kidWhat I mean by “bad kid” isn’t that they are bad, as in evil, but undisciplined. They do not do what they are told. They whine, disobey, complain, and do a job half-way (if that).

Parents complain that their children are annoying, noncompliant, and disrespectful. These answers to undisciplined children require personal discipline and change for the parent. It is a parental job and problem to solve.

Some, trying to avoid the hard work of parenting, have determined that their kids are special. They conclude that this misbehavior can only be managed with a diagnosis and pills, which by the way is very convenient for the parent.

The reality is that the kids are undisciplined. It is like getting a new foal. Even at two or three years old that young horse will need training to be enjoyably, ridable. A child is the same. This is the job of the parent. Many parents resort to yelling, idle threats, and over using physical reprimands to get their kids in line and save their own sanity. It is challenging to mature these youngsters. The parents are surprised that the behavior doesn’t change and that many times the parent has animosity toward the child. Of course, this is no surprise. The parent isn’t disciplined and as a result neither is the child. With new methods and daily determination both parent and child will change to create a new, more productive and harmonious home.

The ideas and attitudes of child rearing need to change for the parent. Kids will do unruly things. This is how they start. The do not know how to be good and without the help of the parent, they may never transform into responsible spouses, parents and neighbors, which is the goal.

Start with the end in mind. What is that end? What skills do we want them to have to take on the world? I’m not talking about education, although important. We should teach them to listen, respond appropriately to conflict, be able to accomplish tasks, respect others and authority, take criticism, be neat and tidy and organized. They should be able to look people in the eye, shake hands, and introduce themselves. Our children should be able to control their speech and treat the opposite sex appropriately. We want them to be able to pick a career and pursue it, choose a spouse and raise their own children. This is a tall order but it is the parent’s responsibility not to be neglected. To shirk this task for personal peace is amongst the worst things a parent could do to their children.

The parent’s house work, chores and the like, although important, are actually time fillers. These are the things you do together which provide opportunities that discipline can happen naturally throughout the day. You are actually waiting for the issues and problems to arise so you can continue their process. Do not be lazy, address issues promptly. Children and their problems are not annoyances or distractions but the main attraction.  We are welcoming them. When I was in Junior High my band teacher said ”Make your mistakes loud so I can hear them and we can fix them.”

Sports, chores, homework, and sibling relations are opportunities to coach, train and discipline. Keep the end in mind. We don’t let them quit, we call them to relational reconciliation, to be generous, to be forgiving and hard working. Cut corners, be light, lower expectations and you will end with a kid like a horse: unmanageable and dangerous. These kids make bad parents, poor workers, negligent and abusive spouses. These are frustrated because they were taught differently than the world really is. The world rewards performance but they have been taught that they could pit their self-will against the world and win. Recently I met a middle aged man who was livid, explaining that he was trained wrong as a child and how it had caused him a lot of trouble in his life. These maltreated children will continue the negative trends of this country and its decaying culture.

This attitude of engagement will alleviate the parent being annoyed and getting angry. This approach gives opportunity to develop the best young men and women in our communities. You will take the credit or the blame, it is on you!

Look for part 2 of this article. Bad Kid, Bad Parent: Round Pen Training



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