Kid Got Punked! What to do when your child shows interest in deviant behavior
The number one rule parents impose on their kids is to follow their rules. It ensures safety, stability and security. But when a child starts to go against the norm, what can a parent do then?
As parents, we are often tempted to shield our children from what we believe are negative influencers in media and society. This is in the hopes that we can prevent them from gaining access to ideas and concepts that will later on translate to deviant behavior.
However, with the advent of technology, these potential influencers of deviant behavior whom we wish to avoid have become even more accessible to our young ones. These days, with many kids owning their own tablets and mobile devices at an early age, it has become exceedingly difficult to regulate what our children see and hear online.
Our responsibility as parents
While we cannot completely shelter our children from the outside world, it is our responsibility as parents to filter what information gets to them. We also should be prepared to explain things to them if we feel that they do not fully understand what it is that they see and hear.
At the same time, when children do begin to show signs of deviant behavior in relation to things that they see on TV, parents should try to understand and guide rather than punish or alienate them. There are some adjustments that we can make as our children’s guardians in the event that we notice some deviant behavior coming from them.
Do not respond with anger or aggression
It may be easier said than done, but reacting negatively towards what you feel is deviant behavior will warrant negative results. As parents, we should try first to understand where this behavior is stemming from, whether it is influenced by media or by social pressure from their peers. Once we are able to understand this, we place ourselves in a better position to provide advice and guidance to our children.
For example, if your young child shows an interest in tattoos and piercings, rather than be upset and say that these are bad, why not try explaining that he or she is still too young to get them? It could be that the child views these not as deviant behavior, but as a means for self-expression, possibly because they have seen it in the media or from the people around them. Instead of hampering on the creative ideas of the child, it would be more beneficial to explain the pros and cons of getting tattooed or pierced.
Try to remain open-minded
What we view as deviant behavior may be subjective based on our culture. Other cultures may be more open to piercings and tattoos. Some nations even use these as a rite of passage or coming of age tradition. Because of this, we should also try to remain open-minded and try to explain this to our children in an objective sense. After all, we do not want to instill naïve or judgmental notions and ideas into their young minds.
We should also remember that our young children may not fully understand the permanence of tattoos and piercings, and that there is a possibility that they may regret these in the future. This is an angle that we can take on when explaining this to them, instead of approaching it negatively as deviant behavior from the start.
While our children are young, we are still able to influence the decisions that they make. We should therefore learn to address deviant behavior in a constructive manner and try our best to teach them valuable life lessons in the process.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: PATRICIA DE CASTRO-CUYUGAN
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