I tend to hover right in the middle of “peaceful parenting” groups and “typical parenting” groups. I’ve always been a middle of the road kind of gal, but that’s another post completely.
I love many aspects of the peaceful, or gentle, parenting community. I’m not one for spanking and I find yelling to be aggressive and counter productive (yet I still slip into it sometimes). But there is one trend that is gaining momentum that I can’t get on board with.
There are a multitude of parents who feel that it is damaging, isolating, or dangerous to the psyche of a child to give consequences. They can even show you books to support this idea. But, you can find a book to support ANY idea, trust me.
The idea is that kids will be more emotionally connected and intact as they grow if you do not ever give consequences for their actions and merely take time to discuss what happened and what should be done instead.
I find immense value in talking to our children. I have been speaking to my four children since birth and we frequently discuss how to handle situations, especially after a mistake is made.
But discussion is not a substitute for consequence. Particularly in repeat offenses. If your kid continually breaks a rule no matter how much you explain the value of the rule and the potential danger of breaking it, talking is NOT helping. By all means, continue explaining the what and the why – but there needs to be consequence.
A child who does something he shouldn’t because he finds it funny and sees no actual harm take place will see no reason to stop what he is doing if he simply gets told that he shouldn’t do that and suffers no repercussion whatsoever.
Why would he stop? Not one thing happens to him and it greatly amuses him.
The extension of this is the reality we are teaching our children. We are not just raising kids, we are raising adults. The foundation we lay has a great impact on their expectations of life as they enter the “real world” of adulthood.
A child raised without ever having consequence, and only being talked to about what she did, is in for quite a shock when she grows up.
Life has consequences.
If you fail to turn in a report at work your boss may sit you down and reprimand you (doubtfully in a gentle, loving way), but keep it up and you better believe you’ll be fired.
Have too many drinks and decide to get behind the wheel of a car? There is no amount of talking to take away from taking a life.
The world is full of consequences for our actions. You can choose what consequences look like in your family, but please, use them. Otherwise, you set your child up for a serious crash and burn once they leave home.