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Kids in Charge?

by Lori Sciame | January 8th, 2014 | Behavior, Elementary

bowlingOn a recent family outing, I noticed an elementary aged child put in charge.  While it’s great to give a child this age a chance for self-expression, it’s another thing to let him or her run the show.

Think about this example,  a group of 40 or so family members planned to go bowling together; however, because of one child’s wants, the long-scheduled event morphed into a different outing all together.  All the adults and teens who had anticipated this fun event now had to change gears and do something else.  What kind of message does this send the child?  Not an effective one, that’s for sure.

The  child in the example above is headed for disaster.  Life is hard.  When situations arise that the child does not necessarily want to partake in — such as homework and eventually work — will he or she think that doing so is not required?  In addition, the child will probably grow up thinking the world revolves around her.  We all know that’s far from the truth. You see, patterns set in early childhood tend to take root and effect behavior as an adult.

Instead of spoiling an elementary age child, a parent needs to empower the young child with the tools necessary to succeed in life.  The Search Institute developed an effective framework for raising caring, responsible children. Called the 40 Developmental Assets, these tools help a child to succeed not only in school, but in life as well.

One category of assets revolves around boundaries and expectations.  As the example above exhibits, the parents need to set decent boundaries for the child.  They should never have relinquished their parental control over something as simple as a bowling outing!  Click here to see a listing of the assets appropriate for children ages 6-11.

Besides the Developmental Assets, plenty of other parenting resources exist. They are all developed to assist a parent in raising children effectively.  You can access parenting information at your child’s school, at your pediatrician’s office, at the local library, and through government websites. Some of the material will be useful, and some will not, but for the most part, learning from these books, pamphlets, and websites will be worth the effort.

In addition, talking to parents that you feel have been successful in raising their children can be very beneficial. Sure, times change, yet grandma, brother, and auntie DO have helpful tips.  And if they don’t know about limiting Internet and video games, one can certainly supplement that information elsewhere!

My heart aches for the child that put a stop to the bowling outing.  Why?  Because I grew up with several children who also thought that they were in charge of the world while in elementary school.  Eventually, however, the truth comes out.  It’s a rude awakening, and it can cause the person to spiral out of control.  Hopefully, that doesn’t happen to this young person.

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