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(Un)sure-step boots natural consequences of behavior

kidsparentschild2 years3 yearsFeuilletonchildrenkidLenka Míkovcová4 years5 years1 year0 yeardaughterpunishmentnatural consequences of behaviorbootspreschoolbarefooted

It was seven in the morning on Wednesday and the temperature in Ostrava was 23 degrees Celsius (74 Fahrenheit) in the shade. Eliška, my five year old daughter, decided that she would go to preschool in winter boots with a thick pelt. At first I had a monologue about how hot she was going to feel wearing them and how no one wears them in the summer and that it’s stupid, that the other children will laugh at her etc. Then I stopped myself and said “I would personally feel very warm in winter boots.” She looked at me and answered, that she wanted to try it.

We had to walk across the entire housing complex to get to her preschool. We met many people along the way. And also on the way we had to drop off our first born daughter, Emily, at school. When she found out that Eli was wearing winter boots, she proclaimed that she wasn’t going to walk with us. She walked 100 meters in front of us pretending she didn’t know us. She quickly said goodbye before entering her school.

Upon leaving the house, we came across half our neighbors. We don’t usually meet them. All of them were turning around but no one said anything, they just had a quizzical look on their face. They were wondering what was the meaning of the shoes. Elinka was really excited that she was able to wear her winter boots and kept on chattering about how good the boots looked with a skirt and vest. After 500 meters, I was already sweating. Eli also started to bake and began protesting: “These shoes are too warm, I don’t want them.”

I already heard myself saying: “I knew it, but you wouldn’t listen!” Luckily I swallowed, in a dry throat, and stayed silent. I gave her a choice instead, either she walks barefooted or she can continue to go to preschool in her winter shoes. There was no alternative because we couldn’t return home. Eli decided to walk in her shoes but agreed that the shoes really were warm and that she will only wear them in the winter from now on. Then she pleaded: “Could you please tell daddy to bring me sandals when he comes to pick me up?” Of course I promised that I would.

I even had the sandals with me the entire time in my purse. But I knew that I wouldn’t give them to her on the way. She mustn’t expect her mother to solve every problem for her. At the same time I was afraid that my husband would forget them at home and she would be forced to walk home in 31° Celsius in winter boots. I put them in the bottom of a bag near her hanger; my husband took them out later.

It was a big relief for me that I managed it. I didn’t mentor, and I didn’t care how many people saw us in July in winter wear,… I wish it was this easy for me more often.

(Author: Zuzana Žurková) (Text editing: Lenka Míkovcová) ——————————————————————————

You can find out more about natural consequences and punishments in the book Respect an be Respected Respektovat a být respektován, Pavel Kopřiva, Jana Nováčková, Dobromila Nevolová, Taťjana Kopřivová, Pavel Kopřiva - Spirála, 2008.

Author: Lenka Míkovcová

Translation: Marek Hubbell

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