Earlier this month a girl named Savannah stole some lollies from her grandmother and lied about it.
What’s so remarkable about this is what happened next. She died.
Savannah’s grandmother punished her by forcing her to run non-stop for 3 hours and later Savannah had a seizure and died.
There’s more about it here.
Basically she ate some lollies, when asked about it she was probably embarrassed and so she said she didn’t. And was punished for the lie with physical activity and ended up paying for it with her life.
The grandmother and step-mother are facing criminal charges and I hope they throw the book at them.
In what universe is 3 hours of non-stop running appropriate for eating lollies?
Elite athletes struggle with 3 hours non-stop running. I consider myself to be quite fit and can do about an hour of running.
What happened to explaining that the lollies were for everyone and now there wasn’t enough so she would have to forgo her share when they were handed out later on. Or having her buy some more with her pocket money. Removal of privileges like no longer allowed to go to her friends house that weekend.
I’m a big believer in natural consequences, and there is no way if you stole something that authorities would require you to run for 3 hours. You might first receive a warning, then a fine and finally imprisonment. For a child you might first have the conversation about why we don’t steal and an apology would be required. A second time they may need to pay for a replacement item, or then they may lose privileges like screen time or not be allowed to go to a friends house. All whilst explaining what is happening and why and what is expected of them.
Savannah didn’t have to die.
Lots of parents want quick fix solutions to behavioural issues, but the truth is that many quick fix solutions have long term consequences.
There is no “speedy” way to train children to behave properly. What appears to be rapid training must always depend on the fear of pain, and fear of pain achieves only one end: it empties the “love bank”*, setting the stage for later difficulty.
From this link.
I hope that from this tragic event that parents will think critically about how they approach their children behavior. And I hope there is justice for Savannah.