I CAN'T TELL YOU HOW MANY TIMES I’ve heard someone say, “The teachers at school say my child is perfectly well behaved and gets along fine with her peers, and yet home life is a series of battles on a daily basis!”
Why do children behave well for others and yet show remarkable resistance to being cooperative at home?
When we give in to believing good behavior is only going to happen outside of the home and only with non-family members, a slow and steady wash of disappointment seems to replace all hope of a happy home. I suppose it’s simply a matter of giving up, not having the energy or mental fortitude to win the battles day after day.
Although giving in and giving up feels like the natural alternative, there is another option. The first step toward something brand new starts with a great big, deep breath and a fresh resolve to get things on the right track.
So how do we get a handle on raising children who behave as lovely at home as they do in public?
It starts with an understanding that it's not enough or even okay to have children dishonor the family and give their best behavior to those they'll only see from time to time. It starts with a willingness to hit the "Do Over" button.
A willingness to start fresh really is a necessary part of creating something new, and home is still the best place to explore and develop those valuable life skills and character traits we hope to pass on to the next generation.
Most of our primary objectives as parents haven’t changed over the years. We still hope to raise children who are polite, respectful, and know how to interact with others.
Let’s face it, when children grow up to be adults with families of their own they will, in all likelihood, emulate what they experienced in their early years. The imprinting happens there and sets the tone for the rest of life.
When good behavior is modeled and practiced on a day-to-day basis, heading out the door takes on new meaning. Going out in public is best thought of as “test day.”
Public areas are where you determine whether your child has mastered the training that has taken place at home. This mindset requires a whole new way of thinking for some folks.
Our children don't typically like practicing self control, patience, kindness and hard work. That's no surprise, but when behavior needs some work and expectations are established at home you can be sure that improvements will automatically show up in public as well, alleviating the need to worry about consistency.