This piece of advice from Dr Spock ought to make perfect sense:

Effective punishments should teach a child the crucial life lesson that actions have consequences

So why is it that my children (and apparently not just them) seem to be incapable of getting the message? Take this example from when I bumped into a friend the other day:

Me: How’re things?

Friend: Not good. I spent three hours in The Royal Free yesterday because Tom ‘thought’ he’d swallowed a coin.

Me: That’s nothing. The other day Harry shoved a piece of apple up his nose which took half an hour to get out. This morning he stuck a baked bean up there!

What I didn’t tell her was how much Harry was screaming at the time of the apple incident, which is why I couldn’t understand why he did the same thing the next day (albeit with a different item of food).

When I asked him why he’d done it, given how scared having an apple up his nose had made him, he said:

I wanted to see if I could be even braver this time!


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