The rough-looking teen’s tough veneer had softened. I detected tears in his eyes.
“No one has ever said anything like that to me.”
Just minutes before, I met this teen in a line at our local amusement park. After a brief conversation, I dug a little deeper and asked Jared what he was good at. “Are you kidding?” He seemed angry. “Look at me.” Violent tattoos, tattered dark clothes, a defiant countenance and multiple piercings on his ears, nose, eyebrows and lips were suggestive of a hard life.
A young mom queried me intently after our talk on Entitlement in kids. “What do you do about the culture around us that guarantees that every child is a “winner” at participating and receives a trophy, even for last place?”
We commiserated about how rampant this attitude is, that dispenses trophies and stickers and stars and ribbons ad nauseum to make sure no one feels bad, and puts caps and gowns on kindergarteners for conquering a rigorous academic year.
So practically, how can you respond to this widespread attitude of trophy entitlement? Here’s what I told Jill.
We all want to parent our kids well, and especially to feel confident as we discipline our children. But many parents, in their efforts to discipline their children, miss what we think is a key ingredient.
The secret? Connection.
From our years parenting our three intense kids and working with hundreds of parents, we know that one of the keys to effective discipline is connecting right in the middle of it all — making sure our kids know that they are safe, loved, and valued no matter what, even when they misbehave!
Check out these three videos where we dig into some of the ways that connection can make all the difference with our kids — even in the middle of discipline situations!
“…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute – if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise – let your mind dwell on these things” (Philippians 4: 8, NASB).
Ricky had just been suspended from school for threatening his teachers – an unusual thing for a fourth grader. I was enlisted to help him and his parents learn new skills for coping with his anger. During our first meeting I asked Ricky, “What are some things you’re good at?” He shrugged, unable to give an answer. I probed further, “What are some good things the adults in your life might say about you?” Ricky about hit the roof!
This week a former NFL player, James Harrison, sent out an Instagram message regarding his two sons receiving “participation trophies” even though they didn’t win anything.
Harrison, the youngest of 14 kids and a two-time Super Bowl winner himself, struck a chord with many who believe that trophies should be given to those who “earned” them and not simply to those who “tried their best”.
Recently we received this question from a mom in response to one of our posts.
Q: When I watched the video about Jim and daughter Bethany’s conflict I realized that Lynne answered the phone but didn’t intervene. My impulse would have been to tell my husband to calm down because I often feel the need to step in and “teach” my husband to be a better parent. So this raises the question for me, how can I be more loving and supportive spouse when I think my spouse is wrong?”
Jim here. I’m really excited about our Discipline That Connects Online Course! There’s one idea in it that we’ve developed over the years that we just love to share because it has helped so many parents. So here it is!
If you want to learn more about the “gift gone awry” as it relates to discipline, sign up below for our newsletter to be notified the next time the course is offered. Each weekly email will also give you a dose of encouragement!
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Here are some additional blog posts about a few of the topics I mentioned:
“You’re dumb!” “No, YOU’RE dumb!” “Well you’re a loser!” “I know you are, but what am I?” “You’re a butthead!” “MOMMMMMMMMM!!!!”
Name-calling between children is a challenge in many families. Once kids get on a roll of slinging names back and forth it can seem like an express train to a sibling meltdown. But it doesn’t have to be that way — you can help your kids turn their angry words into an opportunity to connect and rebuild even stronger relationships.