A few updates…

I wish I could say that I have not been writing much because I have been super busy. It would be way too easy. I have had the time to write in the last weeks, but I just haven’t been doing it.

So, now it is time and I will use it to catch up…

Summer came early here this year. Then left. Then came back, and now left again. Quebec weather is unpredictable and extreme. We had frost warnings last night and a heat wave two days before. If you live here, you know what I am talking about. I did manage to get the pool starting during our first heat wave at the beginning of the May however which meant days in the pool when the weather permits. Which is needed when you do not have air conditioning.

Here is a picture from from the beginning of May. Wilhelmina isn’t very big on cold water so she lets the boys go in while she at most gets her feet wet. The boys however can spend hours in the pool without a problem.



Actually, the weekends of May were quite busy. We had a homeschooling conference which was quite enlightening. At the moment, there is a wave of unschooling happening on the french side of the homeschooling community and it was seen at the conference. (I am writing a post on that)

I then had a cadet reunion. Yes, I was an air cadet… and this year it was the 60th anniversary of the squadron so they decided to invite all of the alumni. We even marched around the arena and then caught up with old friends and acquaintances, had an awful supper and then danced to music from the early 90’s… It was fun and weird…

We also got very close to getting a bus but it fell through at the last moment. Sigh… so close yet so far.

One day we will get out of this cycle we are in and we will get our dream to go ahead. It has giving me a big boost of decluttering though, and we we spent a whole weekend taking things out of closets and going through clothes and toys and books and stuff and were all read to do a garage sale. Of course we live in a city in which you can not have garage sales except for 3 weekends in May (in which you have to choose only one) and then one weekend in August. Well, we decided on the last weekend of the three because my reunion was on the first weekend, the second weekend we took to get ready but then of course it rained and we couldn’t do it. So now we have a house and shed in which all of our clutter is out and in the open, and I am completely overwhelmed with the mess which makes it even harder to get the minimum done. I could just donate it all and there are things that I do not mind simply getting rid of but there are things that I would rather try to sell but I need to make a deadline so that what doesn’t sell leaves. It is SO hard though.

In other news, we got our passports! A lot of work to get that done but Simon did it all and we did it. I saw that the “We Shine” unschooling gathering was happening again this year and again, I missed the registration. Of course in the last years when I realized, I was not only too late but didn’t have our passports anyway but this year I was still late on registration but took a chance and thankfully I did, because we are going! Yay! So, in 11 days we will be heading to the Catskills in NY and we will be spending a week with amazing Unschoolers. I can’t wait!!!

So rambling over…

I am working on a few posts that I have been meaning to write and maybe I will get the habit of posting often again..  hopefully, because I miss it 🙂


Natural and Logical Consequences in Non-Punitive Parenting

As non-punitive parents,  natural and logical consequences are a big part of the process of teaching our children.

The difference between natural/logical consequences and punishment may seem minimal to some but it has a big impact in non-punitive parenting. The problem is that both of these can be used as punishments as well as being simple teaching tools.

I also often see the terms being confused and being used in ways that no longer fit within the realm of non-punitive parenting (in places that non-punitive parenting is the goal).

Here is an example I saw recently: “My child would not pick up his toys when I asked so the natural consequence was that the toys be taken away.” Or: “My child refused to put his coat on before so the natural consequence was that he was cold later in the day.”

This is a great example to show how the terms are being misused or used as a punishment. Taking away toys that are left out is not a natural consequence, nor is it a logical consequence. It is a punishment. It is a punishment that related to the situation, but it is still nothing more then a punishment. And, yes, the natural consequence of not putting a coat on is that you might get cold, but if you can predict an uncomfortable circumstance then you are using the natural consequence as a punishment also.

So, what is a natural consequence? Simply put, it is what happens without any outside manipulation. Natural consequences can be positive or negative and are a direct result of a situation. Some natural consequences are immediate and some can or cannot be foreseen.

Logical consequences on the other hand are consequences that are manipulated by another person. To be effective and non-punitive they need to be related, respectful, reasonable. They are used in most cases to either prevent a foreseeable natural consequence or to rectify a situation. A logical consequence will often not feel like a punishment to either the adult or the child and it will in many cases be what becomes a naturally self-imposed consequence (or solution) as an adult.

So with the above situation, the natural consequence of not putting toys away would simply be that the toys will simply stay on the ground until they are picked up. Some may say that the natural consequence is that the toys will get broken or stepped on. And, yes. That *could* happen, but it is not a guarantee.

So what is a non-punitive parent to do in this situation? Well, first you can explain why you would like the toys to be picked up and since you know that there is a possibility that the toys could be broken if left out, you can point that out and ask the child to find a solution on their own, or find a solution together. It could be for the kids to pick the toys up on their own. You could ask them to help you pick the toys up. They could keep the toys contained to a space so that they do not need to be picked up. You could work together to reduce the number of toys so that there will be less toys to pick up or simply not let as many toys come into the house to begin with…. and well… you get the idea… . All families are different and each situation is different and may need different solutions (without ever using punishment). These are all logical consequences, and as I said, logical consequences often become self imposed solutions later on. So a direct example of this is my husband Simon who likes to play board games which can often take hours to play. Having it on the kitchen table would mean that the kids might touch or that he will have to put it away before finishing because we need the table, so the solution he found was to put a table in the computer room so that he can have the game out for days.

Now, say you have a child that keeps on running in the street. The natural consequence, is that he will be in the street; however, if a car comes there is a possibility that they might get hit by a car. No one will risk that happening of course, so the logical consequence may be that the child must hold hands, needs to stay in the back yard, or be in a carrier, etc., or head somewhere where they cannot run into the street, etc.  Of course, it may be unpleasant for the child in the moment but it is not a punishment per say. For a young child, you would use playful parenting and distraction and other methods to get the child to move onto something else. You are not trying to make a situation unpleasant in order to teach a lesson.

(Of course, there are times when parental fear gets muddled into these types of situations and you have to differentiate between a real danger and a perceived danger…  but that is another post altogether!)

Of course, as said above though, natural consequences can be used as punishments also. If a child doesn’t eat supper, then the natural consequence is that they will be hungry. If you refuse to let a child eat when they are hungry, then you are using the natural consequence of hunger as a punishment because they could rectify the situation by eating yet you are preventing it to make a point.

The same goes with that coat that I mentioned above. A parent has experience and wisdom that a child may not yet have. So if a parent can think ahead and know that a child may be cold later even though they are not cold now and are refusing to take a coat, then the parent should not use the child’s inexperience as an imposed punishment. You bring the coat and when or if they are cold you use that as a teachable moment (with a child of the right age of course) without making it unpleasant. You can simply say, “This is the exact reason I wanted you to bring a coat earlier. you were not cold before but when you are outside for a while/the sun goes down/it gets windy you can sometimes get a bit colder. I brought your coat for you, but maybe next time we can plan ahead together?” That is it. Teaching and learning should not be unpleasant.

Here is another example of logical consequences is something that just happened in our house. Xavier (nearly 11 and stronger then he knows at times) was upset and hit the wall, and well, he made a hole.

Yeah, that happened.


Well, the natural consequence is that there is a hole in the wall which we don’t want.

The logical consequence is that because he is responsible for putting it there, he needs to help fix it which means that he will be learning about drywall, will be taking part in patching up the hole and will be paying us back for material. This logical consequence is not about punishing. It is not about us trying to make the situation more unpleasant then it should be. It is about rectifying the mistake he made and through it he will be learning skills and might even have fun. (Well, except for giving up some of his money.) Remember, that discipline is about teaching. This is discipline.

There are many people that associate non-punitive parenting with permissive parenting but it is far from being so. It is about learning how to live through life events and being responsible for your actions without the whole thing becoming negative or unpleasant.

Welcome to my new blog address!

If you have never been on my other blog then let my explain…

When I started this blog 8 years ago I started on Blogger and it was a place to rant. I was a moderator of the AP (attachment parenting) board on BabyCenter at the time and was overwhelmed with the amount of control everyone wanted to have on their kids, how many unrealistic expectations they had and how much the term attachment parenting was getting tossed around as a list of things to do without not even looking at the philosophy. I needed a place to vent and found it in the form of a blog.

It was called: “Paxye’s Rant”

Soon, I started getting comments and realized that people were actually reading what I was writing.

After not too long I was getting tired by the limits of Blogger at the time and decided to acquire my website and domain name. As I was still remaining anonymous and “paxye” had been my alias more than a decade at the time it was the obvious choice for a domain name.

After about another year I was not writing rants anymore and decided to change my blog name to “a hippie with a minivan”.

Though I was no longer anonymous, I was still using “paxye” as my author name here until last year when I decided to change it is also. I have had the address ahippiewithaminivan.com for a while now and have been planning to move my blog over but never got around to it. Until now.

So, from now on I will be writing at ahippiewithaminivan.com/blog with the front page of the domain ahippiewithaminivan.com being dedicated to information and services that I provide with a link to the blog.

I still have a few details to work out so bear with me while I work out the kinks…

Glad to see you made it here!

Blog De-Lurking Day 2013


So what is National Blog Delurking Day?  It’s time for all my readers to say hi and to let me know who you are. Yes, I am talking to you 😉



Maybe you comment all of the time, or maybe this is your first time here, or may be you come and read but never thought of leaving a comment (I am guilty of the same). Whoever you are, Come and say hi!

Feel free to tell me a bit about yourself.  Where you’re from, what you like to do, and how on you found my blog.  Tell me a funny story, or a random fact about yourself!  If you have your own blog, or have twitter, facebook or instagram feel free to leave that link in the comments as well!

30 days hath November…

I did it! I got through another year of NaBloPoMo!!

Not only that, but it wasn’t really that hard this year. I have to admit, there were days that I didn’t feel like posting (today is one of them) but I felt the need to just write a little something and often that turned into a whole post. There are still many parenting posts that are sitting half-finished in my draft folder so I will be working on those and I promise to keep up the posting on a more regular basis.

I have to say, it is going to feel great not feeling like I HAVE to post each day, which in many ways, takes away from the way I want to blog.

Now to relax a bit and continue preparing for Khéna’s party tomorrow..

Thanks for following!

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