Let’s face it: Kids may act as though they hate the rules, but the truth is they really need them, and actually they secretly appreciate them, too. Young people need clear rules, consistent consequences for breaking rules, and encouragement to do their best.
Adults also need to realize that they need to be “fair” when setting boundaries. It is these very boundaries that challenge our kids to succeed. But we also need to remember to comfort our kids when they are unsuccessful at something, not berate them, or belittle them, kids need to know that it is okay to fail at things and that we are proud of their efforts regardless of the outcome…..adults need to be positive and encouraging mentors!
When we mentor kids properly and consistently, we set the stage for them to become positive adult mentors in the future. Schools are one of the places which our kids will spend a large portion of their youth.
Setting boundaries, rules, and consequences is not only necessary but breeds productivity in the school environment as well. Adults should join with kids and have frank conversations about the rules, expectations, and consequences of the school. Community conversations which include parents, students, teachers, school administrators, and other school personnel should take place before the start of each school year so that everyone understands the parameters being set from the start. Once we teach kids that their opinion matters, we teach them to “own” their school and develop a sense of needing to protect and enforce the very boundaries, rules, and consequences which have been implemented.
The bottom line is that we (adults) need to be clear and consistent, while remaining understanding, encouraging and supportive, when it comes to setting boundaries, rules, and consequences for our kids. Even though at times it may not feel like it…they rely on us to help them navigate through the rough patches of life. So keep a thick skin when they say mean things to you or about you, because though they may not admit it at the time, your firmness, and yes, even the occasional yelling shows them that you really do care!
Happy 2012! Let us make it a year for success! ~ Barbara