Grandma was right! There is an easy way and a hard way to raise kids. By and large, today’s parents are choosing the hard way. This series of blogs will tackle familiar phrases that used to be commonplace but fell out of favor during the last few decades of the 20th century—and why parents should not be afraid to follow the sentiment expressed in the phrases.
I well remember “The Look” my mother would give when one of us was not behaving ourselves as we should. It’s hard to describe, but once you saw it, you knew trouble would follow unless you straightened up.
|Image courtesy of imagerymajestic/|
Have you cultivated such a look? I think that many of today’s parents can’t summon such a look anymore than their children would obey it. A few reasons why come to mind.
First, many of today’s parents are too busy trying to keep up with everything to notice when a child’s behavior is about to veer into misbehaving territory. That’s really what The Look is all about—assessing the near-danger and correcting it.
Second, many parents have chucked such old fashioned parenting skills as The Look in favor of more kid-friendly, warm-and-fuzzy methods that often involve more concern about a child’s feelings than is good for the child. To them, The Look belongs in a museum along with other parental advice relicts discussed in my Parenting Basics blogs.
Third, many parents haven’t laid the proper foundation of saying what they mean and meaning what they say, so having a Look won’t do them any good—the children simply wouldn’t obey anyway.
But from personal experience, having The Look comes in handy in so many ways. It allows you to not interrupt your conversation with grownups to address a potential dustup with your child. Just shoot Joy The Look when she’s about to start turning cartwheels in the middle of the living room, and nine times out of 10, you’ve nipped misbehavior in the bud.
The Look gives you another “weapon” in your parenting arsenal. (I use “weapon” tongue in cheek!) I’ve found The Look to be an effective means of body checking a child when words probably wouldn’t be as effective.
The Look also provides a child with the means to correct his behavior before it edges into consequence territory. It’s actually more compassionate to develop The Look because of its ability to curb misbehavior in its infancy. The Look also eliminates the need for speech, thus cutting down on others overhearing your admonishments.
I encourage you to develop your own Look. One cautionary note: The Look only works when your children know that you will follow up with appropriate discipline if it’s not heeded. Otherwise, it will only become a funny face Mom makes.
Until next time,