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Paul Beardsley
2008-Oct-02, 10:59 AM
Rule 1.

When someone says, "I don't agree with rules, they just get in the way of creativity and original thought," chances are they are adolescent (whether physically or in terms of behaviour) and have probably neither created anything nor had an original thought.

Rule 2.

When someone says, "The rules are: there are no rules!" it usually turns out that there are rules after all.

Rule 3.

When a new police drama is announced, and trailers talk of the main character as, "A cop who doesn't play by the rules!" it's pretty likely that the scriptwriters have only a hazy idea of what police can and cannot do.

mahesh
2008-Oct-02, 11:35 AM
Rule 4.

When someone says, "rules are meant to be broken", it's best to keep out of that person's sphere of influence.

It's smelly and spells big trouble, eventually.

Neverfly
2008-Oct-02, 11:38 AM
You guys just know... That I'm gonna come busting in here with the other side right?

Rules can serve a purpose. As can breaking them.

Rules are not perfect as your arguments Seem to imply that they must be.
It is wise to respect rules but wiser still to know when to break them.

Paul Beardsley
2008-Oct-02, 11:49 AM
You guys just know... That I'm gonna come busting in here with the other side right?

Rules can serve a purpose. As can breaking them.

Rules are not perfect as your arguments Seem to imply that they must be.
It is wise to respect rules but wiser still to know when to break them.

Actually your last line sums up my opinion pretty well.

Sometimes rules are like mines in a minefield. The fool declares that there are no mines, or they don't matter, or they don't apply to him. The wise man finds out where they are located so that he can avoid them; if he is really clever he might even find a way of deactivating them, or using them to his own advantage.

Neverfly
2008-Oct-02, 11:57 AM
Actually your last line sums up my opinion pretty well.

Sometimes rules are like mines in a minefield. The fool declares that there are no mines, or they don't matter, or they don't apply to him. The wise man finds out where they are located so that he can avoid them; if he is really clever he might even find a way of deactivating them, or using them to his own advantage.

Ah.. see... Here we have some agreement.
I cannot always respect a person that manipulates the rules in his favor.
I also cannot respect a person that sees a rule as a rule that should never be broken.

Maybe another way to put it is to Understand the Limitations of Rules:think:

closetgeek
2008-Oct-02, 12:00 PM
Ah.. see... Here we have some agreement.
I cannot always respect a person that manipulates the rules in his favor.

Maybe another way to put it is to Understand the Limitations of Rules:think:

This is very similar to the thread about surviving dangerous situations; sometimes the ones that follow the rules, surviving having done so. Other times the one's that didn't follow the rules, survive for the very same reason. You really couldn't have said it better, any other way;


It is wise to respect rules but wiser still to know when to break them.

grant hutchison
2008-Oct-02, 12:02 PM
The fool declares that there are no mines, or they don't matter, or they don't apply to him. The wise man finds out where they are located so that he can avoid them; if he is really clever he might even find a way of deactivating them, or using them to his own advantage.Are you recalling Douglas Bader's pithy observation, "Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the obedience of fools"?

Grant Hutchison

PraedSt
2008-Oct-02, 12:11 PM
Maybe we need rules for when to break rules...

Sorry :)

Paul Beardsley
2008-Oct-02, 12:25 PM
Are you recalling Douglas Bader's pithy observation, "Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the obedience of fools"?

Grant Hutchison

I wasn't but I am now - nice one!

Neverfly
2008-Oct-02, 12:35 PM
This is very similar to the thread about surviving dangerous situations; sometimes the ones that follow the rules, surviving having done so. Other times the one's that didn't follow the rules, survive for the very same reason.

I see this as different because it was not a conscious effort.
They did not break rules knowing that it would save them.
Sometimes it may have been the case- But like the example of the World Trade Center employee being late for work... Well, that breaking of the rule wasn't a conscious effort to save his or her life.

Sometimes, however, rules that are generally good either lose applicability or even become Harmful.
In those cases, rebels must serve their purpose.
Some of the attitudes expressed about rulebreakers seem flippant and show a lack of respect for rulebreakers. Yet, we would not be anywhere near where we are today without them.

One example that comes to mind is how parents, teachers, daycare workers alike rush in to resolve conflicts FOR children. Lawsuits- Whatever, they have a certain selfish fear.

Let- Them - Learn. Let them grow. If the child then is unable to handle it- the adult can come into the picture.
But we are not giving them the growing room they NEED first- and that is an example of when rules become harmful.

Larry Jacks
2008-Oct-02, 12:39 PM
Douglas Bader was a great fighter pilot. Pilots in general and fighter pilots in particular have sayings about rules, such as:

There are Rules and there are Laws. The Rules are made by men who think that they know how to fly your airplane better than you. Laws (of Physics) are made by the Great One. You can, and sometimes should, suspend the Rules but you can never suspend the Laws.

About Rules:
a. The rules are a good place to hide if you don't have a better idea and the talent to execute it.
b. If you deviate from a rule, it must be a flawless performance. (e.g., If you fly under a bridge, don't hit the bridge).

The aircraft limits are only there in case there is another flight by that particular aircraft. If subsequent flights do not appear likely, there are no limits.

Flying is a great way of life for men who want to feel like boys, but not for those who still are.

Death is just nature's way of telling you to watch your airspeed.

Remember that the radio is only an electronic suggestion box for the pilot.

And then there are these truisms:

As a pilot, only two bad things can happen to you and one of them will.
a. One day you will walk out to the aircraft knowing that it is your last flight.
b. One day you will walk out to the aircraft not knowing that it is your last flight.

The medical profession is the natural enemy of the aviation profession.

closetgeek
2008-Oct-02, 01:40 PM
[QUOTE=Neverfly;1335452]I see this as different because it was not a conscious effort.
They did not break rules knowing that it would save them.
Sometimes it may have been the case- But like the example of the World Trade Center employee being late for work... Well, that breaking of the rule wasn't a conscious effort to save his or her life.

But the discussion was more about the ones that didn't stay in the office as they were instructed. They were aware that they were going against authority but felt that their chances of survival were better, outside of the building. That was a conscious effort.

Neverfly
2008-Oct-02, 01:53 PM
But the discussion was more about the ones that didn't stay in the office as they were instructed. They were aware that they were going against authority but felt that their chances of survival were better, outside of the building. That was a conscious effort.

True. It's why I added the classifier about the late to work example;)

Whirlpool
2008-Oct-02, 02:00 PM
to sum it all ..

Rule 5. There are Exceptions to the Rules.

Fazor
2008-Oct-02, 02:09 PM
Rule 1.
When someone says, "I don't agree with rules, they just get in the way of creativity and original thought," chances are they are adolescent (whether physically or in terms of behaviour) and have probably neither created anything nor had an original thought.


Heh, this hints at one of my favorite social ironies (one I observered quite abit while attending an art school).

Usually people with the above phylosophy think that anyone who follows the rules is a sheep, just doing "what the man says to do". They are blind to the fact that any "open minded/free thinking/rational person" does more along the lines of Neverfly's quote: they follow the rules that they know are good and serve a purpose, but would break "the rules" if it was wiser to do so.

Whereas, the "I don't agree with rules, maaan!" crowd tend to just break the rules with the sole purpose of being defiant. Which means that they're just automatically doing the opposite of what they're told they should do. Which means they are not being individual or thinking for themselves; they're still basing thier opinions and actions on what someone else says (albiet the opposite of what was said).

Going against the grain is not the same thing as thinking for yourself.

mike alexander
2008-Oct-02, 02:34 PM
Cop Lemma

Within three seasons at most, most cop shows lose whatever originality they once had and become like every other cop show.


The above is simply regression to the mean, or maybe an application of the central limit theorem. But like all statistical processes, is inexorable.


Life Lemma

Within three decades at most, most lives lose whatever originality they once had and become like every other life.

Okay, maybe four decades.

Swift
2008-Oct-02, 02:39 PM
Well, someone had to say it...

Fourth Bruce: No. Right, I just want to remind you of the faculty rules: Rule One!
Everybruce: No Poofters!
Fourth Bruce: Rule Two, no member of the faculty is to maltreat the Abbos in any way at all -- if there's anybody watching. Rule Three?
Everybruce: No Poofters!!
Fourth Bruce: Rule Four, now this term, I don't want to catch anybody not drinking. Rule Five,
Everybruce: No Poofters!
Fourth Bruce: Rule Six, there is NO ... Rule Six. Rule Seven,
Everybruce: No Poofters!!

Gillianren
2008-Oct-02, 04:01 PM
I went to a college full of the "I don't follow rules, man!" sort. Interestingly, I spent the first year there studying the "know when to break the rules" sort. I have discovered one of the great differences between the two--consequences. The first group don't realize they exist. The second acknowledge them and accept them as a natural outcome.

Click Ticker
2008-Oct-02, 05:18 PM
Heh, this hints at one of my favorite social ironies (one I observered quite abit while attending an art school).

Usually people with the above phylosophy think that anyone who follows the rules is a sheep, just doing "what the man says to do". They are blind to the fact that any "open minded/free thinking/rational person" does more along the lines of Neverfly's quote: they follow the rules that they know are good and serve a purpose, but would break "the rules" if it was wiser to do so.

Whereas, the "I don't agree with rules, maaan!" crowd tend to just break the rules with the sole purpose of being defiant. Which means that they're just automatically doing the opposite of what they're told they should do. Which means they are not being individual or thinking for themselves; they're still basing thier opinions and actions on what someone else says (albiet the opposite of what was said).

Going against the grain is not the same thing as thinking for yourself.

I've always heard this view referred to as, "I wanna be different, just like everybody else!"

tdvance
2008-Oct-02, 05:41 PM
Are you recalling Douglas Bader's pithy observation, "Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the obedience of fools"?

Grant Hutchison

Of course, rarely does a fool know he's a fool, so...... if there's a fool in the room and everyone you see is wise, it must be you? nah--won't work reliably.

tdvance
2008-Oct-02, 05:47 PM
I suggest this rule:

"know the reason for a rule before breaking it."

If you believe it was an arbitrary rule made by someone who likes to make rules, and it turns out it isn't, that could be trouble. People tend to assume the former more times than it's actually true.

Todd

Pippin
2008-Oct-02, 05:57 PM
From sports and other games.

If you aren't cheating then you aren't trying hard enough.

I personally don't follow that mantra as I'd rather keep my morals.

Argos
2008-Oct-02, 06:11 PM
Just the other day we were discussing that obeying rules is not a survivorīs trait [well, except on a private bulletin board]: Link (http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/09/08/survive/index.html)

"They were not rule followers, they thought for themselves and had an independent frame of mind,"

Fazor
2008-Oct-02, 06:21 PM
Just the other day we were discussing that obeying rules is not a survivorīs trait [well, except on a private bulletin board]: Link (http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/09/08/survive/index.html)

"They were not rule followers, they thought for themselves and had an independent frame of mind,"

True, but disobeying the rules isn't a survival trait either. The pertinent trait is being able to reason, which requires understanding the rules, why they're in place, and if they apply to the situation at hand.

Ivan Viehoff
2008-Oct-03, 08:45 AM
When you come to bring up children, you quickly realise there have to be rules. "Because I say so" is not necessarily exasperation, lazyness or an abuse of power, although it can be any of those: it is actually a very good reason for a rule. This is not merely because it saves time, or because explanation is too difficult, but because authority is a useful concept of evolutionary significance. Do-what-you're-told is a good survival strategy for infants. And in wider society security is a necessity for us all, in which the concept of authority reduces its cost of provision.

I think the nicest demonstration of this is the Montreal police strike of 17 October 1969, which started at 8am, and ultimately resulted in the army and federal police restoring order.

"By 11:20 A.M. the first bank was robbed. By noon most downtown stores had closed because of looting. Within a few more hours, taxi drivers burned down the garage of a limousine service that competed with them for airport customers, a rooftop sniper killed a provincial police officer, rioters broke into several hotels and restaurants, and a doctor slew a burglar in his suburban home. By the end of the day, six banks had been robbed, a hundred shops had been looted, twelve fires had been set, forty carloads of storefront glass had been broken, and three million dollars in property damage had been inflicted..."
(Steven Pinker, The Blank Slate)

There, that's from a bleeding heart liberal telling you that.

slang
2008-Oct-03, 08:51 AM
Rules have a purpose. When rules become the purpose things get shaky.

Neverfly
2008-Oct-03, 11:15 AM
When you come to bring up children, you quickly realise there have to be rules. "Because I say so" is not necessarily exasperation, lazyness or an abuse of power, although it can be any of those: it is actually a very good reason for a rule. This is not merely because it saves time, or because explanation is too difficult, but because authority is a useful concept of evolutionary significance. Do-what-you're-told is a good survival strategy for infants. And in wider society security is a necessity for us all, in which the concept of authority reduces its cost of provision.



I actually agree with this.

When it comes to children, I remind people to Never Explain themselves to children.
It puts you under the authority of the child to do that.

closetgeek
2008-Oct-03, 12:03 PM
I actually agree with this.

When it comes to children, I remind people to Never Explain themselves to children.
It puts you under the authority of the child to do that.

There was a time I would have passionately disagreed with this. I firmly believed that rules would make more sense to children if they understood the logic behind them. What I didn't realize is that offering an explanation every time suggests to them that they are not only open to debate but can be proven unnecessary by defying the expected outcome.

Gillianren
2008-Oct-03, 04:10 PM
How long do you think "never explain" will work? How old do you think the child will get before they ignore the rules because there's clearly no reason for them?

Neverfly
2008-Oct-03, 04:17 PM
How long do you think "never explain" will work? How old do you think the child will get before they ignore the rules because there's clearly no reason for them?

It's called progression.
Children earn more privileges as they get older right?
Like it or not Gillianren, you may not agree- but neither did I. And apparently neither did Closetgeek.

But after having a child- I learned I was wrong. Apparently so did she.

Maybe one day you will too.

SeanF
2008-Oct-03, 04:20 PM
How long do you think "never explain" will work? How old do you think the child will get before they ignore the rules because there's clearly no reason for them?
Who said "there's clearly no reason for them"? Before a certain age, it's counterproductive to explain the reason, as Neverfly and Closetgeek have said. But that's not the same thing as not having a reason.

But, yes, as they get older, you start to explain the reasoning behind the rules. There's no hard-and-fast cutoff age for when that happens, though - it depends on the child.

Neverfly
2008-Oct-03, 04:30 PM
Who said "there's clearly no reason for them"? Before a certain age, it's counterproductive to explain the reason, as Neverfly and Closetgeek have said. But that's not the same thing as not having a reason.

But, yes, as they get older, you start to explain the reasoning behind the rules. There's no hard-and-fast cutoff age for when that happens, though - it depends on the child.

This is very well said.

An example that springs directly to my mind is my own son.
When he was younger he was trying to touch the hot burner and I told him not to touch it.
Of course, he asked why.
I said, "Because I said so."

Moments later he was pulling his hand back sharply.

I said, "Now see? Next time I tell you something maybe you will trust me that I have a good reason."

That was a lesson that took a couple tries, but it sank in deep.
To this day, Nick never questions my reasons. He trusts me.
He has learned that I have good reasons for what I say and that I do not need to answer to him.
He respects my authority. When I tell him something, he listens.

His teacher recently sent a note home from school- His mom had picked him up because it was Friday. So she saw the note.
She tried talking to him about it and he got resistant. Both his teacher and his mom are too busy trying to explain everything to him.

So then she gave up and said, "Ok, I'm going to call your dad." She picked up the phone.
His whole attitude suddenly did a 180. He hasn't misbehaved since. And the irony is- though she did call, I was busy and missed the call.

I'm proud of my son, but it's something I had to build very carefully.

Gillianren
2008-Oct-03, 04:36 PM
Maybe one day you will too.

My mother didn't. Neither did the parents of most of my most responsible friends.

And Sean, perhaps you missed the sarcasm. If you never explain, which was what is being advocated, the kid's eventually going to start assuming the only reason is "I told you so."

SeanF
2008-Oct-03, 04:37 PM
Who said "there's clearly no reason for them"? Before a certain age, it's counterproductive to explain the reason, as Neverfly and Closetgeek have said. But that's not the same thing as not having a reason.

But, yes, as they get older, you start to explain the reasoning behind the rules. There's no hard-and-fast cutoff age for when that happens, though - it depends on the child.
I should also add something else, because Gillianren's final question is somewhat appropriate - from the child's point-of-view, there is "no reason" for the rule. Well, other than "because I said so." :)

So, when does the child start disobeying the rules? When they realize (or suspect) that the consequences of disobeying the rule would be outweighed by the benefits of doing so. Which, if you played your cards right*, would be never. :)




*No, noone ever does.

SeanF
2008-Oct-03, 04:38 PM
My mother didn't. Neither did the parents of most of my most responsible friends.
Your mother took the time to explain rules to you when you were one year old?


And Sean, perhaps you missed the sarcasm. If you never explain, which was what is being advocated, the kid's eventually going to start assuming the only reason is "I told you so."
Ah, so you were pretending Neverfly meant parents should not explain rules to their fifteen-year-old children. :rolleyes:

Neverfly
2008-Oct-03, 04:43 PM
Ah, so you were pretending Neverfly meant parents should not explain rules to their fifteen-year-old children. :rolleyes:

Heck, you know.. By that age, the foundation should have been built solid enough in early childhood that you shouldn't have to anyway.
They should know better.
But then- it's not a perfect world...

Gillianren
2008-Oct-03, 05:00 PM
Your mother took the time to explain rules to you when you were one year old?

Certainly by the time I was old enough to talk.


Ah, so you were pretending Neverfly meant parents should not explain rules to their fifteen-year-old children. :rolleyes:

He didn't specify otherwise. He said "never." His word, not mine.

Neverfly
2008-Oct-03, 05:04 PM
He didn't specify otherwise. He said "never." His word, not mine.

Well, it is part of my name after-all. I am a bit biased toward the word.
It has such a lovely ring to it...

Never...http://us.i1.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/i/mesg/emoticons7/105.gif

C'mon, say it with me...

Never...

See how it just rolls and drips of off the tongue like Honey...

tdvance
2008-Oct-03, 05:51 PM
There was a time I would have passionately disagreed with this. I firmly believed that rules would make more sense to children if they understood the logic behind them. What I didn't realize is that offering an explanation every time suggests to them that they are not only open to debate but can be proven unnecessary by defying the expected outcome.


me too--when I was a child, I demanded explanations. As an adult, having seen things from both sides, I now know better.

It's like a college probability class I taught once. I passed out the syllabus prepared by the course coordinator, and there was an entire paragraph on why it is important to do homework..... I know they aren't kids anymore, technically, but still, if you have to tell them why they should do the homework, educating them may be a lost cause.

SeanF
2008-Oct-03, 06:11 PM
He didn't specify otherwise. He said "never." His word, not mine.
It's not the word "never" you have a problem with. It's "children." He wasn't using it in the "offspring" sense. His entire point was quite clear, unless you wish to misunderstand it.

Larry Jacks
2008-Oct-03, 06:21 PM
But after having a child- I learned I was wrong. Apparently so did she.

This is very common. Until you become a parent, your notions of child-rearing is abstract and likely based on your opinion of how well your parents raised you. Once you have a child, you have to learn what does and doesn't work with that child. You will likely have to learn new things with any subsequent children - what works for one child often doesn't work for another.

Kids don't come with instruction books and IMO those child-rearing books written by people who don't have children are completely worthless. Those written by people with children might do a good job of explaining what worked and what didn't work for them but those lessons may not apply to your own children.

Fazor
2008-Oct-03, 06:24 PM
Regardless, it's a matter of opinion. That's why I don't discuss parenting--there's no "right" way to do it (there's plenty of wrong ways though...as evidenced in the Brilliance in Parenting thread that some handsome lad started here in OTB).

Click Ticker
2008-Oct-03, 06:48 PM
How long do you think "never explain" will work? How old do you think the child will get before they ignore the rules because there's clearly no reason for them?

Well, for starters one tries not to have rules that there is clearly no reason for.

Most rules will have reasons young children won't understand. Some kids are born sympathetic to others. Other kids take a great deal of time to learn and appreciate that their actions have an impact on other people.

When a child is two, you teach him to not throw stuff in the house.

When they are older they will understand that by throwing things in the house, they could break a window. They could knock something off the table that could break. Things that break cost money. Some things that break can not be replaced. Money to replace things is not always easy to come by.

All that won't register with a two year old, so for now - don't throw stuff in the house.

tdvance
2008-Oct-03, 06:52 PM
I don't advocate this, but my mom often used the "false" reason to give a quick reason--probably better to say, "no, and I mean, no." Specifically, it was when I'd ask "can I have a penny for the gumball machine?" and mom didn't want me to grow up thinking money grew on trees or something (no, it grew as trees, then was made into paper and printed on), not to mention enough sugar in me already probably, so she'd say, "we can't afford that."

Click Ticker
2008-Oct-03, 07:32 PM
I don't advocate this, but my mom often used the "false" reason to give a quick reason--probably better to say, "no, and I mean, no." Specifically, it was when I'd ask "can I have a penny for the gumball machine?" and mom didn't want me to grow up thinking money grew on trees or something (no, it grew as trees, then was made into paper and printed on), not to mention enough sugar in me already probably, so she'd say, "we can't afford that."

I make it easier. I just don't carry cash (or change for that matter) unless I plan on treating them to something.

Neverfly
2008-Oct-03, 07:34 PM
I make it easier. I just don't carry cash (or change for that matter) unless I plan on treating them to something.

Mines even simpler still.
He sees a toy or hot dogs or marshmallows or whatever and asks and I say, "No."

That's it.

SeanF
2008-Oct-03, 08:19 PM
All that won't register with a two year old, so for now - don't throw stuff in the house.
Well said, Spock (the whole thing, even though I only quoted the last sentence. :) )


...mom didn't want me to grow up thinking money grew on trees or something (no, it grew as trees, then was made into paper and printed on)...
US currency, at least, is made from cotton and linen, neither of which come from trees. :)

laurele
2008-Oct-03, 09:57 PM
Cop Lemma


Life Lemma

Within three decades at most, most lives lose whatever originality they once had and become like every other life.

Okay, maybe four decades.

Objection! I've gone past four decades, and I'm still as original and non-conforming as ever--pretty much unchanged from childhood. There are those of us who stay original, creative and unique, following our own eccentric orbits (maybe that's why I like Pluto so much :) )

laurele
2008-Oct-03, 10:14 PM
I believe it is important to give children explanations for rules. While I'm not a parent myself, I spend a lot of time with my nephews, who are five and almost two, and I've observed my brother and sister-in-law be very effective at sitting down with the older one and explaining the reason for rules, which they began when he was around three. At three, he could understand that throwing toys was not permitted because the toys could land on someone and hurt them. It may have taken a few times for this to really sink in, but once it did, he got it. He happens to be a very intelligent child, and one sign of intelligence is that kids will ask questions. Answering those questions by illustrating the sound reasoning behind the rules helps the child understand why those rules are in place to begin with and make sense of the world around him or her. If one simply dictates something "because I say so," the child may defy the rule just to rebel, without undertanding that he or she could really suffer harm. Especially at certain ages, kids are more prone to rebel. So if a parent tells a pre-teen not to start smoking with no reason other than "because I say so," that child will be more tempted than ever to defy the parent and smoke. But if the parent explains the health consequences of smoking and why it's harmful, the child will have a better understanding that real danger is involved and might be less likely to smoke just as a show of defiance. Also, as kids get older, they spend more time away from their parents and face situations where they have to make decisions based on their own judgments. That is why teaching children how to reason for themselves is important. It gives them the skills to start making decisions on their own, relying on an internal compass rather than just external dictates.

mahesh
2008-Oct-03, 11:48 PM
laurele, you've hit the nail on the head. i agree.

our baby, he's seven plus now. we've always explained things to him. every one who meets him, comments on his good behaviour, his manners, politeness, charm etc etc. he truly cares about things, people, animals, the environment. and you can tell. because it is reciprocated.

he's my universe. couldn't come across a more decent human being, if i tried.
mummy keeps saying, he's gonna be a heartbreaker, when he grows up. i doubt that.

i am blessed, truly blessed. he is incredible fun.

HenrikOlsen
2008-Oct-04, 12:10 AM
Neverfly, you saying "because I said so" works without explanation for your son because you have already taught him that even if you don't give the reason, there is one.

The problem with that approach is that if that first step isn't successfully taught, which has to happen at a stage where most parents haven't actually learned how to be parents yet, then "because I said so" becomes understood as "there's not really a reason but I like imposing my will on others" and actually explaining the reason becomes the only option apart from threatening physical harm.

Neverfly
2008-Oct-04, 01:51 AM
Neverfly, you saying "because I said so" works without explanation for your son because you have already taught him that even if you don't give the reason, there is one.

The problem with that approach is that if that first step isn't successfully taught, which has to happen at a stage where most parents haven't actually learned how to be parents yet, then "because I said so" becomes understood as "there's not really a reason but I like imposing my will on others" and actually explaining the reason becomes the only option apart from threatening physical harm.

Nick was my first child (And so far only child)
I fell into it quite by surprise- as a single parent.
Imagine a plumber changing diapers?

But children VARY.

What works on my son may not work on yours...

I would consider the "Don't explain yourself" to be the default value- Always.

Whirlpool
2008-Oct-04, 03:26 AM
My son is 4 , and is Now starting to ask "Why" in everything . Recently , he went out of the house without permission and I got so worried I almost called the police and report him missing , but after an hour of looking around our neighborhood , I saw him. I wanted to spank him but decided to give him a Mother and Son talk and explained to him that what he did is wrong and the things that might happened if he didn't ask permission or not letting me know .
My sons Brain is like a Recorder now that he is nearing 5, he remembers everything I say to him. So I must be careful and watchful to what I say and do . :p

One example is telling him to not to "Speak Bad Words" , and one time while I was doing something , I misconciously say something as a " bad word" in a form of an expression and he immediately corrected me and say " Mom ,that is a Bad Word , you said I should not speak bad words but Why did you ?" :doh:

I was embarassed that time but felt proud of my son.

:D

Neverfly
2008-Oct-04, 03:28 AM
One example is telling him to not to "Speak Bad Words" , and one time while I was doing something , I misconciously say something as a " bad word" in a form of an expression and he immediately corrected me and say " Mom ,that is a Bad Word , you said I should not speak bad words but Why did you ?" :doh:

I was embarassed that time but felt proud of my son.

:D

Yeah, Nick gets me with that one All The Time..."Dad, that's a bad word."
He says it all reproachfully.

Neverfly
2008-Oct-04, 03:36 AM
I'm going to inject a thought in here- Just Food for thought.


There are some things I do with my son that most people would disagree with.

For example- smiling and making him laugh right after disciplining him.
Because for many kids, it removes some of the severity of the lesson.
But for Nick- it does not. It helps to strengthen our bond- because I'm partly -all he has.
So even though he knows he must respect my word- he also knows I can always be approachable.

But for many kids, that would not work. For mine- it does.

When we talk about our ideas here in these kinds of threads- It can be hard- when we disagree- for some of us to not feel like others are calling our parenting skills into question.

Mahesh said he has success in explaining things to his kids. I really do hope that works for him.
For mine- it would not be successful but I have a lot of success in not explaining things to him now- but rather, letting him learn the reasons why on his own so that he values those reasons more.

So hopefully, no one ends up feeling like they are being called a bad parent if the have different avenues of success for how they teach their children.

tdvance
2008-Oct-04, 03:41 PM
Yeah, Nick gets me with that one All The Time..."Dad, that's a bad word."
He says it all reproachfully.

There is where you have to say that sometimes, what's ok for an adult isn't for a child. They won't like to hear it, but we know it's true. You do have to know how to swear before you can do so without losing respect or being unnecessarily offensive or even getting into some kind of trouble, in some situations.

Same thing with that glass of beer--just because you drink it (one a day is supposed to be good for the heart, not just red wine!) doesn't mean a child with an immature metabolism and no maturity to decide how much is enough and when you should abstain and how fast is safe, should do so. Actually, I guess late teens and circum 21 you're more likely to abuse than early childhood--the taste often putting the kid off at that age. (UVA seems to lose 1 or 2 students a year to binge drinking, often a fraternity rite or a football game tradition, and often the first time the person ever tried alcohol, and then drank a 5th or two in one sitting)

Gillianren
2008-Oct-04, 04:36 PM
I was once babysitting for a child (maybe three or four) while having a sewing group with friends at the same time. (More babysitters!) We explained to her that she couldn't play with the box of pins, because pins would hurt her. This was a heck of a lot easier than letting her find out for herself and a) hurting herself and b) getting pins everywhere in a poorly-lit room.

Of course, we were using pins, and she asked us, not unreasonably, why we got to. So we told her that pins don't hurt grownups.

Neverfly
2008-Oct-04, 04:47 PM
I was once babysitting for a child (maybe three or four) while having a sewing group with friends at the same time. (More babysitters!) We explained to her that she couldn't play with the box of pins, because pins would hurt her. This was a heck of a lot easier than letting her find out for herself and a) hurting herself and b) getting pins everywhere in a poorly-lit room.

Of course, we were using pins, and she asked us, not unreasonably, why we got to. So we told her that pins don't hurt grownups.

You could have just as easily told her not to play with the pins and left it at that.

And pins don't hurt grow ups? Then she will look at a grown up funny then they yell YEEEOWCH!

Do you honestly think I would let Nick play with pins? I'd tell him "Don't touch."
You make it sound like if someone doesn't sit them down and explain something which the child may or may not fully comprehend- that they just hand them danger or something. C'mon.

Gillianren
2008-Oct-04, 05:09 PM
Hmm. You know, I think the three times she went back to the pin box after we told her not to indicated that she wasn't going to leave them alone just because we said to. On the other hand, she did leave them alone after we explained.

As to the pins not hurting grownups, pretty much all the grownups she had contact with sewed. You get pretty used to pinpricks if you do, and the pin has to go in pretty deep before you say more than a small "ow," if that.

Neverfly
2008-Oct-04, 05:20 PM
That may have been a case of forbidden fruit. Til she found out that pins aren't interesting.

Gillianren
2008-Oct-04, 07:35 PM
That may have been a case of forbidden fruit. Til she found out that pins aren't interesting.

Oh, she was still fascinated by them. She just didn't go near them in the box, because she knew pins would hurt her.

BigDon
2008-Oct-04, 09:38 PM
As an aside there was something I learned in Master Chief Gaylor's Petty Officer Academy that applies in a lot more situations than just military is:

Never give an order you know won't be obeyed. That only hurts you.

SeanF
2008-Oct-06, 01:55 PM
I was once babysitting for a child (maybe three or four) while having a sewing group with friends at the same time. (More babysitters!) We explained to her that she couldn't play with the box of pins, because pins would hurt her. This was a heck of a lot easier than letting her find out for herself and a) hurting herself and b) getting pins everywhere in a poorly-lit room.
You could have just as easily told her not to play with the pins and left it at that.
Hmm. You know, I think the three times she went back to the pin box after we told her not to indicated that she wasn't going to leave them alone just because we said to. On the other hand, she did leave them alone after we explained.
I found this whole anecdote kind of interesting within the context of this thread (with the rather large caveat that you, as a babysitter, were not a true authority figure and somewhat limited in what you could actually do regarding her).

You are quite right that a young child will try to do things unless they know that they will, in some way, regret doing it. This child, at three years old, should (IMHO) have already learned that she would regret trying to play with the pins the first time you told her not to do it. Not because the pins themselves would cause her that regret, but because you (or her parents) would cause her regret for doing something she was told not to. Did this child not ever face consequences for disobeying?

I'm sure, Gillianren, that you brought up this anecdote as a defense of your position, but I tend to think it illustrates the other side. Once you establish that you will explain the reasons, then you will have to explain the reasons - every time.

What if they hadn't been pins? What if they were something that would most likely not cause any harm to her, but would still create a hassle for you in having to clean up afterwards? How would you convince her not to play with them then?

And, more importantly, why should you have to convince her? "Because I told you 'No.'" really ought to be sufficient.

Fazor
2008-Oct-06, 03:11 PM
I do not have children (by court order ... just kidding), but I do have neices. The youngest turns one at the end of the month, so she doesn't really apply to this conversation. The oldest is four, and she very much does.

I find that I always explain "why" when I tell her things (either to do, or not to do). Now, they might not always be the real explaination--or at least, not the full explaination, but I give a why. I think it's because I find that kids are extreemely inquisitive, but also they absorb things like a sponge. Why not teach a kid something?

For instance, she went fishing with me over the summer. When I caught a bass, she wanted to hold it. Instead of just saying "no", I explained that the fish has sharp fins that help keep it from being eaten by birds and other animals.

Now the real reason I didnt want her to hold it was because it was nearly two pounds of pure muscle--there was no way she'd be able to hold it, and it'd end up on the ground, damaging the fish (ontop of the possibility of it pricking her with it's dorsal fins).

Now she knows that fish have spikey fins that help protect them from animals.

Neverfly
2008-Oct-06, 04:37 PM
By "explaining yourself to children" I was referring to when adults have to make excuses, or sit kids down and explain to them the rules or whatever in which the necessity for rules or a rule becomes an argument, where you are left having to justify etc- NOT simple little warnings that one gives.

Saying, "Don't touch that, it's sharp" is not quite the same as having to stop what you're doing and sit them down justify why touching sharp things is bad- having to argue whether or not they can handle sharp things etc. Then you have just opened up the existence of your authority to debate.
You say, "Don't touch it, that is sharp" but if you have to justify that reasoning beyond that- That is explaining yourself to children.

HenrikOlsen
2008-Oct-06, 04:46 PM
You say, "Don't touch it, that is sharp" but if you have to justify that reasoning beyond that- That is explaining yourself to children.
Children don't understand sharp until they've cut themselves or hot until they've touched something that's uncomfortably hot.

One idea of parenting I've seen it that it's the parent job to warn, make sure the danger cause discomfort rather than harm, then be ready to provide comfort while saying I told you so.
Preventing the experience is failing the child, allowing it makes the short form "it's sharp" work.

Neverfly
2008-Oct-06, 04:55 PM
Children are notorious for being able to put adults on the spot with tough little innocent questions.

"Mom, why does God take babies away?"

These questions can be very difficult for some people to answer, because sometimes, those answers lack true meaning or authority to a childs mind.
Many consequences are subtle. Not like the classic hot stove example.
In trying to explain those subtleties to the mind of a child, which is young and inexperienced, guess what happens?
The rule loses authority. They begin to think it doesn't apply to them. Or they think that the consequences don't sound all that bad.

How do you explain to a child something that MIGHT cause them harm in 30 years? They don't care about 30 years away! To a child, that may as well be forever, it most certainly isn't tomorrow and it loses all meaning.
This is why parents resort to immediate rewards for good report cards.
Because getting into a Good College 10 years from now isn't an immediate reward that a child really understands. It's just too far away and too subtle.

How do you explain to a five year old that smoking MIGHT cause cancer in 40 years?
They will ask what cancer is, ask why it's bad, 40 years is too far away- what do you mean by "might"? Doesn't this also mean I Might Not!? Etc.
Suddenly, the child has now gained control. Your authority has weakened because not only are you answering to them, but you are also giving Weak Answers in their mind. They can now Debate the Merit of your claims.
But if you simply tell them, "Put Down that Cigarette RIGHT NOW OR I'LL KILL YOU!"
That's immediate.
To a kid, there is this Mystery about it that though alluring, is also Very Scary. Plus, they are now in Big Trouble. Moms gonna KILL 'EM!
THAT they understand!
In their mind, that mysterious "scary" can become far far worse than anything you ever try to explain to them.
To kids, it's hard to explain that breakables cost money to replace.
They know that money comes from dad or moms pocket and it seems to have an endless supply. They have never struggled for money or had to hold a job or had to account for bills.
Now, instead of just saying no- You COULD have them work out the bills and see for themselves how tough bills can be on a checkbook- IF you can get them to pay attention long enough to do it. But the default route is to say "No. Because I said so. I am KING. You obey ME." It works prior to ten years of age, and it creates that bond that kids have with their parents.

To Nick- I am the Ultimate Hero.
I am the most manly man. I can beat up Anyone elses dad, handle every problem, To him, I jump buildings in a single bound and pick up the truck.
As he gets older, and I get balder, he will come to understand that I am, in fact, human. But that bond created of Hero Dad in childhood will last the rest of our lives.
He knows I'm always right. I always know the answer and I always know best.
When he's fifteen- He will question those things. But having lived his entire lifetime believing that I am Hero Dad will weigh heavily against the possibility of screwing up too.
He hates how I look at him when He disappointed me or let me down.

Now if I was always explaining myself to him when he was growing up- THEN he can justify- he can work around having let me down. Because then the rules were arbitrary growing up, subtle and based on nuances he can refute.
He will be more open to disappointing me as long as he can justify doing it.

By not having explained myself to him growing up, he knows I am Hero Dad, who's always right. He knows he may not yet fully understand why I am so disappointed in him, but he knows I have a good reason and he is going to wish he hadn't screwed up.

Neverfly
2008-Oct-06, 05:00 PM
Children don't understand sharp until they've cut themselves or hot until they've touched something that's uncomfortably hot.

One idea of parenting I've seen it that it's the parent job to warn, make sure the danger cause discomfort rather than harm, then be ready to provide comfort while saying I told you so.
Preventing the experience is failing the child, allowing it makes the short form "it's sharp" work.

I do strongly agree with this line of thought.

It's like when two 6 year olds get into a fight over a toy. They WILL resolve it amongst themselves Most of the Time.
But these days, parents and educators Rush in and prevent their learning and do it for them. They don't have that opportunity to learn and grow and settle disputes.
Plus, it's a bit odd to a child that they are made to share things that belong to them. They shouldn't have to. You end up explaining and explaining until you're tired from explaining so much, the kids still question the authority or merit of those explanations, their learning process of settling disputes was interupted and they become dependent on adults to do their learning work for them.
Then- later in life, they are thrust out into the world to fend for themselves in an unfair world. Then they fall on their faces for a long time. Now- that can be a learning experience but too little - too late. Oftentimes, the damage is done that can have lasting effects like Legal troubles, arrest records, drugs or other lasting issues that can continue to plague them even after learning how to overcome their faults or issues.

But in this age of Lawsuit Happy Filings, it's just Easier on schools and daycares to intervene immediately Just In Case a parent tries to sue them for little billy's black eye. It's ridiculous.