Last week we got an email from the principal of the school reminding parents about appropriate behaviour at school sports. Apparently there have been a number of incidents at interschool sports (and this is not isolated to one school) involving swearing and bad behaviour by students but also parents!

Also last week came the viral video about a bus monitor in New York who was abused by students. The video, which was posted on YouTube, went viral. Not surprisingly the students involved are going to face disciplinary action and all those who watched it were outraged.

What is the connection?

Children, from before they can talk or understand what is being said, learn from their parents. Children are great mimics. Have you ever wondered why people feel; as they get older that they are turning into their mother or father? It is because we have learned from them at a subconscious level. As we get older we also learn consciously what is and is not acceptable. This happens in the home before it happens at school.

Furthermore children are looking for boundaries so they can feel safe. If I do not know where the fence is, how do I know where the “safety zone” stops. We need to know what is a “yes “ and what is a “no”. Bad behaviour in children is an attempt to define this as finding it provides comfort and security. If the boundary is not found the child keeps testing, as it WANTS to know where it is.

Parents who do not set firm boundaries (and of course these move as we get older) often think they are helping their child. The reality is that they are not. In some instances the first taste of “no you cannot do that” comes from the police. Not surprisingly this comes as a shock to the individual who has never heard the word no!

Hence any abusive carry on at sports by students comes about because they feel it is OK. And why is that? Because they have seen their parents do it and, at a subconscious level children will mimic their parents. This will be compounded if they see Mum or Dad screaming from the sidelines.

What an appalling example they set! I have seen this first hand and also seen parents literally cheat (for example by bringing in older kids to a final) so that their child’s team wins!

Should we be surprised then if middle school children think it is OK to abuse a bus monitor as happened in New York? Unfortunately the answer is no.

The post modernist view of the world is that everything and everyone is equal and that there is no right and wrong. Well some behaviours are wrong and whilst there may be explanations these must never be confused with excuses.

It is time individuals were again held responsible for their actions and not allowed to hide behind medical or other excuses.

It is time we re-established a sense of decency and values in society. The golden rule of do unto others as you would have them do unto you (or the variant do onto others as they would have you do unto them) is as golden as ever and sorely in need of implementing!