The Edmond Sun

Features

November 30, 2013

Parents often need to employ ‘The Hang In There Principle’

EDMOND — Q: My 11-year-old son cuts corners on everything. If he does a chore, he’ll leave the cleaning products behind. If his bed his hard to make he hides the sheet in the closet and throws the blanket over the bed. Concerning his schoolwork, he doesn’t bother studying for tests (figuring he gets A’s anyway). We’re now seeing this in his soccer practices, where he’s started literally cutting corners. How can we get a handle on this bad habit?

A: Because it’s not “blatant,” as in blatant disrespect or disobedience, this sort of problem can be difficult to get a handle on. Today’s parents believe in “parenting technology” — that for every behavior problem, there’s a solution. The fact is that parents cannot solve all of the possible problems a child may develop. They can’t solve any of those problems, in fact. It doesn’t matter what the problem is, parents can only put pressure, in the form of consequences of one sort or another, on a child in hope that the pressure will motivate the child to solve it. Some children give in to the pressure, some don’t. Sometimes, a child doesn’t solve a problem until he’s in a state of crisis because of it, and the crisis in question may not occur until he’s well into adulthood.

When parents use consequences in the mistaken belief that there is a magic consequence that will solve the problem in question, they miss the point and are possibly setting themselves up to fail. The purpose of consequences is simply to demonstrate that in the real world, “bad” behavior causes bad things to happen, sooner or later. Hopefully, the child will “get it,” and solve the problem.

If, however, the child doesn’t solve the problem, that doesn’t necessarily mean the consequence was not the right one to use. That belief often causes parents to try one consequence after another in a rather chaotic attempt to find the one that will turn the proverbial wheel. Perhaps the consequence in question was insufficient — it didn’t apply enough pressure. On the other hand, it may well be that the consequence was sufficient, but the child wasn’t “ready.”

Having delivered the necessary disclaimer, my recommendation is that you focus on one problem area and one only. Don’t bite off more than you can chew by attempting to solve the chore, school and soccer problems in one fell swoop. Start with chores. Make a list of the specific things he does to cut corners where chores are concerned. Suspend a privilege or package of privileges until he’s solved the “cutting corners when he does chores” problem and has had no relapses for a month. Mind you, his “rehabilitation” may take four weeks; then again, it may take four months or four years. Be ready to hang in there and continue imposing the consequence(s) until he gets it. And be ready to accept that you are not the appointed agents of change concerning this problem. The appointed agent of change may not enter his life until he’s 45 years old. We’ve all seen that happen, haven’t we?

Here’s what I call the “Hang in There Principle”: If a child does wrong things, and the child’s parents do right things, and the child keeps on doing wrong things, then the child’s parents should simply keep on doing the right things.

FAMILY PSYCHOLOGIST John Rosemond answers parents’ questions at parentguru.com. His column is distributed by McClatchy-Tribune News Service.

1
Text Only
Features
  • Fall gardening season has arrived

    Even though the temperature is hot and there are still summer vacations on the calendar, it is time to start thinking about planting your fall garden.
    Most Oklahoma gardeners are still reaping the rewards of their spring gardens, said David Hillock, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension consumer horticulturist, but it is not too early to plan for fall gardening crops.

    July 23, 2014

  • Receive 10 free dogwood trees from Arbor Day Foundation

    Add color to your landscape year-round by joining the Arbor Day Foundation in August.

    July 23, 2014

  • Authorities update Simpson’s saga

    Investigators are attempting to locate the owner of a dog named Simpson to determine whether or not his injuries were due to an accident or man-made, an official said.
    On July 1, the Logan County Sheriff’s Office investigated reports of an injured dog near the intersection of Western and Simpson in south Logan County, Lt. Tom Kutay said. Officers responded and took several statements of a dog being found with injures to its back, Kutay said.

    July 22, 2014

  • Whataburger celebrates children’s superhero spirit with ‘Super-Duper’ event

    It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a Super Duper Celebration! In the heart of every child lives a superhero and on Thursday Whataburger restaurants will celebrate the superhero spirit in all of us with an evening of family fun from 5-7 p.m. at its location at 421 S. Broadway.
    Customers can spend quality time with their little heroes and treat them to a superhero-themed celebration of food, activities and giveaways. Children 12 and under dressed in a superhero costume will receive a free kid’s meal. There will be a Whataburger photo booth and Whataburger’s mascot, Whataguy, will also be present to join the fun.

    July 22, 2014

  • Shopping smarter for family necessities can help the environment

    There’s a growing trend among consumers to make choices reflecting the goals and values that matter to them most.  In fact, two out of five people say they’re more inspired to try a natural product that does something good for themselves, their family and the planet, according to a recent study conducted by Toluna for natural products brand Tom’s of Maine.

    July 21, 2014

  • Back to school lunch Build a better bag

    Brown bag lunches and back to school go hand in hand. As you’re gearing up for the start of a new school year, it’s the perfect time to stock the pantry with healthy sack lunch options and after school snacks, too.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pets

    This is a list of animals that have been found and are at the Edmond Animal Shelter, at Interstate 35 and Covell in the Cross Timbers Municipal Complex. Call the shelter at 216-7615 for more information.

    July 21, 2014

  • Kids Cook Simple ways canned foods get children cooking

    When it comes to teaching children about healthy eating habits, there’s no better classroom than the kitchen.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Garden Vegetable Spring Rolls The Canebrake offers summer recipe for Garden Vegetable Spring Rolls

    The Canebrake, a destination hotel and spa in Wagoner, is offering the following recipe from its restaurant for Garden Vegetable Spring Rolls with Avocado Wasabi Puree.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Malaysians wonder 'Why us?' after second loss of airline jet

    It was all too familiar. Grieving families rushing to airport. The flashing television graphics of a plane's last radar appearance. The uncomfortable officials before a heavy thicket of microphones.
    For many Malaysians, the disappearance of Flight 370 in March has been a long trauma from which the nation has not yet recovered.

    July 21, 2014