But the "rules are bad" trope is, unfortunately, a trend in The Netherlands. Parents that live by this rule are sacrificing themselves. It's bad parenting.
I see a lot of parents (mothers mostly) in public places desperately trying to explain their dissatisfaction to their misbehaving children. The children meanwhile are completely disregarding them and will continue doing whatever they were doing untill the parents give up. The parents will end up awkwardly trying to ignore their children, visibly ashamed but still unable to use their authority for fear of breaking their chosen path to happy parenting. They won't even raise their voice.
As a parent, I see this all the time. In school, on the street, in stores, it's everywhere.
Reasoning with kids that are completely unwilling to listen to your "adult talk" is completely hopeless. Rules aren't fun but they aren't bad either. You don't have to explain your rules everytime, just make sure you enforce them consistently.
One day I was with my daughter (~24 months old) at the Zoo and she wanted an Ice Cream and I said "nope". She looked around with wide eyes and noticed all the people near by. Then, she did something I had never seen before -- she dropped down on the ground, twisted and swirled, and started to scream; for quite some time. I calmly sat down nearby and asked her: "when you're done, could you let me know?". Over the next minute or so, several parents gathered around to gawk at the spectacle. When my daughter got close enough to some urine on the ground, I got up, walked over and said: "careful, icky pee here". Without stopping the rolling or the screaming, she immediately recognized and steered clear of the urine. I then sat down again and said, "when you're done, could you let me know?". After another minute or two longer, with hoarse voice and a few bruises, she stood straight up and said: "Fine; I'm done. Monkey next?".
What was problematic was the reaction of other parents. During the episode, they became increasingly anxious looking at each other and trying to catch my attention. One of the mothers asked me "Where is your wife?", to which I responded: "at work, but don't worry, I'm the primary care giver". A father said (after being nudged by his wife): "well, you're just going to sit there?" to which I calmly responded: "It's a temper tantrum". One final mother didn't say a word, but made sure to give my daughter comforting eyes and looked harshly at me, making sure I knew she was dialing someone (police?) on her cell phone.
Once my daughter got up, we inspected her pants for horse urine and talked about how that was an extreme waste of time. Later on I asked her what the Tantrum was about. She explained it quite clearly to me: "well, daddy, one other boy just had one and he got the ice cream, so I wanted to see if that would work". I explained to her that this was pretty bad behavior and that if I ever see it again, we will go home immediately. I've had a few tantrums since, but none of them have been public. My daughter and I then had a very fantastic afternoon talking about Monkeys and more effective ways to communicate her desires.
This was a very unexpected experience for me. I seriously didn't expect that in 1-2 minutes, I'd have a dozen adults gathering around in a circle. I didn't expect 2 of them would be brave enough to hurl insults. I didn't expect one of them to be implicitly threatening police (CPS?). I can see how many parents would have caved under such peer pressure. Perhaps it's not the parent's fear of the children that leads to these problems, but instead, fear of what other parents might say or do?
So. I'm not sure how to connect this to this thread. First I'm not sure a "rule" would have helped. Punishing her wasn't going to help (I evaluated going immediately home, but I think the event was traumatic enough for her already). I'm not sure. Would you do it differently? If you saw me on the bench, would you think that I had given up?
The point of my therapist's anecdote, and implicit in what you wrote as well, is that the tantrum isn't shameful or "wrong," it just is. You made it clear that it's not an acceptable way to get something from you but you neither condoned nor condemned the emotional reaction itself. I think the part that TCS gets "right" is that there's no need to shame an emotional reaction. I personally try to treat everyone in my life, adult or child, according to this principle.
I think the dangerous part of what I read in this article is that we shouldn't establish boundaries. Establishing a boundary, like telling a child that she won't get ice cream, is critical, not just for children but for adults. You can furthermore make consequences clear from the beginning so that if you need to "punish," really you're just enforcing the boundary. I think that's really healthy for all of us, children included. It provides stability and rationality, and it shows that you can treat people while respecting your own needs without resorting to anger and shame.
I'm not a parent yet, but I hopefully when I become one I'll be able to deal with such situations with the grace and compassion that you had! Thanks for sharing.
Wait.. it is wrong. If we don't get something that we want, we don't throw a tantrum. Yes, it is an emotional reaction, and it's one that isn't acceptable.
I'm not a perfect parent, but IMO if I were in GP's shoes, I'd leave immediately. Throwing a tantrum is not acceptable, and the consequence has to be immediate and clear. That's my boundary.
If your daughter learned by observing the boy using a tantrum to get his way, couldn't there be other children who observed both the boy and your daughter, see that a tantrum at the very worst amounts to a 50% chance of ice cream and a 50% chance of continuing the zoo trip?
If you had told her: "When you're done, let me know. And if this goes on much longer we're going home once you're done." The other children may have observed possible negative consequences for their actions.
That said, after the tantrum was over and the crowd had dispersed, my daughter and I stayed and discussed the situation (and consequences). One mother and her 3 year old boy lingered, eventually joining in. Her young boy was very assured that he would never, ever have such a tantrum like that! I told him I was so relieved, especially because of hidden dangers like stinky horse urine puddles.
For A: As stated, I would leave immediately. I'll hedge that a bit and say that getting to the point where a child is rolling around on the ground is a failure for everyone concerned, so ideally we'd never reach this point in the first place. If there's a disagreement, my kids and I can talk it out without resorting to a tantrum.
For B: I don't care what you do with your kids. In public at a zoo in an open area, have at it. It's a tough situation all around and I'm not going to make another parent's day worse by saying anything.
When you say "I would leave immediately", you do mean that you would physically intervene to remove your child, correct? Doing this at 2 years is pretty easy; you can just pick them up and leave. How do you do it at 6 years (50 lbs, 42")? Do you try at 10 years? How do you "leave immediately" with an older child if they physically resist?
If you transition from physical to physiological intervention at a later year, what sort of practice will you and your children have had will make this likely to succeed? If you could make that transition (away from physical manipulation) earlier, is there a reason to wait?
This is tougher, and really I can only offer my own experience and thoughts. For context, I have a 9yo and a 18yo. I don't actually recall needing to intervene with any of them engaging in full-on temper tantrum mode. At their worst, usually pulling them aside, explaining their behaviour is not appropriate, and staying with them with the idea that when they're ready to behave correctly we can resume whatever it was we're doing is enough. Often it would be something that we could talk about together and reflect on their feelings. Depending on their age, if they're very young it's the kind of thing that can happen, and maybe some time out together is enough. If they get older and are still having this kind of behaviour then maybe you do need to leave for the day.
My youngest will often talk to me at bedtime about how she felt about certain things that happened that day. For example, if she yelled at me that day I'll bring it up and we can talk about how she felt, how that made me feel, and how to deal with it in the future. More commonly it's about something that happened at school that day.
> If you transition from physical to physiological intervention at a later year, what sort of practice will you and your children have had will make this likely to succeed? If you could make that transition (away from physical manipulation) earlier, is there a reason to wait?
IMO (and I'm just a random person with no training, so don't take this as actual advice), parenting succeeds when expectations are clear, consequences are not arbitrary and promises are kept. If you say X is going to happen when they do Y, then you better follow through. Whether X is a punishment or a reward, it doesn't matter. Trust is what probably makes it easier to transition to you using words to de-escalate situations. At a very young age children just can't remember or understand your reaction to their behaviour, and it takes time for them to learn that.
All that said, it's been awhile since I've needed to deal with children throwing a temper tantrum, so I've probably left a lot out. All I can say is that at my kids' age today I don't need to deal with this problem. Sure, sometimes they're disappointed at not getting what they want. We can talk about it and if they feel they're not being treated fairly we can usually come to some sort of compromise.
It's OK to be angry. It's not OK to let that anger take over physically once a child has more emotional maturity than a baby.
For those who permit their children to behave like that, what will be the cut-off age when they have to stop? 12, 16, 18? Or 32 and throwing a tantrum in a workplace?
Some kids do lose emotional control - a close (minor) family member had that problem, probably due to difficult childhood moments - but in that case they need help in handling it, not punishment.
These are just my personal views; I'm certainly not an expert.
The point is that children need to LEARN to control themselves, emotional or otherwise.
I'm distinguishing between something being "wrong" vs. something being "acceptable." Wrongness to me is a moral attribute; whether something is acceptable is a purely subjective and individual quality. Maybe the tantrum is unacceptable to us and to nearly every other adult in human society, but it's still subjective. I think that parents absolutely should show with their actions and words whether something is acceptable _to them_ and give advice about what will be acceptable to others (they will learn soon enough anyway). That's what GP did by showing that throwing a tantrum was an unacceptable way to get ice cream.
The key part is that he didn't then go on to say/communicate "and what you're doing is wrong and you should be ashamed of yourself," or something to that effect. The exact words don't matter, kids internalize shame very easily: if you think it's wrong or shameful, then they will get the point. It will be effective at preventing the behavior in the future, but damn, shame is like the nuclear option in my opinion when it comes to parenting. Obviously there's a healthy amount of shame that we should all have for things that are genuinely shameful. But is there really anything shameful or wrong about a lack of emotional control? The child is a child, they don't know any better.
So the question is what is unacceptable? I would argue that the tantrum itself is totally acceptable, assuming (as GP has said in follow-up comments) that it's a safe space for the child and the parent has the capacity in that moment to hold emotional space for the child. I would even argue that although the tantrum is obnoxious, the part of the tantrum where the parent says "yes, it's good to express and vent your anger"--even more so for a girl in a world where girls are told not to show anger--is downright healthy. The part that's totally unacceptable, in my opinion, is the idea that the anger will get her the ice cream. But if you say "not only will you not get this ice cream, but also you're not allowed to throw a tantrum ever because it's wrong," that kid will more likely than not internalize a certain amount of shame for her actions, and next time she wants to express anger she will feel ashamed about it. Which sucks, because that stuff, built up over time, will stick with you well into adulthood. Hence the therapist :-).
Pretty advanced for a 2 year old.
With 2 year olds in general, and any discipline advice: YMMV for everyone because they are very unpredictable at that age.
Any "I did this with my 2 yr old" and "I got this result" causality should be taken with a pinch of salt.
This seems advanced to me. Of course this could be a stock phrase copied from an adult. My 2 year old does this a lot and it makes her sound grown up. As an adult I use confirmation bias to say "yup she's smart".
I'm more interested in how observers could be more helpful in these situations. When I see children out of control and an overwhelmed parent, I will sometimes try to help by de-escalating. In fact, I'm coming to think that we should learn as a culture how to talk to other people's children directly in a way that grows community and mutual respect. Children will often listen more intently to another parent (or, even better, especially a slightly older child).
It seems to me, reading this from your perspective, is that the correct attempt at intervention would simply be asking, "Is everything OK?" And after hearing it's a temper tantrum, a hearty "good luck" before walking off!
Not every single child is the same. Some need more powerful nudge towards behaving while others can sit in the carryon for 2 hours at movie theatre totally awake and not enjoying grown-up movie..
Question: how do you handle other types of bad behavior, like when your kids are running around in a tightly packed shop?
IMHO you acted the best way you could. I've seen to many kids traumatized by a lack of a framework that would allow them to think about consequences. The key is communication and respect for the rules from both sides.
We cannot expect a 24 months old to understand all our explanations. Sure, we DO explain things, but sometimes a rule it's just a rule, and an outburst is just an outburst.
I agree with the article in that, when they grow up, we should prefer explanations over rules, while we parents may tend to "keep enforcing arbitrary rules" forever.
> Some parents are having a hard time. They sacrifice for their children and give so much. They want some rules to keep things under control. But rules can’t create good family relationships. Cooperative learning and problem solving is the only win/win approach.
You can't spend time explaining ALL the rules around in society because it takes literally years to explain the ins and outs of everything. And kids need to know how to behave well before they can master speech and language, so it's pretty obvious you need some level of rules and some level of obedience. I am totally for "explaining why", but just saying "rules are bad" sounds like a very poor generalizing principle.
Explaining all the rules is what school is for, basically.
And this is where so many people go wrong. Parents are teachers too, and it's their job to teach their children how to fit into society, behave, be decent people, etc.
A lot of rules, like math tables, help you learn the basic foundational building blocks. Once you have those, you have a reference to understand more things.
School is, basically, for most of the other stuff.
Heh. My school published a list of rules which included: 'Any breach of common sense is also a breach of school rules.'
If the rules are consistent, some things can't be explained.
It is one of my main conflicts with homeschooling, the point of conventional schooling is that everyone must fit a mould and conforming to a structure. The lesson of that point is finding a way to deal with that conformity, you need to know the rules of hierarchical groups in order to break them or succeed inside or outside of them.
Would you mind editing out such name-calling from your comments here? The rest of your comment makes your point just fine.
Even as adults, there are plenty of "rules first, explanation later" situations — and there are plenty of rules that people obey without knowing why. It's not so bad.
I don’t think “This wouldn’t have happened if the parent followed my parenting philosophy.”
Parenting is hard, we all struggle, and dismissing other people’s ways is easy, but it doesn’t do anything besides making you feel good about yourself.
Parenting is very hard, if these mothers are the sole/primary care-givers they are doing an extremely difficult job.
For those who haven't experienced this, the difficulty in my view is not dealing with an isolated situation. It's dealing with these situations every day, over an extended period of time. It's hard work, and it's hard to get everything right.
It may make them well behaved, but it makes for terrible leaders who need to defy societal norms to perpetuate or see through a novel idea or business model, terrible self esteem for STEM fields when women need to feel confident in their own understanding of how things work and be willing to dig into the why's instead of mentally reoienting to the politically correct or expected answer.
It's bad for basically every level of Independence that women need to excercise to be socioeconomic equals.
Bringing up well behaved women with excessive boundaries in correlation to children is precisely the issue with society.
I think I'm going to go ahead and buy that t-shirt that says "raise boys and girls the same way"
If boys get to play in the woods and turn their sisters curling irons into backyard bombs, go out late at night then girls should have the same freedom to comfortably practice exploration, tinkering with stuff and breaking stuff and building stuff and roaming about without their mothers worried about where they are going and loading them down with more domestic chores than their male siblings.
No. Seriously, what would be said about myself if I started making huge sweeping generalizations about a gender? Its bad for males, and its bad for females. Primarily, any effect one "tries" to find is so close to 50% its useless.
Tl;Dr. Reviving Ophelia is junk science, meant only to sell more of their books.
Children learn by example and they are always watching. If a child is misbehaving In public, the child is still watching. How does my parent (my role model) solve their problems? By yelling? By hitting? Or by talking?
And to counter anecdote with anecdote, I have seen plenty of misbehaving children in public with parents frantically trying to control them by yelling at them or spanking them, and it usually only results in even louder crying and more defiance.
Children misbehave as a kind of experimentation. At least some bad behavior is unavoidable, and it is an excellent chance for parents to give their children a lesson in conflict resolution.
Children thrive on boundaries. It gives them an 'area' within which they can fully explore, learn, play, etc, while KNOWING that as long as they stay within those lines, everything will be fine.
I call it THE VOICE, and I try and keep its use to the minimum, so as to not reduce its effectiveness. However, when I do use it, mine knows he has to stop pushing boundaries, or there will be repercussions.
The other important part - remeber to losen the boundaries as they continue growing up, so when they are 18-ish there is no difference between boundaries on and off.
Also, Daniel Tiger is amazing. There's a song for everything and he's memorized all of them.
TCS explicitly says don't sacrifice yourself, even in the specific essay linked. The people in the Netherlands are not doing TCS.
It's a common trap people fall into though, even with conventional parents. I agree that self-sacrifice is bad. There's a lot to TCS other than not having rules though.
You can't just drop rules and expect everything to work out great. That would be naive. You have to actively seek out solutions that work for you and your kid. And really work, not "work" in a compromising, sharing-of-misery kind of way.
>I see a lot of parents (mothers mostly) in public places desperately trying to explain their dissatisfaction to their misbehaving children.
What you aren't seeing is the thousands of times the child has been thwarted, denied, forced, coerced, dragged around, insufficiently helped, etc.
>The children meanwhile are completely disregarding them and will continue doing whatever they were doing untill the parents give up.
Does that strike you as the approach a child would take if their parent were typically super helpful, responsive, and had a really strong strong track record of taking the child seriously?
>The parents will end up awkwardly trying to ignore their children,
this is not TCS!
ashamed of their helpless, dependent children who are actively upset about something!
>but still unable to use their authority for fear of breaking their chosen path to happy parenting.
You describe a sad situation but something that is not at all a criticism of TCS. It's rather compatible with the TCS worldview (the bare facts of the situations described, not your interpretation)
>They won't even raise their voice.
Having a big person yell at you isn't helpful or nice.
How many 2 year olds have you raised? I ask, because that’s exactly how many kids act naturally. They don’t realize when parents are ‘super helpful’, their behavior is much more base than that.
I can tell you first hand, a small percentage of kids will behave well almost naturally n matter what you do, and some will behave poorly no matter what is done. Most though seem to thrive with sensible boundaries in place.
I know that some people had horrible parents that mistreated them and hence they ended up being very sensitive to any parental reprimand. That sucks.
None the less, kids need unconditional love, but they also need boundaries. Loving them means you sometime have to lay down the law. It’s not fun. It’s a hell of a lot easier to not do it.
Bring up kids is hard, what those “mothers” are doing is hard, physically exhausting work which often takes 18 hours a day. You know nothing of their personal circumstances but decide to judge them anyway. For me, it’s amazing that many full time care givers can hold it together as well as they do.
Anecdotal evidence is a really terrible way to inform your parenting.
I mean, your original post was really about how to enforce rules, though you spent most of it conjuring up the image of publicly annoying children and then assuming their parents don't set any rules.
Somewhat surprisingly you also describe how the same parents that supposedly don't set rules clearly trying (but failing) to enforce said non-existing rules...
Just say what you mean: you make your children obey you by physical means.
You say this like its inherently a bad thing. Do you think children are abused by their nervous system that keeps them from biting their tongue and chewing on their jaw by causing them pain when they do so? Does this process cause them mental trauma? If not then why do we act like using a proportional amount of physical means to instill correct behavior in young children is inherently a bad thing? This "enlightened" parenting movement has really jumped the shark.
Because we don't know its a problem. We have ideas that may or may not be sound. But we push them on the world with a fervor far beyond that which is justified by the facts, going so far as to criminalize non-abusive spanking in some places.
>Does it seem brutish or incivil to stoop to physical means to adjust your child?
These just aren't the types of judgments that a make sound basis for widespread forcible change of parenting styles.
We should operate on our best understanding, no? You're right we don't know it, as we don't know anything. I suppose we should not act like we know it, as you say, and should not punish people too severely for such things. Thats not to say we shouldn't use our best judgement, which is that such parenting styles are perhaps "savage" (i hesitate to use that word in particular, but maybe you get the meaning). If verbal conflict is enough to be incredibly stressful, can you imagine physical conflict? Verbal conflict already gives me immense anxiety.
>These just aren't the types of judgments that a make sound basis for widespread forcible change of parenting styles.
Why not? And then what types of judgements would? THis sounds like a comment just intended to resist change, and the kinds of judgements I imagine you supporting are ones that dont cause change.
>Thats not to say we shouldn't use our best judgement, which is that such parenting styles are perhaps "savage"
My concern is the value of these judgments in getting at the truth of the matter. Judging corporal punishment as harmful because we as a society have decided that violence is savage, is just an invalid deduction. But we've become so accustomed to reasoning-by-emotion that its hard to push back against loud voices that declare corporal punishment no longer acceptable. But the risks are too high to let our emotions overtake the science on the issue.
That isn't to say that all children who aren't spanked grow up into these sorts of adults. But some children inherently have more behavioral issues, or are brought up in bad environments with a lot of negative influences, and they can grow into serious deviant adult behavior if not properly addressed when they're young. Corporal punishment is an effective tool and it needs to be on the table unless proven otherwise.
This comment badly breaks the HN guideline which asks you to "respond to the strongest plausible interpretation of what someone says, not a weaker one that's easier to criticize." I know it's not always easy, but please follow it when commenting here. Otherwise we just end up with misplaced outrage compounded.
Ironically the problem arises from a self inflicted rule: "don't be angry". If they truly thought from first principles they would have realized.
So when my children was born, I decided to do the same for them. Talking like an adult (with sometimes words they had no chance to understand), explain the why and how of stuff we ask them to do.
Never raised the hand on them. Sometimes it’s a little hard to deal, but most of the time everything goes well.
We’ll see when they will be teenagers, but for now, we all live in harmony, and we are often complimented by other parents for their behavior.
Maybe we got lucky (we will never know) or may be this approach was good.
But for us, it’s the way to do.
The other helpful thing is to let them be right. Make mistakes on purpose and let them correct you. They're so hungry to be right that it gives a real confident boost.
It should go without saying that this strategy should be used only when it's reasonable, not in cases of safety or when keeping kids from wrecking havoc etc.
This is actually pretty good advice for any time you're trying to manage people -- and kids are just little people.
And if anyone is looking for the book (like I was), this seems to be a more recent edition (with better availability):
Beside that, I followed his advice and I am very glad I did
Yep. I'm an Uncle of three kids, and I often get comments about how well I connect with them. I take exactly the same approach - treat them as equals, respect what they say, more than anything _listen to them_.
I'm sure you make a positive impact on every young person you speak to this way—maybe once they are grown they will share with you and you'll have results to your 'experiment' :D
They are very scientific (aka will try all the things and are surprisingly astute and pragmatic about learning what works) but they do not have a broader perspective on the world.
"Rules" like "time to go to sleep" and "I'll stop you running onto the road" are not negotiable in any meaningful sense. Other rules for older children can often be viewed as extensions of this.
Mistakes are not free. Some rules are OK.
i.e: The answer to "why" should never be "because I said so".
I get that many kids will just ask why infinitely, and lots of parents say that because they are fed up and know the child isn't taking on board the answer, but I'd recommend instead insisting on a specific question - when they ask "why", ask "what don't you understand?" or drill down. This has the advantage of potentially catching a real miscommunication where the child doesn't understand something but truly is trying to work it out, and tends to remove an easy annoyance of the "why" forever.
If the child isn't old enough to understand that cooker == hot and hot + hand == pain, clearly you have to stop them touching the cooker, but that's not mutually exclusive with helping them understand why, if possible.
I remember my parents teaching me not to put my fingers in the door frame when it was open by putting a carrot through and letting me close the door, slicing the carrot in half. I wasn't afraid of punishment or following a rule - I understood why I shouldn't do it, so I didn't.
It definitely pays off a lot though, and I remember being a child and the frustration I felt when I didn't understand and rules felt arbitrary. I wouldn't wish that on any child.
My only fear is that I’ll just teach them a new way to chop carrots :)
My two cents: children are not little adults and should not be treated as such. Adults have >20 years of life experience, children do not. Children do not know how to control emotions and are not reasonable (duh). There is substantial research into how children develop, including their brains and thought processes. For example, young children are not capable of abstract thought like adults are. This recent fad of treating children as equals is, to me, bizarre and damaging. Don't learn from a random blog post - go read the science (or a parenting book by someone who has). Anecdotally, children I encounter who are raised by this sort of method are rude, brittle know-it-alls who cannot accept being told 'no'.
My favorite parenting rule of thumb: teach your children now with rules and tough love because if you don't, the world will teach them later - and the world doesn't love your children.
Also the section that "Children Aren't Fragile" is a gross oversimplification. Kids are extremely fragile when it comes to things like neglect, abuse and instability in their environment.
Set the example, be consistent, give them your attention, help them to own their decisions, and teach them to follow Wheaton's Law. After that, you've just got to hope that things work out.
Source: father of two (quite different) children, with approximately 10,000 parenting failures under my belt.
In a calm voice I would ask her questions about what she is doing, and those around her. She's usually come to an understanding of her own, pre-veral she'd go give hugs and change her behaviour. Post-verbal she would apologize, and change her behaviour.
I was always very proud of her ability to learn and look at out side perspectives. Even if she had to be prompted into viewing them.
I recently thought about this, (earlier today actually). How it differs from sending to their room or corner to "think about what they did."
They don't know at that age what they did. Heck up into young teen years. What do YOU do when sent to your room? If you're like me, you stomped, you sulked, you threw things, you thought about how much everyone hates you. That you're just a burden, that no one would even notice if you were gone... Then your think, no they'll notice, that they have less food to make, less expenses etc, all the ways your mere existence is a burden. Maybe, again, if you're like me, you drift into thought about your grandparents, they love you, they'll miss you. You're never a burden to them. You contemplate running away, maybe to their house. But at no point, do you think about apologizing, what did you do? They're just mean control freaks!
So if you didn't come to think about your actions, you an intelligent, thought oriented, hacker type, what hope does your adolescent child have?
Share your wisdom and insight. They'll learn better if you let them think and help them to it, than if you tell them to and leave it at that. They might even help you think about new perspectives, who knows.
Would you mind to elaborate and give concrete examples?
In day care we have a 2y old child (younger brother to a 3.5y old) that bites (hard), scratches and hits other kids when it does not get its way. This goes on for over a year now. The parents dont seem to know how to cope and just shrug it off as "he is just wild, thats what kids do in this age".
The other day i could witness myself how he was hitting an older kid with a sound wood full force on the head (because the other kid did not want to give away his toy). The other kid started crying and he had this evil grin, knowing full well he hurt the other kid.
What to do with such a child?
I just want to add that as was posted this behavior has been ongoing for over 1 year now, and the child is physically assaulting other children by hard biting (possibly breaking skin??), scratching and hitting "full force" another child on their head.
The severity and chronic nature of the bad behavior I think requires attention that this particular day care has not been able to provide. Additionally it is putting the other children continually at risk.
If these were adults, we wouldn't think twice about removing the individual. However since these are "just" preschoolers - is it somehow acceptable for kids to be subjected to these kinds of dangers? We rationalize that it's ok to send our children into such a stressful and potentially dangerous environment - and sometimes it is indeed "kids being kids" - but not in this case imo.
I respect and admire the compassion shown by some posts here to try to "fix" the child who is misbehaving. But the safety of the other children also has to be considered.
My son's daycare had a similar child who would bite and throw things when he didn't get his way. They tried to work with the child and the parents but after a while they expelled the child for the safety of the other children.
In the UK (and this advice might not work elsewhere): make a referral to child protective social services.
The child is exhibiting behaviour that's harmful to other people, and to the child. The parents are not addressing that behaviour. The child needs support to change the behaviour. The route to that support (such as access to a parenting course like Webster-Stratton) is via child protective social services.
If they go through a parenting course and the behaviour isn't changing there are a range of other things - referral to CAMHS for assessments for autism or ADHD or other disorders - that can be tried.
Child protective social workers should not be punitive, and this isn't about removing the child from the parents, so this advice doesn't apply to countries with dysfunctional child protective systems.
At our local daycare they run campaigns certain story where they do all kind of games/workshops with the characters in the story the chose. I as a parent feel that it's empowering me as well, because I can easily relate to my kid at home or the playground when somethings off. It's not something you do one day, but rather a couple of months, interacting with lecturers that instruct staff in the day care how to do it properly etc. From what I have talked with the staff they enjoy it very much as well. This combined with tailored structure is powerful. AFAIK universities/research are quite interested in this.
We do have such a kid in they neighborhood and on the daycare, they think a lot of how to turn it around though. I hope that they will find a way to reach that kid with their current tool set. I think focused efforts on that kid/group for a longer period would have a good effect.
That's my guess about why you are being downvoted. If I had enough karma, I'd do the same.
The best theory I have is to build rock-solid boundaries, but to do so at a meaningful distance. Humans and animals are good at working with a "duality" of personalities. Children should have plenty of space to explore, be creative, and develop relationships, but going beyond a certain well-established limit brings out the bad cop. A lot of 123 methods looks like, to me, ways to make the kid recognize and respect the bad cop... but still have confidence that bad cop won't show up if they will stay inside of defined bounds.
Constant behavior correction is terrible, and leads to psychological problems. Too much of what I see takes this problem and turns it around to "no correction". That's probably not AS bad for the child, but is inviting disaster on the part of the parents.
It's all about controlling your own behavior.
When my spouse and I were expecting, I actually took a class on 123 at the hospital. The instructor gave one piece of advice, which I still remember: Your home environment when you were growing up will determine whether 123 will work for you now. Nothing works for everybody.
My kids never found out what happened if I got to zero.
I think the method was useful because it distracted them from whatever they actually wanted to do, just long enough to get their minds on what I wanted.
BTW I never heard of 123 but it just sounds like a pretty natural, common sense approach.
It sucks, but the reality (to me) is that you deal with the situations as they appear. Hardest part is managing your own exhaustion after little sleep, look after kids for hours a day for years, and trying to hold down a job at the same time.
Have to be real careful when forming associations this way, like some other poster tried with his kid potty training and messed it up. The whole situation gets associated not just what you want.
And it is real hard to reverse.
So how do you deal with that? You take them seriously, and you accept that it isn't going to work at first, and then will work imperfectly, but will work fully when they're ready for it.
In the context of the article, it is rather unclear if punishment will work when a kid understand a rule but is unable to moderate their own behavior.
From that article:
> The outcome, as it's usually represented, is that the children who were able to wait for an extra treat scored better on measures of cognitive and social skills many years later and had higher SAT scores. Thus, if we teach kids to put off the payoff as long as possible, they'll be more successful.
But I did not use the usually representation. See the highlighted part I made? "The connection to the prefrontal cortex", ie the development of the brain to moderating social behavior in particular young children? The linked article is not debunking nor dispelling the link between prefrontal cortex development and the ability to moderate social behavior.
What the the article do debunk is the predictable nature of looking at early ability to moderate social behavior in young children.
> when the children were tracked down 10 years later, those who had been more likely to wait didn't have any more self-control or willpower than the others.
Which is possible true. It was just not the part I refereed to. Here is some sources if you like:
"We suggest that input from these brain regions contribute to three functions involved in generating flexible behavior within social contexts: valuation, inhibition, and rule use"
See the connection between topic we are talking about and inhibition and rule use? Lets take an other study. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110831160220.h...
That one somewhat debunks the debunking article, but I have no horse in that race. The Stanford marshmallow experiment is simply a starting point on the subject, but its an old study with multiple claims, some that is likely to be false. One can always skip it and jump directly into the more heavy research papers from recent dates.
* Aside: seriously people, there have been rational philosophers since Popper
Should my own actions be dictated by anybody who happens to be a better debater than me? I hope the hell not.
What if the options at hand aren't as crystal clear as the textbook cases that tend to be cited in discussions and books, and the illusion of rationality is just that? What if debate skill is not strictly rational, or even informational, but includes an emotional component plus time pressure?
I suspect that what we consider to be "irrational" approaches, such as asserting our own authority, are in fact survival skills that reflect the limitations of rational debate.
You don't even need those things. Intelligence and practice will suffice, even for "purely rational arguments".
Defending Truth makes debates easier to win, but isn't a necessary or sufficient condition.
Also, I suspect that Truth isn't always easy to discern, especially in a world where we're immersed in tradeoffs and complex systems.
Yes and I think that's because they entail criticism, which is used to attack ideas and people we don't like. Whereas creating something worthwhile is about discovering or perceiving something already inside the mind that we do like (and therefore cannot seriously attempt to criticize). Building a family is an attempt to create something worthwhile.
1. Does it offer something concrete? Does it give examples? Does it include recipes how to handle situations? Can you tell if your own parents followed that "way" or not? Parenting BS/fluff tend to appear in the form of a "philosophy". If you say something very specific, people may actually try it, and find out it does not work for them.
2. Ask your parents. They are 20++ yoe ahead of you on this one.
And they might still not be very good at it. There's a catch-22 here, in that if your parents were good at parenting, you've probably grown up into a well-adjusted adult whose natural instincts are to be a good parent yourself. Whereas if your parents were bad at parenting, you've probably grown up to be a normal messed-up member of society whose instincts can't be relied on. Parenting advice is most useful for those people, and they can't rely on their parent's evaluation of it.
Yeah, okay, um...I really really really don't want to have to be around these families in a public space then. There's nothing more obnoxious than trying to raise my own munchkins to be well behaved while hipster spawn are being disrespectful, selfish, and loud as hell with their parents cheering them on (at the library, movie theater, grocery store, playground, etc).
The difference is the framing, not the outcome. The author is saying you shouldn't just say "Don't shout in the cinema." and expect them not to do it because you told them. You should say "Shouting in the cinema will ruin the film for other people." and expect them not to do it because they understand they are impacting others.
I see the kind of parenting being described all the time - the "because I said so" parent. I get that sometimes kids are unreasonable and won't take a reasoned argument, but many parents never try or give up forever, and that means the child isn't learning or understanding why they are doing or not doing things, just (at best) forming a habit that may or may not persist when the parent isn't there.
My parents taught me by explaining - treating me like a person with little experience, not an animal to be trained.
The point is, rules shouldn't be needed - they should be logical conclusions from the things you are teaching them. Yes, sometimes you have to step in (because they misunderstood something, or messed up the logic), but that's the exception, not the rule, and it's fixed by teaching, not demanding obedience. The parenting style that expects children never to question their parents is just astounding to me, how are they meant to learn?
Wandering the topic a bit, I'm reminded of a book  which argues that sometimes "because that's what I want" is actually better and more-honest than making up a reason like "because that's what good little children do."
So I'd like to propose a hierarchy of
1. Explain what practical or empathetic concern drives you to make the request, so they can learn to emulate your logic.
2. Ask them to do it because you desire it.
3. Explain with a "you should always" story that involves badness or guilt which isn't actually the logic you used to reach that decision.
 "When I Say No, I Feel Guilty" by Manuel J. Smith
Of course, you also shouldn't just frame everything that way, otherwise they won't understand the reasons they should want to do things, and because if it is a "want", that should be weighed up against what other people want and how important it is to them, fairness, etc... which is probably a more complex problem than most.
With that you don’t need a hierarchy:
1 and 2 are the same, you just have shallower arguments in 2
3 is not an option IMO, it really should be 2: you can plainly say “I can’t explain, but that’s what I believe is right” and let the kid decide what they want to do.
This helps if the kid doesn’t take your side: if you’re not happy with outcome, there was clear a warning, making an eventual punishment more fair;
Or if they happen to be right, you don’t lose credibility as you were transparent about your standpoint and you can make it right to them.
You don’t behave well because you must, you behave well because it’s the kindest way to do.
As stated, children are not stupid, and if you treat them as person and not as inferior human, a lot of good things can come out of this :-)
IMO it's demanding too much of both parents and children to expect that in 100.0% of all situations, but at least as something to strive towards I find it very important. Parents can be stressed out or confused, they can be under pressure from other adults, life can throw all sorts of curve balls and often we have to make do with what we have at that time. And that's fine; parents thinking they're bad parents just because they're not "perfect", or because life isn't perfect even though they did nothing wrong per se, also erodes trust and makes the whole enterprise harder than it needs to be. So at the very least, one has to trust that one can get to a place where one can trust themselves, and be on the way to that. Kids notice that, and adults can save themselves a lot of trouble by not lying to them, which is only possible if they aren't lying to themselves. "Because I say so" should never be the final statement, at least make it something like "right now because I say so, but I'll explain when things are less hectic" etc. Kids smell weakness and dishonesty, as they should. It's okay to be weak sometimes, but dishonesty is not.
When I was a kid, I didn't take shit from anyone, but I also respected the adults who didn't take shit from me. And I still remember plenty of such occasions fondly, mostly teachers; but one time I was arguing with a friend, you might say we had a fight, and some random stranger bought us two ice cream cones and said to play nice (our parents were present, he wasn't a creep, it was in a holiday resort). I told him "das kannst du dir in die Haare schmieren", which you could translate as "shove it up your ass", but literally means "you can smear that into your own hair". He proceeded to smear the ice cream cone into my hair. Slowly, in a friendly way, while smiling, but that's still what he did. I was awestruck. I wasn't even mad, I instantly respected the person. And our parents laughed, too; I guess these days, with the wrong parents, he would have the cops called on him. But he just took me seriously, he didn't treat me "like a child", that's how it felt to me. It's hard to explain, and the anecdote is really silly I know. But that actually happened, and I'll always cherish the memory ^^
My niece has this obnoxious fucking horn she "plays" all the time. We've told her that she's allowed to play it all she wants, she just has to do it outside (so our ears don't bleed).
To understand (and eventually change) a system you always starts with a high level acceptance of the 'rules' and drill down from there. Why shouldn't children also be taught to operate on that basis?
Say they want to question the 'rule' about having 3 meals a day. That's fine, drill down into why and maybe change it. Maybe bed-time is unfair, perhaps the 8yo doesn't want to go to bed at the same time as the 5yo. It should be ok to challenge these things to an extent, but at the end of the day someone needs to make things run smoothly for everyone, and that's the parents' job. Rules (with an expectation of obedience) are how they do that.
But rules and obedience are an essential abstraction. With my own young kids, I try to let them challenge the rules and chart their own course as much as I can, but if you go with no rules at all I think you are almost as likely to end up with a bad result as if you parented through only rules and obedience.
When confronted (as all parents inevitably are from time to time) with blanket ideas for "how to raise children" I find it helpful to swap out "children" for "employees" and then "farm animals" and see how the advice sounds from those two additional perspectives.
Children are kind of a middle ground between those (as well as being many other things).
There's very little science to parenting, unfortunately. It's mostly intuition and magic.
This made my day, and I'll be repeating it to others - thanks :)
At the end of the day you want to get them to go to non-chaos mode before you can apply any technique. What worked for me is creating a pattern very early on:
"I'm gonna count to 3 and we will do X" I've said that a thousand times since very early childhood. Now, before I even finish the sentence, the kids get in position and wait for "three!" After that we have a normal adult conversation, sometimes I even use words (like someone mentioned in the comments) that they have no hope of understanding. But they know that whatever they say they will be taken seriously.
So far it has worked for me with both my niece and nephew and I hope that they never find out that I have no backup plan if they don't stop on three.
In other words, you need create a pattern that leads to quiet mode before you can take the kids seriously.
The point of punishing isn't to help with learning, it's to restore the emotional connection between parent and child by stopping the parent from hating the child. As Jordan Peterson put it: 'Don't let your kids do anything that makes you dislike them'. (He said this because he knows that people who dislike others work against them whether they realise it or not.)
The arguments against punishments tend to focus on severity, particularly if physical violence is involved. But the stronger the existing connection between parent and child, the milder the punishment need be. If it is strong even a frown might suffice.
Maybe I'm misreading you, but any resentment a parent builds towards their child is a symptom of their own lack of emotional development; punishment is absolutely not an outlet for making parents feel more in control so they can avoid resenting their children.
There is deliberate behavior modification, which creates an obvious consequence as a hack around the inability to comprehend more subtle ones, but doesn't involve any emotional exchange. Then there is emotional abuse that makes the abuser feel in control (guilting, shaming, yelling, etc).
Anything you don't like that comes out of a person, went into that person, either genetically or environmentally. The only way to help them stop doing that is to help them build a better platform to work from.
I agree that the development of the parent is the key to reducing this. But note that development and learning themselves require peace and keeping the peace is a function of authority, both in families and in wider society. (This is not to be confused with authority in knowledge, which is irrational.)
What I take issue with at several levels is the use of punishment as a means of avoiding the development of parental resentment against kids, which is what it sounded like you were describing in the quote I pulled. My mistake if that's not what you were describing.
That said, rules are very important, not only to give the child an orientation at which it can measure its own actions but also because they can introduce some kind of objectivity into parenting (from the perspective of the child).
So rules should always be communicated to the child before they are enforced. Punishing a child for breaking a rule it never heard of before is not fair.
Btw. sometimes it can be a good idea to let the child define rules to let it find out how well it can follow its own rules ;-)
I'm an adult and I would need a lawyer to be able to understand and answer questions like that.
My question: for all this talk of rationalism, where is the research to show this approach yields better outcomes than any other?
(But we do that all the time actually.)
What do you do with failed experiments? How do you estimate outcomes and whether techniques were applied correctly?
I think it's possible to agree with the article and also disagree with this judge.
To me (Father of Five, two biological and three foster) this is 100% flipped upside down and isn't well researched nor universal.
My foster kids had horrible environment growing up and every kind of abuse. Their mother murdered 8 blocks from our house by a baseball bat to her head while the children were in my home. Children raised from abuse would actually be harmed by this.
Children need to learn 100% but not through non-developmentally appropriate techniques. Kids learn through play doing in a safe and purposeful manner. This is neither purposeful nor safe. They need to know that they must use gentle hands and bodies, be respectful to each other and pick up after themselves.
If it doesn't work for abused or special needs children it isn't universal. This is what good research looks like for parenting. https://child.tcu.edu/about-us/research/#sthash.6ctKjxoi.dpb...
1) We have children ask and not tell what they want
2) Parenting is hard and demanding and we invest in it
3) Kids will look at you when you are speaking with them (FOr building up relationship)
4) Redirect bad behavior by having the child redo in the correct behavior. Not yelling or demanding. Scripting
5) Socialize interaction with competent adult and ability to play properly with other children.
In this community I’ve literary heard someone say “Machine learning is very important for the future of humanity, so I can’t spend time looking after my child”.
For me it’s all about investing time, and the long game. Looking after, being patent and educating a child for a couple of hours isn’t too hard. Doing that for 10s of hours every day, particularly with young children, is much harder.
It’s even harder when that work is systematically devalued.
> 3) Kids will look at you when you are speaking with them (FOr building up relationship)
Autistic people sometimes have trouble making eye contact when you're speaking.
Some black people are taught that direct eye contact in some situations is a display of defiance, and is to be avoided.
The fact you quote Autism Speaks is telling - it's hated by many autistic people precisely because it pushes this "cure for autism" bullshit.
> The fact you quote Autism Speaks is telling
Yes vaccines DON'T cause Autism. You say it does then your also into other pseudo-science and controversies. The science is clear vaccines don't cause autism.
CHILD. Singular. If you have more than a couple children you know how different it is. Someplace there's a comedian that has a bit about how having one or two kids is like comparing the Coast Guard to the Navy Seals. It's VERY different having a CHILD than having several CHILDREN.
Each one also makes housing way harder (=more expensive, fewer options), especially after the first one. And transportation. And, and, and.
I'm of the mind that children have a precocial learning intelligence similar in rank and power to the adult mind--that is, the moment a child is born, they begin to absorb and construct knowledge about the world, with the only difference to the adult mind being that adults have more context for their "world theory"--and that it's the duty of the public to acknowledge and foster this.
When I consider that some people talk to children with "baby talk," I wonder how many people have been hurt by `keeping parrots with chickens` (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parrot#Intelligence_and_learni...) so to speak. It's a controversial theory that might garner criticism, but that may be a failing--children can hear voices in the womb before they're born, talking to them in infancy as if they can't understand their mother's language is, at first, disrespectful, and later, possibly inhibits their development.
Coming up next: "How to build houses", by someone who has never built one and has no interest in building one.
Like believing they respond to reason? Hell, even adults aren't rational beings. We're totally ruled by our emotions and beliefs, and it is incredibly hard to persuade someone using reason.
there is an active online community which discusses TCS and other related ideas at the Fallible Ideas discussion group. you can learn more about important philosophical ideas like TCS and get help applying them to your life! http://fallibleideas.com/discussion-info
Think about it: You are trying to make sense out of the world and people keep making gibberish sounds, hiding for no reason, showing you anthropomorphized animals and objects, telling you stories that have absolutely no point, having you play with stupid pianos that make random sounds...
Then, after they have built a model of the world containing all these nonsense, a lot of time then has to be spent having them unlearning that nonsense through discipline.
However, what if they don't get exposed to the nonsense in the first place? Or get exposed to it in a more structured way? I mean entertainment doesn't have to be nonsensical. You can learn about animals, architecture, vehicles, even simple math... instead of dumb trains with faces and teletubbies making gibberish sounds.
Btw, I am not trying to say the production of that material has no merit. I can have a lot of merit, and can be incredibly creative, it's just it could be better focused.
Why exactly I don’t know, but they also make up their own imaginary characters sometimes.
In any case, they don’t simply have this stuff forced upon them (in general).
If I ever have kids, the one thing that I want to do right is answering their questions appropriately, I would have loved my mom to say something like "because electrons attract protons, no one really knows why, there are people who dedicate their lives to trying to know why that attraction exists, they are called physicists. That attraction is one of four fundamental forces that we know of, the other three are gravity, strong nuclear force and weak nuclear force". Even if I understood less than half of what she said, I would have known that there are people who also wanted to know what I wanted know, and would feel fascinated by that.
If anyone has questions, I'd be happy to answer.
TCS is about using reason. He does not take his child seriously.
It works, apparently.
HOWEVER: there's a major philosophical failing of TCS, which is that you can't objectively justify claims about what you should and shouldn't do (aka normative claims). If you tell your child "don't hit other kids," they can disagree, which will force you to justify your original statement with a more general normative principle. Eventually you'll be forced to appeal to the foundational principles of morality, something like "it's bad to be in certain mental states like pain, good to be in other states, like joy" and "what matters is which of those mental states the average person on earth is, not which state you, personally, are in." These are one possible version of the sacred principles of morality, and they are probably not justifiable. There are attempts to justify them, such as Sam Harris's The Moral Landscape, but Harris relies (implicitly) on hard to grasp claims like the nonexistence of self, which you're not going to be able to explain to a seven year old unless they're exceptionally introspectively mature.
Sacred principles can just as well be called unquestionable principles. They don't have a justification, but our way of life relies on their acceptance. Society will not tolerate threats to their sanctity, so if you let your child question them, society will punish your child. If you say "don't hit other kids" and your child says (after a chain of justifications) "it doesn't matter if other kids feel pain, what matters is that I feel good when I hurt them," you're not going to be able to rationally argue against that. The most honest response is the ad baculum "if you say things like that when you're an adult, someone might just murder you, so you ought never to do things that you can only justify in that kind of way unless you want to be murdered." But that's not really teaching your child morality; they might someday find themselves in a situation where they don't need to worry about violent reprisal for questioning sacred values, say if they become a powerful dictator. Are you committed enough to morality to want them to be moral even if they don't have to be? Should you be? If yes, then you can't take your children seriously when they question sacred principles. How, then, do you respond when they say "all that matters is that I feel good when I hurt other kids?" You could say "You're wrong. Why? Because I said so." Or you could just punish them. But if they're used to always being taken seriously, they're going to notice that something's fishy.
Fortunately, there's a good chance your child won't ever question sacred principles. I was taken quite seriously as a child, but I justified the sacred principles to myself in ways that only began to crumble when I was 17, so my parents never encountered the dilemma I just described. By the time my old justifications ceased to work I was already adept at being a moral person, and I was ready to understand the lessons of Crime and Punishment, which warns against violating the sacred principles of your society despite acknowledging them to be unfounded, and I was ready to understand the more sophisticated justifications of the sacred principles.
But other children could be more likely to question sacred principles. I wasn't naturally inclined to cruelty. I didn't want to hurt other kids. When I did hurt others, I didn't need to learn why not to, I just needed to learn how not to. Not all kids are like that (not a moral judgment) some will need to by told why they shouldn't be cruel, and you can't do that while taking them entirely seriously.
Kids need a different treatment when they are 3 months old than when they are 2, yet different from a 7 year old, different from a teenager and different from a 20 year old.
Otherwise you realize you will always be your dad’s kid, so by your oneliner he’ll never treat you like people.