Building the DESIRE
... right from the start you are teaching kids to make knowledgeable choices, to become independent, to
follow rules, to believe in themselves and to have good values and beliefs.
If we as adults always tell them how to think, what to do, and what decisions to make they will become
dependent on others. If on the other hand we never set boundaries for them they
may not learn how to set limits for themselves or learn how to deal with
the rules in this society that need to be followed And are you
sure they are going to pick up on the good values without proper
But how do you know they will follow your guidance? How do we know they
will have the DESIRE to do what we think is right?
Think of someone in your life that you see as a mentor. What are
they like? I will take a guess and say that you knew what to expect from
them. They were honest, and dependable. You could trust
them, and you respected them. Children learn by copying, and when
we act in an honest and respectful way, they WANT to copy us. The
DESIRE to do what we do and say increases. They need to believe in us, trust us,
respect us. If we break that trust, or we are so inconsistent that
they don't understand what the rules are, then that DESIRE to copy us/
listen to us is diminished and perhaps even lost. Or maybe
they do indeed copy us, but the behaviours are "what they see, not
what they hear".
We are their role-models. We know how quickly children pick up
on bad habits, but they also copy good ones. Therefore, we, as their guides, need to talk
self-disciplined, walk self-disciplined, and live self- disciplined, because.....
EVERYTHING YOU SAY AND DO AND DON'T SAY AND DON'T DO IS A LESSON
Building trust and respect is a day to day process. Every moment, every action, is building the
framework for this relationship. We need to be truthful in our words and actions; we need to have
empathy for the other person's feelings, thoughts, and needs; and we need to be consistent so they know
what to expect from us.
Consider: I am at a friend's house and the children are fighting. I tell them to stop or we will go
home. They don't stop, but we don't go home. I repeat the threat but never follow through.
What was the message? -- perhaps that I don't really care if they stop fighting; that they don't need to do
what they are told; or that what I say isn't the truth.
remember: EVERYTHING YOU SAY AND DO AND DON'T SAY AND DON'T DO IS A LESSON
What have the children learned about themselves? They perhaps have learned that their feelings aren't
important: I don't care 'why' they are fighting. I just want them to stop. And what if sometimes I
don't stop their fighting, and other times I jump all over them for it? Have they learned that
fighting is not an appropriate method to solve problems? I doubt it. If I want them to learn that
fighting is not okay, then each and every time I need to stop the fighting--AND I need to teach
them appropriate ways to handle disagreements.
This is where, in my opinion, we as a society
fail. We forget to teach them alternatives. So often it is
"go to your room" or "go to time out" or "don't
do that" and we leave it at that. However, what we have
failed to do is show them HOW to handle the situation.. We have the
"what not to do" down pat, but we've left them in the unknown
and the cycle shall continue.
"We don't hit. Why are you
upset? Let's handle this together. How can we solve
this without hitting?"
"Use a proper voice tone when you talk to
people. I can see you are angry with me. What is wrong? Tell
me 'without attitude' and I can hear what you are saying.
"Did you pick up all the clothes and
towels? What did you forget to do? What will help you to remember?
Would a list posted on
help? When you are finished, then you can go
Children don't need punishment, they need
guidance. When they act in ways that we find inappropriate it is
because they haven't built the skills yet to be independent and
self-controlled -- self-disciplined. They need our guidance to
develop these characteristics. What can we do to help them?
Step back and look at why they did the behaviour and give the skills to
deal with those feelings. That is our role.
What is the problem?
Why did it happen?
What can you do to help with that?
What happens if THAT doesn't work?
(to be continued at a later date, when I have a moment of free time)