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PATHFINDER Parenting:

Tools for Raising Responsible Children
By: James J. Messina, Ph.D.
T - Tracking Pathfinder Structures for Children
1.0.0 Self-Care Structures for Children

1.0.0.   Self-care

Pathfinders make every effort to assist their children to be as self-sufficient and self-reliant as possible in taking care of their activities of daily living, feeding, grooming, clothing, sleeping and exercise needs.

 

1.1.0.  Feeding issues

1.1.1.  Self-feeding

Parents begin from infancy in training their children to feed themselves. Breast feeding is done with children until a reasonable age when the child no longer needs the immunity available from breast milk. Introduction of foods is timed in harmony with the child's nutritional demands. Finger feeding is encouraged and the use of spoon and fork are timed with the coordination of the fine-motor skills of children. The use of the cup is introduced early on to lessen dependency on the bottle or breast feeding. Pathfinders do not use extreme measures to get their infants to eat. The use of dramatics and "Carmine Miranda" antics and gestures to entice feeding reinforce the wrong message about independent action. During infancy and toddler years, Pathfinders insure that experimentation in self-feeding resulting in spills and messes are not overly criticized or negatively reacted to. Children are encouraged to become independent feeders in a loving, caring, and wholesome way. Parents make enough time for the novice self-feeder to complete meals at first with time limits set on meals once the child reaches the 2 years plus stage of development. Once children reach 2 years of age or more, they are then expected to feed themselves and to finish their meals in the same time frame as the rest of the family.

Natural consequences:

  • If you do not eat enough at this meal to satisfy your current hunger, then you will still be hungry after you have completed this meal.
  • If you do not finish your meal in the given time frame, then you will most probably be still hungry after the meal ends.

Logical consequences:

  • If you do not eat enough to satisfy your hunger at this meal within the time frames given for the meal, then you will not be allowed to eat anything else prior to your next meal.
  • If you do not finish your meal in the time given, then you will not be allowed to have any snacks before the next meal.
  • If you do not finish your meal in the time given, then we'll save it in the refrigerator in case you get hungry later in the day you can finish it.

 

1.1.2.  Family meals

Pathfinders involve their children in family meals so as to provide them with an appropriate setting for family togetherness and bonding. These parents make only one single menu for each meal and do not provide a cafeteria style meal to adjust to the picky or finicky eaters in the family.  Children are encouraged to eat the meal provided. They are encouraged to serve themselves. They are not force fed. The times of the meals are announced and the meals are served on time. The people who do not get to the meal on time miss the meal and experience the natural consequence of going hungry until the next meal. Snacking is not permitted if meals have been missed. The parents lead the family in sharing the news of the day and concerns of each other. There is an effort to have all family members speak and be heard. To insure peaceful meal time the tv, radio, and other distractions are turned off and avoided. The meal is eaten at a common table where the family can face one another. Pathfinders make an effort to conduct at least two family meals a week if their work schedules make a daily night time meal impossible. Family meals become a source of family socializing where eating is put into a healthy perspective. The children are encouraged to eat to live rather than live to eat.

Natural consequences:

  • If you do not get to the table on time for the family meal, then you will not have enough time to complete a full and hunger satisfying meal within the time frame given for the meal.
  • If you do not eat the food provided at the meal, then you will most probably go away from the meal still hungry.
  • If you miss family meals, then you may miss important communications and information about the family.
  • If you continually miss family meals, then you may feel like you are alienated or less involved with the family and feel greater distance and lack of bonding with them.

Logical consequences:

  • If you do not come to family meal, then you will not be allowed prior to the next meal (usually breakfast or dinner) to eat a snack or make your own meal to satisfy your hunger.
  • If you are late for the meal, then you will not be allowed to participate in it and will not be allowed to eat anything prior to the next meal (usually breakfast or dinner).
  • If you do not like what is being served at the meal, then you will not be given an alternative food and not allowed to eat anything prior to the next meal (usually breakfast or dinner). But you can have this meal which we'll have wrapped in the refrigerator for you.
  • If you do not use age appropriate manners or reasonable eating habits at the family meal, then you will be asked to leave the table and not allowed to complete your meal and go hungry until the next meal.

 

1.1.3.  Diet

Pathfinders encourage their children to take responsibility for their own diet as they grow into adolescence. The issues of weight management, calorie and fat intake and healthy nutrition are freely discussed. The children are taught about what is a healthy weight for their body type and height. Parents avoid making negative comments about weight and size to help their children come to a decision about this matter on their own. If children ask for help to control food intake and manage over-weight problems the parents utilize the natural consequence model. They point out the negative consequences of continuing to eat more calories and fat than needed and  not exercising enough. They encourage their children to recognize that to lose weight they need to reduce calorie and fat intake and exercise more. Pathfinders encourage a balanced life-style of balanced diet and healthy exercise.

Natural consequences:

  • If you continuously eat more than what is necessary to satisfy your daily caloric need, then you will experience a weight gain ending up in your being overweight for your body height and bone  structure.
  • If you do not live a healthy life style with balanced diet and healthy exercise, then you may end up being overweight for your body type and height.

Logical consequences:

  • If you become overweight, then we will not police your eating and exercise program making you solely responsible for accomplishing the solution to your problem.
  • If you want assistance in monitoring your diet and exercise program, then you will need to give us specific permission to mention when you deviate. However, if you get angry and berate us for being on your back all the time you will have to do it on your own.

 

1.1.4.  Body self-image

Pathfinders assist their children to have healthy images of their own bodies. They help them to avoid distortions of their body size. These parents teach their children what is appropriate weight for their height and bone frame. The children are provided positive reinforcements for their efforts to maintain a healthy weight. Pathfinders are sensitive to the possibility of unrealistic weight goals of their children and they intervene when these goals get out of hand and begin to look like bulimia, anorexia or other eating disorders. Pathfinders are realistic with their children with large bone frames about what is normal and healthy.  They are also supportive of thin children who eat normally so as to reduce inappropriate self-consciousness.

Natural consequences:

  • Since you are not able to control the size of your bone structure and height, then you have to accept the data about what is a healthy weight for your body type.
  • If you struggle to maintain a weight below what is healthy, then you will most probably experience ill health and feel sick.

Logical consequences:

  • If you insist on threatening your health by your eating and health habits, then you will need to see a professional about this problem.
  • If you continue to starve yourself, or binge and purge which is threatening your health, then you will need to work with medical professionals to address this problem.

 

1.1.5.   Cooking

Pathfinders teach their children how to cook and prepare meals for themselves. This begins with elementary aged children preparing their own breakfasts of cereal, toast, juice, etc. Then parents train them to make lunch on their own. These meals then become their responsibility to handle in later elementary and early middle school years. In later middle school years, the children are taught how to prepare evening meals and begin to take turns with parents and other family members in preparing family meals. By high school years, the children are able to use cook books and all kitchen appliances to prepare full meals. They are also able to plan a complete weekly menu which is nutritionally balanced.

Natural consequences:

  • If you do not prepare a meal for yourself when no one else is going to do it for you, then you will have to go hungry from not eating.
  • If you do not take the time to learn how to cook for yourself or others, then you will eventually waste a lot of money and time going out to eat all the time.

Logical consequences:

  • If you do not cook that meal for yourself, then you won't be allowed to eat that meal at someone else's house and you will go hungry.
  • If you do not cook that meal for yourself, then you will not be allowed to buy that meal outside of the house.

 

1.1.6.  Dishes and table

Pathfinders make their children responsible for the preparation and clean up of the table and dishes for each meal. From an early age they are instructed on cleaning and setting the table. By 5 years, they are instructed in washing, drying, and putting dishes away. The handling of set up and tear down of each meal is then placed early in the hands of children to assist them to feel their contribution to the life and needs of the family.

Natural consequences:

  • If you do not set the table, then the family will not be able to sit down to have the meal and we all will go hungry.
  • If you do not clean dishes after each meal, then we will eventually run out of them and not have any dishes for the next meal and we will go hungry.
Logical consequences:
  • If you do not set the table, then you will not be allowed to have this meal with us and you will go hungry until the next meal.
  • If you do not clean the dishes from this meal, then you will not be allowed to have the next meal with us and you will go hungry from that missed meal until the next meal.

 

1.1.7.  Eating out

Pathfinders make it a point to limit going out to restaurants and fast food places when necessary due to time constraints. When they do go out to public eating places, the children are previously prepared for limitations as to expense, meal selection, and conduct desired.  The use of consequences is made when there is no compliance with previously outlined structured limits. Parents avoid bringing infants or young toddlers who are not ready yet to handle "big people" behaviors in restaurants. This avoids unpleasant experiences for the children, their parents, and the other patrons in the restaurant. Weekend meals at restaurants can become perfect settings for family meals. Parents can use such events as positive consequences for themselves and their children.

Natural consequences:

  • If you do not comply to our expectations concerning behaviors, limitations on expense and types of food selected, then we will rarely go out to eat together, if at all.
  • If you act up and bother others in a restaurant, then they will ask us to leave and we will miss that meal and go hungry until the next meal.

Logical consequences:

  • If you are successful in meeting all your expected goals this week, then we will go out for a family meal on the weekend at a place of your choice.
  • If you want items on the menu more expensive than the set limit, then you can make up the difference in price with your own money.

 

1.2.0.  Grooming

1.2.1.  Toddler grooming

Pathfinders assist their young children to learn to take care of their own grooming skills. Toddlers are taught to brush or comb hair, brush teeth, wash and dry face and hands and bathing. Their parents allow them to experience the success of taking care of their own needs. Pathfinders do not expect their toddlers to complete these tasks perfectly but rather allow the children to experience personal mastery over them. If the children still need to have their efforts improved upon, the parents quietly complete the task for them with no mention of standards not being met. As the children grow older they learn from the shaping given by their parents of an acceptable level of completion of the tasks. The children are never given the wrong message that parents should be the only ones to do grooming tasks because they cannot do it as well.

Natural consequences:

  • If you do not do the grooming tasks necessary for your grooming, then you will go ungroomed the rest of the day.
  • If you do not learn to groom yourself, then you won't be able to groom youself and your parents won't do it for you.

Logical consequences:

  • If you do not do that task, then I will not do it for you and you will be seen by others as being ungroomed, unkempt, and messy.
  • If you do not do that task on your own, then no one else will do it for you and you may be embarrassed by other's reactions to your lack of grooming.

 

1.2.2.  Personal hygiene  

Pathfinders make personal hygiene of their children a topic of family training and guidance. They reinforce what is healthy and socially acceptable.  The children are given daily schedules to follow by which personal hygiene needs are to be accomplished. They are made aware of the natural consequence of not taking care of their hygiene needs. Girls from age 10 on are instructed in feminine hygiene needs and are fully prepared for the arrival of their menarche. This helps the girls to avoid surprise or embarrassment when they experience their first flow. Parents do not subject their children to ranting and raving about combing and shampooing hair, brushing teeth, taking baths, using deodorant, and smelling and looking good. They instead are made to realize the negative response of others in their life are reasons enough to take care of themselves.

Natural consequences:

  • If you do not take care of your personal hygiene needs, then you will smell and look foul and people will avoid coming near you due to the air and visual pollution.
  • If you do not take care of your personal hygiene, then you might become sick because of the germs accumulating on your body.

Logical consequences:

  • If you do not take care of your personal hygiene needs, then we will not take you out with us the next time we go to eat, to a movie or to have fun.
  • If you do not take care of your personal hygiene needs, then we will not buy you new clothes when you need them because you ruin your clothes by being continuously dirty and smelly.

 

1.2.3.  Toilet training

Pathfinders do not rush their children into toilet training. They recognize that children are not physiologically ready to be toilet trained until 18-32 months of age. They allow their children to give the signal of readiness. They avoid shaming their children into being trained. They teach their children to clean themselves and other toilet skills with gentleness and kindness. The process is handled in a short period of time with out much fanfare. The location of the potty chair, child's seat and children's bathroom are pre-assigned. Guidelines are given for appropriate behavior in the bathroom. Modesty and cleanliness are encouraged.

Natural consequences:

  • If you do not learn to go to the toilet on your own, then you will need to wear diapers in kindergarten or first grade.
  • If you do not go to the bathroom when you need to, then you will have an accident in your pants and possibly get embarrassed.

Logical consequences:

  • If you want to go to the toilet, then you can go on your own as long as you observe the guidelines for self-cleaning and correct use of the toilet.  If you don't, then you will not be allowed to go to the bathroom on your own.
  • If you make a mess of the bathroom, then you will need to clean it up on your own before you are allowed to do anything else today.

 

1.2.4.  Bed-wetting

Pathfinders set definitive rules about bed-wetting with children who are fully toilet trained. The children are not subjected to any negative consequences if there are occasional accidents. However when the bed-wetting is chronic the parents design logical consequences which do not result in shame or guilt in the children. Cleaning their own beds, washing and drying their sheets, washing and drying their night clothes and baths taken in the morning after bed-wetting are sample consequences. The children are informed of the initiation of these consequences and consistent follow through by parents insure extinction of these behaviors.

Natural consequences:

  • If you continually wet your bed at night, then your night clothes, bed and mattress, sheets and room will begin to have a foul odor and smell bad.
  • If you continually wet your bed at night and there is no medical reason for this, then you most probably have poor bladder control and need to learn how to control it during the night.

Logical consequences:

  • If you wet your bed at night, then you will need to do the following tasks in the morning before you leave the house to go to school or go out to play: take the sheets off and wash them, wash your night clothes, clean your bed, take a bath, put fresh clothes on and repeat this every time you wet your bed without our reminding you.
  • If you continue to wet the bed, then you will need to come with us to a medical professional to address the reasons for this behavior so that we can all help you overcome this embarrassment.

 

1.2.5. Cosmetics

Pathfinders allow their children to learn about the responsible use of cosmetics, perfumes, colognes, after shave, make-up and other stylish personal hygiene materials. They allow their children to use cosmetics in a reasonable way and encourage the natural consequence of social reaction when they have either over done or under used them. The children are encouraged to find their own way to finance the costs of these materials when they get old enough to do so. One way to time the use of these is to determine if the children are old enough to use them responsibly and cover the costs of them on their own if needed. Pathfinders refrain from over commenting on the use of these materials and role model the reasonable and responsible use of them in their own lives.

Natural consequences:

  • If you put on too much make-up, then you run the risk of having others comment on how artificial you look.
  • If you do not use enough deodorant or too much cologne, then the smell may evoke negative comments from others.

Logical consequences:

  • If you cannot afford to buy those cosmetics on your own, then I will not buy them for you.
  • If you abuse the privilege of our buying your personal hygiene needs by wasting them, then you can buy them on your own.

 

1.3.0.   Clothing

1.3.1.  Self-dressing and undressing

Pathfinders encourage their children to learn how to undress and dress themselves.  The goal being to have them fully self-dressing by 24-30 months old.  They are taught to tie their own shoes with the goal of it being fully self-accomplished by the end of kindergarten year.  Once the children are completely self-sufficient in their self-dressing skills, they are provided a morning schedule to accommodate their preparation for the day. They are encouraged to select their own clothes and put them out the night before.  They are given in the morning schedule enough time to get dressed.  They are presented with the logical consequence of being driven to school in night clothes with their clean clothes being put on in the car, bus or front porch on the way to school or other planned morning activity.

Natural consequences:

  • If you do not dress yourself, then you will have to go around all day naked or in your bed clothes.
  • If you do not learn to dress yourself, then you will not be able to be able to fit in with the other children in kindergarten or elementary school.
  • If you are not dressed appropriately for the outside weather, then you might get sick from the cold or wetness.

Logical consequences:

  • If you are not dressed in time to get to the bus or car before it departs, then you will have to dress yourself on the bus or in the car.
  • If you are not dressed appropriately for the weather outside, then you will not be allowed to go outside.

 

1.3.2.  Care of own clothes

Pathfinders require their children to take care of their own clothes.  They hold their children responsible to put away clean clothes in drawers, closets, and dressers. They hold their children responsible to place dirty clothes in designated hampers or baskets. They are expected to wear a set of clean clothes each day. They are expected to not wear school or "Sunday best" when they play. They are encouraged to recognize the natural consequence of social non-acceptance and social sanctions for wearing dirty, crumpled, and messy clothes.  They are also responsible for the natural consequence of not having clean clothes to wear if they do not place dirty clothes in the appointed locations.

Natural consequences:

  • If you have not put your clean clothes away in their appointed places, then you will not be able to find them when you need them and you may not be able to have a set of clean clothes to put on.
  • If you wear dirty, crumpled or messy clothes, then you may be subjected to social ridicule, non-acceptance, or sanctions.

Logical consequences:

  • If you do not put your dirty clothes in the dirty clothes hamper in time for when the laundry is being done, then you will not have them clean when you want them.
  • If you do not take care of your clothes in a responsible way, then we will not buy you new ones when you ask for them.

 

1.3.3.  Doing own laundry

Pathfinders require their children to learn to do their own laundry when they reach middle school age (11-12 years of age). They are taught to use washing machines, dryers, hang out wet clothes, fold clean clothes, and put them away. A separate hamper is put in each child's room. A schedule is set up for all family members to get their clothes cleaned each week. Children are made responsible for the natural consequence that if they do not wash, dry, fold, and put away their own clothes they will not have clean ones to wear.

Natural consequences:

  • If you do not take care of laundering your own clothes, now that you have been trained to do so, then you will not have clean clothes when you need them.
  • If you do not do your laundry at your scheduled time, then you may not be able to do your laundry when you want to, because someone else has been scheduled then.

Logical consequences:

  • If you abuse the machinery, water, electric or laundry supplies they you may not be allowed to use our laundry facilities to do your own laundry. You will need to pay for your own laundry at a laundromat or cleaners.
  • If you do not take care of doing your own laundry, then we will not be willing to buy you any new clothes when you need them.

 

1.3.4.  Selecting own clothes

Pathfinders allow children to select their own clothes which they intend to wear each day. Parents give their children style, fashion, coordination of pieces and colors, and appropriateness for season of year.  The natural consequences of others response and reaction and the climatic conditions are used by Pathfinders to assist their children make healthy choices of clothes. As children grow older and begin to seek "designer" or the "in" clothes when shopping, they are instructed by parents of the economics of such choices.  They provide their children a chance to get the more expensive choices as long as either a ceiling is met on new clothes purchased or they are expected to contribute a "fair share" of the expense from their own money. The children then experience the reality of fewer clothes at higher costs or less personal money in order to have more clothes.

Natural consequences:

  • If you chose to wear clothes which draw negative attention, then you will have to experience the negative feelings coming from such attention. 
  • If you wear inappropriate clothes based on the climatic conditions, then you will experience the impact of the weather and you might possibly get ill.

Logical consequences:

  • If you want clothes which are outside of the budgeted amount, then you will need to pay the difference on your own.
  • If you insist on the "in clothes" which are inordinately more expensive than the norm, then you can split the difference in cost with us by paying the additional amount.

 

1.4.0.  Sleeping needs

1.4.1.  Getting to sleep on own

Pathfinders set appropriate bedtimes according to the developmental and physiological needs of children. They do not set them either too early when children are not tired, or too late, or when they are too tired. Once it is determined that the time set is appropriate and healthy the natural consequence of not going to bed on time is provided the children to recognize that if they do not get to sleep on time they will be tired the next day. When children refuse to go to sleep at night at the appropriate bed time they are either not tired enough because of napping during the day or they are in a power struggle with their parents. If the children are still being provided naps, the length of time of naps is shortened or discontinued. If there are no problem with naps then the children are placed in bed after a very short pre-bed ritual of book being read and a kiss given. They are then instructed that the parents will no longer talk with them nor return to the room. The children are then left to settle themselves down and to comfort themselves to sleep. The parents do not respond to crying or yelling which persists. It takes only up to 3 days for this unacceptable behavior to be extinguished in most cases. If the children are old enough to climb out of bed and come to the parents, they are silently led back to the bed with no harsh treatment and then put back in bed. This is consistently followed through until the children stay in bed all night. This behavior also can be extinguished in a very short period of time as long as follow through and consistency is provided. Pathfinders recognize that as long as they are safe in bed that children need to develop a way to comfort themselves so as to fall asleep. These parents recognize that they are not responsible to comfort their children so that sleep is possible. If a parent gets caught up in this trap the children lose perspective of what is necessary to go to sleep and take control of the night time activity in the home.

Natural consequences:

  • If you do not get enough sleep at night, then you will be tired the next day.
  • If you do not learn to comfort yourself to fall asleep on your own, then you will not get enough sleep and will be tired the next day.
  • If you do not stay in bed and go to sleep, then you will not get enough sleep and you will be tired the next day.
  • If you continue to bother the other people in your bedroom, then they won't be able to sleep, since bedrooms are for sleeping.

Logical consequences:

  • If you call for us once you are settled in bed, we will not come to your room.  We will not talk to you for the rest of the night so that you can settle yourself down and go to sleep.
  • If you get out of your bed and come to our room, then we will not talk with you and won't allow you to sleep in our bed.  We will walk you back to your own room and put you into bed without speaking to you. We will continue to do this until you settle down in your bed and fall asleep.

 

1.4.2.  Bedtime rituals

Pathfinders recognize that they do not have to spend a great deal of time nor energy to ready their children for bed. These parents set up a standardized ritual of reading a book or telling a story which does not last more than 10 minutes and then say evening prayers and kiss good night. If the children demand longer times with their parents, then they are encouraged to make themselves calm and settled down to fall asleep on their own. Making them experience the logical consequence of their parents not talking with them after the ritual is completed teaches children that only they are responsible for getting themselves to sleep.

Natural consequences:

  • If you do not calm yourself down to sleep on your own, then you will not have a full night of sleep and you will be tired the next day.
  • If you spend too much time trying to settle yourself down to fall asleep, then you will be tired the next day when wake up time comes.

Logical consequences:

  • If you do not settle down to fall asleep after our ten minute ritual, then I will be leaving your bedroom and will not speak to you for the rest of the night.  You will have to settle yourself to fall asleep on your own.
  • If you do not settle yourself down to sleep on your own, then you will be tired tomorrow. If you are tired we will be forced to move your bedtime up one half hour tomorrow.

 

1.4.3.  Wake up time

Pathfinders assist their children to wake themselves up as soon as they learn how to tell time and can set an alarm clock of clock radio.  These parents do not engage in the morning rites of pleading, begging or nagging children to rise. They instead make their children experience the natural consequence of being late for breakfast, bus, school, or other activities scheduled in the morning.

Natural consequences:

  • If you do not get up on your own, then you will be late for breakfast; the school bus; school; or other activities we have scheduled in the morning.
  • If you do not wake yourself up on your own, then you will miss out on the activities of the next day.

Logical consequences:

  • If you do not wake up on time in the morning, then you will miss breakfast and go hungry until the next meal or you will be forced to get dressed in a rush in order to get to school on time.
  • If you do not wake yourself up on your own in the morning, then we will be forced to wake you up.  We will wait long enough so that all you will have time for is to gather your change of clothes and get dressed on your way out of the house, either on the school bus or in the family car as it leaves for school or some other destination planned.

 

1.4.4.  Amount of sleep needed

Pathfinders encourage their children to get adequate sleep necessary for their health and growth. They set bed times and wake up times based on the necessary sleep needed. They expect their children to settle themselves down to sleep on their own. The children are expected to calm and  comfort themselves to fall asleep. They allow their children whatever is needed to get a full night of sleep. They leave lights on, soft music playing and teddy bears and blankets in bed. Adequate sleep for a healthy life-style is reinforced in Pathfinders' families.

Natural consequences:

  • If you do not get the correct amount of sleep which your body requires at night, then you will be tired the next day.
  • If you are not able to calm yourself down adequately so that you can fall asleep at a reasonable time, then you will not feel rested enough in the morning to get up at the scheduled waking time.

Logical consequences:

  • If you are tired during the day, then we will move the bedtime up at least one half hour that day.
  • If you are not able to get yourself up on your own the next day and feel rested and alert, then we will move the bedtime hour up at least one half hour that day.

 

1.4.5.  Family bed

Pathfinders do not institute the concept of a family bed in their homes.  Their children are not allowed to use their parents' bed to fall asleep or sleep the entire night through. These parents reinforce their children staying in their own beds to sleep the night through. These parents enforce their physical boundary of a private marital bed with their families. These children are encouraged to experience the natural consequence of settling themselves in their own beds. The children develop a sense of their calming and sedating themselves on their own. This independence of action hopefully carries over to other self-care needs.

Natural consequences:

  • If you are not able to quiet and calm yourself in your own bed so that you can fall asleep, then you will not get enough sleep you need and be tired the next day.
  • If you become used to falling asleep in someone else's bed, then you will find it hard to fall asleep in your own bed.

Logical consequences:

  • If you come to our bed to fall asleep, then we will quietly without talking carry you to your own bed where you will be expected to fall asleep on your own. We will do this as long as it takes for you to settle down in your own bed.
  • If you come to our bed, then you will be directed to get off of it since it is our private space. We do not wish to share it with anyone else.  

 

1.5.0.  Exercise

1.5.1.  Life-long encouragement

Pathfinders role model for their children the importance of making a healthy exercise program a part of their life-style. They encouraged their children to develop interests in sports and other exercise activities which have a good probability of being continued over the entire life-span. Walking, running, roller skating, ice skating, skiing, cycling, rowing, swimming, water skiing, tennis,  racquetball, volleyball, rope jumping, hand ball, squash, basketball, and soft-ball are just a few exercise activities which children can expect to carry on into adulthood. Parents role model making a minimum of 30 minutes of aerobic exercise a daily scheduled activity to insure good health, increased energy level, and stress reduction.

Natural consequences:

  • If you do not get enough healthy exercise in your life, then you will experience fatigue, unwanted weight gain and possible ill health.
  • If you do not get enough healthy exercise in your life, then you will not have a healthy outlet to rid yourself of the stress and anxiety which builds up in you in the normal course of living.
Logical consequences:
  • If you do not exercise on a regular basis on your own, then we will institute a scheduled daily exercise program which you will be expected to participate in as if it were a daily required task.
  • If you do not exercise daily, then we will make you responsible for the medical bills which you incur in the future.

 

1.5.2.  Team sports

Pathfinders help their children develop a balance of exercise activities between individual and team sports. They avoid encouraging their children to only play in team sports for exercise. They encourage their children to develop individual exercise programs which can replace the team sports which the children may outgrow or lose interest in. These parents provide their children with a whole array of alternatives for exercise which will stay with them over their life-span.

Natural consequences:

  • If you do not have individual exercise and sports activities besides the group and team sports you are currently involved in, then you will be hard pressed in latter life to maintain a healthy program of exercise which is satisfying to you.  
  • If you do not have enough exercise in the team sports you are currently involved in, then you are not getting the amount of exercise necessary to maintain your good health.

Logical consequences:

  • If you do not have individual exercise and sports activities, then we will initiate a daily schedule of them for your participation so as to insure you physical health.
  • If you do not spend time in physical exercise on your own, now that you are participating in this team sport, then we may be forced to make you drop the team sport in order for you to resume your individual health enhancing exercise program.

 

1.5.3.  Handling sports competition

Pathfinders encourage their children to recognize that sports are primarily for exercise and fun. They do not overly stress the importance of winning and beating others in the competition involved. They do not allow their children to remain on teams where their coaches over emphasize winning at all costs. They only allow their children to remain on teams on which all players get a chance to play equitably and enjoy themselves.  Pathfinders advocate with the team sports coaches to insure that children are held responsible for earning the right to play. They seek to encourage the use of requiring meeting homelife responsibilities as the vehicle to earn playing in the sport. They do not allow good players to become crowned as "Prince" or "Princess" around their homes, exempt from meeting family rules and obligations. Pathfinders strive to insure that good athletes are not pressured beyond what is normal to build their bodies or shape themselves into professional level amateurs.  They strive to assist their children have enjoyable sports experiences which will encourage them to continue a life time of healthy exercise and sports participation.

Natural consequences:

  • If you are too caught up in winning in sports competition, then you will lose the benefits of your participation which are exercise and fun.
  • If you participate to your fullest potential in a sport and are not able to win in competition, you are still a winner because you are experiencing the benefits of the sport, exercise, and fun.
  • If you a winner on the sports field you are still expected to maintain your everyday responsibilities at home and in school.

Logical consequences:

  • If you are over involved in the "winning at all costs" in your sport's activities, we will not allow your continued participation unless you relax and begin to have fun and healthy exercise in the process.
  • If you are successful in sports and come home with a "better than thou" attitude, then we will be forced to make you drop sports unless your attitude changes.
  • If your sport's team coach does not allow you to learn that the goal of the game is playing your best and not just winning, then we will ask the coach to change his attitude or we will remove you from that team.

 

1.5.4.  Vicarious sports lives

Pathfinders avoid living their competitive sports dreams and hopes vicariously through their children. They are clear with themselves and their spouses why they encourage their children to participate in competitive sports. The goal being that the children benefit from the experience and grow in an appreciation for their own skills and abilities. Parents strive to help children enter sports which give them exercise and a good outlet for stress reduction.  They do not allow their children to remain in sports activities which increase and exacerbate stress in their lives. Pathfinders feel good enough about themselves that they do not need their children to become heros on the sports fields to make them feel successful in life.

Natural consequences:

  • If you participate in competitive sports which are well organized, you will gain from the experience and feel better about yourself.
  • If you participate in team sports which are well organized, you gain an appreciation of team effort and cooperation in a competitive atmosphere which will prepare you well for latter life.

Logical consequences:

  • If you are participating to please one or both of your parents and you are not enjoying it anymore, then we will not allow you to continue to participate.
  • If you are experiencing increased stress in your life because of your participation in a sport, then we will not allow you to continue in the sport unless you can begin to have fun and relax with it.
  • If you feel one or both of your parents are expecting you to play in a sport in order for them to feel more fulfilled and successful in their own lives, then you have permission to say so and drop out of the sport.

1.5.5.  Family exercise

Pathfinders encourage their children to participate in family based exercise. These parents engage their children in a variety of athletic activities which give them a vast experience to call upon when choosing life-long exercises to continue once they leave home. These parents participate with their children in a willing way to role model adults' need for exercise in their lives. To emphasize this need for family exercise, the parents arrange for the family members to try out a sport together which no one in the family had ever tried before. This new experience puts the children and adults at the same novice level. It encourages the children to take risks and try new healthy outlets for exercise and relaxation. Pathfinders' families include family exercise in their weekly schedule.

Natural consequences:

  • If you and the rest of the family exercise together, we all will experience mutual encouragement and support to continue to exercise for health on our own.
  • If you and the rest of the family exercise together, we will gain a greater appreciation of our individual differences and uniqueness of each other's personalities when it comes to reducing stress and maintaining personal health.
  • If we exercise together, we will learn to relax, let off steam and have fun together.

Logical consequences:

  • If you do not participate with us in our family exercises, then we will not make room in our schedule for those times you have asked for, which require us to go out of our way to bring you to your own special activities.
  • If you do not want to do exercise with us which we request, then do not expect us to automatically want to do other things you request of us.