Contributed By Bob Drake

NO, I will not!!!!!!

As a parental figure, how many time have you heard or experienced this? Now as a grandparent and the advantage of many many years of experience and exposure to this phenomenon, I can confidently say all parents have heard or been witness to this behavior. As a young parent I interpreted this as defiance and refusal to follow my “orders”. My response in those times was probably too harsh; with an immediate “go to your room”, you are forbidden this or that, or you”re grounded! were common reactions.

During my working years, pressures on the job, financial issues and the like were contributing factors that created a shortened temper. My reaction was partly out of frustration from these unrelated events which led to dealing with the defiance in less than patient or compassionate ways. Fortunately I did not respond physically. But now I ponder what impact on the young mind on the receiving end? And for those that do react with spanking or other physical acts, what impression does that leave?

The recent “right” way is careful and reasoned reactions. Explanations, negotiations for resolution and compromise seem the method of the contemporary parent. Being “old school”, I feel this has gone too far. What will this evolving mind encounter as it progresses to self-reliance, to academic challenges, workplace issues and everyday encounters and relationships?

I do not pretend to know

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the “answer” – it is far too complex to have a simple one size fits all. However, these early experiences, coupled with the everpresent displays of the media, entertainment themes and just the daily news have surely produced often totally unacceptable behavior such as the awful incidence of suicide, shootings in school and public places to withdrawal into addictions and unproductive life directions. Concerned parents and guardians have monumental factors confronting them daily. The “best possible” answer must be sought and implemented daily to save these mobile casino young minds.

COMMENT:

Thank you for your contribution and insight. As a psychologist and parent living now through the years of “defiance” and using what this blog contributor would say is the approach of the “contemporary parent”, I would have to agree and disagree to some of his comments. I agree that parenting today has evolved, but why that is would be a lengthy and complex response. One small contributing factor was the advent of 911 which changed the “rights” of kids immediately in a way that was both beneficial (those that were being physically abused had a resource for help) and detrimental (parenting with fear of consequence or intervention). The power dynamic shifted in this one technological advance in ways that are far too complex to track. I would disagree that it has gone too far as I believe children learning the ability to negotiate and communicate through talking about the pro’s and con’s in discussions will lead to stronger communicators and leaders later in life. Yes, it is true that the adage of ‘be seen and not heard’ is gone, but that doesn’t mean that the respect and the ability to maintain control with your children is gone with it. Parenting is about balance and about keeping your own work issues or conflict with others in your own life to yourself and remembering that the job of parenting is one that should be made a priority as it is quite possibly the most important and impactful job you will have in your life.