Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Don't Ask Me

One of these two choices applies to me at some time or other, depending on how I feel:
a) I don't get to be a parent.
b) I don't have to be a parent.

At this time in my life, it's definitely b). I watched my niece and her husband struggle with problems with my great nephew, Jake, and I can't really help them with the problems they have. I could tell them to watch "Super Nanny" to get an idea of what I think, but I am too close as a family member to tell them exactly what to do or teach them what I do in the classroom. And to tell you the truth, I'm not sure what I do in the classroom would work in the real world.

Behavioral problems are different for teachers. In general, you have less problems with the kids than the parents have with the same kids. Teachers and their students don't have a powerful psychological relationship or an emotional attachment that dominates interactions and interferes with discipline. Teachers know that kids behave better in the classroom than at home. We always marvel (that isn't exactly the word) at how kids' behavior degenerates when the parents are around. All of a sudden the same kid who never is a bother needs hugs and love from their parent. Then they start crying for some minor reason. Sometimes they misbehave. It makes you wonder. What is going on in that kid's head? What are they thinking?

I'm not sure what kids are thinking, but I can tell you that sometimes a child psychologist like John Rosemond, who seems so stern and unloving, can make real sense when you have a discipline problem with your kid. Doctor Phil is also of that no nonsense breed who helps parents find their child's currency (what is valuable to them) and how to take the currency away if the kid doesn't respond to correction.

I can run a classroom with twenty-four kids. It takes 360 degree, full focus, radar attention. Keep an eye on all of them at once, even when you are talking one-on-one to one of them. Just don't ask me how to raise a family. That's a whole 'nother ballgame.

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