Question: My 4-year-old son is not fully engaged when he has a friend over for a play date. His twin sister makes friends easily and the difference between them is glaring. When I arrange a play date for him, he is excited but then, after the friend arrives, he gradually slips off to play by himself.
American parents believe in behavior modification. They believe that the same principles that govern the behavior of a rat or a dog also govern the behavior of a human being. Therefore, they think the discipline of a child is a matter of manipulating reward and punishment. Furthermore, they think that if one manipulates reward and punishment properly, the correct behavior will ensue. If it does not, then they reason that they must not have used the proper consequences.
A journalist recently asked me to name the No. 1 problem facing today's family. I think she expected me to address education, the economy or some other "hot" topic. To her surprise, I said, "A confusion of roles."
In today's parenting universe, married women with children think of themselves first and foremost as mothers, and married men with children think of themselves first and foremost as fathers. This is confusion. If you are married with children, you are first and foremost a wife or a husband. In your wedding vows, you did not say, "I take you to ...
Question: Our family just moved to a new city and my 2 1/2-year-old son won't do anything during the day but follow me around. If I give him something to play with while I unpack boxes, he ignores what I've given him and starts messing with things he knows he's not supposed to touch, like my computer. If I move from one room to another, he moves with me, asking me question after question or getting into everything. Should I try some form of punishment or just cater to his clinginess for the time being?
If, in a 50-employee workplace, several employees are misbehaving, one can reasonably assume that the problem lies with the employees. On the other hand, if half of the employees are misbehaving, the only conclusion to draw is that the problem lies with management.