5 Popular Parenting Fads That Make Sense (And Screw Kids Up)

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5 Popular Parenting Fads That Make Sense (And Screw Kids Up)

Postby blehblah » Wed Mar 18, 2015 5:20 pm

http://www.cracked.com/article_22192_5- ... -life.html

At least that's the title, for now.

Overall, it's an interesting article, but... I've got to call "bullshit" on #3. Children Learn Nothing From "Timeouts".

This bit drove me nuts:

Children lack the experience and social intelligence to understand why it is that they're being punished, much less the ability to analyze their own behavior -- little kids' brains just don't work that way. So, the kid remains unrepentant, stewing over the fact that their parents suck and have wrong opinions, and, when they grow up, they'll make up their own set of random-ass rules that everyone else has to follow. Basically, that's how you get politicians.

So, what do you do instead? Well, see, the point of parenting -- however you do it -- is that you have to be there. A timeout is saying, "As a punishment, I'm going to stop parenting you for a while." Withholding parental interaction as a punishment is like taking away their toothbrush. The opposite would be what some experts call a "time-in" because even scientists are terrible at naming things. Another name for it could be "actually take time to talk to your kids about discipline every day, whether they're acting like assholes or not."


Since when are the two - talking to your kids about what they did wrong, and time-out's - mutually exclusive?

As an example, with a sample set of two, take my kids (please - wait, that's supposed to be a wife joke... erm... moving-on). I have twins, one boy, one girl, about 4 1/2 years old. Girl-child hates, hates, hates disappointing us. Simply saying, "Girl-child, what you did just now really disappointed us because..." is all it takes. Boy-child is a different story. He relishes the acknowledgement and attention - a stern talking-to elicits smiles, denials, and more smiles. The only thing that works with him is time-outs.

Now, before a time-out, he is offered a choice. See, kids, as their little brains are forming, actually can evaluate choices, almost like they are little people, or something (mind-blowing, I know). Remember, "Children lack the experience and social intelligence to understand why it is that they're being punished". Who and how does that ability miraculously appear? How about by offering choices such-as, "Continue this behaviour, and you will go to your room, because what are doing is not acceptable"?

Talking him into his room, "This is why, and you made a choice", leaving it open "Come down when you are ready to apologize", and enforcing it, "Why were you given a time-out, and no, mumbling 'sorry' doesn't cut it", is key. But, it's not exclusive. Boy-child responds to time-outs, and he understands exactly why they happen.

So, what do you do instead? Well, see, the point of parenting -- however you do it -- is that you have to be there. A timeout is saying, "As a punishment, I'm going to stop parenting you for a while." Withholding parental interaction as a punishment is like taking away their toothbrush. The opposite would be what some experts call a "time-in" because even scientists are terrible at naming things. Another name for it could be "actually take time to talk to your kids about discipline every day, whether they're acting like assholes or not."


Yes, agreed, except no, not at all. It's not a one-or-the-other scenario. Thinking, "A timeout is saying, "As a punishment, I'm going to stop parenting you for a while."" is... nonsensical. A time-out IS part of parenting. I really don't think boy-child is going to develop abandonment syndrome because he chooses to earn his way into a time-out, be challenged to understand why, and stop throwing grenades at his sister with the pin out (pin-in, son, PIN IN!).

Going back to, "Children lack the experience and social intelligence to understand why it is that they're being punished". Yes, they do - that's, ya know, the entire fucking point of parenting. They have the tools (wee brains), but they don't know how to use them. The idea that kids are alien creatures who cannot understand choices and consequences is so flawed that it numbs me to think about. They do know why they are being punished IF YOU TELL THEM. Take away the consequences of making a choice, "If you throw one more grenade without the pin and you're getting a time-out", and it's not a choice, especially to a kid who is looking for attention. Yes, we could drown him in hugs and sunshine, and he'll quickly learn that tossing grenades sans-pin results in good times. Positive reinforcement does not work without the possibility of negative.

Otherwise, a good article.

Sorry about the rant.
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Re: 5 Popular Parenting Fads That Make Sense (And Screw Kids

Postby Marcuse » Wed Mar 18, 2015 5:28 pm

Woah, Bleh, I gotta agree with you on that. I have a little sprog and he absolutely needs to be told what's wrong with his behaviour. I've observed that he specifically looks for a reaction to his behaviour, and has demonstrated he knows what we're asking him to do in pretty oblique situations that a child without a basic understanding of what is being requested wouldn't be able to react to. He is a little young for them yet, but we're totally going to be using them when he's old enough to, and we certainly explain why something is wrong now, even if I don't expect he'll immediately understand it.

I don't think timeouts are stopping parenting at all, they're a function of parenting because they provide reasonable, non-harmful consequence for refusing to behave well. I'd always, always, say that it absolutely needs to be accompanied by a clear explanation of why the behaviour wasn't okay and what was wrong with it, but still, it's not refusing to parent to place a child in timeout, unless it's being used as a way to avoid conflict or remove a child from a situation without addressing their behaviour.

Just to nitpick the text:

Imagine a situation in which you're misbehaving, and the nearest authority figure's first reaction is to send you to your bedroom


That's not how timeouts work. At all. You're supposed to (in everything I've read/seen on this) to give a clear warning first, and allow them the choice of whether to continue behaving badly or to change what they're doing.

Do you take the opportunity to examine your behavior and better understand just why it was you being punished? Or, do you just use the opportunity to vent your anger on Fruit Ninja or whatever until said authority comes to check on you -- because fuck them and their random-ass punishments?


If you're putting a child in timeout with toys then you're doing it wrong.

It won't seem to have an effect right away -- no discipline method can simply fix a kid, Dog Whisperer-style -- but, over time, you get a child who can actually think through their actions. And you don't wind up sending the unintentional message of "Your parents only want to interact with you when you're being good."


Again, that doesn't make sense for young children. The lack of interaction is part of a specific system to reduce or remove attention for bad behaviour. Combined with positive reinforcement for good behaviour, this means you're guiding how a child is reinforced without the use of very much negative attention at all. It's good because it shows the child that good behaviour is praised and bad behaviour is simply addressed, then moved on from. So many times I see things where parents are upset with their children for not understanding why they just can't deal with it right now. But a child doesn't care about these things, trying to appeal to a child's emotions doesn't work when they're too young to recognise other people exist yet.
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Re: 5 Popular Parenting Fads That Make Sense (And Screw Kids

Postby CarrieVS » Wed Mar 18, 2015 5:37 pm

The thing about a timeout is that it's a chance for the child to calm down. If they're having a tantrum or the like, there's no point trying to talk calmly to them right away, because they won't be listening. You put them in time out, they stop screaming and kicking, then you talk to them.
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Re: 5 Popular Parenting Fads That Make Sense (And Screw Kids

Postby Deathclaw_Puncher » Wed Mar 18, 2015 5:39 pm

Society would probably be a lot more tolerable if people just became absolutely Spock-like at the age of 5.
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Re: 5 Popular Parenting Fads That Make Sense (And Screw Kids

Postby Marcuse » Wed Mar 18, 2015 5:55 pm

Having read through the article, I also disagree with the emphasis of #2. Giving kids a schedule, even a busy one, is possibly a bad thing when they're older, but when they're young it's practically essential. Firstly, a younger child sleeps a ton, so when they are awake they're raring to pack in as much stuff as they can, and having no plan or idea of what you're going to do with them leads to a bored and misbehaving child. It's just easier to have a routine, plan out what's happening, and then do it, than it is to try and get a young child to choose activities when they're not capable of even expressing the words for most of the stuff yet. Also, kids tend to find structure in routine, rather than restriction, because they can't really make those kind of decisions for themselves yet, and while we need to encourage them to grow and make decisions on their own, it can be done within a schedule without harming them and making them fat.

For older kids, I can recognise that running them into the ground with nothing but work related things is harmful. But then my version of a schedule, or routine would include downtime to prevent that. No schedule is going to be correct for a child their entire life with you, and as kids get older it's better to start giving them less direct structure and allow them to grow and make their own choices.
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Re: 5 Popular Parenting Fads That Make Sense (And Screw Kids

Postby PSTN » Wed Mar 18, 2015 8:10 pm

I don't really ever remember getting time outs as a child, my parents just put us to work if we acted up. My dad was a small businesses owner, so he always took advantage of an opportunity for free labour, especially because there were a lot of time-consuming and menial tasks he wanted done that weren't exactly worth paying a grown man's wage to do.

The only real drawback was that my brothers and I always received communal punishment. If one of us acted up, or broke something, or whatever, we were all in trouble, and had to go sort bolts or pick trash out of the dirt.

Edit: fixed tag.
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Re: 5 Popular Parenting Fads That Make Sense (And Screw Kids

Postby blehblah » Wed Mar 18, 2015 8:28 pm

Marcuse wrote:Having read through the article, I also disagree with the emphasis of #2. Giving kids a schedule, even a busy one, is possibly a bad thing when they're older, but when they're young it's practically essential. Firstly, a younger child sleeps a ton, so when they are awake they're raring to pack in as much stuff as they can, and having no plan or idea of what you're going to do with them leads to a bored and misbehaving child. It's just easier to have a routine, plan out what's happening, and then do it, than it is to try and get a young child to choose activities when they're not capable of even expressing the words for most of the stuff yet. Also, kids tend to find structure in routine, rather than restriction, because they can't really make those kind of decisions for themselves yet, and while we need to encourage them to grow and make decisions on their own, it can be done within a schedule without harming them and making them fat.

For older kids, I can recognise that running them into the ground with nothing but work related things is harmful. But then my version of a schedule, or routine would include downtime to prevent that. No schedule is going to be correct for a child their entire life with you, and as kids get older it's better to start giving them less direct structure and allow them to grow and make their own choices.


I agree with that. There is a balance at every age, but with younger kids, routine is key. I suppose the difference is that we've never had a "schedule", while we do adhere to a "routine" with our kids. Yes, on weekends the routine schedule is relaxed - it's not "breakfast at 07:30, sharp, private", but the routine of "before breakfast, you get out of your pajamas and get dressed," is enforced.

To me, kids are learning how to deal with a big, wide, confusing, noisy, dirty, scabby, ugly, and oh so wonderful world. That's scary. Routine is reassuring... I will always have clothes on before I eat breakfast, and if it's a school day, papa will wash my hands and face after I put my milk in the fridge, and then I'll put boots on before my jacket, and then my jacket, and then my hat, and mittens come last, and then I get my backpack with my lunch, and then we go to the car, and then... while they absorb the intricacies of life, they have a touchstone of routine that is there for them - it's about trust, in a way.

Creating a bit of order from the chaos of the world provides a tool, and a comfort, for kids. The utility is structure, the comfort is predictability. They don't like it when we change the routine, unless that change has a specific goal that they understand, "Museum! Okay, papa, we'll eat breakfast fast so we get there before the other families!". BINGO!

In the usual routine, we leave plenty of space for what folks now call "free play". We just call it, "go be kids, and leave the pin in the grenades". Sometimes they get bored, and we come-up with ideas "pull papa's finger - now you've discovered half the fun of arts and farts". Maybe it's, "Who wants to go outside and build a snow-bear? No, not a snowman, everyone has those...". Most often, they find a million things to do on their own. Sometimes it's building things, sometimes it's destroying things, sometimes it's an hour spent colouring - it's up to them, with some direction.

But, I guess some would call that "be a child" time an abstention of parenting, like a time-out. Instead, imposing unstructured structure "free play" maintains the illusion.
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Re: 5 Popular Parenting Fads That Make Sense (And Screw Kids

Postby NathanLoiselle » Wed Mar 18, 2015 8:44 pm

So my favorite Social Justice Warrior, Mightier-Than-Thou website is telling me how to parent my children??? Oh boy! Because I need people who don't have the chops of a journalist to tell me what to do. This will be one that I accidentally forget to read.
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Re: 5 Popular Parenting Fads That Make Sense (And Screw Kids

Postby blehblah » Wed Mar 18, 2015 9:40 pm

NathanLoiselle wrote:So my favorite Social Justice Warrior, Mightier-Than-Thou website is telling me how to parent my children??? Oh boy! Because I need people who don't have the chops of a journalist to tell me what to do. This will be one that I accidentally forget to read.


I get the sentiment, and the joke - but there is never a downside to reading anything.

Sorry, I can't turn-off the parent button.

What is wrong with me? I've been infected, people! Stay away, RUN, RUN, RUN, before I get fatherly! Save yourselves!

*adjusts glasses*

Now, as I was saying, to colour between the lines, one should consider the lines to be instant death...
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Re: 5 Popular Parenting Fads That Make Sense (And Screw Kids

Postby PSTN » Wed Mar 18, 2015 9:42 pm

blehblah wrote:...there is never a downside to reading anything.


Challenge accepted!
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Re: 5 Popular Parenting Fads That Make Sense (And Screw Kids

Postby sunglasses » Wed Mar 18, 2015 9:44 pm

PSTN wrote:
blehblah wrote:...there is never a downside to reading anything.


Challenge accepted!


Yes, I dispute this. I've...I've read some shit man.
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Re: 5 Popular Parenting Fads That Make Sense (And Screw Kids

Postby OrangeEyebrows » Wed Mar 18, 2015 9:51 pm

blehblah wrote:there is never a downside to reading anything.


I would like to refer you to the hardcore Schindler's List slashfic I recently posted.

Also, can we have ice-cream for dinner? Sunny keeps hitting me! I put a Lego up my nose and now I can't get it out.
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Re: 5 Popular Parenting Fads That Make Sense (And Screw Kids

Postby SandTea » Wed Mar 18, 2015 9:54 pm

As a childless cup i can only comment on the way articles like these are perceived by me, both of the author and reader(me). I don't think they are ever made to be absolutist, saying "timeouts are bad" and "don't schedule shit for your kid to do". That's not to say they are not extremist by using the polar examples to demonstrate the point of some study they found.

It brings to mind some article about how to get people to like you more. "Part your hair on the right", "don't look at the camera for dating profile pictures" etc. I really don't think they're telling me if I don't do those I'm going to be forever alone guy who is wrong about pictures and hair. I mean, I will provide no sources from the article except my memory so forgive me if there's a blaring discrepancy. From what i remember the "timeouts" section wasn't saying never do it, it was saying don't do it like the way presented and that presentation was of a person who just sent the kid away when he did something wrong. Then, in so many words said "studies say that bad". I honestly can not fault that presentation but then again my brain has like an auto-correct sometimes and yes poster above me i would love some ice cream... where was I?

Eh, I'll end with the only time I remember getting a timeout. It was kindergarten and i made the gun finger thingy running around and had to sit out playtime so that sorta things been going on for a long time before zero tolerance... HOLY CRAP flashback. apparently I blocked out this other one. I say one but I lost a whole years worth of recess once because of harassing a mascot during a field trip (I ran off with his costume head. hilarious, I know). But honestly that did wonders for my thinking time and imagination. I came up with such cool games that didn't require to leave the bench they had to shoo the other kids away from playing them with me but once they knew the game there was nothing the teachers could do to stop us. oh god that was funny.

apologizes for the droning on
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Re: 5 Popular Parenting Fads That Make Sense (And Screw Kids

Postby blehblah » Wed Mar 18, 2015 10:12 pm

OrangeEyebrows wrote:
blehblah wrote:there is never a downside to reading anything.


I would like to refer you to the hardcore Schindler's List slashfic I recently posted.

Also, can we have ice-cream for dinner? Sunny keeps hitting me! I put a Lego up my nose and now I can't get it out.


Put some bran up there, though as a non-professional on the Internet, I mean cocaine, and it'll clear right out... one way or the other.

A sneeze, a quality poop, meh - in sciency-stuff, the end is a question best left unanswered, it's the means that count. "Exactly", as studies show.

If you're shy of the white dust of happy, have you considered a crayon? I mean, it would be pushing-out the bad with something a bit less bad, which could lead to (after a few trials) something wonderfully inert, like a petrified stick, or a rolled-up stump speech.
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Re: 5 Popular Parenting Fads That Make Sense (And Screw Kids

Postby SandTea » Wed Mar 18, 2015 10:30 pm

OrangeEyebrows wrote:
blehblah wrote:there is never a downside to reading anything.


I would like to refer you to the hardcore Schindler's List slashfic I recently posted.

Also, can we have ice-cream for dinner? Sunny keeps hitting me! I put a Lego up my nose and now I can't get it out.


Isn't the universe magnificent! Your post went up before i saw it while i was writing mine. I was actually making a joke about my brain re-imagining things to suit what it wanted to hear then this happened. That is like a tiny miracle... or a normal coincidence but still awesome. or maybe I'm some sorta of genie?
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