How do you ensure you raise a "good" kid

by Erin L. on February 3, 2011

raising a good kid

I just want him to be a good kid.

This morning one of our local radio shows was talking about the two Johnson County teens that were recently charged with cyber-bullying.  There was a lot of talk and arguing between the hosts and a few callers about who is ultimately responsible for the kids’ actions.

Bottom line from the radio hosts was that parents should know what their kids are doing on the Internet, that parents should know what their kids are doing PERIOD.  Some parents were saying it’s not possible to always know what your kids are doing.  Question is – are they trying?

The Bug is only two and Squoosh isn’t even here yet.  But I wonder about this and quite frankly, have spent a few hours here and there seriously worrying about it.  I want to raise good kids, who know right from wrong and have strong morale values.  But is it all me and my husband?

Kids need to have a strong social circle, including extended family, friends, neighbors etc.  They mimic what they see and yes, the parents’ teachings and persuasion can sway them one way or the other, but where does their individual personality and genetic make-up come in?

I didn’t get in much trouble as a kid – the usual not cleaning my room, fighting with my sister and lying.  In fact, I can remember the last time I was ever grounded and truly in trouble with my mother. I was in 9th grade and had lied to her about skipping youth group and walking across a major road to go to Hardee’s. (You can see what a rebel I was, huh?)  Church called and asked where I was and since I didn’t know that, I told her I was there.  She asked again the next morning. I lied again. And she gave me one more chance; I still lied.  Oh yeah, then I got grounded for 3 weeks, which in my house meant life sucked.  No TV. No Phone. No Friends.  Books were pretty much my only option at that point.

Sounds minor right.  See the thing is…I’m a pretty risk averse person and always have been.  Just the thought of making my mom really angry was enough to deter me from making really bad choices. Now mind you, I smoked, drank, and a few other things in high school with the rest of the kids, but I could never quite bring myself to do the things I knew inherantly were really bad. Plus, my mom always seemed to know what I was doing anyway.  (That time she picked my best friend and I up at a party drunk and we thought we were SO awesome at hiding it?? Oh yea, she totally knew.)

I’m digressing a bit – but here’s my point.  Was I a “good” kid because my mom was a positive influence on me and I had respect for her?  Or is some of it (most of it?) just part of my risk-averse personality?

I don’t know how the Bug is going to be when he’s older.  He’s a sweet, sweet boy now.  I know my husband and I are going to raise him the best we can to be respectful of others, to do the right thing and make smart choices.  I know he’ll falter here and there.  And that’s ok. It’s how you learn.

I don’t have an answer to my question and I know I’m rambling a bit, but I needed to write this down.  I think parents need to be firmer with their kids.  I do think society, as a whole, has relaxed way too much when it comes to disciplining our children.  We don’t want to raise them in fear for sure, but we also are not their friends; we’re their parents, their teachers. We have a job to do, a responsibility.

Are we all doing it?

For now, I can only worry about me, my family and my children.  But I’m still going to wonder.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Paige February 3, 2011 at 1:54 pm

I worry about the same things. My boys is super sweet too, but he picks on his baby brother all the time… which makes me worry about how that impacts the baby. I want two sweet boys! I tell him all the time that it's his job to love and protect his little brother, and I see he does love him. There's just that nasty streak in him that makes him step on his hands and push him over.

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2 Logan February 3, 2011 at 2:28 pm

I think every parent wonders about this and worrys about it to some degree too. I personally think it's our job to raise them to know the difference between right and wrong and stay in their business to some degree to help them make right choices as they grow. Now I don't advocate extreme measures like reading your kids journal or anything, but if you're in tune with your kids then you'll know when they're out of sync with their normal personality too…letting you know something is wrong. And as far as things go in our house…the biggest offense EVER is lying. We have more severe consequences for that than anything…and if that starts early, then I think it sets a good foundation for as our kids get older too. Someone told me one time that when kids are little, it's the sweetest time for thoughtful discipline because it's easier to come up with things that drive home a point. I'm my kids' mom…not their best friend. And if I'm a great mom now, then I hope that our friendship when they're grown will be awesome as a result of that.

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3 @sweetbabboo February 4, 2011 at 12:48 am

Children have so many outside influences, that I feel it is unfair to blame parents for everything. Aside from every child's different personality, every child will have different life experiences.

No one wants their child to grow up to be a serial killer, but someone's did. I guess all we can do is our best, and hope or pray, if your the type, that everything else works out alright.

Coming from a family of three children, I know too well how we are different. I know that part of this is based on our interactions with our parents but most of it isn't.

Like you, I'm risk adverse. I've never even smoked and there was no way I would have drank in high school (I totally believed my dad would know), but my younger brother did all that and more.

Yet somehow, we both turned out fine despite our varying (and his more wandering) paths.

I will say, though, if you figure out a way to guarantee a "good" kid, you better share it with me. It'd be nice to stop worrying ALL THE TIME.

-Abby

PS- I'll bet these bullies will grow up just fine. Likely, they'll one day become CEO's of major corporations b/c everybody knows nice guys finish LAST.

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4 robin February 4, 2011 at 2:32 am

My kids are older- 13, 10, 6- and we've done a lot of role-playing about how to handle a bully. I've made it clear that standing by and watching someone get bullied is every bit as bad as being the bully. (And I haven't said this to them, but if they get suspended for fighting on behalf of a kid who's being targeted- I will be proud of them for not backing down.)

I talk about the right thing to do, all the time. We watch the news together and talk about different ways things could have been handled. And they have seen me calmly flip out at strangers who are being mean.

What I'm saying is… talk about it. A lot. Start young so they're used to it. And when they get into these situations your voice is in their head. There'll be no question in their minds about what they should do.

That's my strategy, anyway. It worked with me.

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5 Lolli February 4, 2011 at 3:31 am

THere are two horrible moments for a parent. First is when we find out that our children have been teased or hurt by another person. It breaks a mother's heart. Second, and often much worse, is when we learn that OUR kid has been the bully. The one that is teasing or hurting another child. I hate those moments. Even the best kids from the best parents have them.

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