DISCIPLINE: A RITE OF PASSAGE
We all want the best for our children, but in our desire to make them happy, we sometimes lose sight of what they really need — consistent discipline and adult supervision.
Driving their 16-year-old son to a Military Academy in Central Virginia was a heart-wrenching experience for Michael and Tammy Hodak of Pittsburgh. “Taking him 300 miles from home and leaving him with a bunch of men from the South was hard for his mother and his sister, but I knew he could handle it,” says Michael. “It was difficult for me too, but I wasn’t thinking about me. I was thinking about what was best for him.”
TEACH YOUR CHILDREN WELL
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), “The word discipline refers to the system of teaching and nurturing that prepares children to achieve competence, self-control, self-direction, and caring for others.” It’s not about punishment; it’s about teaching kids how to become successful adults.
“As much as kids tell us they don’t want boundaries and limits, deep down inside, kids really do want them,” says high school guidance counselor Shelly Saba.
“They innately know that that’s how their parents show them that they care.”
And that’s not to say that parents don’t care, but as a generation, we’re certainly not the disciplinarians our parents were.
According to Robert Grant, director of guidance for Fork Union Military Academy, today’s households do not provide enough structure and stability to adequately teach children how to stay focused.
At the military academy, distractions like video games, cell phones, cars, and stereo systems are removed. In school, students focus on one class at a time; concentrating their class and study time on a single subject.
LOOK FOR THESE CLUES
Signs that a child needs more guidance than what’s offered in a typical public or private day school can begin to emerge in middle school.
- A good student’s grades suddenly start slipping.
- They’re spending too much time focused on less active pursuits, such as video games.
- They’re spending too much time with friends who think that school achievement is not important.
- You sense a dramatic change in your child’s values in opposition to how they’re being raised.