Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Impulse Control

Yesterday I watched some daytime TV and it all seemed to be on the violence of today's teens. I've heard all the arguments pro and con on the violence in the video games and if it has an effect on today's society and how anyone can say no is beyond me. I've heard that video games allow people to vent their frustrations in ways that don't harm anyone but does it? One group of boys said that actually doing what they had been doing on the games was so much more thrilling and an adrenalin rush can be as addicting as any drug. When the rush is obtained by skateboarding, bunge jumping, snowboarding or another sport that is ok but not when it involves damaging property or hurting another human being. Two girls were featured because of a fight at school each claiming the other started it. The mother of one was in the audience and very angry while the other didn't even show up because of her anger. The psychologist on the show talked to the girls and it turned out while they were mad at each other at the time of the incident it only escalated because the "friends" of one girl shoved her so she appeared to be attacking the other. The students wanted to see a fight.
Impulse control starts with good parenting and having consequences for our actions. Then there were the subliminal messages of handwriting along with the not so subliminal messages of Sunday School and church. We were taught to follow the 10 Commandments and the Golden Rule and say the Pledge of Allegiance in school. Now because it includes "under God" I'm not even sure they say it in school.
As for consequences in school it seems now the only consequence is suspension and it is used freely where I live. What ever happened to being sent to the principal and then facing the wrath of your parents when you got home? We were more afraid of them than the principal who gave us study hall detention where you did extra homework. At home it meant anything from loss of allowance to forced labor around the house or yard. Now kids don't even have chores in some homes or parents who care in others. As for school because they get paid per student in class if you miss roll-call you are in more trouble than if you ditch so guess what students choose. One boy I know quit school in 7th grade because he was in detention more than class and in their detention unlike study hall you were allowed no pencil, papers or books. You just spent the time learning what jail was like...boring. Now he is too old to go to a charter school and works in fast food barely making enough to live. He's been programmed by our school system to fail and is doing a good job of it.
I worked for a short time in a video store and was appalled at the games and videos parents allowed their children to check out. The same with movies. I have been to movies where the violence and sex let alone the language was so prevalent and seen children as young as 2 or 3. The parents if asked say they don't understand what's going on. Yeah, that's why they curse like sailors by the time they go to school. Even my 3 yr old great-grand-daughter the other day said "god, damn it" the other day when she dropped something. Her mother's favorite choice of word.
At her age they may not understand what they say but they know when to curse. As for the older one her father went for counseling when he realized her temper tantrums were a reflection of his actions. Children do what they see good or bad. Children need discipline and boundaries in their life and the hard part is not going too far or just as bad not going far enough.
I'm hoping until the school gets hold of my grand children to teach them to control those impulses that will get them into trouble and use the ones that make them happy, caring individuals who want to make a place for themselves in the world.

This again is where toxic words can come into play. Since I take care of my great-grand-daughters at least 4 days a week I am trying to not say don't but to use stop. Then rather than saying you can't do that. To say you will get hurt or you will hurt someone else by doing that. One grand-daughter pinches and the other one bites so these habits must be broken before school though I strongly suspect the one who pinches learned that in pre-school. Both girls go through periods when they want to be babied again because they have a new baby sister who seems to get all of the attention. When this happens I try to give them a kiss and a hug or a rock in the big chair. They are even satisfied if I bring the baby out so I can watch them on the swing or in the wading pool. At my age I an even happy to lay down with them and watch cartoons and they are willing to share me this way.
Both girls know their alphabet and the oldest can write hers. I was surprised at how well the younger one can follow the letters on a practice page. Though I don't know why because as a second child she has always thought she could do whatever big sister did and believing it does.

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