Discipline is a marvelous word which has its origins in the Latin word for learning. There are many definitions but I would define it as, “The capacity to do something anyway (and do it well) when you REALLY don’t feel like it.” This is fine for adults, but are children born with this capacity or do they have to acquire it? Can we expect children to become disciplined on their own?
The answer is “Sometimes yes.” There is a school of thought that says that if children have enough desire to arrive at a goal, then they will do all the unpleasant things necessary in order to reach it. Perhaps, but what if you have a child who has no goal in particular other than playing video games as much as possible or avoiding anything that resembles work? What do you do about a child who has a very short attention span or one would rather be playing with his friends than learning to do anything? Continue reading
Occasionally sincere young teachers call me in anguish over a particularly serious problem that arises when a parent wants to make a change that the teacher accutely feels is not in the best interests of the child. It breaks my heart to have to confess that there’s a Very Important Principle which I myself have learned the hard way, that has taken me years to accept and that I transmit with sorrow:
YOU CAN’T SAVE YOUR STUDENTS FROM THEIR PARENTS
I have said that I never give up on a student. And I don’t. But when I am in front of the superior force of parents who cannot or will not take my advice for their child, there is very little I can do. Here are a few of the impossible situations that have presented themselves over the years: Continue reading
Anxious young teachers have asked me sometimes how I deal with parents who are upset that I seem to have more influence on their children than they do. That their children actually listen better to me than they do to them.
This perplexed me at first as I have never encountered such a problem. Then I realized that although these teachers were of different ages, culture, language and nationality there was one thing they all had in common: they don’t have children. Continue reading