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Calizzy

Is withholding coop too harsh a punishment?

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We go to a coop that requires the parent to stay and participate. Today, I can't go because I have 2 kids with fevers. However, I can drop my 11 yo DS off in this case. But we have been having attitude problems with her lately. It seems like everything we say she has a sign or eyeroll about. DH took her to practice basketball this morning (she has a tryout this week) and she was all put out about it- "I'm already dressed....why didn't you tell me sooner...all said in a whiny voices) then it's when I ask her to fold a basket of laundry and she gives a big exhale. It's little stuff like this all the time. So I told her " I was going out of my way, buckling 2 kids with fevers to drive you to coop just because I know you like it. But if you can't help me fold a basket of laundry without complaining I am not going to bend over backwards for your pleasure." So I called off taking her to coop. Tbh, now I feel bad about it. She loves coop and today was "store" where they have earned tickets throughout the semester and get to purchase things. But it is 20 min each way, so round trip twice is an hour and 20 min. Is this fair or am I being too harsh?

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It is not fair. You are being too harsh. 11yo is still a child, and even though her behavior is not acceptable or appropriate, it is age-appropriate and to be expected. She needs a normal routine, to be able to look forward to social and learning events, to take part in socialization (especially if you are needing backup on behavior right now)...and this is a very special day for this activity. She's been looking forward to it, and the only thing she's done to "lose" it is to annoy you by being a typical 11yo when your hands are full with sick little ones. It doesn't sound like she knew the possible consequence of her behavior would be losing the one-time store day at co-op. You should not keep her out of co-op as a punishment, especially as an arbitrary and unexpected punishment, any more than you would keep her out of basketball or school as punishment.

Do you have time to change your mind, apologize for making a hasty decision, and just take her to co-op? There have been times when I have told my children, "I am still deciding what to do about your behavior. It's unacceptable and we will work on it together. In the meantime, you are going to (school). I want you to remember what is expected of you and participate. I hope you have a good time. We will talk about this morning's troubles later."

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Missing it as a consequence for behavior in itself isn't too harsh, but I personally would give some warning for this, bc it would pretty big for my extrovert.

However, if you can't do it due to the fevers, you can't do it. It sounds like maybe you weren't wanting to do it due to the fevers anyway (understandably). That and the consequence are two separate issues, so I would decide coop based on the fevers, not her behavior.

I might apologize for not thinking everything through, and explain that you simply can't go due to the fevers. OR if you CAN go, let her know you realized she should have had notice that would be a possible consequence, so you will go today. Then at a later time, discuss consequences for the behavior if it continues and if you choose to use coop as part of that, clearly communicate that to her.

 

((Hugs)) It's a lot easier and more clear in retrospect. I've done similar things before, and I just try to apologize when I need to and correct, while making it clear that my mistake does not cancel out inappropriate behavior. 

Edited by Jentrovert
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I agree that it's age appropriate behavior, but in the short term and the long term, it is not acceptable behavior. The two are not the same thing. I really don't think it's too harsh. She will, over the next several years, test you in various areas and teaching her that she has work to do as part of your family and to be grateful for what others do for her is a long term process. I think that withholding a privilege is a reasonable consequence for ungratefulness.

I can see how not knowing the schedule might throw her, but that's still not a reason for rudeness. For the scheduling, get a large, dry erase monthly calendar, display it in a prominent position, and put every outside activity on it (we color code ours - each person has their own color). Make sure you keep it up to date. Everyone is then responsible for knowing what is going on. She will still forget things, dress inappropriately, etc., but you will have done your part in planning - she will eventually learn that she needs to do her part in following up on her part in that plan. It becomes her responsibility to dress appropriately & be aware of things, not yours.

None of these are instant solutions. Everything is still a learning process. The middle school and teen years are hard. Consistency is just as important in these years as it was in the younger years. Part of that consistency is setting expectations, the other part is following through when expectations aren't met. It's hard work for everyone involved.

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Socialization is important for humans, especially human children. Homeschooled kids often don't spend as much time with other people outside their families. I wouldn't take this away to punish a kid unless she'd done something VERY bad AT co-op - something a lot worse than being whiny.

However, staying home because you have two kids with fevers is pretty reasonable, especially as it sounds like you spend as much time driving as she spends at the activity. I think you didn't really want to go, and you were fed up with her attitude, so you took that excuse and ran with it. And I would tell her that - you should not have used this as punishment, but it was still an unreasonable hardship to drag her to co-op today because of her siblings being sick.

More than that, I think you have got to make a plan for how to deal with adolescence. Because it's gonna get worse before it gets better, and you won't help by reacting to her age-appropriate behavior with meanness. I know when kids whine and fuss and stomp around and act like real pains it's hard not to mirror that - but it doesn't help. It doesn't help when they're toddlers, and it doesn't help when they're teens, and behaviorally teenagers and pre-teens are a lot more like toddlers than like the responsible adults we hope they're growing into. A firm, confident approach works better than excessive punishment, and it's often helpful to overlook small bits of rudeness if you can do it - like the sighs and the eyerolling. So long as she ultimately does what you said, better to let HOW she did it pass.

I upvoted TechWife here because she's quite right - having a clearly written schedule will be a huge help. It's also helpful to have a predictable rotation of chores rather than "Do this right now because I said so right now, not because it's what we agreed on you doing routinely" and to have a clear example of consequences rather than "I'm frustrated and irritated, so I'm just gonna react".

Edited by Tanaqui
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It seems a little strange to me to use co op as a punishment, bc it's part of her routine and her schooling. I mean, people don't keep their kids home from school when they misbehave, lol, even if they like school. 

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3 minutes ago, TechWife said:

I agree that it's age appropriate behavior, but in the short term and the long term, it is not acceptable behavior. The two are not the same thing. I really don't think it's too harsh. She will, over the next several years, test you in various areas and teaching her that she has work to do as part of your family and to be grateful for what others do for her is a long term process. I think that withholding a privilege is a reasonable consequence for ungratefulness.

I can see how not knowing the schedule might throw her, but that's still not a reason for rudeness. For the scheduling, get a large, dry erase monthly calendar, display it in a prominent position, and put every outside activity on it (we color code ours - each person has their own color). Make sure you keep it up to date. Everyone is then responsible for knowing what is going on. She will still forget things, dress inappropriately, etc., but you will have done your part in planning - she will eventually learn that she needs to do her part in following up on her part in that plan. It becomes her responsibility to dress appropriately & be aware of things, not yours.

None of these are instant solutions. Everything is still a learning process. The middle school and teen years are hard. Consistency is just as important in these years as it was in the younger years. Part of that consistency is setting expectations, the other part is following through when expectations aren't met. It's hard work for everyone involved.


This is how I think.
Kids need to be held accountable for their behavior, but they also need structure that lets them be successful.  I can say that I would have made the same decision in your case, framing it as a case of how we treat others and what our expectations are from them in return.

Will it hurt her to miss co-op once?  No.  Will it give her something to chew on?  More than likely.

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18 minutes ago, Lang Syne Boardie said:

11yo is still a child, and even though her behavior is not acceptable or appropriate, it is age-appropriate and to be expected. 

 

The above ^^^ means exactly the same as below. I'm sorry, I thought that was obvious.

 

5 minutes ago, TechWife said:

I agree that it's age appropriate behavior, but in the short term and the long term, it is not acceptable behavior. The two are not the same thing.

 

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I might have done the same thing in your shoes. And I might have felt bad about it. But I don't necessarily think it is too harsh. There is a difference between public school and coop, at least the co-op my child attends. Public school is compulsory, but co-op (in our case, and it sounds like your case) is for enrichment. I have held my kids out of other enrichment activities, like taekwondo and book club, because of behavior like that. Yes they are regularly scheduled activities but so are chores, at least around here. 

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Can you still get her to coop? Because if you can, I would take her.

It sounds like today is a special day at coop, and I would feel very sorry for her if she had to miss it, particularly since she didn’t even have any advance warning about it.

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There is no way I would use co-op as a consequence for poor behavior.  I pay for it, it's part of the educational and social plan, and my teen enjoys it.  I'm also not huge on punishing other kids for my kid's bad behavoir in general.  If this is a smallish co-op where kids are bonded well like ours is, it would make other kids sad if my kid suddenly didn't show up.  I wouldn't take away any activity or extracurricular.  Attendance is important for academic and skill and community building.  

I would certainly give my kid extra chores, take away technology, etc and give a consequence in some other way.  Though honestly, sometimes I get up grumpy in the morning and sigh when I look at the calendar or let a basket of laundry sit an extra day because I don't feel like dealing with it.   I don't take rudeness.  But I also don't expect a joyful response every time I ask a kid to do something.

ETA - I was going to add using google calendar has been great for us in the teen years.  My daughter can see that stuff now because we use an online planner.    But I used to print out the calendar weekly and post it when they were younger.  I also like that I can access it/modify it on my phone, iPad, or laptop.  You can color code individual kid's schedules, etc.  Set up reminders and notifications. 

Edited by FuzzyCatz
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I try to very explicitly and clearly explain to my kids when my stress level is high...and what that means for them.  For example: "It's not your fault at all, but dealing with the flooding in the basement is stressing my patience to the limit.  I am still trying VERY hard to make sure I find time to get the Halloween costumes down from the attic for you today, but that is the first thing that is going to get dropped off my priority list if children are being whiny and uncooperative."

It is certainly not something I would expect a small child to grasp, but I think it is a very important skill to start developing as kids are reaching the tween ages.  I certainly take their mood and stress level into account when I am planning our days.  I find extra tasks I can do for DH when his job is particularly demanding.  I cook a meal and take it to a friend when she has a new baby because that is a stressful time.  I find a different store employee rather than approach one who appears to be dealing with a stressful task.

So, yes, I would "take away" co-op due to uncooperative behavior, but I would also have tried to alert the child ahead of time that it was a possibility.

Wendy

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1 hour ago, katilac said:

It seems a little strange to me to use co op as a punishment, bc it's part of her routine and her schooling. I mean, people don't keep their kids home from school when they misbehave, lol, even if they like school. 

This is what I was thinking. If it's part of the school day, then I would take her to coop. If it's just a fun thing, then maybe not.   

But it also depends on the kid; one of my kids is very social and one is socially awkward, and they had limited opportunities to be around other people in social or even semi-social settings. So if we had a coop, it would take an extreme problem for me to cancel, because they both needed it badly in their own ways.

 

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Eleven is a tough age for girls. The moodiness is really normal for that age and I think the best thing to do is ignore it. As far as going to co-op, there is no way I would take two kids with fevers out anywhere unless I absolutely had no choice. So I just would not have agreed to do it in the first place. 

Susan in TX

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I know, I know I am totally off-topic and you question didn't have anything to do with what I am about to say, but!!!

Our entire co-op got cancelled this week bc of a few families who kept coming in sick or dropping off non-sick kids while there was illness going on at home. So unless your kids with fevers have a fever for some special reason, I would keep the entire family home bc your 11 yr old might already be contagious.

Yep, I am ready to get slammed for offering unsolicited advice.

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Even though the behavior is age appropriate, I do not the missing co-op is too harsh of a consequence.  It may or may not be an appropriate consequence, depending on the kid and the situation.  I think that given what the OP posted, I think it would have been appropriate to issue a warning first:

Ok Eleven Yr Old, you have had some major attitude this morning.  Drama when dad took you to basketball, drama when I ask you to do a perfectly reasonable chore....Drama.  I am done with attitude and drama today.  If you don't stop with the attitude and the drama, I will not be driving you to co-op today.  

Or something like that.

And then, I think following through would be totally appropriate at that point and certainly not too harsh at all.

 

 

Having said that, we are none of us perfect and sometimes our crazy kids just push our buttons, even when we "expect" them to act crazy and we blurt out consequences without thinking through things first.  Which still doesn't make the consequence too harsh, but it does mean that it could be appropriate to say something like...

Ok Eleven Yr Old, I was thinking and you are stressed out today because of XYZ, and I am stressed out because your brother and sister are sick.  I think we both got a bit crazy this morning.  If you can promise to work on the attitude for the rest of the day, I will work on not reacting out of stress either, and we can head out to co-op.  BUT, if I get attitude again before it's time to go, we won't be going.  

 

 

I will also say that, if you don't take her, it won't be the end of the world either.  

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3 minutes ago, SereneHome said:

I know, I know I am totally off-topic and you question didn't have anything to do with what I am about to say, but!!!

Our entire co-op got cancelled this week bc of a few families who kept coming in sick or dropping off non-sick kids while there was illness going on at home. So unless your kids with fevers have a fever for some special reason, I would keep the entire family home bc your 11 yr old might already be contagious.

Yep, I am ready to get slammed for offering unsolicited advice.

Although I agree with the thought, truth is, if I kept all my kids home every time someone in the house is sick, man, we might never leave the house! lol.  

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Honestly, I don't think it is too harsh. Driving kids around for social activities was something I was always prepared to do, but it was a privilege. Yeah, it is hard to be 11 or 13 or 15 or 17 or 49. But cooperative behavior and kindness can be expected for everyone and if mom is going out of her way to make something happen for the kid, it is not too much to ask for civil behavior.

If she values co-op, she will learn from this. One time missing will not damage her or your relationship forever. 

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Thanks for all the input. She is well aware that we haven't been pleased with her general disposition of resistance towards us. We have some steps of consequences for this behavior, while it is something that is "normal" we are not ok with it. I felt like since we were not going, in this instance it was a privilege for her to be driven there just for her sake. That being said, I did decide that I would take her since I had previously laid out the consequences and she was on step 2 and no coop was not what we had talked about as the consequence. However, now I feel like a pushover. I guess part of parenting is feeling like you are doing it wrong 🤷‍♀️

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20 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

Although I agree with the thought, truth is, if I kept all my kids home every time someone in the house is sick, man, we might never leave the house! lol.  

Same.  I think people know their kids.  Very often after we left preschool ages one of my kids would get sick and the other wouldn't.  I rarely would keep both home with one sick.  There were a few times where I couldn't take kid A somewhere because kid B was sick, but that was maybe 2-3 times ever.  We live in the upper midwest and I have had sinus surgery and just tend to have a lot of congestion/colds that hold on.  We can't live like shut ins all winter.  

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4 minutes ago, Calizzy said:

Thanks for all the input. She is well aware that we haven't been pleased with her general disposition of resistance towards us. We have some steps of consequences for this behavior, while it is something that is "normal" we are not ok with it. I felt like since we were not going, in this instance it was a privilege for her to be driven there just for her sake. That being said, I did decide that I would take her since I had previously laid out the consequences and she was on step 2 and no coop was not what we had talked about as the consequence. However, now I feel like a pushover. I guess part of parenting is feeling like you are doing it wrong 🤷‍♀️

Oh, it totally is.  It really doesn't matter what decisions you make..................they are all wrong.  All the time.  From deciding between huggies or pampers in the hospital, to deciding what color dress to wear to the kid's wedding, every single decision we make as parents is wrong. 🤣

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17 minutes ago, Calizzy said:

Thanks for all the input. She is well aware that we haven't been pleased with her general disposition of resistance towards us. We have some steps of consequences for this behavior, while it is something that is "normal" we are not ok with it. I felt like since we were not going, in this instance it was a privilege for her to be driven there just for her sake. That being said, I did decide that I would take her since I had previously laid out the consequences and she was on step 2 and no coop was not what we had talked about as the consequence. However, now I feel like a pushover. I guess part of parenting is feeling like you are doing it wrong 🤷‍♀️

 

We all second-guess our parenting decisions, but if there is one thing I have learned over the years it’s that it’s better to err on the side of kindness. I think you did the right thing. 

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1 hour ago, klmama said:

You can only do what you can do.  Illness happens. Sometimes others are inconvenienced.  

I think it's an incredibly callous attitude to have, but I am going to stop here

Edited by SereneHome

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2 hours ago, Calizzy said:

Thanks for all the input. She is well aware that we haven't been pleased with her general disposition of resistance towards us. We have some steps of consequences for this behavior, while it is something that is "normal" we are not ok with it. I felt like since we were not going, in this instance it was a privilege for her to be driven there just for her sake. That being said, I did decide that I would take her since I had previously laid out the consequences and she was on step 2 and no coop was not what we had talked about as the consequence. However, now I feel like a pushover. I guess part of parenting is feeling like you are doing it wrong 🤷‍♀️

I’m personally glad you took her.  That was too big of a consequence without warning.  It would be one thing if there had been warning, but without the warning it wasn’t fair.  And I know, I know...life isn’t always fair, but whenever it’s in my control, I try to be fair.

And 100% parenting is feeling like you’re doing it all wrong.  

 

Some things to think about:

1.  I just read a little thing today written by a mom who had whiny, arguing kids.  They were going to go on a looong drive to visit the cousins.  (Like a 10 hour trip.). She said, “If you guys start arguing in the car, I’m going to turn it around and come right back home and we won’t see the cousins.”  

Sure enough, 5 minutes into the trip, they started to argue, so she turned the car around and took them straight back home.  They skipped the trip to the cousins’ house.

What she knew and the kids didn’t know, is that the trip wasn’t really scheduled for that day. The trip was scheduled for the next weekend.  She simply knew that they’d argue the entire time unless they learned a hard lesson.  So she was only pretending to drive to the cousins’ house that day, knowing full well her kids would argue.  

When it was time to actually go on the trip, there was no arguing in the car.

2.  I had a friend who did something or other similar. A couple of her 3kids were being slowpokes about getting out the door and she was tired of it.  So she set it up to be sure her husband would be home and came up with some errand to do.  “Quick! Everybody in the car! We have to run the errand!”  When the slowpokes wouldn’t move fast enough because they were goofing off, she said, “Too late.  Husband, can you stay home with these two?  They aren’t ready.”  And then she took the kid who moved fast on the errand, and also bought that kid an ice cream cone.  She knew ahead of time she was going to do this and that the slow pokes would miss out.  After that happening a few times, they started moving faster.  They just never knew when they’d get a treat for being on time so they started moving faster.

3.  I just remembered another one that’s like #1.  My friend was a kid and the youngest of 3 kids.  Her single mom was going to take all three kids to an amusement park.  She warned them, “If you guys fight in the car, I will drop you off at grandmas for the day instead of taking you to the park.”  

My friend remembered thinking, “Yeah right!” And started fighting with her sister. 

Her mom was not going to spend the day alone at a park with fighting kids.  This was well before cell phones, but she drove to grandma’s house and ask grandma if she’d watch the fighters for the day.  Grandma agreed.  The two fighting sisters missed out on the park and their brother got to go alone and ride whatever rides he wanted and eat whatever he wanted without his sisters getting in the way.  My friend never EVER forgot that. 
 

They key, though, is that there’s warning about the consequence.  Without the warning, then it’s not a lesson in the child learning to control his or herself.  Instead they learn that mom flies off the handle and randomly yanks things away from them.  But if you can warn ahead of time, then the lesson can be powerful.

 

So...all that to say, rather than randomly saying, “You can’t go to co-op!” because you’re at the end of your rope, you might want to set up a situation where if the behavior isn’t what you like, you are prepared ahead of time to dish out a consequence or reward that you can control to drive the point home.  

Edited by Garga
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You have my sympathies op. My dd is 14 now but that whiny sulky stroppy attitude nearly did our heads in.

Fwiw, I don't think missing coop is too harsh a punishment. But, it is an oft repeated refrain around here that kindness starts at home. If you act like a brat at home, I sure won't be taking you out in public.  You don't get to save your best behaviour for friends and treat family like crap. No way. 

Hugs! Parenting ain't for the faint hearted.

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3 hours ago, wendyroo said:

I try to very explicitly and clearly explain to my kids when my stress level is high...and what that means for them.  For example: "It's not your fault at all, but dealing with the flooding in the basement is stressing my patience to the limit.  I am still trying VERY hard to make sure I find time to get the Halloween costumes down from the attic for you today, but that is the first thing that is going to get dropped off my priority list if children are being whiny and uncooperative."

It is certainly not something I would expect a small child to grasp, but I think it is a very important skill to start developing as kids are reaching the tween ages.  I certainly take their mood and stress level into account when I am planning our days.  I find extra tasks I can do for DH when his job is particularly demanding.  I cook a meal and take it to a friend when she has a new baby because that is a stressful time.  I find a different store employee rather than approach one who appears to be dealing with a stressful task.

So, yes, I would "take away" co-op due to uncooperative behavior, but I would also have tried to alert the child ahead of time that it was a possibility.

Wendy

This is us.  So much.  When the stress is high and I’m sick (like right now) or the kids are sick, my tolerance for childishness is much lower.  But I do try to warn them that mommy is exhausted and at the end of her rope and if this doesn’t go just right we call the whole thing off or I have a breakdown. I do also try to be super super clear with the daily schedule when it impacts them.  
 

But my middle schoolers huffing and puffing and giving attitude for normal chores they just don’t want to do or weren’t expecting to do when I say it’s time has very low tolerance here, because it happens all the time.  So I kind of have to put my foot down when things are already stretched to breaking.  I try hard not to use events as consequences but sometimes it has to happen either because it’s their only currency or a natural consequence of their attitude or dawdling (like we can no longer fit in ______ because we didn’t stay on task with our chore).

Edited by Arctic Mama
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In general I don't think it's too harsh, but like anything I like to give a warning first.  Especially on a special day.  I have a feeling DH would have reacted exactly like you and I would have taken her and given some consequence for the attitude later if that were the only thing going on.  But given sick siblings, I probably would have kept her home anyway.

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1 hour ago, SereneHome said:

I think it's an incredibly callous attitude to have, but I am going to stop here

Caring about the OP's stress level while dealing with two sick dc and an older dc's poor attitude makes me callous???  Having to stay home because the little ones were sick would have inconvenienced the older dd, but taking her to co-op and bringing along the two sick ones inconvenienced the sick ones and the OP.  I don't see how that's a win.  The discipline issue is a completely separate one, and that's not what I was addressing.   

 

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I think you made the right decision.  If a punishment involves letting down others, or a commitment said child has to others, then that's not fair to the others.

 

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I don't think it's too harsh. Moody and snotty behavior may be age appropriate, but that doesn't mean it's acceptable behavior.  I'm assuming that you've tried talking with her about her attitude and actions, and it's falling on deaf ears.  If so, then yes, time to underline the concept that if you act in rude and unhelpful ways, other people are not going to go out of their way to help you.  I probably would have pulled the plug on basketball practice, however, rather than co-op. 

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I don't think it's too harsh but I also don't think kids over a certain age (6 or 7) need warnings about acceptable behavior and consequences.

I also don't think you're a pushover for giving it back and explaining why.

(For us coop was not a part of any "educational plan", it was a fun extra that happened to be educational.)

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4 minutes ago, EmseB said:

I don't think it's too harsh but I also don't think kids over a certain age (6 or 7) need warnings about acceptable behavior and consequences.

I also don't think you're a pushover for giving it back and explaining why.

(For us coop was not a part of any "educational plan", it was a fun extra that happened to be educational.)

I dunno, I think even most adults even in work situations do at least get one warning.  Even people who are very well aware of what behaviors are acceptable do, from time to time, go off the rails without realizing it.  

And, not to......pull the female card.....but often, particulalyr that time of month, there are words and phrases and consequences that just...fly out of my mouth that, even as I am saying the words, my brain is thinking "what on EARTH am I doing?!?!?!"  And at 11, that same thing is happening to our girls, but they don't have the added years to really understand that.  Giving a warning, a heads up that "hey, yeah, you really are flying off the handle here" is really a good idea, something to help people who have not so much experiences with emotional management recognize that they aren't managing those emotions very well.  

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Kids, especially older ones who know what behavior is expected, shouldn't always expect warnings. Why would kids make better behavior choices from the beginning when they know they'll have extra chances?  Sometimes unexpected consequences happen.  Those are the most likely to be remembered. I took things away from my kids if they were acting up without warning them, especially if the issue had been ongoing. When they got upset that it "wasn't fair", my response was "then I guess next time you do ____, you'll think about it first." That got their attention in a way that warning them did not.

In this case, I probably wouldn't have taken the dd to coop. She would have a week to think about and change how she was acting before the next opportunity for coop came. There have, however, been times I've needed to apologize and rescind a consequence because I was acting out of frustration or annoyance, and that's what this sounds like for the OP.

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4 minutes ago, wilrunner said:

Why would kids make better behavior choices from the beginning when they know they'll have extra chances?

Because no one is perfect.  Our kids are going to screw up, just like we as parents are going to screw up and everyone deserves the grace of an extra chance and the gentle reminder that their behavior and attitude is starting to cross a line.  

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3 hours ago, Garga said:

I’m personally glad you took her.  That was too big of a consequence without warning.  It would be one thing if there had been warning, but without the warning it wasn’t fair.  And I know, I know...life isn’t always fair, but whenever it’s in my control, I try to be fair.

And 100% parenting is feeling like you’re doing it all wrong.  

 

Some things to think about:

1.  I just read a little thing today written by a mom who had whiny, arguing kids.  They were going to go on a looong drive to visit the cousins.  (Like a 10 hour trip.). She said, “If you guys start arguing in the car, I’m going to turn it around and come right back home and we won’t see the cousins.”  

Sure enough, 5 minutes into the trip, they started to argue, so she turned the car around and took them straight back home.  They skipped the trip to the cousins’ house.

What she knew and the kids didn’t know, is that the trip wasn’t really scheduled for that day. The trip was scheduled for the next weekend.  She simply knew that they’d argue the entire time unless they learned a hard lesson.  So she was only pretending to drive to the cousins’ house that day, knowing full well her kids would argue.  

When it was time to actually go on the trip, there was no arguing in the car.

2.  I had a friend who did something or other similar. A couple of her 3kids were being slowpokes about getting out the door and she was tired of it.  So she set it up to be sure her husband would be home and came up with some errand to do.  “Quick! Everybody in the car! We have to run the errand!”  When the slowpokes wouldn’t move fast enough because they were goofing off, she said, “Too late.  Husband, can you stay home with these two?  They aren’t ready.”  And then she took the kid who moved fast on the errand, and also bought that kid an ice cream cone.  She knew ahead of time she was going to do this and that the slow pokes would miss out.  After that happening a few times, they started moving faster.  They just never knew when they’d get a treat for being on time so they started moving faster.

3.  I just remembered another one that’s like #1.  My friend was a kid and the youngest of 3 kids.  Her single mom was going to take all three kids to an amusement park.  She warned them, “If you guys fight in the car, I will drop you off at grandmas for the day instead of taking you to the park.”  

My friend remembered thinking, “Yeah right!” And started fighting with her sister. 

Her mom was not going to spend the day alone at a park with fighting kids.  This was well before cell phones, but she drove to grandma’s house and ask grandma if she’d watch the fighters for the day.  Grandma agreed.  The two fighting sisters missed out on the park and their brother got to go alone and ride whatever rides he wanted and eat whatever he wanted without his sisters getting in the way.  My friend never EVER forgot that. 
 

They key, though, is that there’s warning about the consequence.  Without the warning, then it’s not a lesson in the child learning to control his or herself.  Instead they learn that mom flies off the handle and randomly yanks things away from them.  But if you can warn ahead of time, then the lesson can be powerful.

 

So...all that to say, rather than randomly saying, “You can’t go to co-op!” because you’re at the end of your rope, you might want to set up a situation where if the behavior isn’t what you like, you are prepared ahead of time to dish out a consequence or reward that you can control to drive the point home.  

If mom inconsistently gives warnings, the effectiveness of the warnings will increase. They know mom will follow through and will be thankful they received the warning instead of a consequence. Just because mom doesn't give a warning doesn't mean she's flying off the handle.

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1 minute ago, happysmileylady said:

Because no one is perfect.  Our kids are going to screw up, just like we as parents are going to screw up and everyone deserves the grace of an extra chance and the gentle reminder that their behavior and attitude is starting to cross a line.  

Sure. I agree. I think sometimes kids need warnings. But when there is an ongoing issue that doesn't seem to be improving, issuing an unexpected consequence will get their attention faster.

 

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4 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

I dunno, I think even most adults even in work situations do at least get one warning.  Even people who are very well aware of what behaviors are acceptable do, from time to time, go off the rails without realizing it.  

And, not to......pull the female card.....but often, particulalyr that time of month, there are words and phrases and consequences that just...fly out of my mouth that, even as I am saying the words, my brain is thinking "what on EARTH am I doing?!?!?!"  And at 11, that same thing is happening to our girls, but they don't have the added years to really understand that.  Giving a warning, a heads up that "hey, yeah, you really are flying off the handle here" is really a good idea, something to help people who have not so much experiences with emotional management recognize that they aren't managing those emotions very well.  

Sure, I agree with all of this  I just don't think a warning that a particular consequence might happen as a result of certain behavior (especially if the behavior is an ongoing issue) is absolutley necessary to enacting that consequence. I do think it's ok for a parent to decide in the moment that they just can't handle the attitude and say, look, I am stretched thin, you are having trouble regulating your attitude, I'm having trouble getting help with one household chore, bro and sis are sick, we are staying home. I would, also, after things died down, have a discussion about how getting a special ride to coop was a privilege and mom trying to make things work, but that mom felt like dd was acting as if it was something she was owed, and next week hopefully all of us are in better health and spirits.

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2 minutes ago, wilrunner said:

Sure. I agree. I think sometimes kids need warnings. But when there is an ongoing issue that doesn't seem to be improving, issuing an unexpected consequence will get their attention faster.

 

I don't disagree with this at all.  Sometimes, it might be necessary.  I am not sure that this in particular is such a case.  In this case it sounds like the consequence was mostly just a reaction to the stress going on in the house, rather than a specific unexpected consequence designed to get the kid's attention faster.  Which, of course, happens to pretty much every parent who has ever lived.  

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7 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

I don't disagree with this at all.  Sometimes, it might be necessary.  I am not sure that this in particular is such a case.  In this case it sounds like the consequence was mostly just a reaction to the stress going on in the house, rather than a specific unexpected consequence designed to get the kid's attention faster.  Which, of course, happens to pretty much every parent who has ever lived.  

In my world, since I'm also not perfect, sometimes the stress of the household results in plans being changed for reasons of my own sanity. I mean, this happened when my kids were toddlers (we don't end up doing something because they needed a nap or were out of sorts and I couldn't imagine trying to deal with that out of the house), so it's not entirely unthinkable to me that if I'm inconveniencing sick siblings to take a kid to an activity and said kid is whining and complaining, maybe they need a break or a rest day to regroup. I've also told my kids at one time or another if they are out of sorts that I can't possibly ask someone else (Sunday school teacher, friend's parent) to deal with a bad attitude if I as their mom am having trouble with it. It usually gets the point across before having to cancel something.

Then again, my kids loved coop, but missing a day would not have been devastating.

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I see that you took her after all.

I agree that the behavior is age-expected, but not "appropriate" and deserving of discipline.

I feel co-op is not normally the thing to use for punishment, but given that people were sick and you were quite put out for reasons out of your control, I think it is OK for her to understand that co-op depends on a certain number of stars aligning, and her attitude could be the straw that breaks the camel's back.

I also think it is OK for you to backtrack on a punishment you made in the heat of the moment, as long as the final outcome is consistent with your well-thought-out discipline methods.  I have certainly done that and lived to tell the tale.  🙂

Your story reminds me of when my kids were 5 & 6, in 1st grade, and the 5yo was sick.  I needed to get the 6yo to school (there was no bus service & it was 5 miles).  My 5yo puked on herself on the drive there.  We arrived to school late, I checked my 6yo in, and they asked where the 5yo was.  "In the car covered in vomit."  The looks on their faces, LOL.  Well, they obviously thought I was horrible, but what was I supposed to do?  So I feel for you.  If you have to skip co-op, skip it, and your 11yo will not die.

Edited by SKL
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Another thought - sometimes crabbiness is a symptom that the child is also getting sick.  I hope that is not the case ... but given a clear mind, it might have been something to say to her crabby self.  "Looks like you may be coming down with something too.  Go back to bed; guess co-op is out for today."

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6 hours ago, Catwoman said:

 

We all second-guess our parenting decisions, but if there is one thing I have learned over the years it’s that it’s better to err on the side of kindness. I think you did the right thing. 

I couldn't agree more.  

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16 hours ago, klmama said:

Caring about the OP's stress level while dealing with two sick dc and an older dc's poor attitude makes me callous???  Having to stay home because the little ones were sick would have inconvenienced the older dd, but taking her to co-op and bringing along the two sick ones inconvenienced the sick ones and the OP.  I don't see how that's a win.  The discipline issue is a completely separate one, and that's not what I was addressing.   

 

I thought you meant that it's OK for sick people to go out in public and if others get sick, that's just a small inconvenience. If I completely misunderstood, I sincerely apologize and OF COURSE take my comment back

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44 minutes ago, SereneHome said:

I thought you meant that it's OK for sick people to go out in public and if others get sick, that's just a small inconvenience. If I completely misunderstood, I sincerely apologize and OF COURSE take my comment back

LOL!  Oh, if you only knew me!  I am firmly in the "don't go when you are sick" camp.  I can't tell you how many times illness went through our whole family after someone thought it was fine to give her feverish dc Tylenol so they'd feel well enough to attend church, co-op, day camp, playdates, etc.  Eventually, I learned to ask if any kids in the family were sick before sending my dc on playdates, but even that wasn't enough - once I asked that and was told they were fine, but when I picked up the dc at the end of the playdate the mom told me that SHE was sick. Yep, once again, it made the rounds through our home, because guess who made lunch?  I don't understand why some people think it's fine to expose others to illness, simply so their own dc aren't disappointed at having to miss something.  

In regard to my response to the OP, I was trying to say that she had sick kids and shouldn't stress about needing to stay home to care for them.  Yes, the older one would be inconvenienced by having to miss co-op, but that inconvenience shouldn't take priority over the needs of the sick ones.  

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12 minutes ago, klmama said:

LOL!  Oh, if you only knew me!  I am firmly in the "don't go when you are sick" camp.  I can't tell you how many times illness went through our whole family after someone thought it was fine to give her feverish dc Tylenol so they'd feel well enough to attend church, co-op, day camp, playdates, etc.  Eventually, I learned to ask if any kids in the family were sick before sending my dc on playdates, but even that wasn't enough - once I asked that and was told they were fine, but when I picked up the dc at the end of the playdate the mom told me that SHE was sick. Yep, once again, it made the rounds through our home, because guess who made lunch?  I don't understand why some people think it's fine to expose others to illness, simply so their own dc aren't disappointed at having to miss something.  

In regard to my response to the OP, I was trying to say that she had sick kids and shouldn't stress about needing to stay home to care for them.  Yes, the older one would be inconvenienced by having to miss co-op, but that inconvenience shouldn't take priority over the needs of the sick ones.  

Oh, don't get me started!

Again, I am so sorry for my comment! And I do agree with your point!

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28 minutes ago, klmama said:

LOL!  Oh, if you only knew me!  I am firmly in the "don't go when you are sick" camp.  I can't tell you how many times illness went through our whole family after someone thought it was fine to give her feverish dc Tylenol so they'd feel well enough to attend church, co-op, day camp, playdates, etc.  Eventually, I learned to ask if any kids in the family were sick before sending my dc on playdates, but even that wasn't enough - once I asked that and was told they were fine, but when I picked up the dc at the end of the playdate the mom told me that SHE was sick. Yep, once again, it made the rounds through our home, because guess who made lunch?  I don't understand why some people think it's fine to expose others to illness, simply so their own dc aren't disappointed at having to miss something.  

In regard to my response to the OP, I was trying to say that she had sick kids and shouldn't stress about needing to stay home to care for them.  Yes, the older one would be inconvenienced by having to miss co-op, but that inconvenience shouldn't take priority over the needs of the sick ones.  

 

14 minutes ago, SereneHome said:

Oh, don't get me started!

Again, I am so sorry for my comment! And I do agree with your point!

 

I’m always right there with you two on “stay home when you’re sick,” but I voted differently in this particular case because it seemed like Calizzy had promised her dd that she could go to the special day at coop, but then punished her by saying she couldn’t go — not because of the siblings who were ill, but for another reason entirely. I was glad Calizzy changed her mind and took her dd to coop. But had she told the dd in advance that if the other kids were still sick on coop day, the whole family would have to stay home, that would have made perfect sense to me. 

I will admit to having felt uneasy about recommending that the dd go to coop, considering that the siblings were already sick, but I felt so sorry for the kid because she had been counting on going right up until the last minute. I also felt badly for Calizzy, because it seemed like she was feeling sad and guilty about the punishment. 

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I’m a fan of consequences, just not random convenient ones made up on the spot. Kids need to know that if they do x then y happens and this should be established before they do x. It seems like you were itching for an excuse not to drive her to class because it made the day easier. 

Also, 11 is little and sometimes it’s hard to see how young our oldest child really is. It’s hard being the oldest daughter. It just is.  

That said, if she’s particularly cranky, she could be next in line for cooties so you could have your behavior policy at odds with your sick policy. I’ll admit that I don’t care for the practice of sending the one kid in the family who isn’t sick to be the Typhoid Mary of co-op. I know that means families with little kids miss more often, but at that age they can easily skip classes without an issue. 

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