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New here and crying...I have no idea what to do, punishment and natural consequences - Page 4

post #61 of 132
Speaking as a child who was once in a similar situation, I really think that DD2 should have to miss camp to replace her sister's guitar. From DD1's perspective, her sister willfully and maliciously (I do not for one second buy her explanation) broke something she spent the better part of a year earning. Thinking about how proud DD1 was probably playing that guitar after working so long for it and then finding it smashed on the floor? If breaking it was an accident, then okay, but leaving it for her sister to find? That is nasty, catty, spiteful behavior, and it needs to be nipped in the bud now if you ever want your DD's to have a good relationship. I might sound like I'm overreacting, but my sister pulled this to me all...the...time. It has affected my relationship with her to this day. And also with my mother. I honestly believe this is one issue that DD1 will remember for the rest of her life if it is not handled fairly, i.e. her getting the exact guitar she worked so hard for.

I like the analogy of a neighbor. If DD2 had broken the guitar of a neighbor there would be no question of it being replaced immediately with the exact same one. Why is this different OP?
post #62 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by oddeebean View Post
Speaking as a child who was once in a similar situation, I really think that DD2 should have to miss camp to replace her sister's guitar. From DD1's perspective, her sister willfully and maliciously (I do not for one second buy her explanation) broke something she spent the better part of a year earning. Thinking about how proud DD1 was probably playing that guitar after working so long for it and then finding it smashed on the floor? If breaking it was an accident, then okay, but leaving it for her sister to find? That is nasty, catty, spiteful behavior, and it needs to be nipped in the bud now if you ever want your DD's to have a good relationship. I might sound like I'm overreacting, but my sister pulled this to me all...the...time. It has affected my relationship with her to this day. And also with my mother. I honestly believe this is one issue that DD1 will remember for the rest of her life if it is not handled fairly, i.e. her getting the exact guitar she worked so hard for.

I like the analogy of a neighbor. If DD2 had broken the guitar of a neighbor there would be no question of it being replaced immediately with the exact same one. Why is this different OP?
And if DD2 is anything like my sister, she is having a good sneer at DD1 behind OP's back for how the OP swallowed the "playing rockstar" story. My sister's needling me about how my mother always believed her lies was as bad as her actions.
post #63 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just1More View Post
No, no, no.

Sorry to be so passionate about this, but I was a "poor kid". DD2 gets to go to camp.

It's a separate issue.

But, she does have to pay for the guitar however long it takes. Life is like that, too.

There are lessons here for both girls. DD1 must learn that things, unfair things, happen, but that we ought to be gracious and patient and loving anyway. She will get her guitar back, but people are always more important than things. She needs to cool down and address dd2 respectfully. State her needs and her desires and ask dd2 what she is going to do to right this wrong. Problems cannot always be solved overnight. And that's okay.

DD2 needs to learn responsibility for her actions, and she must make right this wrong. She is now in debt to her older sister. Somehow she must make it right. Can she work FOR her sister to free the sister to work more? The retribution does not have to be a guitar.

I gotta go, but I hope that was at least something to think about.

But, please, the only thing that links this to camp is the money. I say dd2 goes.

I absolutely agree with this. There is no connection whatsoever between camp and a guitar. It is nothing more than a short-sighted punishment to dd2 to make her miss the camp, and this will inevitably lead to an even worse situation between the girls. Causing one child's resentment of their sibling to appease another child's resentment will not benefit either.

Actually, dd2 going to camp would possibly give dd1 time to cool off and not have to deal with her. And it will give dd2 the opportunity to be away from her comfort zone and "grow up" a little.

Of course dd2 will need to pay dd1 back somehow, but maybe that discussion should be tabled for a little while until dd1 cools off a little (so she has time to process the whole thing). In the meantime you could have some honest (and blame/guilt free) talks with dd2 about how hard dd1 worked for her guitar and why she is so upset. If you can help her see that WITHOUT the "why did you do it" conversation maybe she would be more willing to be involved in finding a solution. This isn't your problem to solve, it is your conflict to mediate. That will require a whole different mindset.

I DO find it interesting that most of the people calling for punishment (i.e. no camp) are older siblings who were slighted by younger siblings. It is amazing how these interactions colour our thoughts throughout life. If you can set up a relationship where they can problem-solve and work these things out NOW it will clearly impact their relationship throughout life. That is way more valuable than any guitar OR camp
post #64 of 132
Quote:
From DD1's perspective, her sister willfully and maliciously (I do not for one second buy her explanation) broke something she spent the better part of a year earning. Thinking about how proud DD1 was probably playing that guitar after working so long for it and then finding it smashed on the floor? If breaking it was an accident, then okay, but leaving it for her sister to find? That is nasty, catty, spiteful behavior, and it needs to be nipped in the bud now if you ever want your DD's to have a good relationship.
But the child in question is 10. Nasty, catty, spiteful, malicious? Those are some hefty accusations to level at a 10 year old. Children of that age are notoriously short-sighted. Sure it was a not-nice thing to do, but keep in mind the age of the child. Sure she should know better, but it is more likely that is was just a poorly thought out impulse than an attempt to *actually* ruin her sister's guitar. Punishing her severely for acting like a 10 year old seems counterproductive if your aim is a healthy sibling relationship. In fact, it is quite likely that if the OP DOES choose to give dd1 the camp money it will make her feel guilty and awkward once she gets past the satisfaction of retribution.

There really is no winning and losing here, just making the best of a bad situation.
post #65 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeRangeMama View Post
I absolutely agree with this. There is no connection whatsoever between camp and a guitar. It is nothing more than a short-sighted punishment to dd2 to make her miss the camp, and this will inevitably lead to an even worse situation between the girls. Causing one child's resentment of their sibling to appease another child's resentment will not benefit either.

Actually, dd2 going to camp would possibly give dd1 time to cool off and not have to deal with her. And it will give dd2 the opportunity to be away from her comfort zone and "grow up" a little.

Of course dd2 will need to pay dd1 back somehow, but maybe that discussion should be tabled for a little while until dd1 cools off a little (so she has time to process the whole thing). In the meantime you could have some honest (and blame/guilt free) talks with dd2 about how hard dd1 worked for her guitar and why she is so upset. If you can help her see that WITHOUT the "why did you do it" conversation maybe she would be more willing to be involved in finding a solution. This isn't your problem to solve, it is your conflict to mediate. That will require a whole different mindset.

I DO find it interesting that most of the people calling for punishment (i.e. no camp) are older siblings who were slighted by younger siblings. It is amazing how these interactions colour our thoughts throughout life. If you can set up a relationship where they can problem-solve and work these things out NOW it will clearly impact their relationship throughout life. That is way more valuable than any guitar OR camp


I disagree somewhat with the first paragraph, but agree that the issues are separate as well. But the money for one or the other has to come from SOMEWHERE, and the fact is that there is only $200 set aside. I think this could be an important lesson on the value of property, and how if DD2 mistreats property, she will have to sacrifice in order to repay.

In reference to your last paragraph, I'm a youngest child here, calling for no camp for DD2 and for her to replace the guitar.
post #66 of 132
Quote:
In reference to your last paragraph, I'm a youngest child here, calling for no camp for DD2 and for her to replace the guitar.
I said "most" not all There have been a lot of, "I had a younger brother/sister" stories shared here, and a great many of them called for punishment. Just an observation.
post #67 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeRangeMama View Post
I said "most" not all There have been a lot of, "I had a younger brother/sister" stories shared here, and a great many of them called for punishment. Just an observation.
No, a lot of them called for retribution. A very different thing. We also called for OP to open her eyes up to what's going on. That won't harm anyone, and may help a lot. Let's face it, anyone who thinks a 10 year old has NEVER lied to them is in denial - I know, I have an 11 yr old and a 15 yrd old.
post #68 of 132
What a hard situation for everyone.

In the interest of full disclosure, I'm an only child. I went to camp in 5th grade. It was fun and I have some great memories. Not many opportunities come up like this and it would be a shame for your younger DD to miss out on it because of one bad decision. If she has anything of value that is hers: TV, gaming console, toys, jewelry, ect. then maybe she can sell those things to get the money. Then she would still get the lesson about the value of money and the consequences of her actions without missing something so huge.

I asked DH about this. He is the 4th of 6 children and a drummer. He thinks that younger DD should have to miss camp. His main reason was that the older DD shouldn't have to be without her hard earned instrument for 7 months while the OP earns the money to replace it. And he also feels that it would take so long for the younger child to make the money that it may eventually get pushed to the back burner. The mother replacing the guitar won't be doing the younger child any favors in life. He had one of those "my brother broke my stuff and never paid to replace it" stories too. He also suggested that if the younger child were to miss camp that maybe she could work together with the older sister this summer to earn something for the whole family like a museum pass or a trip to the zoo. Maybe them working for a common goal will help to mend their relationship.
post #69 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by choli View Post
No, a lot of them called for retribution. A very different thing. We also called for OP to open her eyes up to what's going on. That won't harm anyone, and may help a lot. Let's face it, anyone who thinks a 10 year old has NEVER lied to them is in denial - I know, I have an 11 yr old and a 15 yrd old.
Yep, I agree with this. There is a big difference between
punishment and retribution.

I personally think that the bigger issue here is why dd2 did what she did. It's a big deal to smash a guitar, like a major, huge deal. There is obviously something going on here that lead up to this. I think it would be very important for the OP to try to look at her daughters' relationship with a very critical eye. I seriously doubt that this came out of nowhere.

Either this sort of relationship dynamic between the sisters has been this way for a long time and it has finally reached a new level or... Something happened between them to have caused this action from dd2. It could just be dd1 getting the guitar but I suspect that there is a lot more to this story.
post #70 of 132
Well, I'm another one of the people who thinks that the OP should use the money ear-marked for DD2's camping trip to replace the guitar. I'm also an eldest child whose younger brother broke things of hers.

However, I am not calling for punishment, simply reparation. ODD showed a lot of responsibility and maturity in working so hard for most of a year to save money to buy this particular guitar that she also put time and thought into choosing. She had it a month and through no fault of her own it was destroyed. She has already been two weeks without it, which is a long time when you're just starting to learn an instrument. I think she is well within her rights to want a replacement of the same new guitar she bought, now.

YDD sounds as if she's very jealous of ODD's accomplishment and likely set out to deliberately break the guitar. 10 is really too old not to realise what's going to happen if you smash something on the floor. I think the jealousy is something that needs to be addressed soon as if it's gotten to the stage of YDD deliberately breaking something so expensive and so obviously important to ODD it's pretty serious.

If the OP had more money to spare I would probably be suggesting a different method of reparation, e.g. YDD has to sell some of her games and toys to come up with the money. Either way I think it's really important that YDD makes the reparation herself - either by forgoing her camp and doing some work to pay her mother back, or by working to give the money to ODD, or by going without some of her prized possessions to raise the money for ODD's guitar.

I think it's a good idea to consider what your reaction would be if YDD had broken the guitar of one of her friends instead. Would you expect that child to wait for over a year for YDD to work and earn the money to pay it back?

It really is a tough situation.
post #71 of 132
Well, I am childless, so take what I say with a grain of salt. But I am an older sibling who watched her younger brother get away with murder and even still I feel resentment toward him at times (seems like at times he STILL gets away with murder!).

To me, the younger sister does not sound in the least bit sorry for what she did. In fact, if anything, she is getting rewarded for breaking the guitar by not having to share the tv or turn down her music. Right now, breaking that guitar has made her little world a pretty nice place to be for her. Sounds like the only one suffering any consequences at all for the younger sister's deliberate actions (and count me in with those that do not believe for one moment she didn't know what she was doing) is the older sister who gets to watch her beloved passion that she worked so hard and so long for destroyed and know that little sister may still get to go to camp and be rewarded for destroying big sister's passion.

I think the camp money needs to go for buying big sister a new guitar. She deserves it.
post #72 of 132
I'm going to speak as a musician here, I play a musical instrument and when I need to play, I really need to play, it's not just an object, it's almost like an addiction really, it calls you, draws you closer and to not have that option to express yourself through the music is painful, it hurts, I'm not sure that I am explaining myself well enough but for DD1 to do without an instrument it's like it's killing her, the need and it is very much a need is there and needs to be expressed. Someone when i was at school damaged my instrument - it had to be sent away to mended for two weeks, it was torture, I literally pined for it. I can completely relate to DD1 need for an instrument and think that it should be achieved. DD2 seems to be 'bathing' in the aftermath a little here, she's enjoying having the power over her sister and won't be changing things for the better for her sister because at the moment they are good for her - she's getting what she wants here.

Now then, I am really torn about how DD2 may not be able to go on the camp - maybe that's abit harsh, for DD2 to miss out on camp means that there is still going to be resentment within the household but from dd2 and not dd1, maybe there are other options, sponsorship, rental, contacting the father (as mentioned before - but seems to be proving difficult) social security, insurance if all else fails maybe selling something of dd1's, renting her bedroom out for the summer to a student - speak to dd2 to see if she can come up with ideas for replacing the guitar - she needs to be involved in replacing it - which I'm sure you'll ensure.

If dd2 does go away on camp maybe you could take a few days holiday to spend and bond with dd1, make it special for her too, I think that you could turn the camp into a real learning experience - enhancing people skills, compassion etc which is important to your dd2 and dd1, this is a family situation and if I were in the same situation I would try and work it out together, no blaming or shaming but with reason, each child needs to have their say and needs to be listened too, but do try and get your dd2 to come up with a better answer than the previous excuse - it really just doesn't cut the mustard - even if she just says that she felt like it, it's better than the guitars and tv thing!!!

finally I just wanted to say - what a fantastic mum you are - there's no use beating yourself up about this, see if you can get some help financially and emotionally, it's not easy being a single parent with a tight financial situation - big hugs to you!!
post #73 of 132
This is a tough one.

I have to say, i don't think replacing a valuable item you broke deliberately because you "got carried away" (which sounds like a load to me! She's 10, not 4!) isn't a punishment, it's making reparation. A punishment would be that AFTER replacing the item SHE ruined she also was grounded for a year or whatever.

If she were younger i would accept a portion of the blame for lack of supervision (as cited by mum herself) but at 10!? At 10 i was letting myself in after school and starting dinner! At 10 i was left alone while my parents shopped if i didn't feel like going along. I wasn't in charge of other kids (i was the youngest) but i was perfectly capable of being in charge of myself. She didn't drop the guitar once by mistake, she repeatedly smashed it until it was destroyed beyond repair. That is not the "oops" of a distracted child. My kid has destroyed things of mine and i've had friends kids do so too, but they weren't 10, they were 2, 3, 4. LITTLE kids with impulse control and no foresight. Even with poor foresight after this girl hit the guitar once on the floor she could see the damage - are we saying maybe she thought it'd get LESS broken if she carried on!? Sorry, this was a willful act of destruction.

I am not implying she is nasty, or a brat, or a horrible person. IN THAT MOMENT she made selfish choices which she knew would hurt her sister. She might not have meant it to hurt as much as it has, she might have had no idea the EXTENT to which she was damaging things - the guitar, her relationship with her sister, potetially her summer camping trip, but she knew enough to choose not to do this. If she'd really not known how badly it would damage the guitar she c/would have stopped after one strike.

It is harsh for her to lose her summer camp over this single moment of maddness, of selfishness. It doesn't mean she is mad and selfish only that she was for those few moments when she did this. But it is these small moments we learn from and for. There is not point in having impulse control for 80% of the time. You would be in jail for the deeds committed in the other 20%. There is no point considering other people's feelings only whe you feel like it - that is considered sociopathy. So if she were my child she would pay (in the sense of redress not punishment) for this moment with her summer camp.
post #74 of 132
Missing camp is not punishment; it's making amends. Making her earn the money AND miss camp- that's punishment. Then she is having to pay double.
post #75 of 132
So DD2 is essentially being rewarded for her actions by being able to watch what she wants on TV and keeping the music turned up as loud as she wants -- and she blamed her actions on watching musicians on TV! No wonder she appears to feel no remorse.

It would seem to me that if it's the musicians on TV's "fault" that she broke her sister's guitar, perhaps she should be employed in more productive actions than watching even more TV and listening to loud music.

As for what to do about camp, it may be the only way right now to drive home to DD2 what smashing that guitar meant to DD1: DD1 worked hard for a long time and looked forward to the guitar, and now it's gone. DD2 didn't have to work, but she did look forward to the camping trip for a long time.

Has DD2 given any suggestions as to what she could do to make things better?
post #76 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeRangeMama View Post
I absolutely agree with this. There is no connection whatsoever between camp and a guitar. It is nothing more than a short-sighted punishment to dd2 to make her miss the camp, and this will inevitably lead to an even worse situation between the girls. Causing one child's resentment of their sibling to appease another child's resentment will not benefit either.
Respectfully, I disagree with this. If this were a matter of a 5 dollar toy and a 5 dollar activity (both which the op could afford to give her DD's immediately), then I can understand your reasoning-- the OP would be making a choice to withhold one over the other.

But that is not the case here-- there simply isn't enough money to do both. It's a reality and a very natural consequence of the younger DD's actions. It sounds as though OP has really exhausted every other choice (including selling off her own belongings) to make both happen for her DD's, and she just can't.

OP, it occurred to me this morning, that you must have spent 6 months saving for this camping trip for DD2. I know it must be very important to you as well s.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeRangeMama View Post
I DO find it interesting that most of the people calling for punishment (i.e. no camp) are older siblings who were slighted by younger siblings. It is amazing how these interactions colour our thoughts throughout life. If you can set up a relationship where they can problem-solve and work these things out NOW it will clearly impact their relationship throughout life. That is way more valuable than any guitar OR camp
I agree with this wholeheartedly. I think that maybe this is one of those times where you have to 'save' DD2 from making a life changing mistake of discounting her older sisters feelings. I know people are saying that her sisters anger should be her 'natural consequence'; but I really do feel that *that* is too big a price to pay at 10 years old.

Hopefully you are able to help your DD2 make amends for her actions. Maybe this could be a lesson for your both your DD's- a lesson in empathy for your DD2 and forgiveness for your DD1.

Just to out myself-- I am an older sister with no resentment towards my younger brother or sister. I'm sure that we did break each others things when we were younger and I know we must have fought, but I truly cannot remember a single incident that sticks out in my mind. I really don't think my opinion is being colored by my childhood.
post #77 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just1More View Post
No, no, no.

Sorry to be so passionate about this, but I was a "poor kid". DD2 gets to go to camp.

It's a separate issue.
I was a poor kid, farm family in the 80s... And I disagree. It isn't a separate issue. I believe that lessons in childhood (esp when they are older like these kids) need to have consequences that reflect what would happen when a person becomes an adult. If I (as an adult) went to my neighbor's and broke his property, a judge in a court would make me replace it. Even if my money was for something really important, that's how court works. And I'd have to pay court fees!

What service are you doing a child by believing a totally unbelievable lie? Can she lie to her future spouse or employer like that with no consequences? No.

Money is money, it's all the same. And your DD2 has to replace the guitar and miss out on camp. This was her choice. She made it the moment she broke the guitar. Even if she wasn't aware that broken guitar=no camp, she knew there would be consequences.

I believe now you need to take all those guilty feelings inside, put on a strong face, and have confidence when you tell DD2 what has happened and will be happening. If she is upset about not camping, maybe she could try to talk to the adult in charge of the trip and ask for payment leniency? Not you talking to them, but she talking to them with you. You and I both know this probably won't help, but you never know. And if it works, it has to be HER that made it work, not you.

Parenting your children to be responsible people with EMPATHY for others is hard work, and you need to stop feeling (or showing your) guilt for making your children responsible.

IMHO.
post #78 of 132
I would use the money for the camping trip to replace the guitar. I asked my kids and they all said it would be really tough but that using the camp money would be the fair thing to do.

Does DD2 have anything of value you could sell on craigslist to get money for the guitar? (Bike, dollhouse, video games, etc). If so, you could offer to list those things for sale so she could try to raise the money for her trip.
post #79 of 132
I believe that sometimes we need to protect children from certain natural consequences. I don't think that DD2 is able to see far enough ahead to realize/care that this could jeopardize her relationship with her sister even into adulthood. I think as a parent you are responsible for facilitating a meeting of the minds where DD2 can make adequate reparations to DD1.

I think considering what you would do if it were a neighbor is a good point. If it were my child and your child wasn't going to immediately replace the broken item I would have the option of taking you to small claims court. Your DD1 is not being given that opportunity. [Not that I think litigation is a good way to go all the time, but it is there.]

Honestly though if it were me I would have to borrow the money. I know some people can get themselves into a lot of trouble with credit card debt, but it seems like it might be worth it in this case. Basically, I would say that then DD2 can decide between borrowing the $200 from you interest free and working to pay it back and therefore there will not be money to go to camp. Or she can borrow it from "the bank" which is charging X% interest. Do the math with her and show how this option may mean that she ultimately pays $300 if it takes her two years to earn the money, or whatever but that would mean that the money you have saved could pay for camp. [But for actual logistics you would charge the guitar]

She would also need to start working out how to make minimum monthly payment (generally at least $15) NOW. Like every day when she gets home from school and finishes homework she is out offering to weed gardens and line up work for throughout the summer. If in two weeks (when the camp money is due) she hasn't done that then IMO she's shown that camp really isn't that important to her and your camp-earmarked money should go towards paying for the guitar related credit card charge.


I am an oldest child but never had these issues with my brother.

ETA- I actually called to ask my mom about this and she sounded really worried about DD2. She doesn't believe there is anyway a cognitively normal 10yo wouldn't have known that the guitar would break and that she needs some help dealing with her feeling (jealousy?) towards her older sister. She thinks that missing camp would not be a good idea but also that she needs to replace the sister's guitar. Her suggestion was that I anonymously donate the money to the older DD. But I hadn't told her it was an "internet person" so she thought it was a friend of mine.

So really, think about what you would do if the $200 you have were gone. Or if you didn't have that saved up and camp wasn't an issue and your DD accidently broke a neighbor's window throwing a rock at it. WWYD?
post #80 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeRangeMama View Post
But the child in question is 10. Nasty, catty, spiteful, malicious? Those are some hefty accusations to level at a 10 year old. Children of that age are notoriously short-sighted. Sure it was a not-nice thing to do, but keep in mind the age of the child.
I have an almost 10 year old and I work with troubled youth and adults. I assure you a 10 year old is capable of being all of those things and entirely capable of knowing what he/she should and shouldn't do AND has the impulse control to make the right choice. This is not a child of 2 or even 5. To say "she's too young to understand" is doing a major disservice to this child. Unless there are underlying cognitive or mental health issues (no evidence of that), an average 10 year old would be capable of thinking this one through and should be held to that standard. Children who's misdeed are dismissed "because they are too young to really understand" are the ones who grow up to be irresponsible teens and adults.

If she doesn't have the impulse control to not do this at 10, then there is a much bigger problem that the mother needs to address.
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