Politic365

 
 


Culture

11:35am January 15, 2013

The Natural Consequences Movement for Child Rearing – Common Sense or Dangerous?

childrearing

Last weekend a friend of mine (Let’s call her Jane) with 4 year old was lamenting accidentally giving her daughter a black eye. How did this tragedy happen? Little Suzy (not her real name) had gotten into the habit of slamming doors around the house. As fast as her four year old legs could take her she was slamming doors in the kitchen, the bathroom and bedroom, sometimes going so far as to open doors just so she could slam them. Kids and their phases I guess. No matter how many times Jane told her to stop Suzy would look like she was sorry and a few hours later be slamming doors to her heart’s content. Then Suzy got her comeuppance courtesy of Mommy and physics. Seeing Suzy peering behind her home office door Jane told her daughter to NOT SLAM the door. And when Suzy tried anyway, Jane put out her hand, not realizing that the door would bounce back and bonk Suzy in the head. Crying ensued, Mommy kisses were bestowed and 4 year old Suzy got a black eye and a lesson. Or so one would hope.

In the wake of more and more mass killings and shootings in America public discussion has moved back to the tried and true whipping boy which is American parenting. Adam Lanza had a bad mother who didn’t properly deal with her son’s mental illness, the Aurora Shooter’s parents weren’t loving enough, the Columbine murders never would have happened if the parents had been more involved etc. etc. It is painfully easy to see parents as the root of all evil when it comes to these maniac shooters, either in their failure to properly manage their children or failure to train them right to begin with. Unfortunately all these critiques more or less rely on people having children with nominally normal learning styles and experiences while growing up.

The Baby Boomers began to think (in some corners) that spanking was a bad idea for children. Hitting a child did lasting psychological damage and taught anger and resistance more than correction. So the idea in the 70’s and 80’s moved to limiting children’s access to privileges (time outs) an reward systems in order to raise kids properly. More recently the trend has been called “Natural Consequences” parenting, where (within reason) you allow children to experience the consequences of their own behavior and that is a much better lesson than yelling, limiting privileges or punishing. I can tell you a million times not to touch the hot stove but you won’t stop until you burn your hand. I can argue with you all morning about putting on a coat but when you go outside in your summer clothes and get cold you’ll learn your lesson. I can chase you around the house telling you to not slam doors but when a door bounces back and bonks you in the nose you’ll learn. Except when you don’t.

The problem with blaming some parents in the case of these shooting tragedies is that some kids don’t learn. They will keep touching that oven no matter what. Maybe they’re mentally ill, or stubborn or just forgetful, either way if they don’t learn when they’re 7 what makes you think they’ll have it all together at 20 or 25? The rules for parenting may change names every decade but the basics for raising children have not changed all the much over time. The mothers and fathers of all of these killers may have tried every method under the sun to raise their sons and none of them took. Some kids are just hardheaded, and some kids have deeper problems that time outs, burnt hands and even spankings won’t cure. And just because a parent can’t always identify that does not mean they should be held responsible for everything that child does in all cases.

When I asked Jane if she thought her little four year old Suzy had learned her lesson about slamming doors, she sighed. “Well,” she said “Suzy has a bruise, but she’s got an incredibly high pain threshold for a baby, and a pretty short memory too. So I don’t know.”  Childhood + High Pain Threshold + Short Term memory is not a good combination for any parent to face for the next 14 years. However Jane will try her best and see how it all turns out. In the end, that’s all any parent can do. And if a child turns out to cure cancer or become the next Sandyhook murderer we can’t put it all on the parents. We can just hope they did the best they could with the child they had.



About the Author

Jason Johnson
Jason Johnson





 
 

 
hankj

#Ferguson Rep. Hank Johnson Drops Special Prosecutor Bill to Alter Grand Jury System

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) just dropped his second piece of legislation related to Ferguson and the death’s of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.   Johnson’s first bill would cut back Pentagon Program 1033.  This legisl...
by Lauren Victoria Burke
2

 
 
eric3

First #Ferguson Bill Set to Become Law: Deaths in Custody Reporting Act

First Piece of #Ferguson Related Legislation Passes Congress and Will Become Law. H.R. 1447, the Death in Custody Reporting Act, authored by Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), passed the Senate (Wednesday) tonight and is on its way to be...
by Lauren Victoria Burke
1

 
 
Green6

#Ferguson on the House Floor: Rep. Al Green Places St. Louis Rams in Congressional Record

Ferguson on the House Floor: Rep. Al Green (D-TX) Salutes the Rams as he talks on race in America, the U.S. justice system and Ferguson. Rep. Green also placed the names of all five St. Louis Rams players who conducted a “...
by Lauren Victoria Burke
0

 

Advertisement
 
ATL1

Black Friday Profits Drop 11%, Media Won’t Admit It Could Be Ferguson Boycott

Black Friday sales were expected to be 3% over what they were in 2013.  They weren’t.  They were down 11%. Was it the Ferguson protest movement — part of which centered around an economic boycott. “After day...
by Lauren Victoria Burke
0

 
 
justice3

POTUS to Focus on Clay/Cleaver Request on Cops Using War Gear

President Obama will hold a series of meetings Monday at the White House regarding Ferguson and the many issues arising from the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson. Many protest r...
by Lauren Victoria Burke
1

 




One Comment



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>