Discipline problems caused by parents
By John Rosemond
Note From the Editor: This is a post I copied out of an old print article in the newspaper nearly 20 years ago. It’s still valid today. John Rosemond (website is rosemond.com) is a Psychologist by training and family counselor by practice. However, he does not accept psychological theory as valid and provides Biblically based counseling. I enjoy his viewpoint on many subjects and read his column regularly. However, the references to his column are in no way to be construed as an endorsement of any of the principles of psychology, which I believe to be a pseudo-science. Here he talks about discipline problems caused by parents.
USA Today recently carried two articles that caught my eye. The first, on the front page, reported that “Americans rate poor discipline as their top concern about public schools.” Reading on, one discovers that according to Gallup, 15 percent of those polled cited “lack of discipline” as the most pressing of issues in America’s schools. This means that 85 percent of American’s don’t think discipline is the No.1 school problem. The second biggest concern, by the way, was lack of sufficient financial support.
Gallup’s findings only underscore how out of touch the average American is when it comes to the schools his or her taxes maintain. In the first place, the problems crippling America’s schools are not going to be solved until every adult man and woman in this country realizes that “lack of discipline” is the crux of the matter and further realizes that the problem doesn’t rest with administrators, teachers, or school boards, but with parents.
Yes, you-who-prefer-to-keep-the-wool-pulled-over-your-own-eyes, the discipline problems in America’s schools come primarily from America’s homes. They are a matter of parents who send children to school without the discipline it takes to dig in and get an education; parents who overindulge and under-correct; parents who neither indulge nor correct; parents who let TV sets run day and night and rarely read anything more than the morning paper; parents who will not give total 100 percent support to teachers’ disciplinary efforts; parents who expect schools to do what they themselves have been too lazy or busy to do – namely, teach their children the Three R’s of respect, responsibility and resourcefulness.
Nor will the problems in America’s schools be solved until everyone realizes that more money has nothing to do with these problems. America’s public schools are wasteful. They do a worse job with more money than either private or public schools. When America’s public schools impose strict fiscal discipline upon themselves (or have it imposed upon them), and America’s parents impose strict behavioral discipline upon their children, America’s public schools will again thrive.
The second article featured several “experts” putting forth with recommendations to teachers concerning classroom discipline. The first such bit of advice was to proceed conservatively, giving unruly students non-verbal cues, as in eye-contact, before reprimanding them verbally. Penn State professor Jim Levin said that in the face of a misbehaving student, teachers should change their own behavior instead of trying to change the student’s behavior.
If that doesn’t work, the next step, say the “experts,” is to provide opportunities for students to discuss the rules. Younger students should be given time to practice proper behavior, while older students should be provided with an explanation as to why each rule is needed. Then, if the misbehavior persists, determine why the child is misbehaving. Finally, involve other, well-behaved students in the rehabilitation of their less civilized peers.
In short, the “experts” say to first look at a misbehaving child, then say something (but make sure the something doesn’t harm the child’s self esteem), then talk about the rules with the child, then try to discover the “cause” of the child’s misbehavior, then pass the buck to other students. Please note the political and psychological correctness of assigning no blame.
This is precisely the kind of impotent hoo-hah that’s being dispensed, via what’s known as “in-service workshops,” to public school teachers all over the nation And once a school administration has chosen to cough up mega-bucks for a day of this worthless drivel, they have difficulty admitting they paid for a pig in a poke. More often than not, they pressure teachers to implement the “expert’s” recommendations. It’s no wonder, then, that teachers consistently tell me their administrators tie one hand behind their backs, and parents tie the other.
And none of this is lost on children, believe me.
Taken from Dr. Rosemond’s April,1996, syndicated newspaper column on parenting