Rude and greedy behaviour among adults is contributing to the epidemic of gang and knife crime among children according to the Government’s school behaviour adviser Sir Alan Steer who is also a well respected Headteacher of Seven Kings High School in Essex.
In my work as a Parent Coach I help parents become far more aware of the influence they wield on their children. Whether it is through the words they use, or the actions they take, parents are a role model for their children throughout their lives from toddler to teen whether they are aware of it, like it, or even accept it.
I also work with teenagers helping them set positive goals for their future as I believe kids who know where they are going are far more likely to succeed in life. While it’s fine setting goals with them it’s discipline that is the key to bridging the gap between setting goals with kids and their accomplishing them, and lots of kids find self discipline difficult. So it’s all about starting in small ways with little changes.
I think it’s helpful to role model self discipline from eating a piece of fruit each day to walking the dogs for exercise every day – because it’s always in the simple, small things that leads to building great habits over time.
I think it’s useful to get teenagers to focus on their goals and to ask them if they want to suffer from the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference will be a future made up of potential or of disappointment.
So I like to help kids set up their goals and plan their discipline when they are all fired up and raring to go focusing mainly on the small little things they are going to do today and tomorrow and for the rest of the immediate week. That’s where the discipline begins and where the success and feelings of motivation and self respect starts.
The wonderful thing that seems to stem from these small steps is that there is a knock on effect in other areas of their lives too as one positive thing seems to lead to another which builds greater self esteem all round very quickly.
I believe that teenagers don’t have to change loads of things as that just makes them feel overwhelmed. A few simple changes can transform a teenager’s life – getting them to move in the more positive, hopeful direction of success. So that in 3 months, 6 months, a year or 3 years they can look back and see just how far they’ve come and how the small changes made such a difference in their lives.
I help kids look at the people they hang around with because these people influence their lives either positively or negatively and they can be nudged off course just a little at a time until they finally say to themselves “Gosh, how did I end up here?”
Then they’ve got to do the difficult bit of reflecting and taking the time to be serious about whether these influences are having a positive or a negative influence on them. They’ve got to take 100% responsibility for the choices they then make in deciding whether to keep hanging around with them or to move away from them.
That’s why teenage kids need support and help from their parents, teachers and other adults of influence around them and why they need positive role models to nurture, guide and nudge them in the right direction and to support them through the change of direction.
It’s also about setting firm, fair and consistent boundaries for them so they feel the “tough love” of being guided, protected and nurtured surrounding them and about being a positive and uplifting role model for them to follow.
It’s from here that we can slowly change, influence and enhance society over time.
Sue Atkins is a Parenting Expert, Broadcaster, Speaker and Author of the Amazon best selling book “Raising Happy Children for Dummies” one in the famous black and yellow series and the highly acclaimed Parenting Made Easy CDs. She has also just launched her 1st Parenting Made Easy app for iPhones and iPads. She is currently writing a new book for Random House called “Parenting Made Easy” which will be available in April 2012. Sue offers practical guidance for bringing up happy, confident, well behaved children from toddler to teen. She regularly appears on BBC Breakfast and The Jeremy Vine Show on BBC Radio 2 and is the parenting expert for many BBC Radio Stations around the UK. She has a regular monthly parenting phone-in on BBC Radio Surrey & Sussex and her parenting articles are published all over the world. http://sueatkinsparentingcoach.com/
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