How do you discipline your kids? When they talk back, hit their siblings, say unkind things, or get into trouble at school, what works the best? Some parents use “grounding,” while some parents take away privileges for a certain period of time. It’s one of the hardest things about being a parent, too. Finding what actions will make your child understand what is and is not acceptable in society is one of the hardest things when it comes to discipline. Luckily for this dad, he stumbled upon the perfect way to make his son understand why his actions were so important!
I’m the oldest of three kids. I’m older than my little brother by 2.5 years and my little sister by 9.
When I was about fourteen or so, arguing with my dad in private about something I don’t remember, he, being the second-oldest of eight kids, told me:
“Any decision you make in this household, you make three times. Once when you make it, once when your brother makes the same decision after watching you do it, and once when your sister makes the same decision after watching you and your brother do it. How you treat your brother will tell him how he can treat your sister; and how you treat your sister tells her how she will expect to be treated for the rest of her life, even as far as her future boyfriends.”
That kinda shook me up and made me rethink my role as the oldest child; I started taking my responsibilities as the role model a lot more seriously after that. Even when you aren’t trying to actively influence those around you, those who look up to and respect you will still base their decisions, in part, on how they’ve seen you handle similar situations. If you break down and get stressed and angry when something inconvenient happens, they’ll feel better doing the same when something similarly small happens to them. But if you keep your cool in a dire situation and under a lot of stress, it can inspire them to believe they can do the same.
There is a lot of pressure put onto the oldest child, but there is pressure on the youngest, too. “Living up” to the older siblings can be just as hard as being a role model for the younger ones. For this kid, the lesson his father gave to him will follow him for the rest of his life, and he’ll pass it along to his children for generations to come. After a while, they won’t know who first gave the advice, but hopefully the message carries on! Beautiful!
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