The following post is a guest post by my wife, Erica. The topic of parenting is such an important one. So often, it seems to us that parents turn to shame and humiliation in order to get results and often feel trapped. Read on for Erica's thoughts.
Several days ago a video swept the Internet, encouraging parents everywhere that there is hope in controlling your child’s misbehavior and it is called humiliation.
A single mother of 3 was tired of her 16-year-old daughter skipping school. Her punishment? Mom showed up to school, and followed her around for a day.
In the video mom says:
- “This is what happens when Ricky does not act right”
- “Ricky tell Cody why I am at school with you today?”
- “Cody, Ricky is liar”
- “You cannot act right”
- “Ricky say hi to facebook”
This mom, in desperation to “fix” the problem resorted to guilt, shame and fear. Of course, the daughter will not skip school again for now. Her mom humiliated her in front of her entire school. You notice, as you watch the video the daughter is angry (the red face) she is also crying. Do you think those emotions were remorse for what she had done or anger because of how mom was acting?
How else can I keep my daughter from skipping school?
- Ask Questions
“Ricky I feel like you are not telling the truth, you are not just going to the bathroom but according to the school you are skipping, is this true?”
“Ricky why are you skipping school?” “Is there is something going on I am not aware of?” (Chances are the answer is yes)
- Create an action plan together
“Ricky it is a problem that you are not attending school” “It seems you are a leaving during chemistry.” Is there something in Chemistry that is hard for you? Do you feel anxious? Instead of leaving Chemistry what else can you do?
(Invite your child into adulthood by teaching them to problem solve) (LISTEN)
- Become your child’s biggest support
When a parent uses humiliation to teach a lesson it hinders a parent/child relationship. Instead of calling your child names use the sandwich message to create emotional security in your child.
Ricky I love you and I am honored to be your mother. (Tell her what you love about her)
The messy Middle
I am concerned about you skipping school. (Lay out all your concerns)
I am not sure what is going on but I want to understand. If you tell me what is going on we can get through this together.
Create a reward and consequence plan: (Yes, reward positive behavior)
“Ricky if you choose not to skip school for an entire week I will pay for you and friend to go to a movie or I will take you out to dinner. “(Do something for the child that they love doing)
If she makes it through one day utter the words “I am so proud of you!” “You did it.”
If she continues to skip:
Then you make the consequences consistent and natural. Let the truancy officer come get her.
I truly believe if you find out where the anxiety is coming from, which is most likely why she s skipping school, and listen, validated her, praise her and offer support, then you will never need to worry about consequences. She most likely just needs you to be a mom who shows compassion and a listening ear. I promise you there is a reason Ricky is skipping school.
You can find the video referenced in this post here.