This episode's vocabulary
- Influence (noun) - the power to have an effect on people or things.
- Formative (adj.) - developing and not yet completely formed.
- Encouraging (adj.) - making you feel more confidence or hope.
- Inconsistent (adj.) - not staying the same in behaviour or quality.
- Peer (noun) - a person who is the same age or has the same social position or the same abilities as other people in a group.
- Infuriating (adj.) - extremely annoying.
- Disobedience (noun) - the quality of being disobedient (= refusing to do what someone in authority tells you to do).
- Roughhouse (verb) - to fight in a way that is not serious.
- Upbringing (noun) - the way in which you are treated and educated when young, especially by your parents, especially in relation to the effect that this has on how you behave and make moral decisions.
- Consequence (noun) - a result of a particular action or situation, often one that is bad or not convenient.
- Clamp down on sth (verb) - to take strong action to stop or limit a harmful or unwanted activity.
- Clip around the ear (noun) - a quick hit on the side of someone's head.
- Prevention (noun) - the act of stopping something from happening or of stopping someone from doing something.
- Anticipate (verb) - to imagine or expect that something will happen.
- Arise (verb) - to happen.
- Operate (verb) - to (cause to) work, be in action or have an effect.
- Laxity (noun) - behaviour that shows little care, attention, or control.
- Anxious (adj.) - worried and nervous.
- Go off the deep end (idiom) - get very angry about something or lose control of yourself.
- Pendulum (noun) - a device consisting of a weight on a stick or thread that moves from one side to the other, especially one that forms a part of some types of clocks.
- Counteract (verb) - to reduce or remove the effect of something unwanted by producing an opposite effect.
- Dysfunctional (adj.) - not behaving or working normally.
- Triad (noun) - three related things that form a group.
- Consistent (adj.) - always behaving or happening in a similar, especially positive, way.
- The final/last straw (idiom)- the last in a series of unpleasant events that finally makes you feel that you cannot continue to accept a bad situation.
- Empowered (adj.) - having the official authority or freedom to do something.
- Enforce (verb) - to make people obey a law, or to make a particular situation happen or be accepted.
Questions and Answers
Maria: What factors affect children's behavior?
Rory: Well, I suppose their parents have the biggest influence on what they do since they're with them, or at least should be with them for most of their formative years. And if the parents provide a structured, encouraging environment and do their best to help their child overcome the obstacles that they face. And I think it helps a lot, although if a family is more chaotic and unstable or inconsistent with these things, then it can have a serious impact. After that, the extended family and peers are probably quite influential, but parents and environment and the environment that they create are probably the most significant force in terms of behavior.
Maria: What kind of bad behavior do children usually have?
Rory: Well, despite my story, I think the behavior people find the most infuriating is disobedience or rudeness on the part of children, especially towards adults, and that seems to be quite common. Most people can deal with screaming, crying, general roughhousing, but children, not doing as they are told, is the worst. It's embarrassing for the adult because it takes power away from them and transfers that to the child like it's the imbalance is not normal. And that's that's something that comes up quite a lot, at least in my line of work.
Maria: Do you think children are more likely to behave badly without strict discipline?
Rory: Well, it's sort of ironic because usually every child has a strict upbringing, they tend to be wild or as an adult, which can cause problems in and of itself. However, if we exclude these consequences, then, yeah, of course, the child's behavior will be much easier to manage with strict discipline. This is generally speaking, of course, some kids seem to be made of pure light when they're born and they never cause any problems. But if you clamp down on them quite hard, then normally that results in better behavior.
Maria: How should parents stop their children from behaving badly in public?
Rory: Well, a clip around the ear usually does it. I mean, sorry, I'm joking. I think prevention is better than cure in such instances. You could try and anticipate the problem and explain to children the positive aspects of being good and outlining the consequences for bad behavior. Whatever those may be, it depends on your culture. With a shared understanding it should reduce the chances of children being naughty. And if they are, then you can explain what will happen again and then do what you said you would do. I think that's quite fair and balanced. It's a bit time consuming, but that's the fairest way to to prevent the situation from arising.
Maria: Are parents these days stricter than in the past?
Rory: Well, if anything they seem to operate with even greater laxity than before, the number of behavioral problems inside and outside schools everywhere seems to be increasing year on year. I'm not sure what to make of that, to be honest. I suppose it could be that parents are anxious to avoid being restricted in the past in order to stop making the same mistakes their parents did. And they've kind of gone off the deep end a bit. Although society is a bit like a pendulum in the sense. So it's likely that the coming generation of parents will probably be a little stricter than before and that will help counteract the imbalance that's been created.
Maria: Whose influence on children is more important, friends or parents?
Rory: Well, it should be clear by now that parents have the strongest role in terms of influencing kids as they are growing up, although friends are still significant. Although, think about it, you spend maximum eight hours a day with your friends. This is if you're at school. And to be honest, it's not that concentrated. The rest of the time you're at home with your family or whatever passes for this. The exceptions come when we talk about broken or dysfunctional families, and then friends might play a bigger role to compensate. But in the main, it's usually parents that played the bigger role.
Maria: Do you think a lack of discipline can lead to poor students behavior?
Rory: Most of the time, some classes are always like sunshine and rainbows, but it isn't the norm. So discipline is quite important, but it's not about yelling or being angry. Discipline can be a positive thing if done in the right way. You show students how developing self-control leads to more successful outcomes in many cases and why that's a good idea. So yes, but don't associate that with the negative part of being disciplined.
Maria: Do you think improving school discipline can be a solution to children's poor behavior?
Rory: It's a solution while they're in school, assuming it's coordinated between the teachers, the administration and the parents effectively, if one of these, I don't know, parts of the triad fails, then it's not going to work. And no amount of screaming and shouting can fix that. It has to be consistent. It's no good to anyone of a teacher's discipline to all the parents and the administrative staff don't really care either way. Of course, there are times when teachers can serve as a great example of how things should be and they make a real difference. But most of the time it's an organized effort that wins the day.
Maria: And how will teachers deal with children's discipline in the future, do you think?
Rory: Hopefully they'll be able to assert greater control as it becomes clearer and clearer that not being able to have as much control is a problem right now. Teachers don't have much control. I think that's going to have to change that. You reach a certain that there will be a straw that breaks the camel's back, essentially, and it will go the other way.
Maria: How can they get control?
Rory: Well, they're empowered by the people that they work for. So they will be given control by the administrators who will work with them to enforce that and make sure it happens and parents will understand why. Otherwise, they'll just continue to see the negative consequences of their actions or inaction in this case.
Maria: Do you think that children in general will get naughty in the future?
Rory: Yes, but there will be a tipping point, because as the number of, I don't know, extreme cases increases, the negative effects on society will become obvious and something will have to be done to prevent that from happening or to correct that even I should say. So, or nothing will be done and everything will completely fall apart. But I don't think that's likely. People don't generally encourage that kind of negative outcome.
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