Originally Posted by IdentityCrisisMama
I think that's the difference. Am I trying to manage a behavior or teach my child about the world? Sometimes, we can have both and I commend the parent who can do that well. I can do it with some things but, other times, it seems like managing the behavior might actually inhibit the bigger lesson.
Have you ever come across this?
Recycling comes to mind. I can teach DC to put the paper in the paper bin but that has nothing to do with teaching her the value of recycling. They're two different yet related things, yk?
I don't know how old your dd is, but imo it can depend on the age of the child.
One example that comes to mind, because I have used to several times recently in threads about this issue, is that I made my son sit on a chair when he first came to us and was hitting/kicking the dog (after days of us explaining that it hurt the dog and modeling good ways to touch the dog). I told him that it seemed he was having trouble not hurting the dog and that he needed to sit down, calm down, and think about what he had done to end up on the chair and what he could do so he didn't have to sit on the chair again. Very shortly he stopped hurting the dog.
Now, what did my son learn from this experience? Probably that if he hits or kicks the dog, Momma will make him sit on a chair. And that's fine with me if that's the lesson he learned, because we was only about 2 (21-27 months old, approximately, when he came to us) at the time and I really believe that he could not put himself in the dog's place and understand that kicking/hitting Pippin hurt him.
But I don't think that my son is going to be a 20 year old, a 15 year old, a ten year old, or even a six year old who believes that the reason we are kind to animals is so that our Mommas don't make us sit on chairs. As my son matures, his capacity for empathy will increase and he will learn to understand that we don't hit or kick animals because we don't want to hurt them.
So in your example, does it really matter whether my two and three year olds understand (at their ages) WHY we recycle? To me, no. If they understand that they put their stuff in the recycling bin because Momma says so, that's enough for me at this age. Would I punish them if they continually didn't recycle their stuff? No. But I will punish them if they continually hurt people or animals.
Hope that makes sense.