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punishing children by ruining other people's plans? - Page 4

post #61 of 81

I don't get grounding as punishment. Never have. 

 

One of K's friends once asked how many times she'd been grounded and was baffled that she said "Never". 

 

I believe in natural consequences. "Clean your room before you do X" is fine... it is clear, sets a boundary, and not getting to do X is a clear consequence to not following through. And "You have to have your homework done before you can do Y" is fine... it's another cause/effect thing. But grounding a kid because they break something? Or because they're being a jerk? That doesn't make sense to me. 

 

When K was in early grade school, we had a few issues with homework getting done and getting turned in. We sat down together and looked at the reasons why homework wasn't getting done or turned in, set up a schedule that meant that homework had to be done before the TV went on, for example, and that if she opened her folder and discovered the previous day's homework in there, TV wouldn't happen that evening because turning homework in is part of getting it done. That was all logical consequences based on the fact that the number one cause of her not getting homework done at that point was that she would turn the TV on and get distracted and forget her homework. Making the homework come first meant the TV was a reward, not that lack of TV was a punishment. And it worked SO much better for us than anything more punitive. Instead of me being the bad guy, suddenly she was in control of things, and it was her actions, not mine, that determined whether or not she'd get to watch her shows. 

 

In her teens, there were times when she would ask if she could go out with friends, and I'd ask if her homework was done, and if her answer was no, so was mine. But it was never "grounding" in the traditional sense. I didn't keep her home from previously planned events unless they'd been made contingent on homework in the first place. 

 

For her, bad behavior and bad attitude often usually tied back to allergy, illness or another underlying issue, so we always looked for underlying causes first before resorting to punishment, and talking about the issues really helped because that's how her brain is wired. For example, she was having a bad attitude in her music class at school because she didn't like the music her director was picking, but I pointed out to her that she would soon be wanting special favors and to do non-standard things in her schooling that would require cooperation from her teachers, and that if she didn't treat them with respect, they'd have no reason to want to do nice things for her. Once she got that, her attitude turned around 100%. I could have yelled at her, or told her how she should behave, but once she understood WHY, there was no battle, no argument, just "Look, if you want people to feel generous toward you, you need to be decent to them and not be part of their bad day." And two years later, that same music teacher had the orchestra play a piece that my daughter wrote, and gave her a glowing recommendation. 

 

 

Falling back on grounding is a fast way out... but it's also not very effective, and doesn't tend to change behavior for the long term.

 

post #62 of 81

What works for one child, in one situation, may not work for another. Different kids are wired in different ways. I'm a big fan of natural and logical consequences.But sometimes the logical consequence of my child having a bad attitude is that I'm too tired/worn out to take him to an activity. Not being manipulative (in a Love and Logic kind of way,) but seriously too tired. I'm sorry that might disappoint someone else's child, but I'm one person. I do the best that I can.

post #63 of 81

Same as Polliwog...if my child is throwing massive tantrums in the morning that might make me reconsider a playdate or a party in the afternoon. Or even the next day.  Their behavior is telling me that they're not in shape to be out in company.  You can look at it as punishment or just common sense--why would I inflict a miserable child on your family/party?  So for that reason, I have canceled our attendance at several playdates and one birthday party in DD's six years.

 

 

Now she is getting a little older, and we are struggling with her behavior at school, moving on to new issues to resolve!   She had to go to the principal's office the other day, and we were supposed to have a playdate.  I did cancel--and part of it was punitive, but the other part is the idea that if you can't behave and be kind at school, you don't get to then go over someone elses house and carry on as if nothing happened.  Going to the principal equals a quiet afternoon at home and an early bedtime and the hope that with a little rest and reflection, the next day will go better.


Edited by madskye - 9/28/11 at 6:26am
post #64 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Polliwog View Post
  logical consequence of my child having a bad attitude is that I'm too tired/worn out to take him to an activity.  

 

I would cancel plans if i were too tired. But not as a form of  punishment. I mean, if youre too tired, youre too tired, whatever the reason. Youre not a slave.
 

 

post #65 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by jenrose View Post

I don't get grounding as punishment. Never have.


Just for background...i have an older son, nearly 15, who was never grounded (that i can recall), rarely if ever punished, radically unschooled, the whole bit. We talked things out etc.

I have a daughter who is 9 (and who was not raised as my son was, in fact she only moved in with me at age 8 and has a host of emotional and learning issues)...she is often grounded. One major grounding involved her choosing not to come home from her friend's house down the street (on another block in fact) until 10 pm and it was DARK. No phone call, nothing. She just got busy playing and "forgot", well thats well and good but the same thing happened the previous weekend and the one before that as well. I gave her tools to remember (such as telling the mom in the home what time she HAD to be home so she could remind her) and giving a watch, which she lost. I was SO mad about this, doubly so because the mom that walked her home acted like it was no big deal at all. My daughter needed something to make an impression on her, and that something was being grounded from going down there for a month and from lots of other things for a few weeks (favorite tv shows, candy that sort of thing.) I told her that if i cannot trust her to do what she needed to do (come home by 8 oclock which was a longstanding rule) then she needed to not be in a situation where she would consistently fail at following rules and until i felt she had gained that trust back she needed to stick closer to home.

As far as being grounded from some fun event due to bad behavior earlier in the week...if my child behaved badly all week...why would she get rewarded with some fun outing? I did not keep her home from a scheduled bday slumber party (even though i wanted to!) because i felt that might really disappoint the bday girl if she only had invited a few friends...had i known she had like twenty girls there i mightve made a different choice. Sometimes, with my daughter, its ONLY the "threat" of losing something she loves (such as outside play time, or some fun thing we had planned) that gets her to actually do what she is supposed to do. I dont LIKE being a punitive parent...i was a much happier mom hanging out at Dennys at midnight playing yugioh and discussing World of Warcraft when my son was younger but alas not all children are the same and therefore they may need different parenting than what one may be used to.
post #66 of 81

Katherine,  I wonder if maybe she's not ready for that much responsibility?  My son just turned 8 and I cannot imagine in a million years that he'd keep track of the time or even be able to have the control to stop playing and come home if he was really having fun.  I don't mean this to sound like I know better than you because obviously I don't know her at all or your situation, but as someone from the outside with no emotional involvement, my first thought was -- if she can't handle it then it might work out for everybody if you go and pick her up at 8 o'clock, or make arrangements with the other mom to bring her home then.  Sometimes I feel like the best tool that I have in my discipline arsenal is the strategy of making sure I don't expect more of them than they can handle.  And nursing, but that won't last too much longer...

post #67 of 81



I respectfully disagree on the homework thing.  I think refusing to provide transportation to "fun" *along with* grounding from electronics for non-school use, is a perfectly logical consequence for not completing schoolwork.  Their job is learning.  My job is to help them grow into responsible adults.  I CHOSE school, school has teachers who issue homework.  In the real world, if your boss asks you to do something by a certain time, you need to do that. 

 

Now, that said, I think it is appropriate to play this card only after other attempts to help the child learn to balance work and play have only resulted in no work and bad grades.  And it's appropriate for a very limited amount of time--they have to have the chance to prove they can be trusted again. (so, for example, there's weekend homework.  You have set up an agreement with your child that they can go to XYZ Friday night, but then Sat. they must complete their work.  Kid doesn't follow through, next weekend, they don't get driven to do something until that homework is done.  Doesn't matter what it was, school and responsibilities have to balance with playtime.)

 

Oh and this is not really a card I'd play with my 6 almost 7 year old, who is now having his first experience with homework  ;)  It's my job to provide lots of opportunities to learn--at 6, it's much more appropriate to do something immediate like linking computer usage for the day and homework--you get the computer only after we complete today's work. 

 

At 12---or teenage??  yeah, I'd be not driving somebody around who isn't being responsible and link it from one weekend to the next if necessary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post

 

Ah, but see, what I didn't make clear was that this wasn't an immediate consequence. He'd done the running off thing 3-4 days EARLIER. I don't blame them for a strong consequence, I blame them for not telling me ahead of time, AND for imposing a consequence that I didn't feel was at all related. And remember, this child was SIX, not twelve.

 

Truth be told, I have a really hard time with grounding as a discipline tool. The only time I can see using it is if a child has abused their privileges around being out. But most people I know who use grounding do it for things like not getting homework done, or sassing back. That kind of pure punishment seems pointless to me. I see nothing logical about those consequences. That's what bothered me about my son's party (the consequences didn't relate to the 'crime') and in the OP's situation, it seems to me that it was general punishment, not related to the outing at all. 

 



 

post #68 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by rubidoux View Post

Katherine,  I wonder if maybe she's not ready for that much responsibility?  My son just turned 8 and I cannot imagine in a million years that he'd keep track of the time or even be able to have the control to stop playing and come home if he was really having fun.  I don't mean this to sound like I know better than you because obviously I don't know her at all or your situation, but as someone from the outside with no emotional involvement, my first thought was -- if she can't handle it then it might work out for everybody if you go and pick her up at 8 o'clock, or make arrangements with the other mom to bring her home then.  Sometimes I feel like the best tool that I have in my discipline arsenal is the strategy of making sure I don't expect more of them than they can handle.  And nursing, but that won't last too much longer...


The thing is....she managed it for nearly a year. She just didnt want to come home. And without getting into too much detail, there were alot of other things that happened and this was a "last straw" so to speak. The other two neighbor moms who walked her home acted like it was no big deal at all (and in fact were expecting that i'd agree to let her spend the night?!), which made the whole thing even worse. I mean what kind of parent lets a neighbor kid stay at their house until ten oclock at night (if that wasnt standard or prearranged)?! A note to other parents: When a parent makes a decision about discipline or to you "overreacts" about something, consider for a sec that maybe you dont know the whole picture. You might not know what the parent is dealing with. The neighbors think my daughter is "so sweet, so well behaved" but have no idea of the issues we face at home (and probably wouldnt believe me if i told them.)
post #69 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by queenjane View Post

A note to other parents: When a parent makes a decision about discipline or to you "overreacts" about something, consider for a sec that maybe you dont know the whole picture. You might not know what the parent is dealing with. The neighbors think my daughter is "so sweet, so well behaved" but have no idea of the issues we face at home (and probably wouldnt believe me if i told them.)


Yeah, this is where I'm at with it, despite the fact that I'm a non-punitive mom. You don't know the whole picture of why other parents made the decision they did, and to assume they didn't have a good enough reason to change plans, or that you're in a position to judge their reasons, bothers me. We all know our kids best and what they can handle and when it's best for plans to change. I would and have changed plans at the last minute for other reasons, and I'm in the best position to know when I really needed to change plans. Anyone's plans can change, and I don't understand expecting things to go as expected, especially when children are involved. You have to be flexible.
post #70 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by rubidoux View Post

 

I'm never happy to hear about punitive parents and kids being punished, it just makes me feel bad for them.

 

If my kid has a playdate with Johnny and Johnny refuses to eat his peas and is thus grounded and cannot have the playdate, it looks to me like Johnny and my kid are getting exactly the same punishment.  What ends up happening then is that I have to find something *really fun* (ie, either expensive and/or requiring way too much energy from me) to do with my kid to make it up to him, so he is not experiencing this as being punished when I should have had a nice afternoon chatting with Johnny's mom while we  sipped ice coffee and hung out at the playground.  

 

Per the first bolded statement, you don't have to find something expensive or tiring to do, that's what you choose to do.

 

Per the second statement, another possibility is that your child would simply be disappointed.   And my responsibility then would be to comfort my child and help them process the fact that disappointment is a normal part of life.  If my child was feeling punished my job would be to point out that, in fact, no one is punishing him. I think how we as parents respond to these situations teaches our kids how to respond. If I take it personally my kid will learn to take it personally.  If I express disappointment but then move on, then it's likely that my child will learn to do so as well. 

 

That's a good way to avoid all that nasty judgement of the other mom, too. 
 

post #71 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by queenjane View Post


Just for background...i have an older son, nearly 15, who was never grounded (that i can recall), rarely if ever punished, radically unschooled, the whole bit. We talked things out etc.
I have a daughter who is 9 (and who was not raised as my son was, in fact she only moved in with me at age 8 and has a host of emotional and learning issues)...she is often grounded. One major grounding involved her choosing not to come home from her friend's house down the street (on another block in fact) until 10 pm and it was DARK. No phone call, nothing. She just got busy playing and "forgot", well thats well and good but the same thing happened the previous weekend and the one before that as well. I gave her tools to remember (such as telling the mom in the home what time she HAD to be home so she could remind her) and giving a watch, which she lost. I was SO mad about this, doubly so because the mom that walked her home acted like it was no big deal at all. My daughter needed something to make an impression on her, and that something was being grounded from going down there for a month and from lots of other things for a few weeks (favorite tv shows, candy that sort of thing.) I told her that if i cannot trust her to do what she needed to do (come home by 8 oclock which was a longstanding rule) then she needed to not be in a situation where she would consistently fail at following rules and until i felt she had gained that trust back she needed to stick closer to home.
As far as being grounded from some fun event due to bad behavior earlier in the week...if my child behaved badly all week...why would she get rewarded with some fun outing? I did not keep her home from a scheduled bday slumber party (even though i wanted to!) because i felt that might really disappoint the bday girl if she only had invited a few friends...had i known she had like twenty girls there i mightve made a different choice. Sometimes, with my daughter, its ONLY the "threat" of losing something she loves (such as outside play time, or some fun thing we had planned) that gets her to actually do what she is supposed to do. I dont LIKE being a punitive parent...i was a much happier mom hanging out at Dennys at midnight playing yugioh and discussing World of Warcraft when my son was younger but alas not all children are the same and therefore they may need different parenting than what one may be used to.


 

There were times when freedoms earned were freedoms withdrawn when abused. But that's not grounding to me. I'd be saying, "You know, you're showing me you can't handle the freedom of being able to just go over to your friend's house and be trusted to come home at the time I've told you to come home, so it's going to be a while before we try that again." But I wouldn't be grounding wholesale from "everything", just the thing where the problem lay. For systemic issues, those problems might be in a lot of areas, that might all be affected, but I've never in my life just shorthanded it to "you're grounded". As much out of self defense as anything... if I say, "You're grounded", it's me generating punishment. Phrased the other way, it puts the control-over-behavior in their court in the long term (i.e. this is something you can fix, rather than something I'm breaking.)

 

And ITA with other posters that yeah, if a child abuses my good nature I cease to be generous about my time, driving, etc. But that's not grounding, either, it's a logical consequence of not being nice to Mom and Mom not feeling nice in return. Honestly, that card gets played more with my adult family than it did with my older daughter. "No, you can't cook in my kitchen because it's cleaner than yours, because you keep leaving it dirty. No, not even a pizza. No, not even the toaster oven for 5 minutes." For me, that's as much about boundaries as it is about punishment.

 

(Younger daughter is an exception, as developmentally, we're still dealing with a 2-ish-year-old, despite her calendar age, but she isn't grounded so much as simply not allowed out of designated areas without very close supervision because she'll either damage herself or the house or someone in it.)

post #72 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post

I don't blame them for a strong consequence, I blame them for not telling me ahead of time, AND for imposing a consequence that I didn't feel was at all related. And remember, this child was SIX, not twelve.

 

Truth be told, I have a really hard time with grounding as a discipline tool. The only time I can see using it is if a child has abused their privileges around being out. But most people I know who use grounding do it for things like not getting homework done, or sassing back. That kind of pure punishment seems pointless to me. I see nothing logical about those consequences. That's what bothered me about my son's party (the consequences didn't relate to the 'crime') and in the OP's situation, it seems to me that it was general punishment, not related to the outing at all. 

 


It's fine to be upset about having plans canceled and having to deal with the fallout from that; basing whether or not you're upset on how you personally feel about the discipline choices of the other parent seems a little....eh. You blame them for imposing a consequence that you don't feel was related?

This whole thread seems to me to be about taking something personally that's not really about you at all. Admittedly this hasn't happened to my kids yet, but it seems like it would be an opportunity to teach them that yes, sometimes disappointing things happen, but it's not all about us and we move on. shrug.gif
post #73 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by prothyraia View Post

but it seems like it would be an opportunity to teach them that yes, sometimes disappointing things happen, but it's not all about us and we move on. shrug.gif

yes in most cases that's true. but my dd would be absolutely devastated if i grounded her and didnt let her go to her best friend's bday or vice versa.

 

all grounding is not the same. some have more higher consequences for the child. 

 

children do realise there is nothing to do and move on or try to move on but sometimes its really HARD to do that. 
 

 

post #74 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by jenrose View Post

I don't get grounding as punishment. Never have...I believe in natural consequences. "Clean your room before you do X" is fine... it is clear, sets a boundary, and not getting to do X is a clear consequence to not following through. And "You have to have your homework done before you can do Y" is fine... it's another cause/effect thing. But grounding a kid because they break something? Or because they're being a jerk? That doesn't make sense to me. 

 

With all due respect, I think this is largely semantic.  When I was a kid, my parents didn't like to "ground" us, either.  (They thought we might consider it cool and teenager-ish to be "grounded"...what the heck!?)  But if a kid wants to do something and a parent says you can't until your homework's done, and the kid blows off their homework and then doesn't get to do the thing...does it matter whether you call it grounding or natural consequences?  The kid isn't doing what she wants, because she failed to do what was expected of her.

 

I think it's natural to extend this to "jerk"-y behavior.  If you expect your mother to drive you to meet your friends at the movie theater, give you money for tickets and popcorn, then come and pick you up when it's done; but when she asks you to take out the trash you refuse and then you mouth off to her about something, you're risking the natural consequence that she may say, "I'm not taking you."  And learning to treat people decently, and that you're not entitled to have whatever you want regardless how you behave is just as valuable a lesson as learning to manage your homework assignments.  (IMO)

 

And sure, if breaking something is a genuine accident, grounding seems an odd response.  But if, prior to driving a kid to meet her friend at the movies, Mom says five times, "Stop chasing your sister through the living room with a lasso.  You're going to break something!"; the kid ignores Mom and then breaks the TV...such circumstances would be similar to the "jerk"-y behavior discussed above.

post #75 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeannine View Post

With all due respect, I think this is largely semantic.  When I was a kid, my parents didn't like to "ground" us, either.  (They thought we might consider it cool and teenager-ish to be "grounded"...what the heck!?)  But if a kid wants to do something and a parent says you can't until your homework's done, and the kid blows off their homework and then doesn't get to do the thing...does it matter whether you call it grounding or natural consequences?  The kid isn't doing what she wants, because she failed to do what was expected of her.

 

I think it's natural to extend this to "jerk"-y behavior.  If you expect your mother to drive you to meet your friends at the movie theater, give you money for tickets and popcorn, then come and pick you up when it's done; but when she asks you to take out the trash you refuse and then you mouth off to her about something, you're risking the natural consequence that she may say, "I'm not taking you."  And learning to treat people decently, and that you're not entitled to have whatever you want regardless how you behave is just as valuable a lesson as learning to manage your homework assignments.  (IMO)

 

And sure, if breaking something is a genuine accident, grounding seems an odd response.  But if, prior to driving a kid to meet her friend at the movies, Mom says five times, "Stop chasing your sister through the living room with a lasso.  You're going to break something!"; the kid ignores Mom and then breaks the TV...such circumstances would be similar to the "jerk"-y behavior discussed above.


Enlarging text so I can see it more easily, hope it's not too huge for others. 

 

For some kids, it wouldnt' matter. I have an extremely logical older child, and the WHY matters to her. Telling her, "You're grounded" wholesale for a specific infraction would have far less impact on her than the more common interaction, which might go like this:

 

"Can I go to the movie on Sunday?"

"If you get your homework done, first."

Sunday rolls around, and I check in with her, "Is your homework done?"
"Not completely."

"Maybe you'll get your homework done earlier next time so you can go."

 

Except that usually, having a dependent reward meant that she did, in fact, get the homework done.

 

Attitude discussions would go like this. Not, "You've been really snotty to me, you're grounded", but "You know,  you're asking me for a favor, but the last time I asked you to help out, you whined at me and refused to do it. Should I react the same way?" 

 

Except that usually, when she started with the whining, I'd cut it off with, "You know, you're probably going to want a ride or a favor from me soon, should I react that way the next time you ask for something?" And she'd get done the task I was asking her to do.

 

We had a lot of conversations when we weren't in the heat of the moment, which also helped, and a lot of discussions about situations with other people that didn't go the way she wanted, and alternative ways of handling them.

 

So there were times when she would say no to a request for help... but she'd do it in a way that I would know exactly what the underlying issue is. I'm not an ogre, I'm not going to be spiteful to my kid if she says, "I really don't want to help with dinner, I'm having bad period cramps because it's the first day of my period," if most of the time she *is* helpful. And we established a ground rule of "Sometimes it is a request and is phrased as such, and sometimes it is necessary and is phrased as such, and sometimes it is absolutely mandatory and you'll know it from the tone of my voice."

 

But my point is that for her, language mattered. How a "punishment" was presented, mattered. Punishments which seem arbitrary breed resentment and distrust. Making sure the consequence was clear in advance and consistently enforced meant she could predict and control her environment.

 

In fact, there were times she screwed up where there was NO immediate consequence... but there was an in depth discussion about what went wrong, what caused it, and how to prevent it from happening again... AND what the consequence would be in the future. This meant she could tell me the truth with relative impunity, and she saw the consequences not as punishments, but as aids. Literally, she came to me on one occasion and said, "Mom, I need a consequence."

 

Amused, I asked "Why?"

She explained that she was having trouble remembering to turn her homework in on time, it would get done and sit in her notebook. There was no real consequence in class (second grade) other than a disappointed look from the teacher.

 

I asked her when she would realize she'd forgotten to turn in her homework, and she said, "After school, when I open my notebook to do my new homework."

And I said, "So perhaps that's part of getting homework done, and if you open your notebook and discover your homework, you won't be able to finish your homework until you turn it in the next day."

Finishing homework + some outside play = pretty much as much screen time as she wanted aside from family/chore time. So discovering homework was "not completeable" until the next day = no computer or tv that evening.

It was a Friday. She said, "That sounds fair. I guess I can't watch TV this weekend."

 

I said, "No, you came to me with a problem and told me the truth and asked for a consequence. It would not be fair to enforce a consequence when you have no chance of fixing the problem until Monday, and did not know the consequence existed when you could have done something about it. So we'll start Monday, and if you forget then, THEN we'll do it." Interestingly enough, we never DID have to bring that into play during elementary school. Simply knowing where the line was was enough. 

 

Similarly, if she forgot her lunch once in a school year, I might make a trip to the school to bring her lunch. But not a second time. 

 

Property damage and injury don't get as much of a cushion as homework problems, but even so, the consequence needs to fit the issue, IMO.

 

The equivalence to grounding is only relevant if the issue is "We have an established curfew and you didn't call or get home on time, and therefore you won't be going out in the evening unless someone is willing and available to ensure you come home on time." or some other issue directly related to "Being out of the house" (for you're grounded to the house) or "Doing fun things with friends", etc.

 

I want to put control of behavior into my kids' hands, so that they know that what they do affects how pleasant their lives are.

 

K once asked me, "What if I just said no to that?"

 

I said, "Well, you could say no, but since it's something you really need to do, and I didn't give you the option not to do it, digging your heels and fighting with me about it is going to have me looking for ways to make your life less easy and pleasant, and I'd really rather not have our relationship go down that path. You're getting too big for me to 'make you', so yeah, I probably can't force you to do it, but I'm a pretty creative person, and I suppose I can find ways to make you really wish you had."

 

We never did go down that road. I try to be as reasonable as possible, but I also know that there have been situations in our lives where "instant obedience" has been critical to safety, and it is necessary for people in this family to know how to take orders when orders are necessary. There are times when negotiation and discussion are fine, but my family knows that I'm generally reasonable, and if I'm barking orders, there's probably a dang good reason behind it. When you've got a special needs little one with medical issues and a violent streak and your own mobility issues, having someone around who responds instantly to "catch her!", or "Go upstairs and get the neb equipment and suction RIGHT NOW," is really, really important. Camping, or boating, or other fun but not perfectly low risk activities are also places where the voice of command response can be essential. (I was at the receiving end of this as a young teenager, when I accidentally chopped into a beehive while gathering firewood. My scout leader's quick response and barked orders meant I ended up with 3 stings instead of 30.)

 

Regardless, we have never once had a situation where the words "You're grounded" would have been as effective as a more targeted and talked out consequence, and I think her relationship and mine are much better for it, and have been since she was four. On the other hand, my special needs 6 year old IS effectively grounded, but doesn't know it because she neither has the cognitive capability to comprehend the "punishment" nor the ability to follow directions meaningfully, and so we've had to structure her life and ours around keeping her safe and me sane. It's not a punishment, it's just that if she had the run of the house (let alone the neighborhood) her lifespan would be measured in hours, not years, and so would mine because she practically gives me a heart attack every time we're out of our "safe spaces" for very long. Still no point in saying the words. It takes her dozens of repetitions to understand cause and effect...her sister could get it from an explanation, not even have to experience the full cycle.

 

 

But with my niece, who is two and a half, the consequence of whining and demanding is that Aunt Jen says "No", and she's gradually getting that she's much more likely (though not guaranteed) a "Yes" if she asks politely. And it works much better with her if I explain that the "No" is because she said, "Give me that, I need it" rather than saying, "May I please have that, I want it." Without the explanation, without giving her a way to succeed, the "punishment" is pointless. We do have natural consequences... I don't like screaming, so people who scream (absent extreme physical pain) who don't need to be here don't get to stay in my space. Her screaming at my house has dropped about 95%.  But as always, when she gets sent back over to her house (about 10 feet from mine), there is always the statement, "Oops, you're screaming, time to go home. Maybe next time you can use your words." Is it a grounding? Mostly it's just a "Sending home". And it's still a ball that's in her court. . 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #76 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by jenrose View Post
I want to put control of behavior into my kids' hands, so that they know that what they do affects how pleasant their lives are.

 

K once asked me, "What if I just said no to that?"

 

I said, "Well, you could say no, but since it's something you really need to do, and I didn't give you the option not to do it, digging your heels and fighting with me about it is going to have me looking for ways to make your life less easy and pleasant, and I'd really rather not have our relationship go down that path. You're getting too big for me to 'make you', so yeah, I probably can't force you to do it, but I'm a pretty creative person, and I suppose I can find ways to make you really wish you had."


I have said that basically verbatim.  With emphatic pauses in the same places.  ROTFLMAO.gifSo far I have practiced on other peoples teenagers when I was a high school teachers but mine are still little.  We do use 'time out' now, but that's going to phase out soon.  It's not very effective.  It's great in the 18 month-3 range (for our daughter) because it was about calming down, not punishment.  Now it's starting to be punishment and I don't like it.

 

I see this thread as talking about a few different things.

 

a) Some people are more or less ok with flakey friends.  Before I had children I was very rigid in what I expected of people.  Before I had children I had to have people meet commitments to the letter.  That type of inflexibility is very common in some areas and very uncommon in other areas.  There are geographical areas with strong cultural/social attitudes.  Many people with abusive backgrounds are either very flakey or highly rigid as a way of dealing with that.  I think that those of us who are rigid hola.gif do well to warn the flakey people in our lives.  "Hey, I recognize that this might be a point of future conflict for us so I want to talk to you about a personality quirk of mine.  It's very important to me that people follow through on things they say they will do.  If people change plans with me too often, I feel I can't trust them and I feel rejected.  It's hard for me.  I need you to work with me on this.  Maybe all of our plans are tentative until you confirm by sending me an email in the morning?  That way I do not get my hopes up until it is appropriate for me to get my hopes up and we can avoid me being upset with you when life happens."  At least that's my approach.  It works really well.  This is my issue around expectations.  Other people get to decide how they want to be involved with that.  I tell just about everyone this schpiel when we first start making plans.  Lots of people look at me funny, but if someone tells me that just isn't reasonable and they won't agree... I don't make plans with them.  I have to deal with my feelings.  No one else.  I need to create situations that will be safe for me.  If I make a request like this then I am giving my friends an easy way to understand how to succeed and how to fail with me.  I want people to succeed.  I have conditions around how I am treated that not all people understand.  I have to communicate about them.

 

b) Punitive parenting or not.  I am of the opinion that much of this conversation is kind of a black hole.  Every family is different and I may think that people aren't doing things how I would do them, but last I checked I still am not God.

 

c) Treating kids as autonomous human beings with obligations of their own in the world.  My kids are still little so a lot of this is theoretical.  Which means I'm just talking out my @$$ and everyone with teenagers can roll their eyes and stop reading. thumb.gif  I realized recently that part of what was making me feel like I was drowning as a stay at home mom alone with my kids for 50 hours was I had no hope of ever having any time away from the kids.  We plan to home school.  It seemed like an infinity of being tied to activities I can drag these little people off to and most of my hobbies are not appropriate for children.  I was really depressed and freaking out.  At the same time my best friend has experienced a decline in health such that she should not be living alone.  She moved in a little over two months ago and I'm amazed at how much better my life is.  My 3 year old asked if she could go to preschool part time to meet kids.  I thought that sounded awesome.  I am now away from her for about 20 hours a week between preschool and other times when I get to have personal time.  It's glorious.  I love my kids so much more now that they have time and space away from me.  

 

I am trying to treat my three year old like her schedule is separate from mine.  It has helped me feel less enmeshed and codependent.  I am not responsible for fixing every feeling in her life and catering to her moods.  She has places to go and things to do.  She has people to see.  If her behavior is problematic I try to talk to her about upcoming thing and talk to her about how her behavior can effect her ability to participate.  Usually my explanation is something like, "You are acting really tired.  You are cranky and fussy and you keep hitting.  It seems like maybe you should rest so that you have the ability to handle yourself in the world.  That might mean that you miss out on thing.  But if you aren't too tired, you might want to take some deep breaths and we'll change what you are doing so you can have a reset on your frustration."  It's important for me to note in just about all of my posts that I have mental health issues.  I have a lot of times when I can't go out.  It's very important that my daughter's ability to go out not be tied to my whims.  That is a road to pain.  That is how dysfunctional behavior patterns are passed down through the generations.  That's why children of Adult Children of Alcoholics still act like they grew up with an alcoholic even if their parent was dry.  I think my daughter gets to go interact with the world and decide how her behavior will change her interactions.  I try hard to keep my whims out of it.  

 

That said, heck yes I'm going to punish her, depending on what she does. 

 

Ask me how this worked when she's 18. 2whistle.gif

post #77 of 81

Yeah, I've always felt time out worked much better if I was the one taking it, not my kid. ;) Punitive time out did jack all with #1, who turned it into a power struggler, or with #2, who doesn't "get" it and won't stay put no matter what because the concept is so far over her head it's not even funny.

 

Flaky friends... I've quit scheduling a lot of things with people because it just got to be too much, and NO ONE was EVER following through. Made me crazy. And sometimes I couldn't follow through, and...yeah, no. My sister lives on the property, she's my equivalent of the wacky sitcom neighbor (her words, not mine) who comes over at random times, as do my parents, and between that and the internet, I'm fine for human companionship, and making contact with people IRL who arent' family just seems like so dang much WORK. I make plans. I try not to make them dependent on anyone whose schedule I'm not responsible for. Not an ideal solution, but I'm just *done* with adjusting my schedule for people who don't take it seriously when I can't always follow through myself.

 

And yeah, people parent how they parent. I just know it got a whole lot easier when I stopped trying to punish and started trying to make my interactions with my daughter make sense from her perspective. 

 

With an 18 year old who is staying home for a year... the whole "Kid as autonomous being with her own schedule" is huge for us. There are a few expectations I have of her right now, as part of the whole "I don't push her to get a job or pay rent while she's not in school" thing. That she get her sister to the bus in the morning (because I can't lift said sister due to doctor's orders and pregnancy and walking to the corner makes me yack) and pick her up in the afternoon. That she be reasonably helpful around the house. Other than that, she's really got most of every day where I expect nothing and do nothing to schedule her time. She has friends over, she is working on setting up some volunteer stuff to keep busy, she has a bike and I'll pay for a bus pass if she needs it or loan my car as long as we're on good enough terms that I feel generous.

 

She's been bending over backwards to be helpful (figuring out that we've set aside enough money for her to go to college and not have debt even if she doesn't work during school may have something to do with this, but she was helpful before she figured that out, just not with quite the blazingly brilliant attitude) and goes above and beyond most of the time. So I feel incredibly generous towards her, and when things come up where she needs to be out of the house when I would normally need her help, the family steps in with a will to help out because she's been so amazing. She doesn't just get the loan of my car, but the loan of my dad's car, pretty much whenever she asks if we're not using it, because she goes out of her way to be helpful, knowing that it means that when she needs help, we've got her back.

 

I think for me the thing about avoiding "shortcuts" like grounding or time out is that I've always just had better results from being mindful. From looking at the situation, as much as I can, from my kid's perspective, and making them a part of the discussion of, "This behavior/action/attitude is creating X, Y and Z problems for you and/or for me, and this is the end result. What can we do to make that not happen that way anymore?"

 

Once they're part of figuring it out and understanding why the boundaries are what the boundaries are, yeah, there are consequences, but they don't feel like punishment. I asked DD1 once if she could remember the last time I'd punished her, and she couldn't. It wasn't that we hadn't had issues, we just had resolved them in other ways, and it didn't FEEL like punishment, like something I was inflicting on her. And feelings are important. How she feels about me and how I feel about her strongly impacts how we interact. 

 

post #78 of 81

Oh, and to a certain degree, there's only so much you can do with the 3-4 year old set. DD1 was a little monster during that time, and it was mostly about her not knowing how to handle her strong feelings or my strong feelings. It took me 2 full years to figure out how to talk that through with her, and a whole lot of me locking myself in the bathroom so that I didn't beat her senseless because she was just making me that crazed.

 

Since then, we've moved to a house with two completely child-proof, fully gated lockable rooms, so separation-for-sanity-sake is much easier to accomplish. I just don't react well to being kicked, pinched, or hit, and one of the lessons I teach my kids is that if someone hurts them, they get to walk away. And if they hurt me, I get to walk away and be where they can't physically strike me.

 

Once she was able to comprehend basic safety, I was able to phrase "strong emotional feelings" or "Mommy's angry" in a way that it fit into any other emergency structure... if you're on fire, you stop drop and roll. If you need help and no one is there to help you, call 911. If Mommy is angry enough that she's locking herself in the bathroom, go to your room and read a book until Mommy calms down, and Mommy will calm down a lot faster than if you pound on the door and scream. Once she knew what to do, the behavior vanished.

 

But that only worked once she was developmentally ready for it. My six year old, all I can do is stick her in the other room and go be safe where I can see her without getting hit and pummeled. 

post #79 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by jenrose View Post

Oh, and to a certain degree, there's only so much you can do with the 3-4 year old set. DD1 was a little monster during that time, and it was mostly about her not knowing how to handle her strong feelings or my strong feelings. It took me 2 full years to figure out how to talk that through with her, and a whole lot of me locking myself in the bathroom so that I didn't beat her senseless because she was just making me that crazed.

 

Since then, we've moved to a house with two completely child-proof, fully gated lockable rooms, so separation-for-sanity-sake is much easier to accomplish. I just don't react well to being kicked, pinched, or hit, and one of the lessons I teach my kids is that if someone hurts them, they get to walk away. And if they hurt me, I get to walk away and be where they can't physically strike me.

 

Once she was able to comprehend basic safety, I was able to phrase "strong emotional feelings" or "Mommy's angry" in a way that it fit into any other emergency structure... if you're on fire, you stop drop and roll. If you need help and no one is there to help you, call 911. If Mommy is angry enough that she's locking herself in the bathroom, go to your room and read a book until Mommy calms down, and Mommy will calm down a lot faster than if you pound on the door and scream. Once she knew what to do, the behavior vanished.

 

But that only worked once she was developmentally ready for it. My six year old, all I can do is stick her in the other room and go be safe where I can see her without getting hit and pummeled. 



This was honestly eery.  I'm having to do this with my formally very mellow three year old.  Oh man.  It does go better when the time out is for me.  A lot better.  I'm really sick of being hit. greensad.gif  The main thing I say is, "Hey I don't hit you so please don't hit me."  This holds me to the bar of not hitting.  That's hard some days.  It's a philosophical position based on the ineffectiveness of hitting as a behavioral modification tool.  Some times I idly wonder if spanking her would make me feel better.  So far my conclusion is I would feel a lot worse so it remains not an option.

 

I'm waiting till she has reason and praying.  And trying not to scream.  And doing a lot of isolating myself.  Oh man.

post #80 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by jenrose View Post

Flaky friends... 


 

I guess if someone cancelled a significant percentage of the time because their kid was grounded, I could see labeling them flaky. To me, flaky friends are the ones who regularly call you 20 minutes after you're at the destination to breezily say, "Oh hi! We just woke up, so we'll be there in like an hour" with no apology. Friends who are typically punctual and dependable, but who very occasionally (like, 1 or 2 times a year maybe, if that?) call and say, "I'm so sorry, but we've had a really rough morning with DS's behavior and I've told him he can't go to the movies today" don't qualify as flaky to me. 

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