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Counting doesn’t count

I saw a lady whose son was hanging onto the gates near the door at the library. It wasn’t time for the family to leave yet, and she was trying to get him to come back to the children’s section. He was having none of it. He was about 6.

She looked at him and said “1.” Pause. She gave him a stern look. “2”. Pause. Another stern look. “2” she said again, looking at him like he better get the clue. And yet again, she said “2”.

I said “No, you have to say 3, otherwise 2 has no meaning.” She said three, he didn’t come, and she went to him, took him by the arm and marched him back to where he was supposed to be.

He cried, of course, and that is what she was trying to avoid. But if she isn’t firm and consistent with expectations and consequences, then she might as well not say anything at all.

Rules have to have consequences if they are broken. Otherwise they have no meaning.

Sayings “shhh” doesn’t mean anything either. The child learns that they yell, and Mom says “shhh”. It is just an exchange of sounds. The parent has to say “Please be quiet” or explain that “shhh” means that. Otherwise “shhh” is just a sound.

Then there was the mom whose child would not stay with her. He kept running to the door, or just away from her. She told him what to do and he kept not doing it.

There were no consequences. He had no reason to obey her.

It was yet another example of “Stop doing that or I’ll say stop doing that again.”

However you want your child to act as an adult, you need to mold them as a child. You are supposed to be a parent, not a friend.

Sure, they won’t like it. That isn’t the point. It isn’t child abuse to set rules and enforce consequences. It is child abuse to not do this. Otherwise they grow up wild.

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