Thoughts on this type of discipline?

Being 20 years old, I’ve realized that discipline comes in all different forms. However, I recently thought of the perfect way to teach your kids or teens how to act more appropriate for their age:

Let them learn through the mistakes that they make. Now, this all depends on the situation. In fact, this is something that only affects them temporarily. I’d also show them videos of public, social experiments on Youtube: JoeySalads, Coby Persin, etc. Even though some of these videos have mixed reviews, just telling them to watch out may or may not work for some children/teenagers. Going further, you can also tell them that their mistakes can negatively affect you as well.

Examples include:

  • Telling them to go to bed, but not enforcing it. So, if they stay up, sleep in, and miss the bus or work, then it'll be on them.
  • Telling them to do homework or study for a test. If they refuse, then their grades are negatively affected.

Basically: telling them to do almost anything that doesn’t put them in harm’s way. But, if they refuse to do so, then it’ll be on them.

Now, if they continue to struggle, then adjusting your discipline towards them would be an option if it starts become a bigger problem for you.

On an extra note, I’d also sit down and explain to them about this form of discipline: (How it affects you and me) I don’t mean to sound too controlling, but I’m just giving my own opinions.

The cause and effect is not close enough in time for these “lessons” to be learned. If a child doesn’t want to wear his coat, he’ll be cold, and then he’ll want to put his coat on. But if a teenager doesn’t do his homework or study for a test, he’ll get a bad grade, but it will be some time later, and it may be difficult to reverse the trend. And he can’t necessarily see the long term implications of getting bad grades. Reminding kids to do what’s in their best interests is the responsibility of a parent.

This is called learning through the “school of hard knocks” and the consequences can be something not anticipated or even understood by a child.

Frankly, as a public school educator, and parent, I don’t see this type of parenting or discipline as a beneficial one.

I’m with @VeryHappy. Part of the job of being a parent is to help kids actually do what is in their best interest.

Our kids are 30 and 33, and both have remarked that the current school of parenting by letting kids do as they please without parent guidance is not something they see as beneficial to the kids they are seeing.

Both have also thanked us for the direction and help we gave them…sometimes not exactly what they wanted to do…but what they needed to do.

A middle ground for some situations would be parental guidance in informing the kid about the choices and their consequences, but then letting the kid make the informed choice and owning it.

I only had one fight with D#2 about ‘skipping’ school. She wanted to stay home on a day after they lost a game to their rivals, which was fine, but she wanted me to excuse her and that wasn’t going to happen. Finally I said “Do what you want and you’ll have to deal with your teachers and the consequences.” Sort of like your system of letting them do what they want.

However, you have to assume there has been 14-16 years of parenting and some lessons learned, not just that the child is given free reign to stay up late, skip school, talk back to authority, smoke, drink, get tattoos. If you want children to make good choices, they have to have a good foundation.

My kids rarely missed classes when in high school (or the 9 years before that) and rarely missed a class in college. Going to class is instilled in them.

You haven’t come up with a new idea. I used natural consequences sometimes. But on the big stuff that could ruin their lives if they messed it up — teen pregnancy, driving safely, safety equipment when playing sports, no quarter given. I’d be willing to explain why, but not bend on insisting on the behavior to avoid the disastrous consequences.

I wonder why you’re asking, what brings this up. To us, the job of parents is to parent. Once you’re in this boat you’ll understand how so many young kids and early teens are just unable to make choices beyond what they want or like. It takes time. They barely understand cause and effect, much less, consequences.

Summerhill was about self determination. One kindergarten we looked at made a big deal about how they could play when they wanted, eat when they wanted, pay attention hen they wanted. At 5, I’m not sure what that teaches them-- life isn’t like that. My goal was to give the the life skills to make the decisions that worked for them, later. And the preparation to take on later challenges.

Parenting is one of the most complicated things one ever does, imo. If the intention is to do it well, that is.

Last fall you were posting about finding ways to “fix” what you considered defects in your new college roommate. I don’t know what makes you think any of us are having trouble with our children’s behavior, but you seem to put a great deal of thought into problems which don’t exist. I’m not sure why you feel the need to tell others what to do or why you seem to think you know how to live their lives better than they do, but you may want to consider speaking to a counselor about it.

I see where you’re going with this, but you have the process backwards. You start with the discipline and then you adjust your meddling. In other words, pick your battles. Sometimes you let kids make mistakes and learn from consequences, but sometimes you have to step in before. As parents, we always have the best intentions but we don’t always get it right. Hindsight is 20/20. Case in point: my procrastinator teen has summer reading. If I left her to her own devices, the book would never get read. “But it’s summer …” blah blah blah. If I stand over her while she reads, she’ll get it done, but she won’t get anything out of the book. My rule … you have to read so much per week. If you want to do something with your friends, you have to be caught up. She spent 2.5 hours arguing with me about reading one chapter that would have taken 20-30 minutes. She finally gave up and read the chapter. BUT, she could have been swimming with her friends 2.5 hours earlier. Same procrastinating teen also had some outdoor chores that needed to be done. I woke her up early one day and told her that it would be a good idea to get the outdoor chores done because it was an exceptionally cool day out. She wanted to sleep. They didn’t get done. That weekend she wanted to go to a party. But, first, I made her finish her outdoor chores. However, now the temperatures were back up and it was miserable hot. HOWEVER, there are some things that are non-negotiable with all the kids (even the easy one). No food in bedrooms because I don’t want bugs. No texting while driving (and I have an app that will tell me if they do). No going to the parties at the water tower because Mom knows that the only things to do there are things that teenagers have no business doing. Etc.

And, here’s the thing of it … you can raise two children exactly the same way and get two entirely different results. Same genes, same rules, different personalities.

Lots of young people think they know the “perfect” way to parent long before they **are **parents. Years later, many of them laugh ruefully as they remember their arrogance or naivety.

Are there any limits to the suggestion of Natural Consequences? So you’ll let your two year old play with knives or wander into a busy road, leave the outlets uncovered and the pool ladder down and unprotected?

Of course not, right? There are some times when we, as the adults need to do what’s necessary to protect kids from themselves. Their brains aren’t developed to the point where they can make the right decisions.

And, at the risk of offending the OP and probably a lot of others here, research suggests that full brain development doesn’t happen until age 25

Those videos would be a joke, something to laugh about at the dinner table. The “here’s how it effects me” lectures would be met in many cases with “you don’t understand.”

Parenting is about loving your kids enough to actually parent. It means letting them take some of those Natural Consequences-- but you choose the circumstances. You don’t let it happen if the possible risks are too great.

And for what it’s worth: if parenting was that simple, everyone could do it well. It’s not. Everyone who has ever been a kid is pretty much convinced that they know all there is to know about parenting. Most don’t have a clue.

Most parents DO exercise Natural Consequences when it’s appropriate. But we’re not willing to take the big gambles with our kids’ health or future.

My son went to high school with a kid whose parents didn’t push him to get out of bed. He didn’t graduate from high school, having missed too many days. They weren’t willing to risk the argument in order to ensure that he would get a high school diploma. Two years later, he still doesn’t have a diploma.

@austinmshauri I’m just giving my own thoughts and opinions. I make up scenarios to get other people’s opinions on it. I’m sorry if I make you feel that way, but asking simple questions doesn’t seem harmful to me. I’m also not forcing my ideas on to you, I’m just asking for some advice on it.

You aren’t asking for advice, you have no kids, are still under your parents’ guidance. Nor have you said you’re seponsible for any kids, babysitting or camp counselor, and face some decisions.

Seems to me, you’re just throwing up a topic and waiting to see what sticks. How is this thread then productive? You admit it’s just idle chat?

To be clear - a hypothetical post, clearly labeled as such, is allowed on this site, although I often place in the cafe if it was not originally placed there (which this one was).

The topic asked is not a bad one, even for a student. As a student myself, I hope to also be a parent one day, and while I don’t spend a lot of time now thinking about how I will parent, the random thought does pop in my head from time to time.

As with any thread on this forum, a user can simply choose not to answer if the topic is not to his/her liking.

Having said all that:

Trust me - you are not the first person in the history of the universe who thought of this method; skiparents used a variation of this technique (and they didn’t invent it either) :slight_smile:

That’s basically how my parents raised me and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I also recognize that it wouldn’t work for many kids. I wasn’t much of a risk-taker and I handled the autonomy well.

I had 3 basic rules as a teen: don’t get pregnant, don’t drink and drive, don’t smoke cigarettes. Outside of that, my parents knew I wouldn’t screw up too badly.

I DO remember being young and childless and saying “I would NEVER…” or “my kids will NEVER…”

Nothing so humbling as becoming a flawed parent of flawed children. :slight_smile:

I’ve given birth twice. That doesn’t make me an OB-GYN. The experience was shared, but the perspective is incredibly different.

In the same manner, having been a kid doesn’t make anyone an expert on what works in parenting.

I’m OK with the thread, and the ideas behind it. But be very careful about assuming you know what it’s like in another’s shoes. Parenting, in particular, is something you have no idea of until you’ve done it. And, even moreso, each child is different. Even identical twins can’t be treated the same way; they’re different people.

Natural consequences is a strategy that works OK for some situations with some kids. It does not work with all situations with all kids, and situations that involve physical danger are not the only exception.

A parent deciding a child is not handling a particular freedom well (yet) and stepping in to intervene can be as much a natural consequence as any.

I only used natural consequences for things that wouldn’t have a life long, bad change effect.

I read a saying once that went something like this “Before I had kids I had 14 different suggestions on how to raise them. Now I have 14 kids and no suggestions”.

OP, your topic is valid and in some cases natural consequences make sense. Just like that saying above, I was full of ideas on how I was going to raise my kids. It will be the most humbling experience of your life.