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AIBU to not want to be used as a punishment/incentive?

(19 Posts)
MythicalKings Thu 29-Jan-15 09:38:49

I run a weekly activity for teenagers which builds towards occasional performances. Regular attendance is important because they work in groups and each individual has a part to play. I encourage them to commit to the group and the performances and to not let the rest of their team down unless it can't be helped through illness or other unavoidable absence.

Two sets of parents have taken to "banning" their DCs from attending due to bad behaviour at home or in school or not tidying their bedrooms and other such infractions. I've tried to explain to the parents that doing this means they are punishing the other children as well. They say they understand but then the DCs are away again because "nothing else works".

Sometimes they are late because they have to do something at home before they are allowed to attend.

The other DCs are getting fed up with all the absences and it's creating bad feeling in the group. A couple have approached me and asked me to remove these DCs from the group altogether. I am considering this as an option.

AIBU in not liking to be used in this way.

EatShitDerek Thu 29-Jan-15 09:40:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

OstentatiousBreastfeeder Thu 29-Jan-15 09:44:07

Are you suggesting that these parents view your activity as 'untouchable'? That won't go down well.

MrsTawdry Thu 29-Jan-15 09:46:49

When I was in a very good Youth Theatre as a teen, there was a rule; miss 1 rehearsal with no good reason consider yourself on watch...miss 2 and you lose your part.

It worked. We understood that barring death or hospitalization, you came to rehearsal.

Tell them that children who miss too many will be re-cast.

It's not comparable to football.

basgetti Thu 29-Jan-15 09:50:48

I agree with you OP. I think if you have made a commitment to an activity where your child's absence would adversely impact on others then you shouldn't involve it in any punishments.

EatShitDerek Thu 29-Jan-15 09:51:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

rinabean Thu 29-Jan-15 09:58:24

Remove them. The parents can do this to their kids if they break your rules - you can do this to the parents if they break your rules. You're literally only doing the same thing so stuff them

MythicalKings Thu 29-Jan-15 10:00:34

Are you suggesting that these parents view your activity as 'untouchable'? That won't go down well.

No idea what you mean. Explain, please.

I think I'm going to have to go with your idea, MrsTawdry. I'm reluctant to do so because I've always had an "all welcome" policy and try to accommodate everyone who wants to come but I am at the end of my tether with this, as are the other DCs.

Both my DCs attended various activities as they grew and I never used them as a punishment because it wasn't fair to the organisers or the others involved.

DoJo Thu 29-Jan-15 11:27:12

I think Mrs Tawdry's idea is ideal - that way you are working with the parents to improve behaviour and they have another incentive to do what they need to and come along to your activity. If the children know what the consequences are for poor behaviour and for non-attendance then it is their fault if they aren't allowed to come, not the parents.

HowCanIMissYouIfYouWontGoAway Thu 29-Jan-15 12:52:37

I can understand parents doing that if they think it works but I don't think it is unreasonable to want to find another way because if an entire group is being affected then it matters.

I think MrsTawdry's suggestion is really sensible. If you want to be part of the group then you have to attend. If you don't then someone else takes your part and you can't have it back but have to wait until the next production is being cast.

It may even be more effective as a punishment because the kid knows they lose their role. grin

Littlef00t Thu 29-Jan-15 12:55:53

It would also back up the parents rather than put you against them, as they can carry on banning if they see fit, but the teen knows that if they do x and get banned, y happens as a consequence from missing the session, so the incentive is even more powerful.

MythicalKings Thu 29-Jan-15 13:38:09

I suppose I'm going to have to but it seems so unfair, in a way. I can't imagine stopping my DCs doing something they loved because their bedrooms were untidy.

We all parent in different ways.

DoJo Thu 29-Jan-15 17:57:04

Is it for things like untidy bedrooms in isolation or as a pattern of refusal to pull their weight at home?
Either way, I think if the consequence is made clear and the children are old enough to understand it, then it is they who are choosing not to do whatever it is to be allowed to come to your group and they who are letting their peers down. The parents may not want to withdraw the privilege of coming either, but if that is what their children respond to then better they apply discipline that let it slide.

MythicalKings Thu 29-Jan-15 18:13:39

I can see the parents' point. Both the DCs are struggling at school and have been in trouble there as well as at home.

I know how much they enjoy what we do and they are never any trouble there and I'm so sad for them because I think I'm going to have to let them go for the sake of the others who are feeling very let down.

I can't help but feel there must be a better punishment than this.

ILovePud Thu 29-Jan-15 18:28:00

I don't think YABU, the punishments are impacting on you and the other kids, I think if you're doing this then both parents and children need to commit to it and look at sanctions which don't impact on others to this extent. It must be very frustrating.

bloodygorgeous Thu 29-Jan-15 18:34:13


My dh runs three sports clubs, it's a nightmare when kids don't turn up for matches or tournaments.

They have to be cancelled sometimes and it's upsetting for the other kids.

These things are a commitment. Parents perfectly free to give out any punishment they wish but you are free to therefore tell them they're out of the activity.

stealthsquiggle Thu 29-Jan-15 18:37:46

I think if you are going to introduce a "miss 2 sessions and you are out" policy, which would be fair enough (school plays have the same policy at DC's school), then you need to communicate that very clearly to all the DC and parents, and start everyone at zero - so the DC who have missed sessions are not immediately out, IYSWIM. That way you are showing the rest of the DC that you are doing something, and letting the flaky DC and their parents know exactly what the consequences will be - which either makes the threat of missing a session more effective, or that the parents find some other leverage.

Stinkle Thu 29-Jan-15 18:43:26

I don't think you're unreasonable either.

My DH runs a sports team. As Bloodygorgeous'says, it's a pain when children don't turn up and it impacts on the rest of the team.

The rules state that only a certain amount of children can be officially signed to the team.

The unsigned children can train, but they take part in matches and quite often matches are cancelled or forfeited when not enough signed children turn up. It's annoying because there are several children desperate to sign up and take part, but they can't.

BackforGood Thu 29-Jan-15 18:49:41

Of course YANBU.
Perfectly reasonable to have a policy in place that can't miss more than one rehearsal (except in exceptional circumstances) and still have a part in the next production - fairly common IME.
I've threatened for my dc to miss things over the years (and had to carry it out) but I've never prevented them from going to something where they are a crucial wheel in the cog - eg a dramatic production or part of a team - as that's not fair on the other children.

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