When punishment did not fit the crime

All children are naughty and any parent who tells you they have a well-behaved and angelic child one hundred per cent of the time is lying.

Tuesday, 14th June 2016, 6:06 am
A bear in the Japanese woods in which a father abandoned his son as a punishment

There is always a reason for the bad behaviour.

During the early years it is often because the child simply doesn’t know the difference between wrong and right.

But it can also be because of miscommunication, immaturity, the desire for independence and just like adults; having a bad day.

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You may have heard recently about the seven-year-old boy in Japan who survived almost a week alone in bear-infested woods.

He was dressed in only a T-shirt and jeans and had no food or water.

So how did this young boy get there in the first place?

Why was he all by himself and where were his parents?

Well, this is the bit that left me slightly open-mouthed and shocked, thinking I was reading a piece of fiction rather than a real-life situation.

The reports, which spread across the world, revealed that the family had been on a day out and the young boy had been naughty and had been throwing stones at cars and other people.

Later, as a punishment the father had made his son get out of the car and then proceeded to drive for half a mile. When he returned a few minutes later to pick up his son, hoping he had learnt his lesson, he was nowhere to be seen.

The disappearance began a major six-day search involving hundreds of police, military and volunteers who combed the area.

It also a triggered an intense debate in Japan and across the world about the father’s parenting skills.

Thankfully the boy was found alive and well in a small hut, but very hungry and thirsty.

To me, this sounded like a highly extreme version of the naughty step technique, used by parents all over the world.

If you’re not familiar with the naughty step it is a place (usually the bottom stair, hence the ‘step’) where a child is sent to reflect on his or her actions.

I’m all for so-called ‘tough love’ and making sure my children learn from their actions.

If my daughters are naughty, things they enjoy doing are taken away as punishment for a period of time.

For example, playing games on the iPad or playing outside with their friends.

It’s important to discipline our children, but it’s also vital to keep them safe at the same time.

It seems in the case of the Japanese boy lost in the forest for six days, it’s the parents, on this occasion, who have learnt the biggest lesson.

Granny pants made me blush

K ids say the funniest things. Out of their mouths come words that often cause you to dissolve into fits of laughter and my daughters are no different.

Sometimes it can come at a highly inappropriate time. Like a few years ago when we were out shopping and young Caitlin, who had yet to learn social etiquette, blurted out ‘why has that man got such a big belly?’ My face turned red as the man was standing next to us.

Then there was the time my youngest daughter Alyssa spotted an elderly women hanging out washing and she shouted ‘Daddy, are they granny panties?’ The lady smiled as once again my face changed colour.

But it’s not always embarrassing. Sometimes it can be a quick-witted comment from the young mind. Recently Caitlin and I were discussing the importance of school and how teachers are clever because they fill your mind with important information. In an instant my six-year-old daughter responded with ‘Daddy, I think I need to delete some stuff from my brain. I’ve learnt too much’.