The best policy

[Moblogging from New York, which is why there’s been nothing new here for a while.]

Yesterday we took the kids to the American Museum of Natural History, where they were eager to find “Rexy” the T-Rex skeleton and “Dexter” the Capuchin monkey, characters in Night at the Museum. (And they did, among very much else.) We had some discipline problems, however, due in part, no doubt, to overstimulation from the bounteous exhibits and an excessively sugary cupcake at the museum’s cafeteria. So the kids lost their dinnertime dessert privileges.

As soon as we got back to my dad’s house, where we’re staying this week, Archer apprised him of their punishment. “We lost our dessert privilege because we did some bad things,” he reported cheerfully. “No dessert for us!” It’s a mark of how good the boys usually are, and therefore how seldom they’re punished, that temporarily losing a privilege can be an entertaining novelty (and maybe not as much of a deterrent as we’d like).

A little later that evening, Andrea and I went out to run an errand. The kids were in the care of my dad and his wife. My dad fixed them a snack and, having forgotten their punishment, included a few jellybeans on the plate. Jonah immediately reminded him, “We’re not supposed to have dessert tonight!” Archer repeated the reminder. Impressed, my dad withdrew the jellybeans and told them how proud he was of their honesty, which Andrea and I reinforced when we returned and heard the story. Today, as a reward: double the number of jellybeans they refused last night.

2 thoughts on “The best policy”

  1. Bob,

    Check out the post above yours at I Remember JFK regarding the Sugar Myth. Kids generally behave according to one’s expectations and belief system rather than in response to external stimuli and often are subjected to punitive measures related to misguided conclusions – or perhaps not.


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