Originally Posted by LynnS6
Obviously one part of the solution is to work on the parent-child connection. But that's a "slow" solution. How do you get it through a 6 yo's thick skull that this is REALLY dangerous? Kids DO this sort of thing. Even kids with good connections.
What about a kid, even a kid with good connections, who isn't a rule follower?
Originally Posted by dubfam
But there are times where getting to the root of the problem can take a couple weeks. In a serious safety matter like this, where there is a really good chance he will do it again, I can understand why the Mom would feel a need to impose a consequence.
It has been my experience, as the mom of a kid who did engage in serious and unsafe behavior, that the approaches typically perceived as "slower" are vital
. IME, addressing the reasons behind the behavior (the root of the problem, the child's concerns and/or skills) results in the most durable solutions and the most durable change. (And here I don't mean just nurturing connection, but helping kids learn skills (if needed) and working together with the child to find a solution to the problem, with the child's input.) And when the issue is very serious, I want a durable solution. IME, punishments and rewards don't solve problems. Temporarily, it might help but it doesn't actually solve anything durably. It certainly doesn't address the root of the problem, and it doesn't teach any skills. I won't rely on punishments or rewards (or the threat/promise of punishments/rewards) to keep my kid safe. Kids may not be thinking, in that moment when they experience an impulse, of the consequence they got last time. They may not care, at that moment, about the consequence they might experience or the punishment they might get. They can have trouble with decision making and thinking things through, regardless of consequences. And so on. It has also been my experience that using punishments and rewards can result in more frustration and conflict, interfering with our getting to a solution for the initial unsafe behavior. And again, I want to get to that solution.
IME, if I really want to keep my kid safe I have to do a couple of things. I have to work with my kid to solve the problem. Together. And that can take time. So I also have to provide a level of supervision that keeps my kids safe. Yes, I know, sometimes a mom has to pee or help another kid. But having had a 7 year old who engaged in unsafe, serious behavior I can say that it was worth the time and effort to provide very close supervision ("never farther away than the next room, always able to clearly hear and preferably see what was going on, so I can intervene swiftly to keep everyone safe" kind of supervision) until the problem was solved to the degree that I felt safe backing off on that very close supervision (which actually happened little by little).
So I imagine if my 6 year old were to do something like this, we'd have that very serious discussion where I talked about how serious and potentially dangerous it is to leave without telling me. I'd make it very clear that I need him to ask me if it's okay to go somewhere/that he tell me where he's going, that it's important I know where he is. If it happened a second time, we'd problem-solve together. I'd listen to my kid's concern, present my concerns, and collaborate with my child on a solution that works for both of us. Not one that works just for him, but one that satisfactorily and realistically addresses both my concerns and his. We'd make a plan for safety. And I'd supervise closely until I felt confident that it was safe to back off a bit on that supervision.
And I really can't imagine chasing my 6 year old (like chfriend, I'd just wait), unless his running away were likely to put him in danger. And whether or not it presented immediate danger, his running away from me would be a whole other issue to address-together, proactively.