Gravity and Natural Consequences

I love the fact that we don’t have broadcast TV. Well, most of the time I love it. We gave up our satellite dish because having it meant that 80 percent of the time some of all the kids had their eyes glued to the television. It’s pretty hard to get chores and homework done when that is the case.Gidget Poster

Recently we bought an antennae that would allow us to at least get local channels. Or so we thought. In actuality we only get a few of the channels-not even a station that has morning and evening news. No, instead I turn it on and I see shows like The Partridge Family and Dennis the Menace.  

The other day, while folding laundry, I watched an episode of Gidget (adorable character played by a young Sally Field). In this episode she did something wrong (as usual) and in the end, the consequence for her behavior was…wait for it…they gave her a spanking. Her character is 15 years old. It struck me how much times have changed.

Later I tuned in to Leave it to Beaver. In this episode his friend told an innocent tale (which was meant to make the audience laugh) all about what happens when the boy’s dad hits him.

It all seemed so commonplace. Not sad or shocking or terrible at all.

I love how far society has come. But let’s face it-raising kids is still challenging.

Lately our bedtime schedule for the kids is non-existent. In fact it seems like when we say go to bed, they become more awake and when we say wake up, they sleep harder.

Now onto the next part of the story. Last night Angelina, who is six, was sent to bed around 9:30. I knew at 10:00 she was still wide awake. However, I was surprised at 11:30 when she got up with her unfinished homework in hand, wanting to get it done. I sent her back to bed, saying we’d work on it in the morning. Joe was not in favor of that.

Since we adults were all at the kitchen table, her behavior became the precursor to a family meeting on the subject of “bedtime”.

We needed some work in the area of the bedtime ritual. We needed a consequence that would be as consistent as gravity.

After much discussion and each one of us voicing our opinion on the matter, we came to some agreement and resolution.

I love it when we all work together in unity. Not only is it a great feeling, it also opens up so many possibilities!


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4 Responses to Gravity and Natural Consequences

  1. Kathryn says:

    I have watched you lovely family on many television specials over the years and have always been greatly impressed by your unity, fearlessness and love within your home. I am a semi-typical LDS member. You will never find me living in Provo trying on the Stepford-Mormon-Wife hat nor am I interested in that perception. What you see is what you get with me and my family. We do not put on airs and if we don’t see every challenge as a “blessing” that is fine. Perhaps that is the reason I feel I can relate to the women in your family. You are honest and have no qualms not being the “stereotypical” polygamist that one tends to conjure up mentally with that subject.

    You are such strong women and I admire your tenacity in not hiding. There is no reason that plural marriage should NOT be legalized. How horribly is it that a sports figure can have children with a dozen women but if you dare to treat her with respect, support her and those children, provide a family and call her wife that is illegal?

    Our society could use stronger families but unless they fit inside a pretty little box that is just not allowed. The humorous part is the failure of those marriages and yet somehow you and your family are the ones who are going to bring it down? I simple fail to see the logic.

    If you are ever in Kentucky I would love to meet you as you will most likely not find me in Utah soon (too many judgmental Mormons!).

    Blessings to you and yours,


  2. Kari says:

    Ah yes! The bedtime discussion. Our 5 & 7 year old go to bed at 8:30-8:45pm and usually are exhausted from school and sports. Then the 10 year old usually goes to bed at 9pm. None of them stay up, they are exhausted. Then….the 13 & 14 year old boys upstairs. They are “sent to bed” at 10pm, and usually crash around 11 or so. Now, they have begged to have a later bedtime, and they don’t really stuggle to get up in the morning, but enough is enough for me to have some adult quiet time with dad! I told them, at 10pm, the downstairs is shut down. No lights, TV’s or anything on. Go upstairs, lay out your school clothes, watch a little TV, but please let mom & dad talk in peace and the 3 youngest rest! Seems to be working….for now.

  3. Melinda says:

    I would love to hear your resolution regarding bedtime. It is one of the hardest parts of parenting, right after potty training, in my opinion. We tried the “let them go till they fall asleep on their own” routine. That totally didn’t work (still doesn’t for our 19yo either lol). We tried a very strict, Super Nanny approach of putting them to bed and leaving, walking them back when they would get up. Yup, that failed, too. Now we sit in the room with them (my husband more than I) and read to them from books till they fall asleep. Getting them to be quiet for this is a challenge sometimes, even though they love being read to.

  4. Stephania says:

    Never underestimate the power of boredom! Meaning no super-fun hyper activities after dinner when it’s non-summer or school is in session. I know in a smaller place where all the rooms are kind of within hearing distance having their doors open and them just hearing the adults talking or doing dishes can sometimes work with younger kids as they don’t feel as alone or get creeped out. Even if their rooms are not close to the rest of the house if they have their doors half open and hear/see you going around doing chores it gives them something to focus on but something that is relatively boring. This is also more powerful when used with the kids hearing you talk on the phone to grandmas or other friends, as long as the conversation does not become overly agitated or emotional, just chit-chatty.
    Then there is always the threat of minor chores, again, not anything strenuous, and sometimes you don’t even have to get them to do it, just the idea of, hey, you can help me sort socks or fold laundry is enough to have them headed for the hills of dreamland. I’m sure you can be creative with all this, but the main thing is all choices or negotiations offered are boring and redundant and the choice is never ‘are you ready to go to bed, or do you want to go to bed?’ but rather, do you want to help me put away dishes, or sort socks or would you like to listen to your radio (played low) or your ipod (no internet phone) and just relax in your room?
    The more subtly boring you can make things as the evening progresses, the higher your chances are of an early nod-off without battles. You want to make sleep seem attractive rather than a punishment. With the older kids, inexpensive room/bed makeovers might make spending time there seem more enticing though if they are sharing rooms it will probably have to be confined to their actual bedding/pillows etc.
    If you are in a bigger place where they cannot see/hear the adults you could try what i call th
    e ‘reverse baby monitor’ placed in the common areas of the house, like kitchen or family room so they can hear you, this probably would work the same way as it does in a smaller place where they cant help but hear you anyway. Note that one doesn’t have to be super quiet (avoid non-kid-friendly discussions of course) , doing chores, making kitchen noise , laundry , talking on phone, the key is the boringness of it.
    Also you can invent some plan which they don’t know is a plot to make them go to sleep, such as ‘reading hour’ on the pretense you want them all to read more and make them do it in their beds, let them pick the books from library or thrift store etc.. I’m sure this is really a tough issue with you all as you are seriously outnumbered, hence you have to be like the 300 spartans and outwit them, ha.

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