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consequences

Posted by mom2emall (My Page) on
Thu, May 15, 08 at 17:42

I post and read the stepfamily forum often. I was reading things on there and wanted to get other parents perspectives on it.

What do you do when a child talks back and/or argues with you over and over again? A mom on there mentioned that after many warnings and discussions she gave a consequence. Her daughter had to cancel plans to have two friends come over after school. Other posters said that was wrong of the mom to do and consequences teach children nothing.

What do you think??


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: consequences

Well I do believe in consequences, but I have had to question myself about that many times over the years. For instance...my daughter forgot to take her work to school, and needed it to hand in, she was in her last year at school and it was important. She phoned and asked me if I could drop the work into the school office.

I "thought...mmmm...consequences....she should have got up earlier...then she would have not left the house in a flap...consequences..." I came to the conclusion, that I wanted her to know that she could rely on me to help out, if I can...so I took the work up to the school.

I think in the case of "child talks back and/or argues with you over and over again"...I would say to the child "I do not like the words you are using, I would like you to go and sit in your room with the door closed, until you can speak in nice words." If the child says "NO!" and keeps the argument going...the broken record technique is good. Parent calmly keeps saying what will happen, until it happens.

When the child comes out of the room, when they have agreed to behave in a pleasant way, they must apologise for their behavior.

So the the consequence of their behavior is exclusion from the family unit, the audience is taken away and the theory is eventually they won't bother with the behavior.

I really don't like a positive event (the daughter's friends coming over) being cancelled as punishment. Its good for the daughter to have her friends over, that should be encouraged.

Of coarse the parent has to look at their behavior, when engaging with the child. Do they add fuel to the arguments, by arguing too ? Children must get this behavior from somewhere....

P


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RE: consequences

I had to go look up the whole thing, I was just too curious about the background and specific points made. It's a very interesting discussion, like the cell phone one over here.

Part of the difference of opinion seems to be symantic. Some people say punishment, some say consequence, some use both interchangably. I have to admit, I flinch at the word punishment. I use the word consequence. IMO, that is real life. Actions and choices have consequences that affect ourselves and others. If I commit a crime I will go to jail, even though that consequence punishes me and well as my friends and family, even if they're innocent. So it seems natural to me that when my kids have to face a consequence it will sometimes affect their friends. Heck, it affects me sometimes.

I think if the the consequences are the clear result of the child's own choices they do work. It does need to teach a life-lesson, not just be a matter of winning or controlling. If the choices/behavior and the consequences are not connected or seem arbitrary they won't work. It will teach a lesson that they don't really have control over the consequences, so there is no reason to control the behavior.

This week the debate in my house was over a school library fine DS 14 y/o old had. He owed the school library $5 for a book that he misplaced for months. The school policy is they will hold the student's report card if the fine is not paid. DS asked me for the $5 to pay the fine. I said no, I just paid you $10 for yard work done, you need to pay your own fine out of that. I didn't check out the book or lose the book. This is your problem, and it's a relatively small problem, you can handle it on your own. He wanted his money for other things, so was trying to get me to help him out. He even said he would just not pay it, he didn't care if they kept is report card, figuring it would bother me more than it would him. I pulled the trick another mom mentioned on the stepfamily forum... I told him very sweetly to do what he thought was best. ;o) He paid the fine the next day. But he argued and back-talked a bit to me before he gave up. In this case, there wasn't a punishment/consequence for the arguing with me, it just didn't do him any good. There didn't need to be any further consequence for temporarily losing a library book, the fine is the natural consequence and sufficient for the situation. But to me it was extremely important that he paid that fine out of his pocket. Luckily, his sense of responsibility took over.

As for back-talking and arguing, it is a fine line. Sometimes the kids are expressing a different opinion, or even a complaint, and that is fine. But disrespect is another story. The difference is one of those things that is best defined by "I know it when I see it." Sometimes it's the words, sometimes it is just the tone. (Ya know, "Don't take that tone with me.") Sometimes it's a gesture or body language. They are free to voice a difference of opinion, a request, even a complaint. I do demand they do it with respect. That's how a responsible, mature person gets through life.

I'm not sure about the parents who say their kids do the right thing out of a desire to not disappoint the parent or to not make the parent upset. That sounds like guilt, again, a fine line between guilt and responsibility. But it would feel emotionally manipulative to me if I pursuaded my kids to make a certain choice so it didn't upset me. Sort of passive-aggressive. I'm a bit conscientious of that b/c we have a family member who uses that, so I don't want to commit the same behavior that drives me nuts.

Sometimes I just need them to do what I say without questioning me, though. There are times when "because I said so" just needs to be enough. I make some decisions and I don't have to explain them all to my children, the "priveledge" of being the grown up!

Here is a link that might be useful: here's that post/discussion on stepfamilies


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RE: consequences

"because I said so" yep, sometimes its just too tiring to argue with them, or explain things...lol


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RE: consequences

This is an interesting post. I have a colleague who follows the "Love & Logic" theory (I think they have a website) of natural consequences to teach kids how to get along responsibly in the world. Better to make small mistakes and learn the concept of personal responsibility when they are young, then huge, life-changing ones when they are older.

For example, the poster who brought her daughter's important work to school -- under love & logic, this is a no-no. I happen to agree with the love & logic theory, and think that perhaps in the poster's case, her daughter learned that her mom can be relied to bail her out of messes of her own making rather than "I can count on my mom" (certainly her mom must have shown her that she can be counted on in other, more positive ways already!)

I have an almost-3-year-old, and look forward to continuing to use this theory as he gets older. Now, we use it in minimal ways -- if he doesn't pick up a toy, for example, I can't read him the story he is requesting until the toy is picked up.


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RE: consequences

"because I said so" IMO, that doesn't teach the child ANYTHING. It doesn't satisfy the child's curiousity of why the answer is NO and, therefore, the child will feel resentment. If the child is explained why the answer is NO, the child will be left with some feeling of understanding. Although he still won't be happy about it but at least there might be an understanding/confirmation of it.

It's like telling your toddler "No" cuz he did something wrong but you don't tell him WHAT he did wrong ("No, you don't touch that because you can cut yourself, etc."). So, he just keeps doing the wrong thing over and over again because he doesn't know it's wrong. You have to explain why it's a NO so that they can understand the reasoning behind it.

As far as consequences, I believe there should be some depending on the actions. As for disrespecting a parent, yes there should be. If not, it will only get worse. IMO, there's a major problem of disrespect among kids with their parents happening today. As Dr.Phil once said (and it does work as I've tried it myself), a child gets frustrated and upset of always being told what he can and cannot do. So in order for the child to feel that he has some control of what goes on in his life, when consequences are needed, give him 2 "punishment" options to choose from. The child knows that he must pay the consequences of his inappropriate actions, there's no getting away with it, but he will still feels like he's in control of the situation if he chooses his punishment.

You also have to remember though that "things" happen. Things get lost, you forget to do something, etc. But talking back and being disrespectful is not "an accident" and "doesn't just happen". They are "choosing" to do that. And, therefore, IMO, need to learn the consequences of treating their parents that way. If not, they will end up losing respect for ANY authoritive figure. What will happen then?

Have you ever watched the show "Super Nanny"? Most often it's the mother fault for not taking the time to properly discipline the child cuz it's easier to just "give in". Also, they are not consistent with the punishements, which is very important. (By proper discipline, I'm talking about explaining the situation to the child and being consistent with the punishment. Also about asking the child why he did the "bad" thing so you can understand where he's coming from, which therefore can help you with your explanation of why it's wrong to do that.)


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RE: consequences

I'm not sure what "it" is that Khandi is comparing to telling a toddler no when he touches something hot, without further explanation. Because that is not the kind of situation in which I would want to use "Because I said so." I certainly didn't claim it was always the best answer, or even most of the time.

My kids, BTW, are no longer toddlers, they are 14, 11, 8 and 5. Here's an example of when I would expect my word to be final.

Me: Kids, we have 20 minutes to get some chores done before we can go to the pool. I'll start some laundry, DS#1 will unload the dishwasher, DS#2 will vacuum the family room, DD will change the trash can bag, and DS#3 will feed the cats.

DS#1: Why do I have to unload the dishwasher again and my brother gets to vacuum?

Me: Because I said so.

Sometimes the priority is not actually to discuss and instruct or satisfy curiosity. That question is NOT asked out of curiosity. It's a whine and I will not dignify it with an explanation. If I stop and explain my rationale to #1, then #2 will want to know why he can't be the one to feed the cats and #3 will want to know why she can't sweep the kitchen and #4 will want to know why he can't cook dinner. I would be an idiot to stop and explain rationale for each of those, it would snowball into chaos and nothing would get done. But sure, there is a lesson. The lesson there is: the one in charge delegates and you just have to do the job you're assigned.

Sometimes the explanation will just come later. Sometimes they get an explanation and they question the explanation, then they question that answer, and the next. Until it's just enough questioning, they have an agenda which is "frustrate mom into giving me what I want." Don't play that game, I trump it with "Because I said so." Although I do rephrase it sometimes with "Because I'm the mom" or "Because I make the decisions" or "Because we pay the bills, we make the rules." Or "That's all I have to say about that." Or "End of discussion." I like variety. ;o) I don't use those lines to get out of explaining something to my kids that they need to know but I don't feel like messing with. It's done at times when they are looking for a way out, not better understanding.

Sometimes I try to explain to my kids why I make a certain decision, and they still don't understand until after the fact when the lightbulb comes on. THen I say "See, next time just take my word for it." I often tell them something I heard: If I tell you the Chattahoochee River is coming in our front door, don't ask me why, just get a bucket."


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RE: consequences

consequences teach a lot, punishments don't.

consequences for having bad grades will be having to take a class over. it would teach that unless you want to go to summer school and retake the same class, you'll do better next time. punihsment for having bad grades would be somehting of what was decsribed (not going to friends, TV takem away, spanked, yelled at, whatever people come up with). It would teach to lie about grades next time (as many kids do).

i support natural consequences of things, unless of course we deal with some dangerous stuff that had to be prevented. i also believe that fear of punihsment teaches dishonesty as to avoid punishment.


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who they have learned from

yeap popi. kids learned it somewhere (usually from parents), that's why it makes no sense punishing them for what they have learned from us!


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library fine

paying library fine with his own money is a perfectly fine consequence. it is not a punishment. if you would deny him something unrelated to the book issue, then it would be a punishment for losing a book, which frankly isn't a big deal.


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RE: consequences

I think that taking a child's papers to school is a good thing for the mother to do. If she does this all the time, saying no may be appropriate.


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RE: consequences

I think each parenting style, situation, and child is so different it's hard to say what is right or wrong.

But, I have a problem with your specific example though and that is because other children were involved and ended up, in a way, also being punished.

I had a friend once who cancelled a play day with my child because her child was acting up and she wanted to punish her by not letting her come over. Sad thing is my child had turned down an invitation elsewhere because this friend was coming over and then he was left with no play date... and I was left a little frustrated myself after preparing some special food. So, if you're going to punish a child, I suggest you make sure others (especially children) aren't also being punished unfairly. Not letting her go to a movie is one thing... but not letting her go over to her friend's house (when that friend been talking about and anxiously awaiting her arrival all week) is another.


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RE: consequences

My DD had (still kind of has but it faded away a bit) a friend who was constantly grounded by BM and SF. well BM was really a crazy lady. Plenty of plenty of times my DD ended up with plans ruined because that mother choose to ground the kid and it continued through the high school. It was source of embarassment for that girl and source of frustration for DD. Luckily DD had other friends but still.

needless to say that girl grew up having very little to do with her mom. and i am not making it up, she ran away few times from home in her senior year and ended up having a boyfriend after a boyfriend. including some older guys. she also experimented with drugs (probably just pot) and that's when DD pulled away from her a bit. she is doing better now but her relationship with her mother and stepfather is strained probably forever. and she akways strikes me as emotionally unstable and disturbed. not to say that it is due to having strict parents but i suspect it played a role.

oh the other thing her mom never trusted her DD and used to call my DD and question everything as to check if her DD is lying. she upset my DD with her questioning so bad once that i called her mom and asked to not call my daughter and upset her with her questioning. My DD does not lie but if you suspect yours does, you have to find ways to deal with it without making my daughter cry. and no wonder her DD always lied. she hoped it would save her from being grounded extra time.


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RE: consequences

What do you do when a child talks back and/or argues with you over and over again?

Not when my kids were toddlers, but when they were elementary school age and older, when they talked back, I explained that was disrespectful and asked them to rephrase in a way that was not disrespectful. They got tired of having to rephrase what they were saying and we quit having that problem. I explained (repeatedly) that they could always disagree with me, but they have to disagree respectfully. It was tedious to do it this way, in the short term it would have been faster and less tedious to ground them, put them in time out, etc. In the long term, I'm glad I did it this way.

Arguing over and over - I heard my kids out when they explained why they wanted to do something, made a thoughtful decision and stuck to it. Dad backed me all the way. My kids spent their energy explaining on the front end, but they didn't waste their energy arguing once I made my decision very often because they knew it wouldn't do any good. Occasionally though, they have come up with some good arguments after my decision, and I will change my mind.

I also heard another great tactic in a tape by Barbara Colorosa (sp?). She said instead of wasting your tired adult energy convincing them, let them waste their youthful energy convincing you. Just say, "Okay, convince me". All you have to say while they argue is, "I'm not convinced."

I very rarely make my kids cancel plans to have friends over. I'm not judging whether or not that mom was right to cancel her daughter's plans or not, that was the mom's call to make. Like finedreams, my daughter has a friend whose mom constantly "grounds" her and causes her to cancel plans with friends. It loses its effectiveness and causes a lot of resentment in that family. But there are times when just not letting the friends come over might be a good solution.

However, each family has to find a way that works for them. The remedies I used for backtalking and arguing probably would not have worked well if the other adults in my kids' lives hadn't had similar rules.


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RE: consequ

Stephanie - I agree with you about how you're using the words "Because I said so" regarding the chores. We have a neighbour friend who's idea of discipline, if you will, is always telling them "because I said so" instead of telling them the real reason why they can't use the quad or snowmachine at a specific time, etc. Example, you can't go quading now because I said so, instead of saying "it's not a good time right now because it's late at night and there's only one machine to be used and if you break down somewhere in the middle of nowhere, I have no way of getting there to help you get unstuck. If he would just EXPLAIN his reasons then his child would understand and it teaches him how to quad responsibly.

I remember my sister always telling her little girl "No" and never telling her what she was doing wrong. Poor kid always kept doing it cuz she didn't know what it was that she was doing wrong for her mom to say NO all the time. If my sister would have said "No, because...." then the poor little girl wouldn't have been yelled at so much for something she didn't know.

I remember my little nephew (2 years old at the time) wearing a T-shirt that read "Kids Are People Too".


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RE: consequences

"I also heard another great tactic in a tape by Barbara Colorosa (sp?). She said instead of wasting your tired adult energy convincing them, let them waste their youthful energy convincing you. Just say, "Okay, convince me". All you have to say while they argue is, "I'm not convinced."

This is a great idea ! Must remember that !

Thanks Daisy.


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RE: consequences

"Because I said so" must be a part of a child's regimen sometimes. When the child grows into an adult, he/she will have a boss who wants them to things without telling them why, other than they said to. Further, even in school they have to things they don't want to for the classroom's greater good, without questioning authority, which is what comes across when a child doesn't hear "because I said so". I speak of my own experiences, a lesson hard learned. I always explained to my child why something needed to be done, because my mother never explained. The pendulum swung too far back. He went to school and the teachers instructed him to do things, just because they said so. I had to reteach him. I had to reiterate for a couple of years, teachers are king/queen of their classroom and he had to do whatever they said, never questioning... because they can't spend all day long with every student explaining why.

Moderation is in order for this axiom.


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