Saturday, August 18, 2007

Every Parent's Worst Nightmare*

"It's brutal but it works," says Mary, a mother-of-three... It's a drastic solution and not one that many parents are steely enough to carry out. But many of us will recognise the desperation behind Mary's actions.
So just what horror is being discussed as a means to keep bickering children quiet during a long car journey?

The technique is to label three tubes of Smarties with each child's name. Every time one of the children misbehaves, she throws one of their Smarties out of the passenger window. They get to eat what's left in their packets at the end of the journey.
Amazing. It's 'brutal' and 'drastic' to instil discipline in a child, to teach that bad behaviour has consequences with a harmless little exploitation of their rampant self-interest.


Later in the article there's an interesting observation:

There is also the option of in-car DVDs, but, according to family therapist Jan Parker, these take away an important aspect of car journeys. "Children can find it very helpful to talk about difficult subjects in the car because it's a relaxed environment and they don't necessarily have to have eye contact with you," she says.

"You can get the most out of children when you haven't sat them down specifically to talk about something, but when it happens naturally as part of another process. Chats during car journeys can reveal a great deal."
Men have been using the in-car technique to talk about important stuff for years, along with working on things (especially cars and other things mechanical), fishing, you name it - a million male to male deep and meanfuls have begun in the safety of doing something else at the same time.

Women who suggest this somehow indicates a male inability to communicate 'properly' just don't get it.

-- Nick

*Along with the following afflicting their child: kidnapping, being born with a disability, acquiring a disability, going missing, suffering a debilitating health condition, becoming a drug addict, falling pregnant before the age of consent, joining a cult, getting an ingrown toenail, not being the most popular child at school...

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