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what is wrong with punishment and consequences, generic answers? - Page 2

post #21 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathipaul
If I don't water my plants, they will die. See what I mean? The world is full of negative consequences. What is wrong with teaching that to your child now?
One of the authors of Becoming the Parent You Want to Be taught me that the best way to prepare kids for the future is by meeting their needs now.

So, if you feel *in the moment* that you will be meeting your child’s needs *in the moment* by punishment that’s what you do but don’t punish because of some future lesson you want them to learn.
post #22 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by UnschoolnMa
kathipaul wrote:

Everything from when to sleep, what/when to eat, when to clean their room, and how to solve problems. Shouldn't we be encouraging children to decide how to solve problems?
But - and I'm just asking, not sarcastically - what if kids choose not to go to bed till 3AM, or never to clean their rooms, then the WHOLE FAMILY has to deal with a cranky kid and roaches crawling around the house because the room is full of God-knows-what.(And I've seen some pretty disgusting bedrooms, so roaches are a possability.) The decisions may be about the child, but they affect EVERYONE, not just the child. It just seems that this way, the child is in control, and the parents/other family members just have to deal with whatever decision he happens to make, so the child can learn through trial and error. : That doesn't seem fair to anyone else in the household. It sounds chaotic.
post #23 of 106
Thread Starter 
I am deleting all my posts.
post #24 of 106
Benji'sMom wrote: But - and I'm just asking, not sarcastically - what if kids choose not to go to bed till 3AM, or never to clean their rooms, then the WHOLE FAMILY has to deal with a cranky kid and roaches crawling around the house because the room is full of God-knows-what.(And I've seen some pretty disgusting bedrooms, so roaches are a possability.)

Well my son (age almost 14) didn't go to bed until after 3 AM this morning. I went to bed about half an hour earlier or so. This is pretty common at our house. They often choose not to go to bed until 3 AM. My Dd went through a period of really staying up past being ready for bed. She did become pretty frustrated and short tempered, and we did mention it to her. It was pretty easy to deal with all in all.

If they chose to never clean their rooms I would maybe mention to them that things could get pretty ugly as a result. They may not be able to find clothes or toys, they may have very dirty floors, and it may smell in there. I would suggest that they do a little each day to keep that from happening, and I would give help if it was requested. If some really gross mess that attracted roaches developed I would talk to them about how their room is affecting our whole house/family, and then we'd likely work together to fix the problem.


The decisions may be about the child, but they affect EVERYONE, not just the child.

I agree, in part. Sometimes choices affect the whole family. And when that happens we all discuss it together, and work toward a common ground we are all happy with. Most of the choices affect them. They decide they don't want a sandwich but they do want ice cream, they decide they want to wear no coat, etc.

It just seems that this way, the child is in control, and the parents/other family members just have to deal with whatever decision he happens to make, so the child can learn through trial and error. : That doesn't seem fair to anyone else in the household.

There is definately much trial and error It's part of being human. We try something, deal with the results whatever they may be, and we have something to go on in the future. In our family each person is in charge of themselves, and we support the family as a whole.

It sounds chaotic.

I can understand how it might seem so to someone who isn't used to this way of life, but really it's quite the contrary. We are happy generally... we laugh alot. We have no battles over food, sleep, clothes etc. That's peace to me
post #25 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathipaul
So, your child does not water the plant. He is tired and would rather not do it. He ignores it for days. Do you water it for him or just let it die?
In our house either one of those things could happen.

I might tell him "Hey dude, your plant looks like it's getting pretty dry. Do you know when you watered it last?" or "Hey I think your plant needs a drink." or "Your plant was dry so I watered it for you." Or I might just water the plant myself as soon as I noticed it was dry. Or I might leave a note that his plant was dry... whatever.
post #26 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zipporah
Some things deserve punishment. Some acts may leave the child totally unaffected but someone else in misery. And sometimes we should be ashamed of our behaviour. Shame and guilt get a bad rap but they are necessary emotions or we would all be sociopaths.
Well.... The idea that "doing bad things requires that a bad thing is done to the doer" is as old as time, and very popular. It's eye for an eye, tit for tat. It certainly makes the victim feel better.

But how does it affect the "aggressor?"

Pretty much all research shows that punishment is an ineffective way to stop a person who does something wrong from doing it again. This is true of children as well as adults and both low level punishments and harsh punishments.

(Random note- remember that kid who got caned in Singapore for grafitti? He was arrested a few years later in Colorado for possession of marijuana. Apparently the caning did not turn him into a law abiding citizen.)

As for shame and guilt- I think that comes pretty naturally to people. Obviously not to all people- some people are sociopaths. But there's nothing out there to prove that punishing those people helps them form the ability to feel shame or guilt.

I think that helping your kids see and understand other people's feelings does a lot not only to teach them appropriate guilt, but also gives you the opportunity to teach them how to make up for what they did.

When my kid hurts another kid, I want her to try to figure out how to make it better, not stand in a corner crying because she feels guilty. Beating oneself up over guilt or shame doesn't help anyone.
post #27 of 106
Had to paraphrase Alphi Kohn...

When a child hits his brother and is sent to his room, do we assume he's sitting there contemplating the error of his ways? Feeling bad for hitting his brother? Thinking about how he'll never do it again?

It's possible, but unlikely. More likely he's sitting there thinking how mean his parents are, how he'll get back at his brother and how he can avoid being caught next time.
post #28 of 106
kathipaul wrote:

Knowing that children's brains are not done developing and growing until they are 18 to 21 years of age, with the reason and logic sections finishing up last, are there ever decisions you would not want your children to make?

Well I can say that I wouldn't want them to do really dangerous things that were likely to maim and or kill them. I would try my best to stop them from stabbing themselves... or shooting themselves... or starving themselves. Things like that? Of course, I am not sure that emotionally/mentally healthy people do those things so if that stuff was happening I would be thinking about getting some help for them.

Children under the age of 18-21 don't have the same faculty for reasoning and making decisions that adults do.

I'm not sure I can agree with that. I know that brains are still developing etc... but the backbone of my parenting
beliefs are that children, given information they understand, are quite capable of making decisions just like I do.
post #29 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommyofshmoo
More likely he's sitting there thinking how mean his parents are, how he'll get back at his brother and how he can avoid being caught next time.
Yep
post #30 of 106
Thread Starter 
I am deleting all my posts.
post #31 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathipaul
That is an interesting point and a great book. I consider it one of my models. However, your point is not really related to the example I quoted. So, your child does not water the plant. He is tired and would rather not do it. He ignores it for days. Do you water it for him or just let it die?
It is relevant because you mentioned that the world is full of consequences and that you think your child needs to learn that.

I think that you can best meet your child’s needs for dealing with this by meeting your child’s needs now.

I don’t know how you should deal with the one example of the plant. That’s not the point. The point is that you should deal with the plant in a way that best will help meet your child’s needs now. What is it that you would like your child to learn now when you give him the responsibly for keeping the plant alive?
post #32 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathipaul
Having read more of these posts, I wonder how did punishment get differentiated from consequence and become such a bad word? Going back to my plant example, if I don't water my plants and they die that is both a consequence and a punishment in my mind.

Maybe this is all a matter of semantics. I am not a coercive person and really try to practice logical consequences rather than random ones like "go to your room" or " you lose a privilege." That is how I was brought up and all it taught me was not to get caught when I did anything that my parents considered wrong. I am trying something different with dd. I guess what it boils down to is what works for your family. There are truly many ways of doing GD.
I think lots of what we talk about here is a matter of semantics.

The plant example, I don’t know if it’s a “logical” or “natural” consequence. I think it could be viewed both ways from the conversations I’ve had here. Yes, the natural consequence of not watering the plant (I’m assuming this is your child’s plant and he cares about it) is that it will die. BUT, it becomes a sort of punishment depending on how you feel. Are you helping your child understand? Watching it slowly die? What is your reaction after the plant dies ie. the “natural consequence” takes place.



For me, it’s really about how I process the situation. Personally, I think exhausting mama can be a natural consequence and I can be quite gracious about that sometimes. But, I’ve also reacted to exhausting behavior in a way that seems punitive. The difference is very subtle! It isn’t about what I say, if I yell or punish…it’s in my head.
post #33 of 106
Thread Starter 
I am deleting all my posts.
post #34 of 106
Well I do not use punishment...I allow my children to make decisions with me...I have great kids..my 11 year old is awesome and very easy to live with...I do guide them and the do have guidelines and most of it is about respecting others space and feelings.

The school uses punishment...they have rules and regulations for everything...today she questioned the teacher about signing her planner...she had completed all her homework and didn't understand why she should have to still be on planner signing(reserved for kids who don't take homework home on purpose as a check) The teacher couldn't understand how she could be so rude and said all the other kids were shocked and that it was about "respect"

I asked my daughter about the incident...she said "I thought she was wrong and so I said so" "the other kids were shocked because they are scared of her not because they respect her and they couldn't believe I said something...they all wanted to" and she wasn't scared because "I am always getting punished for something(usually losing recess) so it's no big deal to lose another.

Why is it that at home where I don't use punishment, we talk about issues and find ways to resolve them between us I don't get "rudeness" Of course some of what the teacher might percieve as rudeness I might see as using her power of expression. I don't plan on taking that away from her.

Oh and the teacher said something about functioning in the "real world" and I said school is the most unnatural place in the world to learn about the real world...how many real world situations are most adults in that requires them to sit in rows with 26 people the exact same age for hours.

Home is for teaching about the real world...school is for academics.

The teacher was absolutely speechless...I don't think it had ever dawned on her that maybe school wasn't ideal for kids and that an environment of punishment is not the best way to deal with children.

my daughter is 11 by the way...

guess I am odd..most people get upset about the teacher calling about their children being rude...I was kind of proud...she was right and she stuck up for herself!

Yeah, we are making this teacher's life a bit difficult(actually I think it's her own doing..if she loosened up a bit and enjoyed and listeend to the kids she'd have a much better time)...so what..she's an adult and an educator and should be a little more creative than the rest of us. My daughter is 11 and getting a pretty good grip on how things go in life!
post #35 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benji'sMom
But - and I'm just asking, not sarcastically - what if kids choose not to go to bed till 3AM, or never to clean their rooms, then the WHOLE FAMILY has to deal with a cranky kid and roaches crawling around the house because the room is full of God-knows-what.(And I've seen some pretty disgusting bedrooms, so roaches are a possability.) The decisions may be about the child, but they affect EVERYONE, not just the child. It just seems that this way, the child is in control, and the parents/other family members just have to deal with whatever decision he happens to make, so the child can learn through trial and error. : That doesn't seem fair to anyone else in the household. It sounds chaotic.

From my understanding of all of this, I don't think this is what anyone is suggesting. The order and core rules of the house are non-negotiable, just as citizens of a Democracy are not free to break laws in order to be free.

If the child cannot bring dishes back from her room, then, in order to prevent infestations of vermin, she will not be allowed any food in her room until she is ready to start cleaning up after herself.

The parent is stating what she must do in response to the child's choices.

The child is free to make choices within the household order, the rules of which can be flexible and negotiable to some extent.
post #36 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by allgirls

guess I am odd..most people get upset about the teacher calling about their children being rude...I was kind of proud...she was right and she stuck up for herself!

I can relate. DC is only 3.5 and we’ve already had some situations like this. That’s a big issue of mine. The world sucks…maybe? I don’t want my child to get used to that ~ I want her to try to make it better.


How’s that for lofty aspirations…poor child :LOL
post #37 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by allgirls

I asked my daughter about the incident...she said "I thought she was wrong and so I said so" .......
Good for her! I think that is wonderful, really.
post #38 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathipaul
You make some very good points. My "Sam" really did have a lot going on in his life. It makes a huge difference to have caring parents help you by explaining and modelling. This has really made me wonder about something else, something sort of related.

Knowing that children's brains are not done developing and growing until they are 18 to 21 years of age, with the reason and logic sections finishing up last, are there ever decisions you would not want your children to make? Perhaps with caring, patient adults, you don't have to worry about them making dangerous decisions. But, what if they wanted to ride their bike off a cliff (this happened in my neighborhood growing up) or ride their bike down a big hill with no helmet (my neighbor died from this at age 15) or something else dangerous. Children under the age of 18-21 don't have the same faculty for reasoning and making decisions that adults do.
Maybe I'm not totally GD, but MY house has MY rules. Hemet+Bike at all times. I don't think my kids have realized you can ride a bike without a helmet. haha

I give them age apropriate responsibilities. One of my rules is that food remains on the table. If the child gets up with food I remind them that food stays on the table. If they don't feel like walking it back, then I physically respond. I will help a 1 year old walk the food back to the table or remove the food from the one year old and remind them that they can eat it later when they want to go back to the table. I will talk to a 2 year old about the destination of the food since 2 yr olds can talk more than 1 yr olds. Maybe discuss how the carpet doesn't like food and that's what happens if you try to eat on the rug in front of the TV. We do have a coffee table and any table is allowed. So then we can compromise that the food is going from the dining room table to the coffee table. A 3 yr old might tell me that s/he is planning to feed the food to the T.V. and then we'll talk about how food could get stuck in the speakers and break the TV and that's why food stays at the table.

I don't punish anyone or shame or guilt anyone for breaking the rule. Not even a time out. I don't yell or get angry or upset. I just insist that food remains on the table by reminding, guiding , discussing, and then just plain putting it back. Is that AP/GD? Does the include any sort of punishment or discipline or logical or fabricated consequences? I'm still trying to understand it all, too.

I've been handed a child who doesn't give a fig about any sort of manipulation tactics. If I say he can't do [his favorite activity] if he doesn't stop [undesirable activity], he doesn't care the least little bit. If I say he can have a reward if he does something that needs doing, he won't do it. If I excessively praise him, he thinks I'm being weird. I think he's just really logical and straightforward. One night he wanted to draw on the kitchen floor with sidewalk chalk right after watching me scrub the chalk from earlier on my hands and knees. I told him he could do it tomorrow. I told him I just got done cleaning and it was bedtime and the kitchen wanted to go to sleep clean. I suggested he wait until later. When I turned my back, he did it. He said "Mommy, you should just tell me NO."

Nadia just climbed into the baby swing for the bazillionth time. If I see her about to do it, I remind her that big girls are too heavy and will break the swing and she says okay. But when I'm not looking, I guess the temptation is too great. Oops. She just climbed in and put the tray down and is stuck. Guess who's not hopping up like her pants are on fire to let her out? Is that mean?
post #39 of 106
Carolyn: your daughter reminds me of me. :LOL I was always getting in trouble and my mom fully supported my decisions and I was never bummed or believed I was in the wrong. I was so easy going and got along with everyone at home (for the most part).
post #40 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowy Owl
From my understanding of all of this, I don't think this is what anyone is suggesting. The order and core rules of the house are non-negotiable, just as citizens of a Democracy are not free to break laws in order to be free.

If the child cannot bring dishes back from her room, then, in order to prevent infestations of vermin, she will not be allowed any food in her room until she is ready to start cleaning up after herself..
This isn't at all how life is at our house (and I'm betting that Unschoolnma would say the same). There are no core, non-negotiable rules. I actually really dislike it when people pretend to be giving kids "choices" when it's all just a set up - "These are the rules. You can choose to bring back your plates, but if you don't then you're chosing to lose the privilege of having food in your room." Blarrgh! That's a trumped-up choice, not real, just a way for parents to try to make kids feel responsible for their own unhappiness, instead of owning up to their own choices.

For the record, in a democracy anyone is free to break the rules and most people do so daily, and all rulkes can be overturned or amended.

The whole focus on punishment is a problem, I think (and "logical consequnces", from a behaviorist standpoint, are punishments). In the US, our society believes that peaople should have bad things happen to them if they do wrong things - we think this is how things are supposed to work. It's the whole Puritan thing that we've never managed to shake. Even though it's clear that there are better ways, both more effective and less damaging, we still cling to punishment, because it's easier in the short-term, and because our culture tells is it's how things should be.

As far as research on reasoning, we're not expecting children to do calculus problems. The whole abstract reasoning thing isn't really an issue in everyday problem-solving, and children have adults around to help them if they need it. Some adults never master complex abstract thought, but they manage just fine.

Dar
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