Why Schools Shouldn’t be Disciplining Children

When my kids first started school I told the staff, “If my kids ever step a toe out of line, please don’t discipline them.  Let me know and I’ll deal with them.”

There were 2 reasons for this:

  1. My kids’ behaviour is my responsibility.
  2. No one’s going to discipline as effectively as I am.

Not only did my kids never step a toe out of line, but I continually got letters from teachers and principals and coaches about how well behaved and pleasant my children were to be around.

So, why should schools not be disciplining kids?  Because it’s not their job!!!  Or at least it shouldn’t be.  Kids should turn up at school polite and respectful toward others.  Manners, respect and consideration are all up to parents to teach, not the schools.  

One of my most controversial newspaper articles was, “Stop Expecting Schools to Parent”.  

I wrote that article back in 2014 and I’m seeing a shift now in 2017.  Parents are much more willing to agree that we have to stop coddling our kids and start teaching them about accountability.

You have to meet their needs and manage their wants.  You need to prepare them for the real world.  The real world doesn’t have any interested in self-entitled people.

I used to love watching a show called Bridezillas.  All these revolting brides throw fits, whining and making everyone around them miserable.  It was only funny because they were adults so I had zero sympathy for them.  But when I see kids acting like that I feel so sorry for them.  It’s not their fault, they’ve been trained to act like that by their parents.

It’s time we all start taking pride in our role as parents.  We need to raise children who have self-respect, respect for others and are just plain nice human beings.

If your kids are acting out, take a look in a mirror instead of blaming them or others.  It’s all up to you, you have total control.  

Lisa Bunnage, Parenting Coach

New Age Parenting … Toss It!

I spend so much time erasing all the new age parenting stuff with clients.

It’s frustrating as I don’t understand why it ever even became popular?  It doesn’t make any sense???

What is New Age Parenting?  There are many different definitions out there, but here’s mine:

  • Praising children for everything, e.g., trophies for doing nothing more than participating
  • Not making children accountable
  • Few or no boundaries
  • Raising self-entitled young people
  • No discipline

What happens is that kids get out of control and parents end up yelling out of frustration.  So then we have a society of new age parents who’ve tried being friends with and reasoning with their kids and are now yelling at them?  It’s all very confusing, kids don’t know where to turn.

Parents have to set themselves up as leaders.  They can still be friends with their kids, but they are leaders first and foremost.  Kids without parent leaders turn to peers for guidance.

Parents who aren’t leaders don’t get respect and they’re so confused as they’ve given their children all these choices, trophies and tried to please them.  They can’t figure out what’s gone wrong.

I heard a mom at the store say to her tween, “Why are you so mean to me, I’ve given you everything!”  She just asked and answered her own question in one sentence.  

What’s gone wrong is that new age parenting is weak and ineffective.  Even parents who get along with their new age kids often find themselves in trouble when the kids hit puberty as those kids are much more easily lead by their peers.

If you are a fair and consistent leader for your children, I guarantee you will get respect.  Once you have that, parenting is a joy, even through the teen years.  I’m not just talking about myself, I’ve helped tons of parents become leaders.  It’s a skill anyone can learn, so long as they’re ready to throw out all that new age thinking.

If you’re struggling with your kids and want help, check out my coaching page.  

Lisa Bunnage, Parenting Coach

Spoiled Princess needs a Lesson in Gratitude || Teach Children Life isn’t always Fair

I read an article about parents who were suing the school over their traumatized 7 year old.  She was the only one of her friends with a packed lunch from home, the rest had money for cafeteria food.  She threw a fit because the cafeteria wouldn’t give her a free lunch. 

The parents accused the school of who knows what and they were threatening to take them to court.  The mother was actually crying at how upset her daughter was that she was the only one with a packed lunch.  If my kids had thrown a fit like that they’d be apologizing to the staff and clearing tables the next day at lunch!  

Those parents have what I call “Self-Entitled Parent Syndrome”.  It’s when parents expect their children to get special treatment.  

I’ve been to hundreds of kids’ concerts, games, etc. and there’s often one parent there with “Self-Entitled Parent Syndrome”‘.  They’re consoling their child over not getting the best position, the starring role, etc.  Some even complain to the adults running the event.

The only time my kids ever complained to be about something not being fair was by son in Grade 9.  He told me his teacher was marking him down as she just didn’t like him.  Her son was in the same class and my son was a better student so that may have had something to do with it, I don’t know.

My son and his friend decided to test the teacher and copied each other’s answers on a test.  His friend got an A, my son a C.  I could’ve gone to the principal with that but decided to be nice and just popped in on the teacher instead.  When she saw my son and I coming she actually looked scared, lol.  I never accused her of anything, was really nice and said I was just concerned over my son’s “low performance” in her class.  Never had a problem with her after that.

So of course I believe in standing up for your children, but only when necessary.   I was proud of my son for asking for my help as what 14 year old boy wants his mommy going to school to defend him?

If I ever complained to my Mom about life not being fair she’d tell me about how she grew up in the Great Depression with a can of spaghetti between 4 of them for dinner, on a good day.  How the school gave her cream to fatten her up as she was so skinny.  Nope, no point complaining to her about anything, lol.   

Children need to learn that life isn’t fair.  Sometimes you’re going to get the short straw in life.  The earlier you teach this to your children the better.  They’ll be happier, stronger and grateful that you didn’t have “Self-Entitled Parent Syndrome”.   

Lisa Bunnage, Parenting Coach

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Toss Out Time Out || Parenting Advice

If you are currently using timeouts and they’re working for you, then keep going.  Don’t fix what’s not broken.  But if you’re using them and they’re not working then keep reading.

I’ve never used timeouts nor have I ever taught them.  I see them as a form of avoidance, “You go sit over there as I don’t know what to do with you.”  I find them weak as they don’t really teach any lessons other than how to sit in a chair in the corner.

Here are 2 scenarios, one with timeout, one without:

With Timeout:  Johnny hits Sally with the TV remote because she changed the channel away from his favourite show.  Mom puts him on the naughty chair in the corner for 5 minutes (1 minute for each year of his life).  When the 5 minutes are up she tells him he can get up and has to apologize to Sally for hitting her.  There, done.  A couple of days later he hits Sally again and the process is repeated because Johnny has only been taught that being mean leads to punishment.  He hasn’t been taught how to be nice.  Saying sorry isn’t much of a lesson, it’s just empty words to most kids, and adults.  The real lesson is learning how to treat people well and act appropriately.

My Method:  Johnny hits Sally with the remote control.  Mom takes the remote control away from Johnny and gives it back to Sally telling her she can watch her show.  She then hugs Sally to make sure she’s okay.  She calmly says to Johnny, “Come with me.”  She takes Johnny into Sally’s room and says, “For the next 2 days you are going to make Sally’s bed to make up for hitting her.  When that’s done you can watch your favourite show again.”  Then she walks him back to Sally and explains that he’ll be making her bed and says, “Sally, if you tease him about making your bed, you’ll make his bed instead.  Everyone understand?”  Let’s assume they agree then Mom says, “Now, how about we all play a game?”  Johnny has learned it’s not okay to hit people and how to be nice to people.  He’s also learned that TV is a privilege not a right.  The game at the end is a bonding exercise.  It’s to reinforce good relationships instead of focusing on negative behaviour.

Once a child has been punished you have to let it go and move on in a positive way.  Too often I see parents reminding kids about how rotten they’ve been.  Ugh, what does that do to self-esteem?

Oh and by the way, if Johnny doesn’t make Sally’s bed his favourite show is not allowed.  It’s used not as punishment for being bad, but reward for being good.  It’s in line with my “as soon as method”.

If you want help with this, check out my Coaching Page.

Lisa Bunnage, Parenting Coach

How to Bully Proof your Kids

School’s coming soon so time to start teaching your kids how to handle bullies, just in case.

The best defense against bullies is confidence and high self-esteem.  But when I was mentoring kids I didn’t always have a lot of time to build up their confidence, etc. so I had to come up with another way to arm them against bullies.  So we used role playing.    

Why is role playing so effective?  Because kids learn best by doing.

So how do you do this?  You set up a bullying scenario, write it out like a script with your child.  Then you take turns being the bully and victim.  Keep the bullying non-personal as even when acting things out meanness hurts.

Make it fun.  When I’d play the bully I’d say things like, “Do you use that thumb growing out of your forehead to push elevator buttons.”  Kinda embarrassing writing such ridiculous stuff here, but kids gobble that stuff up.

The victim role is one of calm indifference.  Not ignoring as that’s antagonistic, but indifference.  Indifference then diversion.

Role play could go something like this:

Bully:  Does your whole family have green hair or is it just you?
Victim:  Yup, all green tops.  What are you doing this weekend?

Humour can work also but it has to come naturally to the child already.  My son used humour but my daughter used indifference and diversion.

I had my first bullying incident when I was in Grade 2.  A much older student came up to my face and made fun of my last name.  I laughed right along and came up with an even funnier play-on-words with my name.  The bully was completely defeated and walked away.  Bullies are quick to move on when they don’t get the desired reactions:  fear, crying, etc.  

Were you ever approached by a bully?  How did you handle it?

Lisa Bunnage, Parenting Coach

Note:  Sorry about having to turn some of you away with the August “4 Week Parenting Plan”.  I have a limited number of people I can handle as I have daily contact with everyone and it filled up very quickly.  Private coaching is available.