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Is child punishment ever necessary? - Page 6

post #101 of 170
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Originally Posted by meemee View Post


 

how are you explaining? first of all if you are not using the language of a child you will go nowhere. you might as well speak washo. second of all they have to understand you. so telling a 2 year old is not the same as telling a 20 year old. to make it equal you need to repeat, repeat, repeat multiple times a day for at least 2 weeks before your 2 year old gets it. 

 

that's why the first 3 years you are either a pantomime clown as i was or the greatest diverter in town. you either make a game out of it, or you remove the child. 

Truth be told, I am explaining nothing yet as my girl is 4 and a half months and my first graders, by and large, already had their behavior in place by the time they got to me. 

post #102 of 170

Backroads, in answer to your question:

 

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Originally Posted by Backroads View Post

Not bothered at all, but I do have to ask which of two sentences you were referring to.  I think we may both be speaking in general!

 

 

This first statement I bolded:

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Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Backroads View Post

 

I do believe parents have the job to be parents. It's old-school, yes, but one of a parent's job is to teach the child right and wrong.

This statement always seems to assume there is only one way to be a parent.  It assumes that how children behave right now this minute is the litmus test to the effectiveness of the parents to be "parents".  Unfortunately, to properly assess how "parent" a parent is can take the whole of a child's childhood.  The kids best behaved at this minute at 5yo are often the ones terrorizing frat row on a Saturday night.  

 

I know you are getting a lot of flack about this statement, and unfortunately you are getting the feedback about every time I've heard this, which isn't fair to you.  I just wanted to make this statement in general, not as a personal attack.  So, sorry if you are getting the brunt of it.

And this statement:

Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Backroads View Post

Another question in the best regards (because I am a new mom), what do you do if explaining to your child why hitting is wrong doesn't stop him from hitting? 

This is always the best question--one that I continually bring up because I am an anarchist at heart-- what if the child refuses to comply?  This is why I think that punishment (gentle) really is sometimes necessary for some kids in some instances.  Because there are children who refuse to comply, and for some things, it is important to stop them NOW.  For example, is picking up a child and removing them really gentle?  I doubt it, because it would not be an appropriate move for a child to big to be moved.  I am fine with removal, personally, but I definitely see it as a punishment because for many kids if they were big enough to effectively fight back, they would and that forces a parent to reconsider.  We need to extrapolate our actions onto children of other ages to help us gauge what is considered gentle.  Anyway, I can think of many possibilities along the spectrum of punishment/non-punishment for addressing hitting, but if we are exploring punishment as necessary or not, we need to address the "what-ifs", and the most important "what-if" is "what-if it doesn't stop the hitting"?

 

Sorry for the giant writing, it's to draw attention to the appropriate bits, not to represent voice raising.  
post #103 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by Backroads View Post

Truth be told, I am explaining nothing yet as my girl is 4 and a half months and my first graders, by and large, already had their behavior in place by the time they got to me. 

i was talking about your future, when your girl is older. not now.

 

hopefully you are doing NOTHING now in discipline.

 

eeeeek. or were  you asking what to do NOW???

 

dunno i didnt do anything to dd till she was what 9 months old when i would take her hand and touch my face gently and say gentle gentle. i'd do the same to her cheek and say the same. if it hurt i'd make pantomime faces and say oww oww.

 

at 4 months i was too busy being gaga over my baby and tearing my hair out as i could not sometimes figure out what the heck dd wanted. and she'd scream her head off till i figured it out. 

post #104 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by Backroads View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daffodil View Post

 

If your kid is too young to understand why hitting is not okay, isn't he probably also too young to understand why he's being punished if you give a punishment?  Sure, you have to stop him from harming people and property, but that doesn't have to be done with a punishment.  You just physically stop him.  Showing disapproval with your voice and face can be helpful, too, and that really is a (mild) punishment.  Maybe physically stopping him is unpleasant to him so it also serves as a mild punishment.  But I can't see giving any punishment beyond that to a kid who's too young to get the concept of punishment.  Are you envisioning a different kind of punishment - something like time-out, maybe?

 

This is where I've seen difficulty in this thread.  My ideas of punishments are vocal/facial disproval and a time-out where, yes, he doesn't get to play for a minute or two.  That time-out does give an immediate consequence where even if he can't understand he did something wrong, he does see a negative result for a wrong action.  Are these bad?  Do they really count as punishments?  Is it wrong to give a "no no!" and pull a kid away from a bad situation?  Are they punishments or are they not?

 

I'd say yes, they count as punishments.  My definition of a punishment is something you do after a behavior that the child finds unpleasant, with the intention of discouraging the behavior in the future.  Are these particular punishments wrong?  Probably not.  Is it helpful to do them?  Depends on the kid and the situation, I suppose.  If he's already angry and frustrated, if you scold him or pull him away and make him stop playing, it may just push him over the edge and lead to a total meltdown.  And if he acted out of anger and frustration, a negative consequence may do nothing to prevent the behavior next time, because next time he'll once again be too angry and frustrated to control himself.  But let's say he's not raging and hitting, but just happily doing something you disapprove of, like climbing on the table or whacking the cat.  I think "no no!" is fine in situations like that.  But for a toddler, I'm not sure a time-out is really helpful as a negative consequence.  The moment where you pull him away from what he's doing may serve as a punishment, if it happens immediately after the bad behavior and if it's unpleasant for him.  But if the time-out goes on for a minute or two, it's just going to become an unhappy experience that isn't connected in his mind to anything that happened before.   And even if "no no!" is helpful sometimes, you don't want your whole day to be one long string of "no no!"  That's going to be stressful for both of you.

 

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Originally Posted by Backroads View Post

 

Quote:

 

 

But is it useful anyway, just as a way to stop a really undesirable behavior when a kid is too young to be intrinsically motivated to stop it?  Maybe, sometimes.  Generally, I think not.

Again, just asking this in the spirit of learning: If you can't intrinsically teach a child to not do the undesirable behavior and it NEEDS to stop, is it better to just wait for better behavior or work harder on stopping the behavior?  As aforementioned, is "no no!" and a removal out of the question due to potentially being too harsh?  If removal is a punishment, is it too harsh?  Is it better to not let the kid know the behavior is not okay until he can understand why it isn't, or find a way to let him know it's undesirable early on and teach the whys later? 

 

Whether or not it makes sense to try to stop the behavior instead of just waiting for it to get better depends a lot on what it is and how much control the kid has over it.  If the kid doesn't really have much control over it, there's probably not much point letting him know it's undesirable, and in fact it may be better not to show disapproval, just as you wouldn't want to show disapproval if you had an old dog who lost bladder control and urinated in the house.  If the behavior is really a big problem and punishment will work to stop it, then punishment might make sense.  But punishment just doesn't work in every situation.  "No no!" and removal isn't necessarily too harsh, but it isn't necessarily going to work, either.  If that kind of punishment were all it took to stop problem behaviors, there wouldn't be so many hitting, biting, tantruming toddlers, or so many books about discipline.

 

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Originally Posted by Backroads View Post

 

Quote:
Punishment makes kids feel bad, and feeling bad can lead to acting bad.

 

This may be a derail, but it's something I've been thinking about. I do disagree with punishment to primarily make kids feels bad rather than to help them solve a problem or learn a lesson (as opposed to being taught a lesson).

 

But, in and of itself, is it so wrong for kids to feel bad about things they did?  Isn't this just what we want intrinsic lessons to lead to? 

 

Sure, it's appropriate for kids to feel bad about bad things they did.  But I don't think punishment usually leads to the kind of feeling bad we want.  The kid may feel bad that he got caught.  He may end up feeling he'd better not try the same behavior again, or he may just feel he'd better try harder not to get caught. He may feel angry about the punishment.  He may feel sorry for himself.  If he's being punished for something he did to another kid, he may feel angry at the other kid and blame him for the whole thing.  But I really don't think it's typical for a kid who's punished to feel genuinely sorry about what he did because of the negative impact it had on others.  Punishment certainly didn't tend to encourage that kind of feeling in me when I was a kid.

post #105 of 170

While I may disagree with Daffodil that a disapproving look is a punishment I otherwise agree 100% with this post, especially these parts...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daffodil View Post

Whether or not it makes sense to try to stop the behavior instead of just waiting for it to get better depends a lot on what it is and how much control the kid has over it.  If the kid doesn't really have much control over it, there's probably not much point letting him know it's undesirable, and in fact it may be better not to show disapproval, just as you wouldn't want to show disapproval if you had an old dog who lost bladder control and urinated in the house.  If the behavior is really a big problem and punishment will work to stop it, then punishment might make sense. 

clap.gif Well said!!  

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daffodil View Post

Sure, it's appropriate for kids to feel bad about bad things they did.  But I don't think punishment usually leads to the kind of feeling bad we want. 

Agreed.  In discussing this I was reminded that in the relationships I really value probably the worst outcome of some behavioral issue is disappointing someone I love.

 

When Backroads was saying that she doesn't feel punishment has to have the intent of making a child feel bad...I think I tend to agree with her.  My older DC is very sensitive to feeling like she has disappointed people she loves and I have to be careful about that. If we have done things that feel like a punishment to her or if we punish in the future I would have to be VERY clear that the intention of the punishment is to help her remember to change her behavior and I would need to include A LOT of assurance that we are not angry and that we have already moved to forgiveness. She would also HAVE to have a way to make amends (which, is a great stand-alone solution to wanting to drive home a point about some issue).  

 

Part of the problem with punishment is that it can have the outcome of a child feeling like they have paid for whatever they did. I can really see for a sensitive kid who deeply cherishes their relationship with their parents that a punishment can feel like the easy, less complicated way to acknowledge some problem. 

 

Re: time outs...

 

These are odd things in my house because so far neither of my kids would have done it. No way!  But, I've seen a punitive time-out used with a child who just did not perceive them as a punishment. She was a cute, feisty kid and I guess a bit unphased by her parents punishment and I think she recognized that when they told her to go to time-out that she really did need a minute. For her, she was angry during these situations and I really don't think a super sweet response from her parents was something she would have appreciated. 

 

Perhaps I am now playing the devils advocate because I enjoy talking with you all...   

 

I guess I'm just saying that I don't think punishment is necessary but that if a parent does punish that it should be done according to the individual child's temperament in mind, the specific situation, and with the best interest of the child at heart. And, if you (we) do choose to punish, keep in mind that the option to punish sometimes creeps in before we have tried other, far better, far more educational options.  

post #106 of 170

I suppose I consider time-outs to be a possibility because they have worked very well with my sister-in-law. My 4-year-old niece is very feisty, but in her case, they suit her.  With her, simple removal from a situation causes a tantrum, so my SiL came up with the "repentance bench" as she calls it, where my niece can sit for a minute and both mother and daughter can calm down.  Reportedly, my niece knows the purpose and realizes she has some space and time to come down from her tantrum.

 

I'm also enjoying this thread.  I like discussing these things. And I do find it educational.

post #107 of 170

Maybe this is a good time to bring up a question.  HOW do you enforce time-outs?  I can understand the time-in variety a bit more, where you are holding them or are distracting them with something different to do while staying with them, or talking to them.  But even then, if the kid doesn't want to be sitting there, they will flail and attempt to run away, right?  Do other people not have that happen to them?  Do kids really just say OK i will sit in a time-out/time-in?  How did they get to that point?  Did the parent physically move them back to their spot 100 times?  Did they yell and scare their kid saying You WILL stay there! And then from then on the kid just knows they "have to" stay in one place? 

 

I am of the variety that thinks the traditional time-out makes for a kid who sits there and thinks how unfair this is, how much they hate their parents, and thinks of ways to not get caught.  Thinking of anything but what went wrong and how to do it better next time.  I feel the same way about grounding, unless it's with the purpose of spending more loving time together as a family.  Not just resentful time in the same house.

 

Anyway, time-outs? How does that even work?

post #108 of 170

Those kinds of time-outs never worked for me for all those reasons you mentioned.  When dd1 was a little older, and I saw that she calmed herself on her couch, I'd often just say "couch!" and she'd go, but this wasn't for infractions, it was because she was on a rampage that needed stopping.  The couch had her soymilk, her bunny (she'd suck her thumb back then) and she would calm herself down.   I'd eventually come over and read.  Those time-outs worked.  (I miss the bunny and the thumb... they would sure be nice these days!)  Occasionally, I would take a time out with her in our bedroom and talk and let her rage and eventually crawl on my lap.  This never worked with dd2 who would flip out.  I never could find a time-out set up that worked for dd2, she just had to calm down where she was, which could take a while.  

post #109 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by salr View Post

Maybe this is a good time to bring up a question.  HOW do you enforce time-outs?  I can understand the time-in variety a bit more, where you are holding them or are distracting them with something different to do while staying with them, or talking to them.  But even then, if the kid doesn't want to be sitting there, they will flail and attempt to run away, right?  Do other people not have that happen to them?  Do kids really just say OK i will sit in a time-out/time-in?  How did they get to that point?  Did the parent physically move them back to their spot 100 times?  Did they yell and scare their kid saying You WILL stay there! And then from then on the kid just knows they "have to" stay in one place? 

 

I am of the variety that thinks the traditional time-out makes for a kid who sits there and thinks how unfair this is, how much they hate their parents, and thinks of ways to not get caught.  Thinking of anything but what went wrong and how to do it better next time.  I feel the same way about grounding, unless it's with the purpose of spending more loving time together as a family.  Not just resentful time in the same house.

 

Anyway, time-outs? How does that even work?

As pure punishment, I doubt there is a way for it to be enforced. In my niece's case, it is simply what works, and it just has the name time-out.  My niece goes to it herself because she knows it's what she needs.

 

No clue how to do it if it isn't what they need or want?

post #110 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by salr View Post

Anyway, time-outs? How does that even work?

Yea, this. The only ones I've seen are ones where kids seem to kind of get where the parent request is coming from and the kid just willingly takes a few minutes away. I'm not sure if those kids have been trained or if they just agree on some level that a time-out is a good idea. It's possible, also, that for an older child that there has been some consensual agreement about the use of time-outs. 

post #111 of 170

time ins worked for dd but time outs worked for her best friend.

 

both of them lose it when they are in the middle of it. but for her best friend it seemed like he did better alone than with another adult. he preferred to go to his room and gain back his composure. from the age of 2 i would say. 

post #112 of 170
Thread Starter 
Time outs are what made me re-think punishments. I tried to put my daughter in time out for something when she was little and she screamed and would NOT stay and it was going to take a huge amount of physical force to keep her there. I don't think it would have been better than spanking in her case. And she turned herself into the victim. The whole episode in her mind stopped being about hurting me and became injustice toward her. That seemed counterproductive.
post #113 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post

Time outs are what made me re-think punishments. I tried to put my daughter in time out for something when she was little and she screamed and would NOT stay and it was going to take a huge amount of physical force to keep her there. 

That's how my DC would react too. I'm not 100% about my younger child. She has a different personality and I can almost see her being OK with a time out...maybe. But, in reality prevention and intervention and all the other basics work so well for her I just can't see us needing a time-out. 

post #114 of 170
Thread Starter 
My younger one would handle time outs fine too, I'm sure, but she's so easy I can't imagine needing to do it. Or I'm just used to handling things differently because of #1.
post #115 of 170
Time in vs. time out ... We don't do either, by name anyway. But we have used the terms 'calm-down chair' or 'taking some space.'
I wonder if whether a child is essentially an extrovert vs. introvert has anything to do with the efficacy of either/or?
For my eldest, being sent away or having to calm down on her own would be an awful, awful, painful, terrifying thing. She needs comfort and human contact to calm down. We go with her and hold her, which is sometimes the last thing that I want to do, but I do it, because for her to be alone is perhaps her biggest fear.
She has a friend the same age from a family who also doesn't do time-outs, per se, but when he needs to calm down be chooses to go up to his room and close the door. No enforcement or coercion. It's what he prefers. Quiet aloneness works for him, whereas that would devastate my daughter.
Is mine an extrovert, as in she gets recharged and soul-fed by being in the company of others?
And would than suggest that her friend is an introvert, in that he recharges and is souk-fed by quiet solitude?
I am an introvert, so I have a hard time understanding why my four year old doesn't *want* time to herself. I love it!
Different needs for different folks ... Kids too.
post #116 of 170

sorry i got my threads mixed up.

 

never used time ins or time outs. what i was talking about was what to do during tantrums. never really as a punishment but how to help them deal with their intense emotions.

 

and both dd and her best friend are both very intense kids. 

post #117 of 170

Thank you!! We are going through the same thing with our 2 year old and are handling it the exact same way. I give her freedom and independence with as much as I can, but the random darting in the street and in shopping center parking lots is where I draw the line. Her consequence is getting carried to the car or having to ride in the cart too. I have read just about every book on positive discipline, gentle parenting and for the most part practice it, but not every situation is textbook. In various playgroups we belong to I meet amazing children who are all parented a little differently and guess what they are all sweet, kind, well mannered children. I will not judge someone for what works for them. All children are different in what they require and respond to. If stickers work you you great. Think the biggest problem is judging each other and more harshly ourselves.

post #118 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

Those kinds of time-outs never worked for me for all those reasons you mentioned.  When dd1 was a little older, and I saw that she calmed herself on her couch, I'd often just say "couch!" and she'd go, but this wasn't for infractions, it was because she was on a rampage that needed stopping.  The couch had her soymilk, her bunny (she'd suck her thumb back then) and she would calm herself down.   I'd eventually come over and read.  Those time-outs worked.  (I miss the bunny and the thumb... they would sure be nice these days!)  Occasionally, I would take a time out with her in our bedroom and talk and let her rage and eventually crawl on my lap.  This never worked with dd2 who would flip out.  I never could find a time-out set up that worked for dd2, she just had to calm down where she was, which could take a while.  

 

This has been my experience with time-outs, too.  When used as a "punishment" for specific infractions, they just add to the chaos and anger of the situation.  I quickly gave those up, even time-ins.  But even at age 2, my DD would accept a time-out when her behavior was overall just out of control, like days when I babysit her cousin and she gets stressed out.  I don't remember who brought up the extrovert/introvert connection, but my DD is a TOTAL extrovert - and yet, alone time is often the trick to her regaining control when she's acting out of character.  She initially protests, but quickly gets into a groove and comes out of it much, much calmer.  It doesn't feel like a punishment when I see how much better she ends up feeling.  What about that variety of punishment?  Pushing kids to do things you know they need in order to feel good? 

post #119 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by newmamalizzy View Post

What about that variety of punishment?  Pushing kids to do things you know they need in order to feel good? 

I think this is when the whole subject of punishment, its definition and etc. become VERY grey.  And it's a place where I do think really sensitive parents may be quick to slap a punishment label on something that really needn't be thought of in that way. I'm tempted to say that if the parent doesn't intend something in a punitive way, that it just isn't punishment. 

 

...but maybe now we're going in circles. ;-)  

post #120 of 170

Discipline and punishment are different.  As parents we aim for discipline.  We discipline because they are young and have not developed control of themselves, nor do they have wisdom.  We teach them that there are consequences for all of us if we don't follow the rules of nature, of men's law or their parent's rules of the house.  Eventually we hope to help them to develop self discipline, something adults in a society need.

 

Distraction is an effective tool for the very young ones.  Every child responds to different things at different ages.  Stickers can work for some, it is a reward system.  Whenever my kids wanted something at the store I would respond "What job are you willing to do for that?"  Is that not what we do for an employer?  It gives them a sense of responsibility and they learn life isn't a free ride nor is Mommy a bank.

 

Imagine your 2 year old as a teenager.  Who is in charge?  You or the child?  Who pays the household bills?  If he wants to choose his own clothes, it's time for him to get a job to pay for them.  If he wants the freedom to go out late, run his own life then he can start to contribute to the household monetarily, rent for his room and board.  ( You can always put it in a savings for him - don't tell )  You are just teaching him to be able to be independent and hopefully make better decisions knowing life has consequences for all.  Everyone needs self discipline.

 

Just my take on things, I ramble a bit.  I think my daughters turned out surprisingly well even though I'm their Mom.

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