The Block Island Times

Remember who's the adult when dealing with young children

By Sheridan Fisher Carley | Oct 20, 2011

Have you ever heard the expression “Children rule”? Or better yet, have you ever heard parents say, “Well, I have to discuss this with Genevieve to see what she thinks”?

Oh boy — are those people in trouble.

It’s instructive to re-read the Old Mother Goose nursery rhyme. “There once was a girl with a pretty little curl right in the middle of her forehead, and when she was good she was very, very good and when she was bad, she was horrid.” Think about this. These rhymes were written years ago for teaching purposes for parents and children.

Everyone loves their children and thinks the universe revolves around them. Guess what? It doesn’t. Yes, we love them, but for everyone to love them, we as parents must do our job. After teaching for 29 years and having about 2,000 children come through the school system along with their parents, grandparents, step-parents, guardians and so on, I’ve got some stories that illustrate this.

Take James, a student in my pre-K, 4-year-old class years ago. He was a large child, a little lazy and he also had a lisp. James was 4 going on 40. One day he came up to me and said he decided he wasn’t coming to school anymore. He explained that he would rather play with his ninja turtles at home. This would be his last day.

I said to him, “James, what will I do without you? All the children would miss you and the toys would get lonesome.”

James replied that he was the “boss” of his house and he had decided. So we called his mom and dad and explained what was going on.

The next day James was back at school. “James,” I asked, “why are you at school today? You told me that you were not coming anymore.”

He proceeded to tell me that his father said that “he was the boss of the family! So here I am.”

James,” I replied, “I am so glad. We would have missed you.”

Some rules to live by:

Be a role model for your child by setting good examples.

Try to teach them solid good values and morals.

Teach children to respect by respecting them as people and showing respect for other people.

Give them a good self concept. Tell them they are important to the family and the world, but for everyone they hurt there will be accountability.

Be their champion, but help them find their own answers for dealing with life.

Remember, when parents stay calm and cool, children follow their lead. (Children will react to a more relaxed personality even in great trauma).

And most important, never punish kids in anger, and don’t take away what they are (whether that’s a basketball player, ballerina, football player or whatever else their self concept hinges on).

Children are our most important product, and someday they will rule the world — just not now!

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