In This Lesson
- Modem: 56.6 Kbps or faster
- Browser: Netscape Navigator 4.0 or above or Internet Explorer 4.0 or above
- Personal computer (Pentium II 350 MHz or Celeron 600 MHz) running Windows® 95 or higher and at least 32 MB of RAMMacintosh computer: System 8.1 or above and at least 32 MB of RAM
Bookmarked Sites and Video Resources:
- Cover Story: Foster Care. June 8, 2001; Episode 441
This program explores the ways in which foster care and the social welfare system protects children who live in abusive homes.
- Interview: Nancy Ammerman. October 28, 2005; Episode 909
In this interview, Nancy Ammerman, professor of the sociology of religion at Boston University, discusses faith and family in America.
- Interview: Brad Wilcox on Religion and Parenting. November 4, 2005; Episode 910
In this interview, Brad Wilcox discusses the ways religion and religious beliefs influence the rules and boundaries parents develop for their children.
- Special Series: Faith and Family in America, Part Two: Religion and Parenting. November 4, 2005; Episode 910
This program explores the ways a strong religious faith helps to steer children and teens toward moral behavior, strong relationships with parents, and academic achievement.
- National Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry: Children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder
This site explores the symptoms and behaviors of children and adolescents with ODD, a disorder that causes them to defy, disobey, and talk back to teachers, parents, and other adults.
- Home Alone: Are You Ready?
This site helps children and teens understand the importance of respecting house rules when they’re home alone.
- Inside the Teenage Brain. January 31, 2002; Program #2011
This program explores some of the challenges parents face while raising teenage children.
- Responsive Discipline Lesson 4: Why Children Misbehave
This site discusses the reasons children might disobey or resist their parents.
- Setting Limits: Helping Children Learn Self-Regulation
This site helps parents understand the importance of setting limits for their children from a very early age.
- Stepfamilies: New House Rules
This site helps children and teens identify and address the new rules that surface when stepparents become a part of their lives.
- Cover Story: Foster Care. June 8, 2001; Episode 441
RELIGION & ETHICS NEWSWEEKLY Web Sites:
Teachers will need the following supplies:
- A chalkboard, dry-erase board, or a flip chart
- Chalk, dry-erase markers, or Sharpie markers
- Internet access (If students cannot access the Internet from their classroom, then handouts of Web resources will suffice.)
- Student Organizers 1, 2, 3 and 4
In this activity, students will identify the rules that their parents or guardians have set for them. They will consider whether they feel the rules are fair, too lenient, or too strict. Students will also share whether they are ever resistant to their parents’ wishes or rules, and they will talk about the consequences of opposing their parents.
- Distribute Student Organizer 1.
- Explain that in this activity, students will work independently to identify the rules that their parents have set for them regarding the following: Schoolwork and Grades, Extracurricular Activities, Spending Time with Friends/Dating, Household Chores, and Showing Respect at Home. They will log these rules on their Student Organizer. Then they will determine whether they think the rules are fair or unfair, and they will identify the consequences they face if they disobey these rules.
- Allow students 5-10 minutes to complete the charts on their Student Organizer. As students complete their tables, create a similar table on a flip chart, chalkboard, or dry-erase board.
- When students have completed their tables, ask volunteers to share their answers. Record these answers in the table you created on the flip chart, chalkboard, or dry-erase board.
- Record these answers in the table you created on the flip chart, chalkboard, or dry-erase board. Ask students to discuss their answers as necessary. For example, if students feel that certain rules are too strict or too lenient, ask them to explain why. Also, ask them to share whether they think the consequences for resisting their parents’ rules are reasonable or not.
- Once you have completed the chart, form a collaborative discussion with the class based on the following questions:
- Why do you think parents and guardians set rules for their children?
- How do children and teens often try to resist the rules and wishes of their parents?
- Why do you think children and teens challenge their parents?
- Are there times when it’s appropriate or reasonable for kids to disobey their parents? Give some examples.
- If a child or teen resists his or her parents, do you think he or she will be more likely to resist other figures of authority (i.e. teachers, school staff, grandparents, bosses, etc.)?
Activity 1 – Unreasonable Demands
In this activity, students will engage in a collaborative discussion to determine the specific examples of unethical and irrational requests that should be met with resistance, and they will brainstorm ways in which a child or teen might seek help if a parent’s behavior becomes burdensome or abusive.
- Divide students into groups of four and distribute Student Organizer 2.
- Explain to students that, in this activity, they will work together as a group to discuss whether there might be times when a parent’s rules, requests, or demands are unreasonable, unethical, or even illegal. Explain that they should provide specific examples and record them in the appropriate section of their Student Organizer.
- After students have arrived at specific examples of behaviors that children and teens should resist, ask them to brainstorm ways in which they might seek help to deal with their difficult situation. Students should record their answers in the appropriate section of their Student Organizer.
- When students have finished their discussion, ask volunteers from each group to provide examples of requests or demands that parents might make of their children that are unethical, unreasonable, or illegal. Record these answers on a flip chart, chalkboard, or dry-erase board. Ask questions and ask students to elaborate on their answers as necessary.
- Next, ask volunteers to share their group’s thoughts regarding ways a child or teen living with an abusive or dangerous parent can seek help. Record these answers on a flip chart, chalkboard, or dry-erase board, and elaborate on key points as necessary.
- Form a collaborative discussion with the entire class based on the following questions. Feel free to add or modify questions as you deem necessary.
- How can children and teens distinguish inappropriate demands from reasonable demands?
- A teenager might be able to identify requests or behaviors that should be met with resistance; but this might not be quite as easy for young children. How can adults such as teachers, guidance counselors, and mentors help young children identify times when it is okay for them to say no to their parents?
- If a child or teen confides in someone the issues they’re facing at home and that person does not respond, what should the child or teen do next?
- What would you do if a friend told you that they’ve been resisting the inappropriate behaviors or actions of a parent? How would you help him or her?
Activity 2 – Understanding Resistance
In this activity, students interview a guidance counselor, school psychologist, or a behavioral specialist to determine why children and teens are resistant to parents, how parents should cope with this behavior, and whether there are occasions when resistance is acceptable.
- Distribute Student Organizer 3.
- Explain to students that, in this activity, they will conduct an interview with a school staff member who is skilled in child psychology to discover important information about resistance to parents.
- Review the interview questions that appear on Student Organizer 3. Encourage students to add additional questions to this list as they see fit.
- After students have completed their interview, ask them to share their findings with you and the rest of the class. Form a collaborative discussion based on the following points and any additional points that you would like to discuss:
- After speaking with your interview candidate, do you feel that kids who oppose their parents do so just to be difficult? Why or why not?
- Is a child’s defiance ever a reflection of his or her parents’ ability to be a good mother or father? Is it always fair to blame parents for their children’s behavior? Why or why not?
- Did you determine that there are occasions when resistance to parents is acceptable? What are these occasions?
- Do you think that a child’s resistance is ever a cue for parents to be fairer or more lenient? Is it ever a cue for parents to be stricter? Explain your answer.
- As you complete this discussion, record key points on a flip chart, dry-erase board, or chalkboard. Address questions and elaborate on key discussion points as necessary.
In this activity, students survey their peers to determine their most prevalent reasons for resisting their parents. When they have completed their survey, students will compile a report of their findings.
- Distribute Student Organizer 4.
- Explain to students that, in this activity, they will survey 5-10 of their peers to determine common reasons why teens are resistant to their parents. Review the questions that appear on the Student Organizer. Tell students that the organizer is intended to serve as a guideline as they complete their survey. Encourage them to add questions as they see fit.
- When students have completed their survey, ask them to form groups of four and discuss, compare, and contrast their findings.
- Ask each group to compile a presentation that summarizes their findings and provides the following information:
- What are the most common reasons teens are resistant to their parents?
- Overall, do your peers feel their resistance is justified? Why or why not?
- Did any of your survey participants claim they don’t resist their parents? What reasons, if any, did they give for obeying their parents? For example, are they afraid of being punished or grounded? Are they making a deliberate effort to follow religious beliefs or cultural teachings? Do they adhere to their parents wishes in order to earn privileges or independence?
- How do parents commonly react to resistance? Do they put up with it, or are there consequences for resistance?
- When groups have finished their summaries, they will present their findings to the rest of the class. As key points are discussed, record them on a flip chart, dry-erase board, or chalk board. Elaborate on discussion points and ask questions as necessary.
- Ask students to survey their peers to determine the religious beliefs, family customs, and cultural traditions that are important to their parents. Students should ask their peers to describe these customs and traditions, and discuss the history of them. (How long have their families been practicing these customs and traditions? Have their families ever taken a break from these traditions, or are they very consistent in practicing them? Why are these traditions so important to the family?) Students should then ask their peers if there are any customs, beliefs, or traditions that they are not fond of. Would they ever be resistant to practicing them? How would their parents react if they refused to follow certain beliefs, customs, or traditions? Would they be hurt? Would they be angry? Students should present their findings in a 2-3 page written report.
- Provide students with a transcript of Cover Story: Arranged Marriages (Episode 242, http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/week242/cover.html). Ask them to read the transcript, and then form a collaborative discussion about arranged marriages. Students should discuss whether people should have the freedom to refuse to marry someone they don’t love or don’t get along with. Although parents might insist that an arranged marriage occur, should the bride or groom stand his/her ground and resist their parents’ demands? How might they successfully escape the arranged marriage while maintaining their parents’ love and respect?
- Ask students to survey their peers to determine how their religious beliefs affect their likelihood to obey their parents. Students should ask their peers to describe any lessons they have learned through religion about the importance of respecting and following the wishes and demands of parents. They should determine whether this is a significant issue in different religions, and they should identify any similarities or differences that exist between religions regarding this particular topic. When students have completed their survey, they should compile their findings in an oral presentation. They should also discuss their opinion of the pros and cons of adhering to religious teachings regarding resistance to parents. For example, do they think these lessons help kids and teens to be better disciplined? Do religious beliefs prevent kids and teens who live with abusive parents from standing up for themselves and getting help, or do they offer resources to help?
- Ask students if there is a cause that they feel strongly about that their parents don’t agree with or understand. Causes might include animal rights, anti-censorship in music, the removal of parental warnings from video games, or any other cause students might identify. Ask students to write about whether their parents have tried to change their opinion about the cause or if they have asked that they stop investing time in the cause. How did this make them feel? Did they respect their parents’ wishes, or do they continue to believe in the cause? If students have never been faced with this dilemma, how would they react if they do face it in the future? Will they stand up for their beliefs despite their parents feelings? Why or why not? When students have finished writing, ask volunteers to share their thoughts with the rest of the class.
- Ask students to visit http://pbskids.org/itsmylife/family/stepfamilies/print_article5.html and read Stepfamilies: New House Rules. Divide students into groups of four and ask them to form a collaborative discussion about how the rules of the house might change when a step-parent moves into their home. Students should discuss whether they feel they should respect their step-parent’s new rules, or if they should have the freedom to resist them. They should also determine whether it’s fair for step-parents to change existing rules or enforce new ones simply because they have married into the family. When students have completed their discussion, bring the class back together and discuss each group’s thoughts. Ask questions and record key points on a flip chart, chalkboard, or dry-erase board as necessary.
- Ask students to interview three to five adults to determine how family values have changed since they were children. Interview candidates can include parents, adult family members, neighbors, coaches, teachers, or other adults. Students should ask their interviewees to discuss the rules that their parents set for them when they were children and teenagers. As young people, did they think these rules were fair? Did they ever rebel against them? Do the interviewees think these rules are relevant for children and teens today? Why or why not? When students have completed their interviews, form a collaborative discussion with the class regarding the ways in which the rules that were set for children many years ago are either similar to or different from the rules that their parents have set for them today. Ask students to discuss whether parents’ expectations of children and teenagers should evolve with an ever-changing society. In other words, should the rules that applied to children and teens 30 or more years ago apply to children and teens today? Why or why not? Record key discussion points on a flip chart, chalkboard, or dry-erase board, and ask questions as necessary.