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Once when my son was a freshman in high school, he knew the material being discussed in math class, so he put his head down on the desk and didn’t pay attention. The teacher noticed and tried to ask hard questions, but he answered them and put his head back down. He was called to the principal’s office, and I don’t think it was justified. He didn’t do anything wrong because he knew the material being taught. Perhaps if the teacher made the class more interesting he’d have stayed awake. The boy said his teacher and principal were shocked at my response. What am I missing here?
You’re missing something that way too many other people also can’t seem to find these days. Courtesy.
If your son knows the material, he can show it by acing the homework and the tests. That’s how most smart kids do it. But by putting his head down on the desk, he shows a lack of respect not only to the teacher, but to the other students. Consider this:
Suppose you were at work and you finished all your tasks for the day. Would you lay your head down on the desk at 2:30 and take a nap? Would your boss approve? You need not answer that last question, because I’ll answer it. The boss would almost certainly look at you as a slacker, and a bad influence on the other workers. Your co-workers could react in a variety of ways, none of them good. And the fact that you finished your work would not alter most people’s perception of your actions. School is your son’s job, and the teachers and principal are in a very real way his employers. Don’t expect them to react to his conduct differently than would a boss in an office.
When your son lay down to sleep in class, he told everyone who could see him, “I’m so smart that I don’t have to pay attention,” a message that communicates an unpleasant blend of pride, laziness, and disrespect. I’m with the teacher and the principal on this one.
My 7-year-old lies all the time. She won’t tell me what she did, and she lies to me every chance she gets. How do I break her from this habit? I have tried almost everything so far. What can I do?
For children your daughter’s age, lying isn’t a habit to break. It’s a conscious determination to disobey the rules and show disrespect to parents. There is only one way to make your daughter stop lying. Ensure that the lies cost her something she is unwilling to give up.
I don’t know what you mean by “almost everything,” but despite whatever you have done, you need to step up your efforts. So far, your daughter has gotten away with the lies because you didn’t make her stop. Don’t ask her to stop, don’t suggest that she stop, and don’t try to persuade her to stop. Just make her stop. To your daughter, lying isn’t a serious issue because you as the parent have not demonstrated through your own conduct that you take it seriously. To combat this, take sharp, direct action. Immediately.
If you spank, lying is a spanking offense. If you prefer to use denial of privileges, then start yanking them away. Take away desserts, TV, time with friends, or whatever your daughter deems important. Begin today with something that you know will make your daughter think twice about lying. If that punishment doesn’t stop the conduct, add another consequence. Increase the severity of the consequences until she changes her ways.
Once you establish the punishment, be consistent with it. Use it every single time she lies. Your daughter is long past the age when she understands cause and effect. You and the girl are playing a game of truth or consequences. And as anyone who has played the game knows, when you jack the consequences up high enough, most people choose to tell the truth.
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