How to bring calm to chaotic classrooms – as published in “The Australian” November 2023

Australia is high on the list of chaotic classrooms according to a recent OECD report on classroom behaviour management. There is also evidence that teachers are increasingly leaving the profession. These two facts constitute a slow-motion disaster for our children’s learning, their future, our teachers’ well-being, and a waste of our country’s resources. Something must […]

Obsessions: do they fill, or fulfill

“My child does nothing all day except…”

Obsessions are a common concern among parents.  How do you discern whether it is a healthy or unhealthy obsession for your child?

In a previous post I looked at the difference between whether the obsessions is a “want” or a “need”.  Eg: wanting to exercise, brilliant.  Needing to exercise, problem.

The freedom of boundaries

We all want freedom.  Few people want to be made to do something they don’t want.

Our children are no different…but their ability to use their logical brain to weigh up the various sides of a given choice is more limited.  They need to learn how to deal with the freedom to choose.

With the lockdowns in place throughout the world at present, most parents are being confronted with children who are pushing against the boundaries imposed on them by others.  And with those pushes comes complaints…sometimes lots of them and it can get quite personal and frustrating for a parent.

Stay On Target

Have you tried to address a problem with one of your kids, and somehow you end up arguing about something else entirely, and the issue was not resolved?

One way of avoiding being parented is to go off on a tangent and creating a new topic to argue about.  It is a classic misdirection, and is particularly effective if the new topic provokes strong emotions in the parent.

Some kids are quite skilled at this.

4W’s: watch, wait, wonder, “one-down”

I’ve been playing with a new idea when emotions get high…the 4W’s.  It can be used as a way of remembering what to do when you are feeling provoked, and you want to be helpful and not take the problem personally.

“I need a break”

When you have a child whose behaviour concerns you it feels like you never get a break from watching and worrying about what they are doing.  The constant wondering whether you should step in can be utterly exhausting.

So how can you get a break from the constancy of feeling responsible for how your child is developing?

Why should I? Stage 6: because it’s right.

Stage 6: universal ethical principles orientation.  Adulthood onwards

For some, moral reasoning primarily becomes based on their adherence to a set of universal abstract ethical principles.  The person sees that they have a duty to behave morally based on these principles, and not:

Why should I? stage 5: because we agreed.

Stage 5: social contract orientation. Teenage years onwards 

Sometime post puberty the child begins to see the world as comprising many individuals and many groups, each holding different opinions, values and rights.  Rules are not rigid edicts, but are

Why should I? Stage 4: for “us”

Stage 4: social-order maintaining orientation. Late primary onwards

In secondary school (corresponding with the development of abstract thinking) the child becomes aware of the importance of obeying laws and social norms to maintain a functioning group.  

Why should I? Stage 3: to hear “good boy/girl”

Stage 3: social conformity orientation. Primary school onwards

In primary school the child is increasingly exposed to and aware of the various groups they belong to. The motivation for moral behaviour now moves beyond personal self-interest, and involves relationships with others