Tag Archives: natural consequences

Building Defensive Behavior One Brick at a Time

Don’t do that! You know you’re not supposed to….

What do I have to do to get you to listen to me?

Stop hitting your sister. Cut it out.

How many times do I have to tell you?!

Brendan!!

Quiet down, you’re going to be the death of me!

(read all with tone of frustration and blame)

Be the child on the receiving end of these remarks. What happens to you when hear the accusations? Do you tense up, look away, run off, shut down? Where does your focus go? Depending on your temperament and how you have learned to avoid trouble, you choose a defense mechanism. So when that familiar tone emanates from your parent, you immediately hide behind your wall—your defense of choice. You do not put your focus on the effects of your behavior (a hurt sister, a tired mother), you put your focus on yourself and strategize how to keep from getting in trouble.

We teach our children early to defend themselves—unbeknownst to us—and then get furious when they do, claiming they never take responsibility for themselves.

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Are we ready or able to stop bullying?

The youtube capture of the 68-year-old bus monitor being bullied by a group of 12-14 year olds has been viewed by almost 5 million and has raised the ire of each one of us. We are all full of opinions and judgments. But what would you do if you were the parent of one of these children?

The situation was so horrifying that our knee jerk reaction would likely be to shame the boys (I think they were all boys) with almost as horrific threats and punishments as they gave to their bus monitor. That’s what we do in reaction mode. And look where it’s gotten us.

The school district’s assistant superintendent for student services said, “Certainly the behavior of the students on the video is a clear violation of our district’s code of conduct and will not be tolerated. Disciplinary action to the fullest extent appropriate under New York education law will be taken against all involved.” I’m sure it will. But what will that disciplinary action be, and will it be effective? My guess is not at all.

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