The Norman Transcript

Features

November 28, 2013

Apply ‘hang in there principle’ to help son stop cutting corners

NORMAN — Q: My 11-year-old son cuts corners on everything. If he does a chore, he’ll leave the cleaning products behind. If his bed is hard to make, he hides the sheet in the closet and throws the blanket over the bed.

Concerning his schoolwork, he doesn’t bother studying for tests (figuring he gets A’s anyway). We’re now seeing this in his soccer practices, where he’s started literally cutting corners. How can we get a handle on this bad habit?

 

A: Because it’s not “blatant,” as in blatant disrespect or disobedience, this sort of problem can be difficult to get a handle on. Today’s parents believe in “parenting technology” — that for every behavior problem, there’s a solution.

The fact is parents cannot solve all of the possible problems a child may develop. They can’t solve any of those problems, in fact. It doesn’t matter what the problem is, parents can only put pressure, in the form of consequences of one sort or another, on a child in hope that the pressure will motivate the child to solve it.

Some children give in to the pressure, some don’t. Sometimes, a child doesn’t solve a problem until he’s in a state of crisis because of it, and the crisis in question may not occur until he’s well into adulthood.

When parents use consequences in the mistaken belief that there is a magic consequence that will solve the problem in question, they miss the point and are possibly setting themselves up to fail.

The purpose of consequences is simply to demonstrate that in the real world, “bad” behavior causes bad things to happen, sooner or later. Hopefully, the child will “get it,” and solve the problem.

If, however, the child doesn’t solve the problem, that doesn’t necessarily mean the consequence was not the right one to use. That belief often causes parents to try one consequence after another in a rather chaotic attempt to find the one that will turn the proverbial wheel.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Features
  • Just say no to 12-year-old’s Mohawk

    A mom recently asked me what I would say to my son if he was 12 years old and wanted a Mohawk haircut for the summer. I told her I’d say no. “But is it really that big a deal?” she said....

    August 1, 2014

  • Peanut Butter and Jelly Jam set

    Norman residents will serve peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to the homeless from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at Andrew’s Park, 201 W. Daws St. A pop-up store also will distribute donations of new and gently used books, clothing, shoes, ...

    August 1, 2014

  • CCFI announces play therapy course

    Center for Children and Families will present the course Fundamentals of Non-Directive Play Therapy from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 8 at Sarkeys Foundation, 520 E. Main St....

    August 1, 2014

  • Recent weather has been surprising

    Earlier this July, a dense cold front slipped into the central section of the Southwest — including Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas and bordering states — dropping daytime temperature highs into the upper 60s and 70s, which I believe is an ...

    August 1, 2014

  • Are you a puppet or a prince?

    Names have power. This cautionary statement is frequently found in fantasy novels populated by magical beings. The implication being that you should choose your friends and enemies wisely....

    August 1, 2014

  • Crafter’s emporium planned Saturday

    Members of the Opal District Crafter’s Emporium, plus other local artists, will have an art show from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Cleveland County Fairgrounds, 615 E. Robinson St. in Norman. It will be hosted concurrently with the ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Williams book signing event set

    Jared Williams, a resident of Moore, will sign copies of his book “Cerebral” from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at Hastings, 2300 W. Main St. Norman....

    July 31, 2014

  • Home dedication set Sunday

    Cleveland County Habitat for Humanity will host a dedication of the Ruvalcaba family home from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at 618 E. Apache St. Those attending are asked to bring a pantry item to help the family begin life in their new home. ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Two territorial littermate cats are asserting social dominance

    Dear Dr. Fox: When we decided to get a cat 10 years ago, I thought getting a couple of littermates would work well. They got along during the first couple of years, often sleeping together and grooming each other. As they matured, though, ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Board welcomes new member

    In its June meeting, the members of the Mary Abbott Children’s House board of directors elected Barbara Henderson to serve the remaining term of Anne Ederington, who resigned from the board in May due to moving from Norman. Henderson and ...

    July 30, 2014