Lifestyle

Do parents need to start using tough love?

WHERE once kids were caned for misbehaving in class, these days they are praised for simply turning up to school. We've gone from one extreme to the other.

In the decades leading up to the 1995 banning of corporal punishment in Queensland government schools, were children more inclined to respect, if sometimes fear, their teachers? Did they feel similarly about police officers and others in positions of authority, including parents and grandparents?

In trying to atone for past abuses that invariably arose when an angry adult meted out too much "discipline", we've become too soft on kids. In trying to become our children's friends, we've blurred the lines that must exist if young people are to learn respect for others and take responsibility for their actions.

Let me give you a few examples.

A mate of mine is principal of a large state high school in Brisbane.

Her biggest challenge is not the kids - it's the parents who refuse to buy into their children's learning. If homework isn't done or behaviour is unacceptable, mum or dad either shrug it off or tell the school it's their problem to fix.

At a private primary school on the Gold Coast, another friend says parents refuse to believe their little darlings could do any wrong. Teachers are picking on the child.

It gets worse. Last year the Queensland Government took the unprecedented step of introducing a Respect Our Staff campaign after 150 parents were banned from schools because of violence or threats of violence

It's not surprising, given such brilliant role modelling, that in the same year 174 teachers received compensation after being assaulted by students.

Police officers also are targets of people who have failed to learn that laws exist for a reason, and that actions have consequences. Consider the number of officers pelted with bricks or beer bottles when called to rein in underage drinkers at riotous street parties, or who are spat on when dealing with hoons on our roads.

As Senior Sergeant Steven Peck, Officer in Charge of the Mt Ommaney Road Policing Unit, told me recently: "Thirty years ago, if I brought little Johnny home for doing something wrong, parents would say, 'Thank you, officer. Get inside, son, we'll deal with you later!' but now they say, 'Did these coppers hurt you?'."

Effective discipline doesn't require physical punishment but it does require setting boundaries and enforcing limits. It means teaching children that life doesn't always go their way, and that's OK.

Child psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg says the trend of "wussifying" children has reached the point of ridiculousness. We have created "a wave of little princes and princesses who know no boundaries and never hear the word 'no'", he says. "We see their tantrums in restaurants, airports and shops and they are often pacified with an iPad or a phone game."

New research from Harvard University says narcissism is bred early as adults fail to admonish children and instead shower them with hollow praise.

This leads young people to think they are better than everyone else, and that rules or social mores do not apply to them. This cannot end well.

Here we are in 2017, with a generation of young Australians struggling on many fronts.

As academic standards slip against international benchmarks, violence is on the rise.

Figures from the Australian Institute of Criminology show teenagers aged 15 to 19 are the nation's most dangerous people, carrying out the greatest number of bashings, robberies, abductions and sexual attacks.

At the same time, suicide rates among 15-24 year olds are at their highest in 10 years, according to youth mental health service Orygen.

Some people blame social media, and there is evidence that it breeds narcissism and an inflated sense of self at the expense of the wellbeing of others.

I believe it is not one thing, but a combination of factors that shapes the way children develop.

In the past, as now, parents and educators play pivotal roles, but so does community culture - if society does not value respect and acceptance of personal responsibility, how are kids expected to do so?

I am not suggesting a return to the days when children were beaten for doing the wrong thing - the horror stories readers shared after my column last week on my abuse by Catholic nuns shows this is not the answer - but we have to find the right measure of tough love that teaches kids that failure and disappointment are growth opportunities.

Kylie Lang is an associate editor at The Courier-Mail.

This article originally appeared on The Courier-Mail's Rendezview and has been republished here with permission.

News Corp Australia

Topics:  discipline heymumma parenting



Finals dreams remain alive for Rebels

Jeff Skeen tries to break through a line of Panthers at the South Grafton Rebels vs Sawtell Panthers game on Saturday, August 19.

South Grafton too strong for Sawtell Panthers

Baryulgil PS joins the hundred club

Students of Baryulgil raise the Aboriginal and Australian flags  at the 100th anniversary of Baryulgil Public School

Principal reflects on Baryulgil being the 'pinnacle' of his career.

Tim and friends live to swim another day

WHOPPER: Woolgoolga angler Luke Tinson caught two good-sized bream off the Yamba breakwater yesterday while fishing in the Tim the Bream competition.

Lots of prizes won at Yamba's favourite fishing competition

Local Partners

Fires burn throughout the Clarence Valley

An out of control fire has threatened properties in the Clarence Valley over night


A murder mystery to challenge Midsomer's

Dan Fahey, centre, as Lt. Frank Cioffi with some of the cast of Curtains. The Criterion's latest production opens tonight and runs across two weekends.

Curtains is an comic romp from the creators of Chicago and Cabaret

12 things to do this week

Cast of Curtains, the new show at the Criterion Theatre in Grafton.

There's plenty on this week in the Clarence Valley

Third time lucky for memorial day

REMEMBRANCE: Loved ones and fellow truck drivers will come from as far as Sydney and Queensland to remember those who have lost their lives on the roads at the Grafton Truck Drivers Social Club Memorial Wall Service on Saturday.

Truck drivers memorial service scheduled for this Saturday

Survivor twist bound to shock

TARA Pitt benefited from a shock twist on Australian Survivor, but will everyone be happy? She’s bracing for a viewer backlash.

The Block goes back to school with gorgeous kids rooms

Ronnie and Georgia's winning kids bedroom in a scene from The Block.

ONE magical bedroom received the first perfect score of the season.

A prince is sailing around the Whitsundays

Prince of Denmark Frederik is racing on Wild Oats in the Whitsundays.

Rumours circulating about where the princess is

What's on the small screen this week

Rob Collins and Jessica Marais in a scene from season two of The Wrong Girl.

JESSICA Marais returns in The Wrong Girl.

Playing Tom Cruise's wife was a dream for Sarah Wright

Tom Cruise and Sarah Wright in American Made.

The actress stars opposite Cruise in the action comedy

Soothe your soul with the sounds of Velour

Velour holds their workshop Blend before their show with Ryan Innes at the Pelican Playhouse in South Grafton.

See Velour tonight at the Pelican Playhouse

Taylor Swift wipes presence off social media

Singer Taylor Swift has deleted her social media accounts

Social media wipeout prompts rumours of a new album

PROPERTY BOOM: Is it a good time to buy in the Clarence Valley?

Sold On magazine inserted into The Daily Examiner on Wednesday, 23rd August, 2017 provides an in-depth property market analysis and profile of each suburb in the Clarence Valley.

Sold On is the essential Clarence Valley property market handbook

199 home sites approved in Evans Head

The Evans Head Manufactured Home Estate plans. Zoran Architecture.

Manufactured Home estate approved near aerodrome

Airbnb, Stayz and co tipped to squeeze Coast housing market

HOLIDAY BOOM: Airbnb letting is putting a further squeeze on long-term rentals.

Councils exploring options to manage the industry

Developer tears up couple's contract for new home

Jade and Edward Roberts were stung by the sunset clause on the first day of their honeymoon.

The developer has the right to do this under the sunset clause