Moms Columns & Blogs

Real consequences = better-behaved kids

From the Mailbag: A Charlotte woman writes to the Observer that I should get out in the real world more and meet the “mothers and fathers of the countless well-behaved children who live in our community.”

First I am fairly certain that such children are certainly not countless. Second, I am also convinced that parenting in Charlotte reflects the state of parenting in the USA, which is to say, it is not generally commendable.

We have lost our collective parenting “way,” and America's parents are a desperate bunch, which is why I am able to successfully pose as a guy who has all the answers.

But since I take requests, here's a story that might be more to my respondent's liking: An instructive story: When a 6-year-old threw a bit of a fit in the middle of her dance class, her mother told her, in front of the class, that she would not be going to a friend's house that afternoon as planned but would spend the rest of the day in her room, contemplating her misbehavior.

Another mother, aghast, said that was too harsh. The same mother then admitted that she spent a good amount of time putting her daughter in time-out.

Regardless, the first little girl spent the day in her room. Now, when a problem begins to emerge, mom has only to remind her of the policy, and she gets control of herself.

The moral: If a consequence does not produce a permanent memory – and time-out definitely does not – then it's been a waste of everyone's time.