Originally Posted by mercyn
i'll keep reading, though, and trying things, and looking for new ways. otherwise i'll end up with one of those 13yo's that get brought home at 3am by the police, drunk out of his mind...~shakes head~ i really, really hope not...i hope i find something that gets him to be more social, more caring, better behaved, more respectful...before then.
pamela, I'm not through this thread either, (and I hope I'm not just bringing it out of from the dust...I don't even know if it's still active!) but I just wanted to say I really recommend you read some actual books, like Kids are Worth It by Coloroso, in addition to this board. When I first started reading this board, I thought most of what the "non-punishing" people had to say was crazy, permissive, wouldn't really work in real life, kids need limits, etc, etc. Then I read the books. I learned the true meaning and explanation behind the terms. Authors of books put much more time and research into what they write than what we have time to type out on this board, and because of that, books are much better at explaining these concepts so that they make sense and actually seem possible. After reading a few books, now I'm back to reading these threads, and I really do agree with what the [previously referred to as crazy] non-punishers say!
Honestly, a few months ago, I would have totally agreed with Joline, and I can really see where she's coming from. But now I am SO on the side of not wanting to do something to shame or cause pain to my child for the sole purpose of making them pay
for what they did. I don't believe that will TEACH them anything, and I think that if you're lucky and it does make them any more likely not to do it again, the reason is FEAR. They wouldn't be not doing it because they've internalized the moral lesson and realize/understand why it's bad. No, if they "obey" after being punished, it is because they don't want to get in trouble! Maybe some day, down the road, they will internalize it and eventually understand that it's not right, but it won't be because of any punishment you've imposed on them.
Okay, I guess I'm going on a little more than I planned! I have thought about this a lot. My childhood was NOT very good--I was spanked for sure, among other much worse things. Since moving out, going to college, getting a degree basically in Child Development, having a child, and doing lots more research, my views have changed from "spanking isn't terrible and is some times necessary, but I don't want to do it a lot" to "Spanking isn't good, but other forms of punishment are definetly necessary so that kids have limits, etc," to "punishment really isn't a teaching tool, it's a shaming and power tool, and not something I want to use."
I really don't want to exert complete control over my children. From what I read in Joline's posts, you want your kids to CHOOSE to do what you want them to do, and if they don't choose it automatically, you will do everything you can to talk them into it, persuade them, reason with them, etc, etc, but when all that fails and they still choose NOT to do it, you can't handle that. You're going to MAKE them do it. Or else. They DON'T have control over themselves at all. They HAVE to do what you want them to do or they will be punished.
But please don't get me wrong--I'm NOT saying we should just let them do anything they want! Certainly not. I believe we can STOP them from doing something without punishing them for it. For example, the food throwing thing. There are many things you can do to stop it--usually if they're throwing food, they're not hungry anymore, so [kindly, gently!] get them down from the table. But you don't have to put them in time out. You can still be considerate of them. (If they ARE still hungry, you need to try something else, because it would be punishment if you're making them go hungry!) I don’t see the need to add some kind of shame on top of just stopping the behavior.
It’s 3:15 in the morning and my eyes are getting blurry. I apologize if this isn’t the most well written, coherent post ever! But I wanted to share some of my thoughts, and mostly say, I’ve been where some of you have been (Joline, Pamela, others), and I can see your reasoning for sure. But after reading some very well written explanations of the nonpunishment viewpoint, I have to say it really makes sense to me. I don’t think punishment is effective as a teaching tool. Many of you have said that. If it is not an effective teaching tool, what is it and why is it used? It’s a power tool, it’s spite, it’s, you didn’t “mind” me, so now you’re in trouble! There’s no learning involved. Well, I take that back. Some things are learned. Like, “Mom claims I can choose for myself, but if I don’t do what she wants, I get in trouble, so I guess I really don’t have much of a choice.” Or maybe, “I can’t do this around Mom or I’ll have to go to time out. But I don’t really see any reason not to do it when she’s not around.” I’m going to finally shut up and go to bed now!