How To Make Your Kid Wear a Hat; Or, A Lesson in Natural Consequences

The cornerstone of my parenting philosophy:  if your child does something that, with no intervention on your part, gets him an irritating but safe result, let it happen.

Another cornerstone of my parenting philosophy (after all, aren’t there at least three corners in any given shape, circles aside):  children learn expectations from their parents’ behavior. 

Example:  The sun is bright at the rugby tournament.  Michael and I head to the mall to get into some cool, dry air.  While at the mall, I find a baseball cap that fits his tiny head.  I have been looking for this hat for a very long time.  The hat is purchased.

As we leave the mall, I remove the hat’s tags and place the hat on Michael’s head.  He does not like it, but the sun is still bright.  When he lifts the hat, he grimaces at the bright sun.  I rearrange the hat.  We repeat three times on the way to the car.

Now, four days later, Michael wears his hat when we go outside.  He even, it seems, looks forward to the hat’s sun-banishing abilities.  I do not fight with Michael to keep his hat on; the sun does it for me.

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