Aggravated with the windows going up and down as I had the air conditioning on and didn't like hearing the thumping noise that arises when a window is partway down and I'm driving 35mph down the road, I effortlessly pressed the window lock button. Now I'd love to meet the genious who invented such a thing. I'm not one to make assumptions on much, but I'd put my money on the fact that a mom came up with that innovation. As I continued driving I thought about how much easier it seems to parents if they can just control their children's other behaviors in the same ways. With the press of a button, or in the case of a squabble simply removing the item or toy in dispute. On the other hand though I thought about what is missed in simply pressing a button or removing the source of dissention between two sibligs. Children need to understand how their behavior effects situations (when the window is down and the air conditioning is on the car will not cool down, why do you think that's the case?) and how it effects others (when you don;t share your ball with your younger brother his feelings are hurt, how would you feel if an older child didn't share their ball with you on recess?). I admit it can be painstakingly slow to go through the process of helping your child to understand the effect of their behavior on others yet isn't this the only way to change their behavior on a much deeper level? To encourage altruism? I admit, I still use that window button from time to time but I try to steer clear of the underlying philosophy when it comes to developing my children's character.
Emily Rempe is the co-founder of ProductiveParenting.com, a website that provides free educational activities tailored to your baby or young child's developmental stage. She is also the 2010 Mom Congress delegate from Ohio.