parents are sending the best that they have to us. It may also be that they will receive the best meal of the day and most caring with us. Really great perspective. Keep up the good work.


    • Rori O'Hara

      Thank you Shane. It is always nice to get validation from those in the field. I have many teachers in my family, one of which is, like you, a special education teacher. I so appreciate what you folks in education do, and what you’re up against. The best of parents and teachers have quite a job given the standards of today’s society. I wish you the very best. You certainly deserve it. I know you’ll keep up the good work, too.

  2. Brandon

    I can not agree with you more on this article, Rori. Too many times are kids rewarded for something that they don’t NEED to be rewarded for, and this turns into a vicious cycle, ultimately making kids learn the ins and outs and really exploiting all these “rules” that are in play. And there is definitely a lack of self-discipline for kids these days, and that’s mostly because of the new laws that are in place. Simply spanking your child one time can land you in jail depending on the level of force you use due to your anger. Great article, I’ll be back to read more 🙂

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