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Do you punish? - Page 3

Poll Results: Do you punish?

  • 6% (7)
    I typically use unrelated punishments, like timeouts and grounding.
  • 20% (23)
    I typically use logical/related consequences.
  • 14% (17)
    I am mostly non-punitive, but use unrelated punishments occasionally.
  • 34% (40)
    I am mostly non-punitive, but use logical consequences occasionally.
  • 18% (21)
    I do not punish (except perhaps for slipups, then I vow to do better next time)
  • 6% (7)
115 Total Votes  
post #41 of 43
Punishments can be logical and related. In fact, someone (can't remember who) wrote that the guidelines for punishments in gentle discipline had three Rs: they should be related, respectful, and something else I can't think of. Anyway, any negative consequence created purposely by a parent in an attempt to teach not to do something is punishment, but punishments can absolutely be gentle and related and logical.
post #42 of 43
I think some people get tied up in the connotation of the word punishment, just at they do with the word discipline. If you grew up in my generation or before it probably has a very negative underpinning for you. Punishments involved violence, either physical, verbal or passive which aimed to strip you of the pride and arrogance that led you down the garden path in the first place.

Punishments when I was a kid ranged from a smacked bottom, hand or face to such delightful things as soap in the mouth or being grounded from using the telelphone/watching TV/riding my bike, etc. for a few days to a few months at a time. Punishments were frequently overeactive, illogical, and apart from the physical ones, next to impossible to enforce. They rarely taught me anything, and usually gave me plenty of time to plot out how not to get caught the next time.

So I while I do not have any hang ups with the word punishment, I can see how some people do. I worked for a school in Costa Rica that tried to do away with punishments and create a "non-punitive" system. First it was based on a ladder of pseudo consequences (meetings, talks, letters home, all well worth whatever infraction was made), but that proved to just be a synonym for ineffectual punishments leading up to eventual expulsion. Then they worked on a system of "Restorative Justice"...as far as I could tell it was just a fancy word for punishments that were meant to make the victim/s feel better and sometimes gave the rule-breaker some ownership in their punishment. But the semantics were SO important to so many of the students and staff I didn't want to burst their bubble and tell them so. Most of the time it just lead to writing a letter, openly apologizing via e-mail to the community, lots and lots of meetings to discuss the actions and eventually expulsion.

At the end of the day discipline is just about teaching people how to improve, be it as communicators, atheltes, or members of a society. Sometimes we need to use unpleasant consequences to teach people how to improve. If my students write a crap essay, we drill essay structures and they have to re-write it. They don't like it and they see it as a punshiment, but it makes them a better writer. To me that is very similar to when my son makes a mess of the living room and I have him clean it up. He doesn't like it and he definitely sees it as a punishment, but it makes him a more responsible member of the family.

I agree with mamazee, ideally punishments should be related, respectful and (taking a stab at the third R) reasonable. BUT we are human beings and as such have an innate urge to abuse our power of authority, so if occassionally, we do not follow those 3 Rs for whatever reason, if we scream unkind things at our children, or we see them coloring on the walls and decide they can't go to the park for three months, then perhaps it is time for us to discipline ourselves, give ourselves a time out and when we are ready, apologize and try a "take two".*

I think the mistake I make most as a parent is forgetting to model for my child how to take back poor choices and make things right, which ultimately I think is the goal of any form of discipline with regards to children, that they learn how to right the wrongs they commit.

*Take two is something we do in our house if someone wakes up grumpy or starts being rude. We say "Let's try that again 'Benjamin needs a snack-- Take Two'"
post #43 of 43
Originally Posted by ssh View Post
I disagree. Stopping an activity if it becomes dangerous is just staying safe. Not letting my DD stand on the kitchen table isn't punishment either. Picking her up before she could run into the street also wasn't. Because none of these responses involve separate imposed penalties that are in retribution for a behavior. To give you a couple of definitions "Punishment is the authoritative imposition of something negative or unpleasant on a person or animal in response to behavior deemed wrong." , "a penalty inflicted for an offense or fault". Just stopping a dangerous activity isn't a separate penalty, it's just keeping everyone uninjured. Punishment would have been "you couldn't behave at the park so you can't have an already planned treat." or some other imposed penalty. To put it in adult terms, if you are stopped by a police person, asked to slow down and given a warning that's not punishment. The dangerous activity of speeding was stopped. If you are given a ticket and and then have your insurance rates go up that would be punishment.

Also young children often misbehave when they are stressed so if my DD couldn't play safely maybe she was too stressed to play right then anyway. Often she was hungry or feel asleep in the car when we'd have to leave. So I don't think leaving somewhere if a kid can't handle it is punitive. I know the times we've left stores or restaurants when my DD was younger, she really didn't mind leaving at all. I think it's being responsive to your child's needs.
I don't mean to nitpick but this is an incongruous analogy. Taking a child out of the park when they are being unsafe isn't at all warning them and asking them stop playing inappropriately.( BTW taking my son out of the park is totally something I have done and will always do if my son acts violently towards other kids) but...If the police in your analogy had said you could no longer drive on those roads and were now restricted to only the roads nearer your house, or that you could not drive for the rest of the day, THEN that would be the same thing. I think most of us would consider that a punishment for our poor driving choices. I would.

I agree that it is being responsive to your child's needs, but I think a punishment, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. My kid would definitely see it as punishment and scream the whole way home "I said I was sorry, I'm SOOOORRRYYYYY!!!! Please mooooommmmyyy PLEEEEEEEEASE go back to the park, I won't do it agaaaaaaiiiin. I promise!" So I would have a hard time arguing that it's not a punishment. I have no qualms with that though. I still need to keep him and other's safe, and that doesn't always mean keeping him happy.
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