Step Up! | Mark’s Remarks

I am frankly fed up with the amount of parents or authority figures in this world who don’t do their jobs. If I hear that a child has ADHD or ADD one more time, I think I’m going to go nuts.

I’ d venture to guess that many people throwing those terms around know very little, if anything, about those two disorders.

People are using these terms so much nowadays. Come on, haven’t you heard them a lot lately? Just because someone can’t focus does not mean they have ADD or ADHD or any other alphabet disorder. Everyone has some sort of disorder they can blame for their lack of couth. I suppose mine is C.R.A.N.K.Y. (I don’t know what it stands for yet. I’ll get back to you.)

I’m not making light of the real disorders. I know they are real and there are people who suffer from them. I really do believe they exist. But these parents who are taking their children to specialists and trying to find some reason for their child’s behavior need to start with the mirror. Parents need to take a good, long look at their parenting skills and what they are not doing.

How many parents have you been around who don’t say “no” to their children? How many parents would rather give in to children instead of hearing a little fussing or a little crying? How many parents do everything they can not to disappoint their children or cause a temper tantrum?

Follow through. If you say you are going to do something if your child doesn’t stop, then mean it. When they continue to do the thing you asked them not to do, follow through.

You say you don’t want to be a barbarian like me? I don’t think I got spanked very often, but being required to sit down as punishment was enough to make a believer out of me. I remember being banished to chairs in my grandmother’s living room or having to sit on the porch steps. I knew there would be punishments if I didn’t abide by the rules. Sitting for long periods of time was often worse than getting a swat.

So many parents are just downright lazy. They are self-centered. They are more worried about socializing than they are about discipline. Go to any large function where chaperones are needed and see how many parents stand in the corner and gossip. It’s maddening.

There is also the problem of the parent wanting to be “cool.” This type of parent wants to be their child’s friend. This is not just the case with parents alone. Indeed, you see this “I want to be cool” mentality with bosses, teachers and pretty much any other superior now days. We want to be liked. We want to be friends. We want to have relationships. We want to be the most popular. The good behavior will come later if we are always nice.

Nope. I’ m afraid not. Be tough from the get go. Be pleasant, tell your kids what is expected, and then go about enjoying life together. Then, if they step out of line, punish them. Come down on them. Make the punishment fit the crime. Be fair, but be stern. Mean what you say and set limits for the child.

After this sort of environment is established, kids will respect you and that relationship we so desperately want with kids becomes deeper than a friendship. Kids still think we are cool when we step up and be the adult. I’m not saying it’s always possible to be fair, but kids appreciate the respect you give them.

Stop telling me your child can’t pay attention. Stop telling me he or she won’t go to bed or do his chores. Refrain from telling me once again that your child is wild and out of control and needs medicine.

No wonder your child acts crazed. How many children or teenagers can handle being in control all the time? When a child is placed in a role of the authority figure, it’s no wonder they are out of control and have trouble focusing. Children are not meant to call the shots. They can’t do it! And furthermore, they don’t WANT to do it. They very much want US to be the parent, the teacher, or the boss. It shows them we care.

Be the parent or authority figure you are supposed to be. Be unpopular for a while. Be mean. Put your foot down. Be the child’s enemy. Love them, but don’t put up with the shenanigans.

Say “no.”



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Mark Tullis

Mark is a 25-year veteran teacher teaching in Columbia. Originally from Fairfield, Mark is married with four children. He enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with his family, and has been involved in various aspects of professional and community theater for many years and enjoys appearing in local productions. Mark has also written a "slice of life" style column for the Republic-Times since 2007.
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