Our kids do not have swag because we aren’t using the right discipline strategies. The word “swag” brings to mind images of cool clothes, the latest cell phone, the popular clique, and a certain air of confidence. Parents in the business of overindulging their kids with the latest North Face jacket, Ugg boots, Jordan gym shoes, and $275 skinny jeans without teaching the importance of the magic words “please”, and “thank you”, speaking up when spoken to, and being respectful and respectable are not teaching swag, but instead raising a bunch of jackasses with no discipline. We all want our children to be intelligent leaders who are responsible, generous, considerate, and fun to be around—things that define real swag.
I was raised a “village-kid”. My mother welcomed any adult in our circle that understood the high expectations established for me, to have all rights and privileges pertaining to raising me to become a decent adult. This meant they were allowed to discipline me. They could scold me, tell on me, remind me to sit up—talk up--look up—and yes, even to shut-up, and whoop my butt, if necessary.
You just got all Dr. Phil on me, didn’t you?
Sadly, a lot of parents don’t understand the importance of including the village to discipline and raise their kids. Too many kids are walking around with enough style to grace the cover of Teen Vogue magazine but exhibit the arrogant, obnoxious, thoughtless and rude behaviors worthy of defriending on Facebook—and they probably get it from their parents.
My dear friend, Mo Ivory, was able to get two coveted tickets to a Mindless Behavior concert for her daughter and best friend. But after her daughter came home with an unacceptable academic progress report, her mother decided to go to the concert instead—and took her daughter’s best friend along! I damned near worshipped Mo for this brilliant discipline strategy. I know Mo. That parental decision was not easy for her to make. But the message was clear to her daughter: You only get to play hard if you work hard. Her kid’s grades have been consistently excellent ever since and her swag factor has risen tremendously.
Here are a few strategies to improve your kid's real swag factor.
- If your kid will not politely ask for items by using the word “please”, take their cell phone. It’s yours anyway because you paid for it.
- When they forget to show gratitude with a simple “thank-you” or express thanks with the enthusiasm of a piece of Melba toast, take the nice, warm duvet/comforter off their bed. They will learn to be grateful for the little things.
- When your kid uses whining at an attempt to convince you to give them what they want, walk away. Parents, we talk waayy too much.
- When your kid conveniently forgets to complete household chores, mail their North Face coat to me. Your kid does have assigned household chores, right? (Ooh, another blog topic!)
- If you have to beg your kid to not only complete homework assignments but to actually give it to the teacher, or improve report card grades, consider cancelling basketball/baseball/tennis/soccer/dance/karate. You get the point, right?
- When your kid talks back to you or responds with the high-pitched curl at the end of unsolicited opinions, tell them to shop for groceries, pay the gas and light bills, cook their own dinner, buy their friends birthday party gifts with their own money, and find a way to get to and from basketball/baseball/tennis/soccer/dance/karate.
- When the teacher calls to inform you of unacceptable behaviors that convince you that the hospital nursery actually let you take the wrong baby home at birth, call the school janitor. Your kid can sweep and mop classroom floors, empty garbage cans, and remove rubber streaks from the hallway floors.
- When your kid waits until the last minute to complete a science fair project, or requires supplies they were informed to have a year ago, do not help them. Poor planning on their part does not constitute an emergency on ours.
What tips have you used to teach your kids swag? Do share! I am raising a tween and teen and welcome great tips! Let’s raise swag-a-licious kids!