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Punishment-free parents: need help with a biggie - Page 3

post #41 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daffodil View Post
I might encourage my kid to help clean up, but I wouldn't make him do it if he didn't want to, because he would see it as a punishment, and he would resent it and get angry at me.
Seriously, who's the parent here? I know I sound snarky, but I'm rushing out of the door and don't have the time to respond more fully. This just seems like a ridiculous way to raise your children. I won't discipline him because he will be mad with me....ooookaaaayyyyy.
post #42 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by labdogs42 View Post
If my DH wrote all over the kitchen table, he'd be paying for a new one. That would be his logical consequence.
really? if it was a mistake and an expensive table, you wouldnt try to fix it but make him buy you a new one?

Quote:
Originally Posted by oceanbaby View Post

Your second paragraph pretty much proves that punishments don't work. You're going to do what you want to do no matter what the punishment. You'll try not to get caught, but if you do, you'll deal with it. That's not the relationship I'm trying to establish with my kids.
post #43 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post
My dd always helped me clean it up, but she LIKED cleaning it up so it certainly wasn't a way to keep her from doing it again. She liked cleaning it up almost more than doing it in the first place.
Then there's no problem.

If the kid cleans up what they do - then that's fine. I used to love dumping my legos out all over the floor. I HATED picking them all back up. So I stopped dumping them. My DH LOVES to organize DD's Duplo and so he will, even after she's asleep for the night, dump them out on the floor to put them back the way he likes them (we have a couple of different containers).

I'm not looking for a way to prevent my child from doing something in the first place. I'm looking for a way to make sure that I am not negatively impacted by what she chooses to do.
post #44 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by slylives View Post
Seriously, who's the parent here? I know I sound snarky, but I'm rushing out of the door and don't have the time to respond more fully. This just seems like a ridiculous way to raise your children. I won't discipline him because he will be mad with me....ooookaaaayyyyy.
Yeah, yeah, I know how it sounds, but it's not that I'm afraid to do anything that might make my kid mad, even if it would help him in the long run. Believe me, I make him mad every day by telling him he can't have something he wants, or has to do something he doesn't want to.

The thing is, in this case, making him mad pretty much cancels out any beneficial effect making him clean up could have had. If he breaks something, I don't want the whole incident to turn into a power struggle about cleaning up. I don't want him so mad at me that he no longer cares that he broke my thing and made me sad. I'm not worried that he'll never learn he should clean up his messes. As long as he learns to think about other people and not just himself, he'll naturally learn to act considerately as he gets older.

I'm not against requiring kids to clean up their messes, as long as the kid is basically willing to go along with it. But if the kid really doesn't want to, I think it's counterproductive to turn it into a fight by forcing him. (I should add that the kid I'm envisioning here is my 3 year old. If he were 15, I probably would insist that he ought to be the one to clean up after he broke something. But if he absolutely refused in the end, I still don't think I'd try to force him or punish him for his refusal.)
post #45 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post
They get old enough to understand. DD #1 wrote on walls and furniture when she was that age. I didn't punish. She doesn't do it anymore. Why? Because she's 7 now. I don't understand the urge to punish for something that will improve regardless as kids get older.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daffodil View Post
Not punishing doesn't mean just going on about your day as if nothing had happened, at least not in my house. If my kid destroys something, I'm certainly going to let him know I'm unhappy, and make sure he understands how his behavior caused the damage, and what he could have done differently to prevent it. But I don't see any need to go beyond that. I wouldn't give him a timeout, or take away a privilege, or make him help me clean up.
First of all, I'd like to say, I never once typed the word punishment at all. I heard "no consequences" ever.
As to mamazee's wait till there older... that's a few years of written on tables and broken family heirlooms, when the child could learn alot earlier than that.
And to Daffodil's comment, you explained your "consequence"; talking to them and teaching alternatives to the behavior. That would at least be some kind of parenting and dicipline.

Why does the word consequence atomatically mean "punishment"? It doesn't to me. Maybe I have the wrong definition of consequence.
post #46 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by honeybeedreams View Post
hmmm... we have never ever used consequences in our home. my son knows not to write on walls or tables, he knows not to drop the cat out the window or flush things down the toilet, he handles DVDs and CDs carefully, is gentle (usually) with his baby sister, and mostly always uses scissors on paper! (LOL) ... sometimes he does stuff because he is impulsive, but he knows they are wrong and that he shouldn't do them.

how do you think he learned these things?

my bro and i had lots of punishment and consequences, we were horribly behaved children who did everything and i mean everything we shouldn't have done. including some pretty antisocial stuff when we were in our teens like robbing houses, dealing drugs and other stuff. how come we didn't learn not to do those things from our parents?

and "destroy" is a value judgement. if my son dismantles a broken radio, is that destroying? how does a 4 yo know the difference between that and the VCR? how about a child who takes things apart to see how they work? is that "destroying?" is it different if a parent supervises and then helps the child put it back together? a young child doesn't understand that exploration isn't always consensual!

and who ever said we just "go about our business?" if i spend time connecting with my child and discussing why he did something and what he learned from it, it that "nothing?"

punishment free parenting, esp consensual parenting doesn't seek to "teach children a lesson," it seeks to connect, grow and learn (on both sides).

the most important things the OP will learn about this episode isn't about discipline, but about herself, her child, and their relationship.
Destroys is not a value judgement. She said her daughter broke 2 things in 2 days that were precious to her. And no, a discussion is not nothing, it is a consequence.
post #47 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by SunKessed View Post
But when we make a mess - we have to clean it up. That seems really basic and fundamental to how adult society works.
obviously you haven't seen my house!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :
post #48 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by labdogs42 View Post
I'm all for gentle discipline, but kids need to know that if they ruin things, there are consequences. Like have to stick to mommy like velcro for a while (I like that idea).
As a foster parent, I hear this one a lot. And how exactly do you make a child do this?

Quote:
Originally Posted by slylives View Post
Seriously, who's the parent here? I know I sound snarky, but I'm rushing out of the door and don't have the time to respond more fully. This just seems like a ridiculous way to raise your children. I won't discipline him because he will be mad with me....ooookaaaayyyyy.
'


Quote:
Originally Posted by Daffodil View Post
Yeah, yeah, I know how it sounds, but it's not that I'm afraid to do anything that might make my kid mad, even if it would help him in the long run. Believe me, I make him mad every day by telling him he can't have something he wants, or has to do something he doesn't want to.

The thing is, in this case, making him mad pretty much cancels out any beneficial effect making him clean up could have had. If he breaks something, I don't want the whole incident to turn into a power struggle about cleaning up. I don't want him so mad at me that he no longer cares that he broke my thing and made me sad. I'm not worried that he'll never learn he should clean up his messes. As long as he learns to think about other people and not just himself, he'll naturally learn to act considerately as he gets older.

I'm not against requiring kids to clean up their messes, as long as the kid is basically willing to go along with it. But if the kid really doesn't want to, I think it's counterproductive to turn it into a fight by forcing him. (I should add that the kid I'm envisioning here is my 3 year old. If he were 15, I probably would insist that he ought to be the one to clean up after he broke something. But if he absolutely refused in the end, I still don't think I'd try to force him or punish him for his refusal.)
I agree. Making someone feel bad doesn't make them feel (or do better.) That's why most time outs suck. People expect young children to sit and think about what they did. For the most part, young children don't have internal speech and aren't able to do this. But when they can, they aren't usually thinking about how to right a wrong. They are thinking about how mean you are...and how long do they have to sit there before they can get up...and ...
post #49 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunanthem View Post
Why does the word consequence atomatically mean "punishment"? It doesn't to me. Maybe I have the wrong definition of consequence.
A punishment is a negative consequence created in an attempt to alter behavior.

Oh - and I almost forgot - my it isn't like my dd was writing on the walls at 6 and just stopped. She stopped around the age of the OP's child. Maybe a little older? I just don't remember the specifics.
post #50 of 83
yes, that is true, but where did we wind up focusing on negative consequences?
post #51 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunanthem View Post
yes, that is true, but where did we wind up focusing on negative consequences?
Well a positive consequence would be a reward. I don't know what neutral consequences there are - if there's one then it wouldn't really be expected to have any effect on behavior because that's not how behaviorism works.
post #52 of 83


No advice, but man... my oldest kid destroys things on purpose all of the time. It's getting old.
post #53 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post
Well a positive consequence would be a reward. I don't know what neutral consequences there are - if there's one then it wouldn't really be expected to have any effect on behavior because that's not how behaviorism works.
I think a "neutral" natural consequence would be to discuss what happened, how it makes the parent feel, alternatives for what the child could have done instead, and then asking her to help clean up her mess. HOW is that negative or positive?
post #54 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunanthem View Post
I think a "neutral" natural consequence would be to discuss what happened, how it makes the parent feel, alternatives for what the child could have done instead, and then asking her to help clean up her mess. HOW is that negative or positive?
I don't personally think of that as a consequence or punishment or anything, just family communication. But there are people who think any discussion is a punishment because there's some level of coercion or making the child feel bad potentially. The only part that, as far as my point of view goes, could potentially be a punishment would be the asking to clean up, depending on how it was handled. Like I'd just say, "Well this is going to have to be cleaned up now. Here's a rag for each of us, and here's some cleaner. Let's get to it." I don't think of that as punishment. But I could see if it were done like, "There won't be any (whatever the child wants) until after you clean this." Or "If you don't clean this up, then (something bad)." I would consider those scenarios to be punishment. So maybe you're talking about just a discussion and asking for help, and other moms are interpreting it as one of those other scenarios?

The thing is, I'd ask my dd for help, but if she didn't help I'd just do it on my own and hope that I'd be modeling how to handle a situation like that. As it turns out, my dd thinks cleaning the walls is one of the more fun activities in the world (she's weird like that) so forcing it has never even been an issue. But a lot of parents wouldn't be comfortable discussing and asking for help, but then not forcing the child to help. If you're going to force a child to help, you have to have some way to force it, and that would generally be the threat of a punishment.

I feel like I've talked in circles but hopefully I've said something that's made sense here.
post #55 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post
Well a positive consequence would be a reward. I don't know what neutral consequences there are - if there's one then it wouldn't really be expected to have any effect on behavior because that's not how behaviorism works.
What is so negative about having a polite, non-condescending conversation about respect for other people's belongings? Because if my daughter intentionally broke something that she knew she should not touch that is just the kind of conversation we'd have, and I in no way consider that to be negative. I would consider it negative parenting to let her destroy something precious on purpose and then not give any feedback whatsoever.

Nor would I consider helping to clean up the mess a punishment. In fact, I would go so far as to say that cleaning up the mess myself could be seen as a self-punishment, and would show my child that other people will always be on hand to clean up their messes if they don't want to do it. What happens if my child then breaks something at a friends house? She would run off and let the hosting parent deal with it. Not exactly a message I want to pass on.
post #56 of 83
I think sometimes we forget how in tune kids are. We need them to instantly "learn their lesson" and we want them to act/feel like they know they have done something wrong.

I have two young boys (4.5 & 1.5) and we live in a very small space. Sometimes I feel like I can never have nice stuff, but then I remember my mom crying when my lil bro broke an heirloom lamp and remember her advice of waiting to buy anything nice until the kids grow up. I know they are being curious and playing normal. I also know it is important that they learn how to respect other community member's feelings and belongings.

For my one year old I do not expect him to not do anything. We keep markers up high etc. When he does do something we do not like we tell him, but I am not mad (sometimes frustrated). For my 4 year old I discuss things with him. He has recently broken a few nice things and I reacted exactly how I felt. I showed my frustration by throwing my hands up in the air and making a gutteral sound of frustration. I try not to direct my anger at my child but I do allow myself to be angry. I act authentically. I might cry.

The thing I have noted is that the times when I have gotten angry at him and tried to force him to be sorry (b/c I'm by no means perfect) he was smug and rude and distant. The times where I have just allowed myself to be and shared how I was feeling authentically, he usually comes over and says sorry and hugs. Then later in the day he randomly tells me why he wouldn't do it again. It's like night and day.

To the OP- nothing "went wrong" your family is just navigating life together and this is part of it. I'm sure every mother has a story to tell along similar lines. I think it would be much more effective if you earnestly shared just how upset you are and why.
post #57 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by oceanbaby View Post
This may be my own personal issue, and many here may not agree with me, but I consider seeing me burst into tears over the destruction of something that was important to me to be their natural consequence. I don't do it on purpose - I'm not talking about emotional manipulation. But I also don't try to hide my feelings about something that they did deliberately. If it was accidental, I'll be sure to reassure them that I am not mad at them and I completely understand they didn't mean to do it. But hey, you break someone's stuff, they're probably going to be upset. You smack someone, they might get angry. I don't think that's such an awful lesson to learn.
ABSOLUTELY!!!! in hindsight as i look back on my parenting the things that stand out were the times when i WASNT parenting but expressing true honest feelings. almost reacting. many, many times. fear, anger, frustration, apathy, tiredness.

i remember dd was under 2. and she ran out on the street. i had taken my eyes off of her for just a second and she took off. thankfully it was an empty street. i dont even remember what i did. screamed? or got angry? all i remember was her reaction. she was in shock. she just stared at me.

and to date at 6 she has never EVER run out on the street. i have seen her wanted to and control herself on the sidewalk but she has NEVER ever run out on the street again.

i dont punish. i dont believe in it. neither do i look at my dd as a child - even worse my child. i look upon her as a 'martian' who is trying to figure out how to live in this world. we talk, talk, talk all the time - even as a one year old. we make decisions together. i have a say in her life, the way she has a say in mine.
post #58 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by oceanbaby View Post
This may be my own personal issue, and many here may not agree with me, but I consider seeing me burst into tears over the destruction of something that was important to me to be their natural consequence. I don't do it on purpose - I'm not talking about emotional manipulation. But I also don't try to hide my feelings about something that they did deliberately. If it was accidental, I'll be sure to reassure them that I am not mad at them and I completely understand they didn't mean to do it. But hey, you break someone's stuff, they're probably going to be upset. You smack someone, they might get angry. I don't think that's such an awful lesson to learn.

The only imposed consequence around here would be having them clean up the mess they made. If it was something really terrible, I might tell them that they need to go be somewhere else right now because I am too mad to be around anyone.



Great answer, and exactly how I would handle it. I would also tell her WHY I was upset (i.e. what makes an heirloom an heirloom & why that is important to me).

Also, DS is too young to do this, but DD has often thought, after an issue/problem, about ways that SHE can make something right. I don't prod, but I have suggested that "perhaps you could think of a way to help ___ feel better" or "I wonder what would make you feel better if ___ had happened to you".
post #59 of 83
my ds who is nearly 6 just smashed a sliding glass door even though I remind him constantly not to hit it. This is severly financially constraining. We dont have the money. Well, unless we want to give our car back.
post #60 of 83
Oh man. Did y'all see my thread about our five year old who cut a huge hole in the sofa with scissors?

I feel for all of you!
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