Sunday, July 19, 2020

Why is sleeping a punishment?

Why is sleep a punishment - picture of child under quilt with eyes open

Hobo Mama wants you to know she's a professional blogger! Look at how professional she's being!

Have you seen the pandemic-schooling schedule floating around? 

(To give proper credit, it's from Jessica McHale, and I'm not posting this to call her out because I know what I'm talking about here is a common parenting mindset.)

There are joke versions crafted on this template that replace every slot with screen time or Frozen 2 or fighting over toys. That's all good and fun.

But I'll direct you to the last two slots marked Bedtime: Any kids who follow the daily schedule and don't fight are entitled to an extra hour before bed.

When I showed this to Alrik, he had the same reaction I did: "Why would you punish your kids by making them sleep? Isn't sleep something we all need?"

Earth Mama - Lady Face™ Mineral Sunscreen Face Stick SPF 40

Why indeed. Why do we use something so basic as food or sleep to manipulate behavior and make our kids feel bad? I think of this every time I hear of a child being sent to bed without supper or missing out on dessert or being sent to bed early. 

I don't think basic needs should be tied to performance. We don't (do we?) refuse to give our kids a bath if they've disobeyed, or take away their shoes. At least, I hope not. Food and sleep should be neutral givens, unrelated to how well kids followed a(n arguably capricious and overly ambitious) schedule during a time of turmoil, or how cranky said kids might be because of it.

Can you imagine punishing yourself or a fellow adult the same way? If you didn't get all your chores done today, you have to go to bed an hour early and skip your bedtime reading. If you raised your voice, you don't get to eat with the family. It's bizarre, not to mention mean-spirited. It doesn't lead to healing the relationships or resolving the damage; it's just retribution.

My kid gets it. Why don't adults?

Why is sleep a punishment? - smiling young child in bed


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