What are the consequences for having no consequences?

One Monday morning during homeroom, the teacher caught Julie copying answers to the day's math homework from her classmate, Sandra. The teacher took both papers away from Julie, talked to the students and explained why neither would receive credit for the work. The teacher then wrote a note to Julie's parent in her agenda book and telephoned Sandra's parents since she claimed to not have her agenda book with her. The next day, Julie's parents called the assistant principal to say that the teacher was "picking on" Julie and that she only "copied a few things" from her classmate.

Burt's mom called the guidance counselor about all the recent notes from teachers in her son's agenda book. Burt's mother says that the teachers are "picking on" him. After much conversation, the mother confessed that since she is in the midst of purchasing a small business, she has been too busy to pick up the refill for Burt's ADD medication.

Valerie and Maya have been good friends for years so they both decided to sign up for an after school club. Each week the two girls showed up late to the club, disrupted other students, and did not participate in the activities during club time. The teacher asked the 2 girls to not come back and both sets of parents were called. When told that Maya had been asked not to attend the club anymore, her mother said, "Maya said she was bored anyway."

Michael had not been keeping up with his work and his behavior was a disruption in the classroom according to all six of his academic teachers. His mother was asked to come to school for a conference. At this conference, she said that she wanted to be called whenever there was a problem and also that she was going to sign the agenda book every night so that she knew what homework Michael had to complete. After this meeting, Michael's agenda has not been signed and when teachers call his mother, she says to call Michael's 18-year-old brother.

Kyle's mother wanted to know why her son did not get an "excellent" mark in effort and behavior in one of his classes. She said that she wanted the teacher to keep her informed of any incidents that would prevent her son from receiving such marks. When the teacher sent an email explaining that Kyle did not come to class that day with his materials and work, his mother said that "he is unorganized, there's nothing I can do, he has always been like this." The next class period when Kyle refused to spit out his gum after was asked two different times, his mother was also alerted. She responded by saying "He has an oral fixation."

Omar was receiving failing grades on his report card. His behavior was also listed an "unacceptable." He was banned from the cafeteria bathroom by the assistant principal for throwing wet toilet paper on the ceiling and plugging the toilets. When his father met with the teachers for a conference, he said that he "did not know what do to with Omar." One teacher suggested consequences at home for Omar whenever there was a note or call from a teacher. The father's response was "Oooohhhh, I don't think I can do that."

All of these stories have one thing in common: adults excusing their student's behavior. According to the article " Consulting With Parents of Elementary School Children" byStephen McFadden, teaching children to accept consequences for their actions is the most important lesson parents can teach their children. He says that the goal for parents should be to teach their students how to " cooperate with adults, show respect for authority, and accept the consequences of their decisions." Mc Fadden also states that what is worse than setting no limits for children is an adult who excuses and/or dismisses inappropriate behavior. By blaming others (friends or teachers) and saying things such as "kids will be kids," parents are doing a disservice to their children in that these children will never learn how to act or react appropriately in different situations( Article ).

In another article called "Parenting" by Ava Hust, she agrees that parents need to let students accept consequences. The adults in students' lives are there to provide to "direction, information and guidance." This cannot happen if every action is excused by the parents ( http://www.trans4mind.com/counterpoint/hurst1.shtml ).

Children, like adults, are bound to make mistakes. Mistakes are a part of life and a part of the learning process. If children are not allowed to make these mistakes because their parents keep excusing them from inappropriate behavior, then what will be the consequences of having no consequences?