A Brooklyn neighborhood is in shock after the gang rape of an 18-year-old girl. The incident took place in a neighborhood park on a Thursday evening around 9 p.m. The victim was walking with her father when five teenage boys approached, pointed a gun at them, and told the father to leave. The five teens then took turns raping the victim.
Police released video surveillance footage within two days of the attack. In the footage, all five suspects make an appearance at a nearby bodega shortly before the attack. Soon after this footage was released, two of the perpetrators were brought to the police—by their parents.
Sometimes good parenting means making your children face the consequences of their actions.
Sometimes good parenting means your children will have to endure consequences, and you will have to get out of the way.
Sometimes good parenting means turning your children in to the police.
It is no easy task to let your children suffer through a jail sentence, but if that is what their behavior has warranted, that is what they need.
Letting your children deal with natural consequences has many benefits:
1. It creates obvious punishments.
This makes life easier for the whole family. When a fourth-grader forgets his lunch for the third time this week, Mom lets him go without lunch for a day. Odds are very high that the fourth-grader will remember his lunch on Friday. Mom did not have to work hard to come up with that punishment (in fact, it saved her a trip to the school) and the child could easily see what consequences he deserved. It is a lesson that required no extra effort for Mom and Dad, and it will leave an indelible mark on the forgetful student.
2. It teaches kids to think logically
When using natural consequences, kids can easily deduce what their punishment will be, instead of fearing what decision an angry parent may employ. For my toddler, this is often played out when he decides to share his snack with our family dog. The snack is gone, thanks to a disobedient choice made by the toddler, and that is the natural punishment. When he disobeys and gives his snack to the dog, there is no replacement—snack time is over. The next time he grins at the dog and thinks about giving up his treasured treat, a quick reminder from Mom about the consequences is all that is needed to ensure the treat stays in the toddler’s hand.
When employed consistently, children can begin to think about the consequences before they commit their crimes. Knowing that Mom and Dad will punish in a logical manner teaches kids to think through their decisions with a reliable prediction of what will happen to them. Instead of inconsistent consequences, kids see logical decision-making by their parents, a skill they will soon emulate.
3. Natural Consequences will happen the rest of their lives.
Show up late for work too many times and you will get fired. Miss deadlines and underperform at work and you will not get a promotion. Natural consequences will follow children for the rest of their lives. They are inescapable. College professors do not care what excuses Mommy has for a late paper. Employers will only listen to so many tales of woe before their patience runs dry. Helping children understand the ramifications of their actions sets in place patterns that will follow them well into their adult years.
Raising kids who follow the rules is a job no parent can take lightly. Sometimes good childrearing means you take your children to the police station to confess to the crimes they committed. While it may not be pleasant for the moment, the long-term benefits of people who take responsibility for their actions will benefit all of our society. Natural consequences are a powerful tool if wielded correctly.