Is pain a teacher in your house?

Veronica - posted on 02/06/2011 ( 35 moms have responded )




So, when your kids are doing something they shouldnt - are there times you resort to, "fine, but if you get hurt, dont come crying to me!"
I have to admit that I do. My son was playing with a rubber band, and hooking it to his teeth and pulling it down -- I told him to stop - obviously its going to break or snap up and would be surprise sting to his lips -- so since he wouldnt remove it from his mouth - i thought, you don't want to listen, dont come crying when it snaps ya then. Perhaps this sounds harsh of me, and yes, I could have easily went and snatched the rubber band away -- but sometimes in, minor situations - i feel they need to learn too.
What do you think?
Obviously this wouldnt apply to all situations. I try keeping my kids away from the outlets - but my 2 year old has been zapped from sticking objects in the outlet - and he still hasnt learned his lesson from that -- no matter how much I keep him away from it, and tell him its dangerous, etc etc.etc.


Charlie - posted on 02/06/2011




Natural consequences ? Yes , within reason of course I would never risk serious injury or death for a simple "lesson" but I do believe that natural consequences can a very effective tool.

Jodi - posted on 02/06/2011




Yes, for anything that isn't really jeopardising their safety, I rely on natural consequences. Isn't that where the term "I told you so" came from? LOL.

They eventually get the message....although sometimes it takes a while. As long as it isn't dangerous, there is no real harm, just some tears and temporary pain (and guilt, LOL).

Cassie - posted on 02/06/2011




I try and follow natural consequences within reason for my girls. Sometimes this may result in some hurt and tears when they fall down, etc. But they learn what negative consequences come from climbing furniture, running too fast inside, etc.


View replies by

[deleted account]

The first time I said to my child, "don't come crying to me!" I slapped my hand over my mouth and realized how MUCH I sound like my OWN mother.
I have done the exact same thing you have. I tell the kid thirty times, "sit down or get are going to fall."
Just like you I tend to just, give up. I think they DO have to learn on their own. I can stand there and tell him what FALL means...but he's not going to understand FALL until he FEELS it. you don't HAND your child over to trouble...but sometimes you have to let them fall so they can learn to pick themselves up. They wrote the song "Ten Little Monkeys Jumping On The Bed" for a reason.

Veronica - posted on 02/08/2011




Right, Mandy - age is def. a factor - you arent going to let a 5 month old roll of the bed, and tell them, "i told you so." hehehe just had to be a little silly for a moment their ;) All in good fun and humor sometimes.

Veronica - posted on 02/08/2011




Ok, Im using the broken pencil as a tool, i can imagine the horrified looks from my kids! hahaha -- and Kate - ugh! the dreaded rag doll - i hate that move!! Im almost a good enough teacher for the kids at times, because i get hurt just as much - a few weeks ago I was putting noodles into the boiling pot of water, and water splashed out and scaulded my stomach! (hit my shirt and burned through to skin) So i was able to show my kids what happens when you get burnt from hot water - needless to say, when i tell them to get out of the kitchen when im cooking - they stay out now! My husband gets minor chemmical burns at work, and uses those for examples about poisons, etc., we are just trying to use common sense, and sometimes I think shock tactics work too. In the car, I tell them what will happen to them, down to the bloody details, if they dont buckle up. Sounds harsh, but Id rather they think about possibly flying through the windshield and buckle up - then to not and have them think they dont have to buckle.
I try not to sugar coat alot, but not get to the point to scare them into being afraid of things either.

Tia Melissa - posted on 02/08/2011




Pain can be a very effective lesson for an experiential learner. You know, those kids that will NOT listen to any form of warning and don't absorb it until they have experienced it themselves. I have two of those. I do my best to keep truly dangerous items out of reach or out of my house. I even had to switch to cleaning with vinegar, tto and baking soda to keep one of them from killing himself. I digress...

I think that if we insulate children from all pain (doesn't have to be a 2nd degree burn, poisoning or severe electrocution) that we take away the best mode of learning cause and effect. Obviously this is tempered with common sense and keeping your kids away from danger.

Joanna - posted on 02/08/2011




I'm really bad about not letting her do things that will hurt her, and holding her back. I'm constantly after her saying "no" and "you'll hurt yourself.". I just don't want to see her hurt. The first time she fell and bit her lip I had a panic attack at the site of a droplet of blood. And now, at 3, even if there's blood, she's normally okay, barely ever cries. But I still worry too much.

The other day I had to leave the park because my husband let her swing alone and climb up thebig ladder. All I could picture was her falling and breaking her neck. But no, she was fine.

[deleted account]

I use natural consequence with minor things that will hurt but not harm, so falling off the sofa, banging his head on the table etc etc. It is important for children to learn that some things hurt, we can't wrap our children in cotton wool sometimes the best way to teach them is to let them feel the minor pain :-)

H.J - posted on 02/08/2011




Some times children need to learn and take risks otherwise they will not learn. Children learn through their own experiences it is up to us as adults to guide this learning. I am a big advocate of natural consequences. You can say a million times not to do something and tell the child what the consequence will be but until they feel the effects of the consequences then they will not know why you warn them. I always use it as learning especially when they go to do it again I'll sternly warn "remember what happened last time" I don't use I told you so I use remember when I told you that not to do... when I get the answer yes I will say "that's because I knew you would get hurt, I was trying to keep you safe not to be mean and spoil your fun but so you wouldn't hurt yourself"

[deleted account]

Jacob's 3 and I've always tried to let him learn and push the boundaries in a supervised "on his own" kind of way. Obviously, I would never let him do something that would harm him seriously, just to teach him a lesson. I'm not gonna let him play with sharp knives in order for him to learn that they can cut him. But with some things I let him learn "the hard way".

"Jacob, please don't jump on the couch. You're gonna fall and bonk your head on the floor. It will hurt you." Repeat a thousand times. I let him jump on the couch. He did fall and he did hit his head on the floor (it's carpeted and not much of a fall). After a good cry and a kiss from me, he pointed at the couch and said, "NO jumpin' on the couch Mommy!" He hasn't done it since. I think sometimes we have to let our kids hurt themselves (never with anything that could obviously cause serious harm to them, of course). I think it's part of how they learn about the world around them, their environment, their surroundings, their boundaries. It's also a good lesson in direct consequences. "If I do this, it hurts. I won't do that. And I learned it on my own."

[deleted account]

Jumping in late, but yes.....there's a time and a place. I'm a firm believer in natural consequences so as long as Roxanne isn't in grave danger, she's been known to "learn the hard way"....

Hopefully my post isn't totally out of place because I haven't read any others....

Jocelyn - posted on 02/07/2011




Conner, don't stand on the chair.
Conner, you will fall off the chair if you stand on it.
Conner DON"T stand on the chair.
*Conner falls off chair*
(while suppressing the urge to roll my eyes)--Told you so.

Kate CP - posted on 02/07/2011




A direct consequence to an action is often the best teaching method around. So when I tell my daughter not to run through the house in her stocking feet because we have hard wood floors and she'll fall and hurt herself...if she doesn't listen to me the resulting bump on her head will be the lesson. When she was 18 months old she did the "rag doll baby" move (you know the one where you're holding them and they just fling their head back and go crazy during a tantrum?) I told her once "You're going to hurt your head if you do that again." She did it again, banged her head on the wall, and she never did it again. Also stopped the tantrum dead in it's tracks because Mommy needed to kiss the boo-boo. :P

So, yea, "I told you so" is a favorite phrase of mine. :)

Sharon - posted on 02/07/2011




Oh yeah. Pain is a teacher. I don't think I tell them "you shouldn't be doing that" its more direct..."stop fucking with the cat or she's going to scratch you..... band aids are over there, wash first, use neosporin."

"what were you thinking? You can't carry all that and the dog and try to go out the front door, no wonder it fell on your foot. Did you think about that before you tried it? Yeah that makes sense but you forgot that the dog wiggles, here I'll get you some frozen peas, finish putting the dog out and come sit down...." they usually don't come back for the ice pack, which is ok, because I didn't get it out anyway.... lol

Bonnie - posted on 02/07/2011




I have said it here and there. Sometimes they just have to feel what it is like in order for them to stop (kind of like hands on learning). My boys often chase eachother around and they sometimes circle around the diningroom table. They know there is not a lot of space around the table, but they still do it until one of them runs into a chair or bonks their head off the table.

Desiree - posted on 02/07/2011




Couldn't agree with you more, there are time that children especially boys just don't want to listen and there is only one way for that to happen.. The Hard way!

Barb - posted on 02/07/2011




This is one of Doug's favorite jokes.
A mother will tell her child 1000 times not to touch the pot because it is hot. the child will ask mommy "what's hot?" Mommy will explain about 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree burns and pain and how horrible it is, distract the child and keep it safe.

Dad tells the child not to touch the pot. The child asks "what's hot?" Dad says "touch the pot"

Jr used to be fascinated with my curling iron, of all things. I would tell him not to touch it because it was hot and it would hurt him.
Doug was watching Jr one day. He plugged in the curling iron to get it uncomfortably warm but not enough to burn him. (i take hotter showers than Doug so i know it wasn't very hot) He let Jr touch it and when he jerked his hand back Doug said "hot". Jr got it. and never touched anything hot again, you just had to say something was "hot" and he would back away with his little hands in his pockets.

If Doug needed him to stay out of a room he would put my curling iron in the doorway, Jr wouldn't even step over it.

When jr would do something silly and get hurt i'd say, "that looked like it hurt, i'd try to do that another way. Maybe not land on your face like that."

Ez - posted on 02/07/2011




What Loureen said. We can only guide and direct so much. At some point children need to learn their limits for themselves. For example, my daughter became obsessed with climbing onto my office chair at one point. I would remove her, distract her, redirect her, explain she would fall and that it would hurt. Over and over and over again. Eventually I just let her go and sure enough she did fall. She cried for a few minutes and complained that she hurt herself but she didn't do it again.

Danielle - posted on 02/06/2011




Most of the time pain is a good teacher in my home. You can only tell a child not to do something and why so many times. My last resort (if it's not gonna hurt them badly) is to let them see for themselves. But sometimes I use other methods. Recently my son was climbing on the headboard of my bed (How? I don't know) and he got in trouble for it 3 times. So finally I put him in timeout AGAIN and came up with another solution. I took a pencil in there and asked him did he know why I told him not to climb on there. Of course he said no (although he did lol) So I showed him the pencil and snapped it and gave it to him, and explained that if he fell while up there and his leg got caught that that would be his leg. It's been a few days and he has not yet climbed back up there.

JuLeah - posted on 02/06/2011




We learn when we learn ... I had a friend once (the only person like her that I know) that actually learned from the mistakes of others. She was odd, to be true, but never snapped a rubber band on her lips or any of the things I have done in my life .... the rest of us, learn when we learn. We try to keep kids safe, know their SSI and Insurance numbers if they fall in spite of our safe guards and warnings, but sooner or later they learn. How many adults do you know that play with a rubber badn in that fashion? or stick things in outlets? I did that when I was nine, BTW, and still remember how much it hurt - my hand was numb for hours. So, your two yr old must be tough or is standing on rubber shoes ... anway, my point is, we can only do what we can do and sometimes pain is the perfect teacher

Tara - posted on 02/06/2011




Within reason and respecting age appropriateness of course.
However I don't tell them not to do something and then give in and say "fine don't come crying to me if you get hurt", instead if I think they might get hurt but I don't really mind whatever they are doing I will say "I think you might get hurt if you keep doing that. If it were me I might stop, so I didn't get hurt." That way I haven't gone back on my demand to stop, and I have given them control of the outcome. They know if they get hurt, I already told them I thought they would, so usually they don't come crying to me about it. They'll just get "I told you that you might get hurt."
But major things that could really hurt them or someone else, no.

[deleted account]

When my girls were toddlers they wouldn't respect the 'hot' warning, so one day we let them them touch a hot pizza. It wasn't hot enough to burn them (we personally checked first) since it had cooled off from being out of the oven, but it was still hot enough to be uncomfortable...... They learned that 'hot' means hot and we never had to warn them to stay away from the stove after that. ;)

My son did learn about sticking things in the outlet too, but that is NOT a lesson that I would've 'let' him learn on his own. Little stinker snuck a key out of the girls room and went to the outlet in my room all while I took a pee though.

Pain is a wonderful teacher. Obviously they need protected as much as possible from pain that will do any real damage, but a hot finger (NOT burned), skinned knee, etc.... is better than a million warnings any day. ;)

[deleted account]

I think in minor situations telling a child to "don't come crying to me if you get hurt" is just fine. To some extent pain is a teacher yes.

Amie - posted on 02/06/2011




That would be a logical consequence to their actions and we do use that.

If they're not going to end up seriously hurt, they can learn for themselves why we say "You shouldn't be doing that".

Nadia - posted on 02/06/2011




I do it... if its something minor. Sometimes, like my parents used to tell me, they have to figure it out for themselves. Espeially if it's something i've said over and over and over and over (stop jumping on the couch!!!! ) then when my girl fially falls off and gets hurt... well i told her so. I don't actually say i told you so, but once the tears have stopped i explain this is exactly why mommy says don't do this! So yes, i think for minor things its ok.

Minnie - posted on 02/06/2011




Sure- if it's a natural consequence and isn't dangerous. You squeeze the cat too hard or pull his whiskers you'll get a scratch. You don't want to put on your boots- ok your toes will get soggy and frozen outside (but I bring extra socks and the boots of course). But as far as electrical outlets, no.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 02/06/2011




I give warnings about what can happen...and why he should not do certain jump from his air hockey table to his bed...but I let him. When he does hurt himself, I of course comfort...when he is feeling better, we discuss why he should not have done *that* thing or another.,

Veronica - posted on 02/06/2011




Teaching consistantly is a long and hard job - and sometimes the minor things are better left to 'find out for themselves'. My kids also dash around the house chasing each other - i tell them to slow down, someone will get hurt -- and sure enough, someone runs into someone sooner or later -- but they still continue to do it. I just pray that they eventually get it ;) lol

Becky - posted on 02/06/2011




For minor things like that, yes, I'll let it go and let them learn from the consequence. You can't shield them from everything forever! But for dangerous things like playing with knives, the stove or hot water, and outlets, no, I'll take them away from those things and discipline them if necessary if they keep going back. The only 2 we really have an issue with are the fireplace - we keep the pilot off so it's not hot, but are trying to teach them to never touch it in case it is, and it's not getting through very well. And the hot water in the tub - Cole is always turning on the taps, as many times as I tell him not too because he might make the water too hot.

[deleted account]

I do the same as Cassie. Its better to let the natural flow of the environment teach. Its within reason, for things that are too dangerous, i do explain and teach her the difference, rather than put her at an unnecessary risk. I would never say "don't come crying to me if..." because that may teach her to suppress her emotions.

Stifler's - posted on 02/06/2011




my baby is only 1 so not really yet. if when he's older and runs on wet concrete and falls over after repeatedly being told not to then what can you do.

Veronica - posted on 02/06/2011




P.S. dangerous things would not be left alone - that was the point i was making with the outlets - its NOT a time to teach lessons, by saying "fine, stick the fork in the socket" -- obviously --- Im referring to minor things, that may scare or surprise your child more than anything.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms