'Fooling' kids into learning, and other deceptions...

I could have put this thread in a couple of places, but since this is something I see frequently as a marketing tool to homeschoolers, I’m putting it here. I’ve seen descriptions and comments about education where it is implied or encouraged that one ‘fool’ their kids into learning. For instance, buying books and telling kids that these are your books, in order to tempt them into reading…stuff like that. I want to make learning fun and challenge my kids, but I don’t get the idea that it’s ok to ‘trick’ them in order to inspire them to learn. I’m not talking about doing fun things that are educational. The above example seems to me like active deception. It creeps me out.

I suppose one could also include hiding veggies in the meatloaf (I saw a commercial for … I think it was Chef Boyardee) where the parents are hiding the fact that there are veggies in the pasta because if the kids realize it’s healthy, they won’t eat it… which IMO is a horrible lesson to teach your kids. My method is more like- “This is broccoli- eat it or die young.” :p

Anyway, I was wondering if these little deceptions bother anyone else.

 

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Rob Fall's picture

I would hope I would have taught my kids the value of reading so I would not have to "fool" them. If need be, I'd probably borrow a technique one of my college professors used, the 50-100 word reading report. I's start with a five sentence paragraph and then work my way up as the child matured. But, then I'm known somtimes as the mean Uncle Robert.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

Dennis Clemons's picture

I'm all for creativity in making learning more palatable to the kids but ultimately they need to learn to obey as a matter of submission to parents and God. But what you described sounds more like and aversion to parenting than an incentive to learning.

What happens if the kids don't want to read their books?

Dennis

The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him. ~ Proverbs 18:17

Anne Sokol's picture

Dennis Clemons wrote:
I'm all for creativity in making learning more palatable to the kids but ultimately they need to learn to obey as a matter of submission to parents and God. But what you described sounds more like and aversion to parenting than an incentive to learning.
slightly OT, isn't it more Scriptually accurate to say that kids need to learn to love ultimately?

To get to susan's post, she's porbally right, and created a love of reading/knowledge is the answer.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

I agree with both of you. I'd think the primary goal is to teach kids to read for joy as well as for information, and I don't know that I've ever seen anyone successful at tricking someone into enjoying brussel sprouts or Dickens.

I give my kids a 'retelling guide' that they use for their reading journals. It's a seven point outline that helps them convey and keep certain story elements in order. For instance, right now we are reading stories and charting the plot and subplots.

I also had that feeling, Dennis, that tricking kids into doing something that at first glance might seem unpleasant robs them of the opportunity to discover that quite often their preconceived notions are going to be incorrect. I've never given my kids the idea that reading challenging material or the classics is boring, or that higher math is hard, or that certain foods are unpalatable. On the other hand, as long as they give something a genuine try, I allow them to express their dislike without consequences. They may be children, but they are also allowed to have an opinion.

Dennis Clemons's picture

Susan R wrote:
... as long as they give something a genuine try, I allow them to express their dislike without consequences. They may be children, but they are also allowed to have an opinion.
I agree completely so long as it doesn't add up to whining or complaining. Just like me and my job, I don't mind that they don't enjoy everything they do in school, but I expect them to do their jobs without whining about it.

Dennis

The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him. ~ Proverbs 18:17

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Agreed- murmuring and complaining are different than just expressing one's thoughts and feelings. I encourage my kids to tell me their struggles, though, so that I can help them deal with their feelings appropriately. I want them to know that it isn't the expression of their feelings or opinions that is wrong, but rather how they express them.

I've never been in the Authority Camp that believes one's children should stand on their heads and spit wooden nickles if mom and dad tell them to- of course they need to obey without question- but they also need to know they can trust mom and dad not to be arbitrary.

I think trust needs to flow both ways, which is why the idea of tricking kids into learning doesn't fly with me.

Dennis Clemons's picture

You are a wise woman. Reminds me of my wife. Smile

Dennis

The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him. ~ Proverbs 18:17

Tim's picture

My wife and I wanted our children to find a joy in reading. We took this desire before God and He showed us that this could only happen if we didn't leave things in the house that would pull their attention away from reading. Two things were in our house that would rob their time and attention and cause their little hearts to not care about books - our TV and the video game system. Those two items cause fighting, time robbing, and a development of laziness resulting in no interest in reading. If my children are not interested in reading and it's value then they will become lazy Bible readers.

God convicted us and we now have no TV and no video game system - been this way for about two years. We do have a computer and it does have some games on it, but the effect of the TV and video game system was BIG on our children, removing that effect has helped them greatly. They now read all the time, love visiting the library, and each morning my son reads the Bible to his sister.

I think tricking a child is cruel. We sat down with the Bible open and told our kids the actual facts behind what we were doing. We told them that the devil would rob their minds with the TV and video game system and the only way to practice self control would be to remove the items. The devil is strong and he will do all he can do to rob our kids and time. I know this is a long post, but I just wanted to share how being honest and listening to God can help even with our desires for our children. They should be desires shared with God also.

Isaiah 38:20 [i]“The LORD was ready to save me: therefore we will sing my songs to the stringed instruments all the days of our life in the house of the LORD.”[/i]

[url=http://www.myspace.com/timothyleszczar]Tim's MySpace Music Page[/url]

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Creating an atmosphere in one's home that is geared towards a love of learning is key. I grew up without a television in our home, and books were some of my best friends. My dh and I have endeavored to do the same for our kids- although we have a tv for watching DVDs and a Wii system, they are not used very often, because we stay busy with other things most of the time.

IMO being honest with one's children is important to developing a sense of trust that will carry out through their lifetimes. If they think mom and dad are manipulative and deceptive about minor things like eating veggies or reading material, they aren't likely to take our advice at a more crucial time. IOW, if we as parents aren't faithful in the little things, our kids are not going to think we are going to be faithful about the big things.

Tim's picture

Susan R wrote:
Creating an atmosphere in one's home that is geared towards a love of learning is key. I grew up without a television in our home, and books were some of my best friends. My dh and I have endeavored to do the same for our kids- although we have a tv for watching DVDs and a Wii system, they are not used very often, because we stay busy with other things most of the time.

IMO being honest with one's children is important to developing a sense of trust that will carry out through their lifetimes. If they think mom and dad are manipulative and deceptive about minor things like eating veggies or reading material, they aren't likely to take our advice at a more crucial time. IOW, if we as parents aren't faithful in the little things, our kids are not going to think we are going to be faithful about the big things.

We get some heat at Christmas time because we ignore Santa and focus on Jesus Christ. Many say it's harmless, apart of the fun, and stupid that we don't let our kids in on the fun. "Not at all!" I say to my friends and family. If I want my children to develop genuine faith in Jesus Chris and believe the gospel why should I start out their little lives with a big lie about another "good man" that doesn't really exist. I tell them about Jesus who really was alive over 2000 years ago. My son got saved at 7, and my daughter at 6 - many kids still believe in Santa at that age. You are right Susan, developing a sense of trust will carry out through their lifetime. Amen.

Isaiah 38:20 [i]“The LORD was ready to save me: therefore we will sing my songs to the stringed instruments all the days of our life in the house of the LORD.”[/i]

[url=http://www.myspace.com/timothyleszczar]Tim's MySpace Music Page[/url]

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Read this article yesterday- http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,557260,00.html Study: Parents Lie to Children Surprisingly Often

Quote:
To get the scoop on lying parents, the researchers ran two studies in which parents and students commented on nine hypothetical scenarios in which a parent lied to a child to either shape behavior or make the kid happy.

For instance, one behavior-molding scenario reads: "A parent is embarrassed by a child's crying and says, 'The police will come to make sure that you behave if you don't stop crying now.'"

Another scenario, aimed at shaping emotions, goes: "A favorite uncle has just died and the child is told that he has become a star to watch over the child." Another emotion-shifter: "A child is told, 'you did a good job at cleaning up your room' after making things messier."

In one study, about 130 undergraduates read each scenario and indicated on a scale from 1 (absolutely no) to 7 (absolutely yes) whether their parents had said something similar to them.

Nearly 90 percent of students gave a positive rating (5 or greater) to at least one of the tales.

Then, the researchers tested the scenarios on nearly 130 parents, mostly moms, asking each participant to indicate whether they had told similar lies. Parents also rated on a scale from 1 (very bad) to 7 (very good) what the parent in each vignette had said. More than 70 percent said they teach their children that lying is unacceptable. Even so, nearly 80 percent of parents indicated they had told at least one similar lie.

Their own examples revealed parental lying went beyond the little white lie in which politeness or the child's best interest was at stake. Parents were fibbing to prevent tantrums or excessive talking, for instance.

Many parents reported telling their children that bad things would happen if they didn't go to bed or eat certain foods. One mother recalled telling her child that if he didn't finish his food he would get pimples all over his face.

Others reported inventing magical creatures, with one parent saying, "We told our daughter that if she wrapped up all her pacifiers like gifts, the 'paci-fairy' would come and give them to children who needed them...I thought it was healthier to get rid of the pacifiers, and it was a way for her to feel proud and special."

Scary quote of the day- "Children sometimes behave in ways that are disruptive or are likely to harm their long-term interests," said Heyman. "It is common for parents to try out a range of strategies, including lying, to gain compliance. When parents are juggling the demands of getting through the day, concerns about possible long-term negative consequences to children's beliefs about honesty are not necessarily at the forefront."