Now I know this sounds like an iffy subject. There are kids out there that have too much "Free Will" I.E. those kids that you see running up and down the aisle of your local Walmart (or equivalent store) unattended. I'm going to discuss two types of parents. There are the parents who give a certain amount of Free Will. The ones who still parent but let their kids breath. Also there are the parents that 'helicopter' their children. You know, the kids who are 5 and sit there like a droid. Almost to scared to play in the dirt, get finger paint all over themselves or run up and down a hallway singing like a loon in a mental institute. Things that I believe all kids this age should do.
Free Willed Children:
Now my house is a more relaxed teaching atmosphere. I let my kids do pretty much
what they want. Under my rules, and safety guidelines of course. I feel this
allows my kids to be kids. There are certain times to eat, to work on homework/chores and go to bed.
Other than that they play when, where, and how they want. This makes for a more
crazy household but the kids are having fun. Which is the best thing for them.
When we go in public they know, if we are at a store they MUST behave. I have
ABSOLUTELY NO TOLLERANCE for running a muck or acting like a fool. In my eldest sons
case, I have left a store once. At the time he was 2 1/2 and would not stop
yelling because I wouldn't buy him an over priced toy. With the twins it has
been twice. The first time was an issue of over tired babies (my fault) and the
second was both of them crying over yes, you guessed it, an over priced toy I
wouldn't buy. I left the cart in the front of store (so the people could put the
stuff away a little easier). Then I informed the kids "You couldn't behave you
don't get your stuff and mommy will go shopping with out you and get what I need
and no extras due to your behavior".
Now about manners. I feel all kids MUST have
great (notice I did not say good) manners. I ignore all requests until I here
that "P" word. Please and Thank-you are absolutely necessary. There are way to
many kids out there these days that just expect everything to be handed to them,
and that is just not how the world turns. I also think the way they speak to
adults should be a certain way. Mr. And Ms. before saying ones name is a
definite must in my book, unless told otherwise by the said person. Unless it is a
grandmother, grandfather, Aunt, Uncle ect. I can't tell you how many
times I have had a friend's child say "Hey, do this". I'm sorry but I
guess I missed the memo saying it was acceptable to speak to your elders like they
are your friend. A lot of parents want to be friends with their kid, but you're
here to teach them how to behave when they get out into the real world, not pal
around with them. Does that mean you can't have fun with your kids? Absolutely
not. But there is a fine line.
With rules in my house you have to earn things.
To my 7 year old: "you want money for that new nerf gun? Cool. Do chores."
Nothing in life is free. To my 4 year old twins: "You want to stay up an hour
late? Sweet. No fighting with each other durning the day." I do not have a ton
of rules but the ones that I do have are simple and they keep you
Robot Kids: I my self find it really disturbing when I see a child
who can't act like kid. "Don't play in that dirt." "Don't sing like a loon."
"Don't act like a car." "Don't get dirty." They sit there as if they are
droids.If you want your child to have a super strict structre I'm not going to
argue. Have a blast. I just feel there are certain ways a 3-5 year old needs to
be able to act. Yes, their house may be more quiet and may be more clean which I
do envy. But when is enough, enough?
They are very well mannered. Which is really
great. But I feel they are being set up to be stuck up. Now I'm saying that
every child who is a robot kid will end up with their noses in the air. But I
have seen a pattern. Get off your child's backs and stop helicoptering them.
Watch them of course, but don't follow them around like a fly on poop. Let them
make mistakes. Let them get dirty. They are kids that's how they learn.
example: if you see them trying to do something that may end in them getting a
scrape or little bump, warn them. No need to overreact and stop them. They need
to fall down in life both physically and metophorically speaking. Again this is
how they learn.
With a robot kid they have instruction as to how they are to act
every second of every day. With a free willed child they don't have a you must
act/say this at every single turn. They are FREE! Free to be kid. Yet still well
mannered and have the life skills to get back up after a fall/challenge.