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Is it the child's job to behave (with parents providing consequences) or the parent's job to constrain/prevent behavior?

How much responsibility to you feel we have toward preventing bad behavior in our children versus allowing bad behavior to happen and providing consequences? Do you feel that kids that are allowed to make bad choices and feel consequences are better at making independent choices as adults? Or do you feel that children prevented from making mistakes have a "leg up" on their peers in terms of a past free of mistakes?

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Dr.MomPh.D.

Asked by Dr.MomPh.D. at 9:18 AM on Apr. 15, 2009 in General Parenting

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Answers (17)
  • If your child does whatever it wants without consequence then later on in life they will respect no one and that is a problem in the real world. Discipline is necessary in this day and age. Between all the drugs, stds, video games teaching them things, and of course money running the world a child needs to know their place. A child should mess up and pay the price. If the punishment fits the crime then do the time or don't do the crime. Kids are aware of things early in life then what we were. My 6 year old nephew knows he can call 911 if his mommy and daddy spank him so we live in fear of disciplining our children. We need to help them and not hinder them. Kids now days have no respect for anyone or anything as its all given to them out of our own fears. Consequence is good, I had it growing up and my daughter will as well. Life is tough and knowing no boundaries makes it even harder later on in life.
    brailynsmama08

    Answer by brailynsmama08 at 9:24 AM on Apr. 15, 2009

  • I have yonger kids so my answer is mixed. I think as a toddler it is the parents job to constrict the behavior, and as they get older is is the parents job to step back, offer consequences (good and bad ones depending on the actions to either encourage or discourage a certain behavior) and transfer slowly to letting it be the childs decision. My oldes is almost 8 and he has responsibility over his own actions for the most part, but he is not old enough I feel to make his own decions n the really big stuff. But we wil be there soon, and I completely agree that as kids get older they need that oportunity to screw up occasionaly and suffer the consequences, otherwise they are just going to go crazy as soon as they have ataste of freedom.
    AK_aries

    Answer by AK_aries at 9:29 AM on Apr. 15, 2009

  • I think that it's the parents job to teach and enforce the rules. If the child makes the choice to break said rules, then he/she should be held accountable for their actions.

    Parents not be neglectful of their children by any means, but should mindfully keep a distance. Children should be allowed to make mistakes, even severe ones, so they will learn on their own what consequences can and most likely will arise. Parents should watch these mistakes unfold, giving advice if needed/wanted, and allow them to happen.

    Children that live sheltered lives end up as adults that have no clue how to BE an adult.
    jennijune_21

    Answer by jennijune_21 at 9:31 AM on Apr. 15, 2009

  • I think neither child nor parent should dominate in the relationship.

    I think we need to address why we think some things are wrong as well. My 16 month old frequently pulls out all the clothes from their drawers. I never yell at him I just pick them up and he watches...he has now started helping me - sometimes he doesn't, sometimes he does. When he makes a mess in the kitchen, I never yell at him, I clean it up and he now has started helping me. I don't see these things he has done as wrong and don't think any child should be shouted at or punished for being messy. They will learn what is appropriate if you show them and don't need to be told off.

    Children aren't born bad - they don't know what their parents' morals are.

    My son gets really upset when we take something away from him that is dangerous or he shouldn't have. He started by getting really upset and crying. I just sit patiently and allow him to...
    keyaziz

    Answer by keyaziz at 9:31 AM on Apr. 15, 2009

  • Life should be a mixture of both. Theres moderation in everything. Many times if life is too stringent, children don't have the liberty to make mistakes and know its okay that their not perfect. Without some mistakes, theres no learning whats okay and whats not. But we do want to keep our kids out of mistakes that will harm their future or goals. I know my daughter is a perfectionist and she knows that she comes from a good family with good involved parents, but theres always that part of her that feels good to be bad. Unfortunately I didnt teach her that it was okay that shes not perfect. I thought she knew but she didn't. We've learned a lot by mistakes, but they were heart breaking mistakes. Ones that I dont ever want to go through again.
    momofsaee

    Answer by momofsaee at 9:32 AM on Apr. 15, 2009

  • ...calm down - I then put my arms out and he comes for a hug. As time has gone on, he now only needs to come for me for a hug and he moves on. I don't see why I should yell at him for getting upset or being annoyed at him for crying because he is expressing his feelings about it. He is entitled to be upset and I would never try to repress that - I don't think its necessary.

    He's a lovely little boy and I think people start off on the wrong foot because they believe straight away their child are bad.

    I don't think discipline is the solution at all. Children are little people, new to the world and we need to try and understand them. There is more to them than just their behaviour...and I think most of the time parentys discipline the behaviour but don't find out what is behind the behaviour..why a child did something...most of the time when they are younger, its usually because they didn't know it was wrong...
    keyaziz

    Answer by keyaziz at 9:34 AM on Apr. 15, 2009

  • I think an explanation is enough in most cases...they should choose for themselves whether they want to do something or not...and we should learn to accept them for who they are.

    I havent really explained myself properly here because its a little complicated and I fully expect people to take my view wrong but thats ok...

    I just don't believe in consequences or discipline. I believe in unconditional love. Disicpline and consequence is not unconditional and I don't believe that my child is born bad and needs to be disciplined to be a way that is deemed acceptable by society. I love my child and will love him no matter what he does - it is up to him, with guidance, to make his own decisions - within reason of his age.
    keyaziz

    Answer by keyaziz at 9:36 AM on Apr. 15, 2009

  • I love this question and hope many read and add. It is both. A parent should not provide an environment where the child is always in danger of having to have a negative behavior or temptation that leads to undersired behaviors. But the deal is that children don't know something is necessarily not a good idea and then need consequences. So it is a balancing act of providing a safe and consistant environment and instituting firm and consistant consequences. To expect any child to be good all the time and make good choices is unrealistic. They learn by making mistakes. Over and over again sometimes. So we have to prove when they make a poor choice there is an actual response to that.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:38 AM on Apr. 15, 2009

  • Also want to add that I see the above person's point. But discipline is not punnishment. It is a world view. Your discipline you subscribe to is that you do not believe in punnishment but live and learn. To some degree I agree. But what about would you say okay stick that key in the socket and see what happens. You will learn and find out. Most parents would say I need to create an enviornment where that is not an option and if the child tries then their needs to be a consequence for the sake of safety. There is absolutely a need to let children learn on their own but their is also a need for an enviorment where a consequence comes from mom and dad. Balance is a lot better than taking an all or nothing stance in either direction.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:42 AM on Apr. 15, 2009

  • I think it's both. Parents should prevent the bad behavior if they can see it coming, but if they are unable to prevent for some reason or the child does something anyway, knowing that they shouldn't, then the child is responsible for their own actions and should face the consequences. Children should bear more and more of the responsibility as they get older. For example, if you have a 1 yr old and they get a knife and cut themselves, that is the parent's fault for not keeping the knife out of reach. But, if my 5 yr old gets a knife and cuts himself, then it could be my fault for not putting it up, or it could be his for getting it from where it should be, but he knows better, so he will be punished. If your 14 yr old gets a knife and cuts himself, then it is totally on him b/c he is well beyond old enough to understand the consequences.
    tropicalmama

    Answer by tropicalmama at 9:49 AM on Apr. 15, 2009

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