This is truly awesome. If every parent in North America acted like this, we would have no juveline delinquency.
Here's jist of it:
A 16 year old Florida boy got stopped by police for doing 107mph in a 55mph zone. He hasn’t been to court yet, but he’s begun serving the sentence ordered by mom. In addition to having his car taken away, Adam Clark stands along the road near his high school wearing a sign that says “I was stupid. I drove over 100mph and got caught. Thank God! I could have killed me and my friends.”
So Adam was "sentenced" by his mom to stand on a busy street corner everyday for a month, before and after school, holding this sign.
And he did it, too.
That's a creative mom. And it goes well with what I was posting Saturday about how we need to take steps with our teens to make sure they still identify with our values.
But here's a more important question: this must have been a good mom to be able to enforce this. How do you get a 16-year-old boy to actually do this? What do you think the mom did? Threaten to take the car away for a year? Take away his computer? She must have threatened something or he wouldn't have followed through with the punishment.
I think often that parents feel helpless, as if they can't impose a punishment, because the kids won't do it. I know one mom whose 11-year-old son was slapping her in the face all the time. She felt like there was nothing she could do because he was already bigger than she was.
We've given up. We act as if we have no authority and no ability to punish. But we do control a lot. So let me make a list of the power that parents do have, even after our kids are bigger than we are:
We control the purse strings, which means we control:
1. Computer access and internet access
2. Television access
3. Access to a vehicle
5. Telephone privileges
6. Video game privileges
7. Any clothes beyond two pairs of pants, three pairs of shirts, something dressy, and one pair of shoes
8. Spending money/allowance
9. Chauffeuring them anywhere, whether it's to a sports activity, friend's house, or even job
10.Money for a sports team or any extracurricular activities
So you do have some control! If you ground your child, for instance, and they leave the house anyway, you can pull some of the privileges that you directly control.
If your child talks back to you, or consistently mistreats a younger sibling, you are not helpless because you can take some of these things away from them.
Let's remember that all of these things are privileges, not rights. If a child is disrespecting you, posing a threat to him or herself or others, or going down the wrong road, you do have weapons in your disposal.
That doesn't mean that life as the parent of a preteen or teen is all about punishment; it needs to also be about building fun family memories and a fun family routine. But too often we parents get in constant fights with our kids, and we butt heads with our kids, rather than simply and quietly taking some definitive action, like removing a privilege. That works much better than yelling!
So, as parents, let's stand up and be proud! Let's not let kids walk all over us. In the end, our kids will be better for it.
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Labels: discipline, parenting