The Truth about Consequences

I am really puzzled about how parents discipline their children these days. While shopping in a country store recently, I noticed a child’s bench on which were painted the words "Time Out". How clever, I thought. A child can now have an ever present reminder that, if he does something wrong, the bench is right there waiting for him - a little like seeing the horse whip hanging on the barn wall years ago. (The whip, at least, was originally designed for a different purpose.) Where would be the appropriate place to put such a bench, I wondered. In the corner of a little used room? In front of the TV? Would a child ever voluntarily sit on an object that was his tool of punishment?

Things seemed so much simpler when I was young and even when I was raising my own kids. Discipline came swiftly and surely then, and we pretty much knew what it would be. The proverbial ‘potch’on the tush. The "no dessert for a week," and, for less serious offenses, "go to your room."

Nowadays before kids experience the consequences of their behavior, (no longer referred to as punishment), parents must choose exactly the right words with which to pronounce sentence - words that won’t damage their egos or cause them to seek counseling at some future date. Most offspring willingly accept the consequence of banishment to their rooms. And why not? In their rooms (which parents never clean for fear of "intruding in their space") they have their choice of watching television, playing their favorite cd’s or logging onto the internet. As I said, I don’t understand today’s methods of discipline. All I know is that I wish I had been born a whole lot later than I was.

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