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Logical consequence for defacing property? - Page 2

post #21 of 29
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Originally Posted by happysmileylady View Post



 

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Originally Posted by Karenwith4 View Post



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Originally Posted by Super~Single~Mama View Post



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Originally Posted by UnschoolnMa View Post

 

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Taking things seriously doesn't necessarily mean punishment/"consequences". I'd be really concerned if my 12 year old were doing something like this in school, and I'd work really hard to understand why she did it and what was going on. That's how I would take it seriously. It sounds like a really, really angry thing to do, and I'd wonder why she was so angry. Does she like school? How does she feel there? Is she struggling academically? Socially?

This, basically. Serious can look like a lot of things it turns out. It's more important to me to have an insight into what is happening and how we might address/solve it than to hand out consequences.


I agree that figuring out what is going on is important - but then when you figure out how to address it there are consequences.  Solving the problem doesn't always happen through talking and connecting.  Especially since the OP's child has done this before.  One person above stated natural consequences of losing freedom and privileges, and I think that's more of a logical consequence than a "natural" one simply b/c naturally nothing would happen at home? 

 

Karenwith4 - What types of activities would you do as a family to gain perspective, develop gratitude and responsibility?  I'm not trying to be snarky I promise, I'm looking for tools to put in my toolbox for later!



Well for our family that would be volunteering, service work etc as a family. I don't think that imposing that work as a punishment  has the same positive effect as integrating it into our family values.  It would also get integrated into things like the books we would read, the tv we would watch, the news stories that would get discussed around the table and the relationships we would foster (positive role models/mentors etc). 

 

But I think that this sort of thing is best used as a proactive rather than reactive tool. Empowering kids to be responsible for their actions, connecting them to their community in multiple ways,   creating a sense of gratitude, instilling the attitude that they can use their power and energy to make a positive difference is something that IMO has the most value and benefits if its integrated into family life from an early age.

 

I have a friend who works at a homeless shelter and he takes his son there whenever he feels like his son's perspective is getting out of whack with their family values. In the particular case of the OP I would probably read and discuss Greg Mortensons's books, watch and discuss the Girl Effect video, volunteer as a family locally at a struggling school or fundraise to build schools in developing nations, invite someone to dinner who has a perspective on this to share.

hth

Karen

Punishments and consequences aren't necessarily the same thing.  And, they don't necessarily have to be bad.  When used effectively, it's a lesson.  I agree that a proactive approach is usually best, but no one is perfect and we can't all be proactive about everything.  In addition, not all reactive approaches are necessarily bad. 

 

IMHO, cleaning up graffiti around town would be a punishment and not really effective if that's ALL it is.  However, it becomes a natural consequence and a lesson if discussions of why she's cleaning it up, why it's wrong to deface property etc occur at the same time.  Discussions about how it would feel if it was her property, how it makes the owners feel etc etc.  The idea is to get her thinking about the real consequences of her actions.  Just talking about how someone else has to clean it all up doesn't always work.  Having the child experience the real clean up, sometimes many times over, can be very effective for some kids.
 


 

I'm not sure if you are taking exception to my post or building on the conversation.  
I don't necessarily disagree with you. Cleaning up the graffitti may help develop perspective depending on what lies at the core of this particular child's actions and the discussion part of it may help - but only if the child is in the place to hear it. We don't know enough about this situation to say.  Regardless of the reactive/corrective actions that might be appropriate in this circumstance, if I were faced with this I would also be putting in place proactive tools and strategies to develop gratitude, connection and responsibility. I was responding to a direct question to me about what those would look like in our family and suggesting that they might be better proactive tools than reactive ones based on that question.

post #22 of 29
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Originally Posted by happysmileylady View Post

 

I know she's not the only kid like this, so I wonder...how would you get to those solutions, if you can't get your kid to TRUELY talk to you?  At what point do you give up asking the same questions a million different ways trying to get to the root of the problem?  At what point is the trying to get to the real issues and feelings, getting the teen to truely talk to you, actually crossing into the arena of violating privacy, for a private person?

I think this is a good point - maybe we should start another thread about it, even. A lot of kids aren't going to be as open with their parents as when they were younger, and the flip side is that it's normal and natural for them to want more privacy as they get older, and it's important to respect that as well.

 

I think keeping basic lines of communication open is a start - talking about how everyone's day went, sharing interesting stories or asking for advice on small things (like, I always ask my kid for fashion advice), that sort of thing. For us car trips seem to be good places for this, and we also connect via text message throughout the day.

 

My kid doesn't do well when put on the spot, so I sometimes bring up "deeper" subjects when I'm doing something else, too, like cooking or driving. I've also found that talking about my life (both past and present) is a good way to sort of gauge her opinions on things, and sometimes she can relate to what I say and that opens up conversation about her life. Writing letters or emails could also be a way to start conversations with some kids - something simple, like "You seem unhappy lately. Is there anything I can do to help? I love you very much and I want to make things better for you if I can."
 

I don't think it's a one-shot deal, either... I think it takes time.
 

 

IMHO, cleaning up graffiti around town would be a punishment and not really effective if that's ALL it is.  However, it becomes a natural consequence and a lesson if discussions of why she's cleaning it up, why it's wrong to deface property etc occur at the same time.  Discussions about how it would feel if it was her property, how it makes the owners feel etc etc.  The idea is to get her thinking about the real consequences of her actions.  Just talking about how someone else has to clean it all up doesn't always work.  Having the child experience the real clean up, sometimes many times over, can be very effective for some kids.
 


I think you could argue that it's a logical consequence, maybe, but not a natural one... and punishments can be logical consequences, too. I guess I just keep coming back to how angry these acts seem to be, and how being forced to clean up around town seems so likely to make a kid more angry. I guess I could see it more if it was a family volunteer thing, like Karen talked about, it might be a way to bring the family closer, although I can also see it as a day of nagging the daughter to get to work and clean up, which wouldn't be so fruitful.

 

I still think that without knowing why she did this, there's no way to effectively prevent something like this from happening again, which I would think is the goal. I think of kids (and teens) as doing the best they can with the tools they have, and our task as giving them better tool...

post #23 of 29

Well I am the one who did this when I was 13. I can tell you why I did it too. I remember doing it.

 

I was sitting in class (catholic school) and I wrote on my desk "I hate nuns". I kept retracing it and pressing harder every time.

After class, Sister Jeanne came and found me in the hall. She asked me if I did that on the desk. My eyes welled up with tears. I couldn't lie.

I really was a good girl, but I wanted to be a bad a$$. She just looked at me and nodded and kind of smirked and I said I was sorry.

She never spoke of it again and I was always so glad of that.

 

Now I'll say why I did it. I was ANGRY. I needed attention.

  In our family there were 4 kids, one with cerebral palsy. My mom was tired and lost interest when we entered adolescence. I was too young to know what I needed and even why I felt so alone and angry.

Poor me.

 

I dont write on things anymore

 

  Sheepish.gif

post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by happysmileylady View Post

I know she's not the only kid like this, so I wonder...how would you get to those solutions, if you can't get your kid to TRUELY talk to you?  At what point do you give up asking the same questions a million different ways trying to get to the root of the problem?  At what point is the trying to get to the real issues and feelings, getting the teen to truely talk to you, actually crossing into the arena of violating privacy, for a private person?

HSL - that is a tough one and i dont know what to say. 

 

this is when the village becomes sooo important. 

 

i am not the ONLY person dd talks to. i have a couple of friends with same age kids who are like family now. my dd talks to them too. i dont expect my dd to talk to me all the time. at one point i expect her to hate me and talk to someone else. it may or may not happen but if it does it wont surprise me. so she already has some other adults she can talk to. she might not feel comfortable talking to my about sex or boyfriends. i have to respect that. 

 

there are pieces and parts of my dd she does not share with me. right away. and i HAVE to respect her silence. thankfully i have never seen her 'hit out' but i have seen her down and sad and i've had to respect her attitude of not talking to her. 
 

I dont know HSL. i look back. my mom and i were completely different personalities. i refused to talk to her. instead of being bad i took it out on myself. but i would not talk to my mom. plus i remember as a teen i had such a skewed up view of the world that i would not talk to her. i never ever felt she would understand me. yet looking back i knew that was not the full truth. it wasnt about my mother. it was about me and my skewed up look at the world. 

 

when i look back i find the one thing i did not believe in is that my mother loved me. again it was about me and not about her. intellectually i knew my mom loved me - in her way but not in my way. she was not a touchy feely person. and i missed that. i really missed the physical touch. if she is open to physical touch you could perhaps do something that wont violate her. 

 

do you share the silence sometimes with your dd. just sit together and not say a word. there is no need for it. 

 

my ex husband was an extremely private person. extremely. and i had to respect that. and i still do. there are things he likes to deal with himself. and so then i feel my duty is to let them know i am always there (he always knew that) but never try to violate that. 

post #25 of 29

I know she's not the only kid like this, so I wonder...how would you get to those solutions, if you can't get your kid to TRUELY talk to you?  At what point do you give up asking the same questions a million different ways trying to get to the root of the problem?  At what point is the trying to get to the real issues and feelings, getting the teen to truely talk to you, actually crossing into the arena of violating privacy, for a private person?>>>>>>>

 

Sometimes just being together and not asking questions is the best option.  I find sometimes without asking my dd will just talk about school when we're sitting on the couch together or just playing a game.  Now she's only 12 so not a teenager yet but i've read it before that sometimes asking less works.

post #26 of 29

I absolutely DISAGREE with having NO consequence.  Yes, she cleaned up her mess.  Great!  There's natural consequence #1.  But my 4 year old also does this when she writes on a wall. 

By the age of 12, she full well should know that writing on things other than paper is wrong.  Yet she is still choosing to do it, and she's 'defaced' other property before at home....

 

So in my mind, something is not sinking in, and this needs some extra attention.

 

She is 12.  It was school.  The "consequences" of the "crime" can still be small.  I would want to take advantage of this opportunity *before* we are talking about defacing *other* public property where it might truly be treated as a crime.  With a record that won't go away till she's 18.

 

I would want to know why she did it...if she considered it a joke or what. 

 

And whether there's an underlying issue or not....I would want some sort of other consequence besides just cleaning it up.  Why?  Because I'd rather my kid "do some time" helping the janitor clean the toilets or as a volunteer cleaning graffiti in my community *now* before there's a permanent record of a crime....and hope that there never WILL be a criminal record!  (not that I'm saying that's where this is going! just that I'd want the lesson NOW while the price is fairly small)

post #27 of 29

Hi there, so many different views - isn't it great being able to have all these thought and ideas to look through and see what works for you?  I have been thinking about this and if it was my son I think I would be experiencing a mixture of feelings; I would probably feel , concerned, embarrassed, worried; but mainly deep concern over what was going on for my son.  So once I calmed myself down I would want to talk to my son and I would probably start off by trying to empathize; what I thought he may be feeling.  So something like , " You must have felt pretty scared, when you were caught writing on the walls. I know you know that was wrong and I want you to know that I am not going to impose any other punishments, consequences for what you did.  The school is looking after that end of things; and I do want you to follow through with what they ask you to do.  I am really concerned about you. It seems like something is not right for you; that your angry or frustrated or just not happy.  I really love you and I hope so much that when you are ready you will be able to talk to me about what is bothering you.  You know, when I heard from the school I felt embarrassed (angry - whatever it was that I was feeling) that you had defaced the school's property, but you know what:  I don't really care about a written wall, what I do care about is you. And I want you to know that I will love you no matter what you tell me or what you do."    And then, I would really start trying to connect with my child through us doing things together that he likes; ie) going to a movie and going out for hot chocolate afterwards, spending time skating together,  just hanging out building things,  and being really mindful of wanting to connect.   I would not be asking him tons of questions and pushing him overtly, I would be trying to create a space where he would feel safe enough to talk to me.   For me, 12 is a tricky period,  there can be tons of emotions going on and highschool can even be tougher. When I think of my son doing something like this, I imagine it would be a time that he needs to feel loved more than ever and have help sorting through whatever it is that is going on; that we would need to connect more than ever.    Last night, I was working my shift as a youth worker at a youth homeless shelter, mentioned this thread to one of our young residents.  She said without thinking "when people write on things, it is because they want to be heard." 

post #28 of 29

intentionalmama,  I agree with all of that. It very much reflects my approach. thumbsup.gif

post #29 of 29

yes, that too, I would want to find some way to connect as well, because it does really seem like a cry for attention.  And I'd be OK with the consequence staying with the school as well....I just really would want the point to get across that this is NOT cool......before it becomes a problem with much larger consequences (i.e. what happens when a kid graffitis say a public bridge and gets caught?)  I might even do the community service as a family or mother/kid project, but there'd be something.

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