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Do you "punish" your child? - Page 8

post #141 of 154
Just wanted to say thanks to everyone for this discussion

Dh and I are/were in a very bad place. We were the parents that threaten to punish but don't. We felt like we had to use punishments to get "results" but were never comfortable with punishing....so we were caught.....until I started lurking on this thread. I read most if not all (this is a very active thread ) of the responses here and then sat down with Dh. I thought he might think I was crazy but it really resonated with him as well and it took one sentence for me to convince him to try new things and to not threaten to punish Ds
We are now trying to unlearn everything we have learned from our own childhood and society's expectations of us. Over the last week or so I have bitten my toung several times when my natural reaction has been "Ds I need you to do X and if not Y will happen". But, it feels so much better not to say that. And, Ds is happier as well.
It has been such a relief to feel like we have support for our instincts (that we were not listening to by the way) and now that I feel I can trust them there have been many ideas that have been cropping up during times of stress for/with the kids. And, when I put them into action they actually work. I will start looking for some of the recommended reading at the library too, to keep my mind fresh with alternative ideas.....it is always helpful fo me to have new things to try when I come up against and unexpected road block.
The biggest hurdle for Dh and I has been curbing our own frustration and anger. I think for us, using threats of punishment has been our outlet for releasing our own emotions....which makes me understand even more why using these threats of punishment was not OK. My kid should never be my "outlet". It has taken a lot of work but a lot of strategies I have read here at MDC have assisted us in beginning to learn to curb our own emotions, and to not allow them to happen at all (reminding myself to remember it isn't personal is a HUGE one, but there are others too).
I really appreciate this discussion for turning me back to the things I believe in and helping me to let go of the things that I was doing because I felt "expected" to do them. I'm not sure why it happened with discipline when in many other aspects of my parenting self and my own self I refuse to subscribe to society's expectations.....but it happened and I am very grateful to you mammas and pappas for helping me return to my true beliefs about my child
post #142 of 154
I enjoyed your thoughtful post.
I would like to point out however that for those of us who do choose to use punishment as a last resort we are NOT
"to do something to shame or cause pain to my child for the sole purpose of making them pay for what they did. "
Certainly anybody who believes that is the nature of all punishment, would be well advised to not use it.
I however do not think a brief timeout shames or causes pain to my child. I also do not do it to "make them pay" that is not nor has it ever been my purpose.
I respect that some parents choose not to use punishment because to them it would be "to make their child pay" however I want to point out very clearly that this is certainly not the motivation for all of us who do use punishment occasionally.

I agree that punishment is a power tool 100%. I argue however that power does not equal spite. And even when I find myself in the position of punishing my children spite or revenge has never been a part of it.
Joline
post #143 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by Earth Angel
I really appreciate this discussion for turning me back to the things I believe in and helping me to let go of the things that I was doing because I felt "expected" to do them. I'm not sure why it happened with discipline when in many other aspects of my parenting self and my own self I refuse to subscribe to society's expectations.....but it happened and I am very grateful to you mammas and pappas for helping me return to my true beliefs about my child
Each day we all have the opportunity to do better by our children. Not everyone seizes the opportunity, but you are and I think that is wonderful!!!!
post #144 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by johub
And even when I find myself in the position of punishing my children spite or revenge has never been a part of it.
So what IS the purpose then? When you do choose to punish, what is your point if it os not revenge, or spite, or to "make them pay" for what they have done? Just curious, not argumentative.
post #145 of 154
I am happy to answer, and I can see that you are just curious!

Anyway. When I choose to punish it is a memory device. A reminder.
I want everythign to stop for a minute for my child to really understand that I am serious about this particular rule.
I never choose a punishment when I am angry.
There have been times when I have told my oldest she was going to have a punishment out of spite, but if that has happenned (and I am in tune with my emotions well enough to recognise it when it does) as soon as I calm down and take a deep breath I go back to her and remove the punishment and apologise. "I'm sorry I said you were grounded off the phone for a week. I was feeling angry, and it was not the right response. YOu are certainly not grounded off the phone."

Spite and revenge are about ME. I never punish my children to make Me feel better or to vent my emotions on them.
Sometimes when I know they understand the rules, know they are capable of following them, and I have tried to gently persuade them to choose to do so voluntarily and it does not work I do of two things. 1. I choose my battles and decide if this is really important. and then 2. Respond accordingly: either continue to try to find ways to help them perfect this skill in a patient manner (toy picking up is one of those smallies) or give a punishment (time out for my 3 year old, somethign specifically related to the "crime" for my 13 year old) to serve as a reminder that "I mean business."

In this way , yes it is about power. Everythign stops and I have to remind my children that even though I want them to be happy and have lots of freedoms, I have to insist on this particular rule.
But it is not because I am angry or spiteful or want revenge etc. . .
It is only a way to draw attention to the moment and make it different from the preceeding and following moments so as to have a longer effect on the memory than my previous efforts have had.

Joline
post #146 of 154
I think this may be a place where we need to agree to disagree. Unless you wanna try reading the books.
post #147 of 154
Oh I think it is true that we shall agree to disagree
We come from two different philosophical viewpoints.
It is like religion.
The Catholics and the Baptists will likely never get along! LOL (at least that is how it looks in my family) And both are pretty certain they have it right.

I am not trying to convince anybdy to use punishment.
I only wish to clarify that punishment means different things to different people and we are all not cut from the same cloth.

Oh and btw, I just got Wolf's book Yesterday. I cant wait to read it.
I still disagree with his statment about "all punishment is about suffering" and it was strange how he put that odd statment in the middle of discussion about why harsh punishments are bad. But again, I am beginning to understand that we all have disagreements about the very definition of punishment.
As long as people define punishment as "infliction of suffering" or " spite" I suppose I can take statements against punishment with a "grain of salt" because we are certainly talking about two very different things.
Joline
post #148 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by johub
I only wish to clarify that punishment means different things to different people and we are all not cut from the same cloth.
I'd like to respectfully suggest that it doesn't really matter what punishment means to grown people. What matters is how it is perceived by children.

Quote:
Oh and btw, I just got Wolf's book Yesterday. I cant wait to read it.
I still disagree with his statment about "all punishment is about suffering" and it was strange how he put that odd statment in the middle of discussion about why harsh punishments are bad.
As I'm sure you know, I'd agree with Wolf's statement. Setting that aside for a moment, though, and going back to your statement about why you use punishment, I have to ask: How does punishment serve as a memory tool for your children if it is not linked to suffering (such as a feeling of isolation, anguish over loss of "privilege," etc.)? For example, isn't the reality of a time-out that the child is forced into isolation (which, for most children, is a negative, anxiety-producing experience)? (Time-outs are generally said not to "work" if the child is enjoying himself in isolation.) If the suffering isn't a key element of the memory tool, then couldn't you just as easily trigger the memory by taking a moment where you sit with your child and discuss the situation with him/her?
post #149 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragonfly
I'd like to respectfully suggest that it doesn't really matter what punishment means to grown people. What matters is how it is perceived by children.
I certainly agree with you. I also happen to think that as a parent I am in a better position to understand how my children perceive things than an author or other who has never met them. I think it is reasonable to assume that parents know their children best.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragonfly
I have to ask: How does punishment serve as a memory tool for your children if it is not linked to suffering (such as a feeling of isolation, anguish over loss of "privilege," etc.)? For example, isn't the reality of a time-out that the child is forced into isolation (which, for most children, is a negative, anxiety-producing experience)? (Time-outs are generally said not to "work" if the child is enjoying himself in isolation.) ?
The reality of time-out is that my child is asked to sit on a perfectly comfortable chair for 3 minutes. This is the same chair he might choose to sit in of his own accord for longer periods at any time of the day. I think it is a serious misuse of the word suffering to use it in this regard. The important thing is that everythign stops. As I mentioned above. In addition, when someone says "most children" they are assuming that they know a parents child better than that parent. Which certainly is not the case.
I would imagine the tone in which the parent sent the child into time out and her attitude towards the child at that time is probably more responsible for any feeling of anxiety etc. . . than sitting for 3 minutes on a chair.
The same goes for revoking privileges for a teenager. While the idea of not using the phone for a few days may be somewhat unpleasant.
To use the term "suffering" is disrespectful to real suffering.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragonfly
If the suffering isn't a key element of the memory tool, then couldn't you just as easily trigger the memory by taking a moment where you sit with your child and discuss the situation with him/her?
Absolutely. And it would stop there if it worked.

It simply is beyond my personal belief system and understandig of the word "suffering" to think that having a child forgo doing something they want to do for a short period is suffering at all.
Pain is suffering. Loss is suffering.
Transitory disappointments or not getting your way is not suffering.
If that were true it would be causing our children suffering every time we say the word "no".

I can understand and respect that some parents feel that the slightest amount of discomfort and disappointment is too much for their child and they should never be the source of those things.
I can even understand if based on the knowledge you have of your child and your childs temperament that these things might actually cause sufferign to that child.
However, all children and all parents are different.
I can say with confidence that when I (rarely) get to the point of punishing my children, I am not doing it to make them suffer , make them pay , enact revenge or any of the above mentioned ideas about punishment.
I can also say with confidence that they also do not feel that they are being ill used or that they are suffering.

Joline
post #150 of 154
If it's all about making the episode memorable and not about suffering (or "unpleasantness", maybe, if suffering is too strong of a word), why not make the episode memorable in another way. Maybe you could put a fruit bowl on your head and stick bananas in your ears and then reiterate the rule, or stand stock-still for 3 minutes in the middle of the kitchen. That would be memorable, no?

Dar
post #151 of 154
That is an excellent idea and worth trying before resorting to punishment.
However while it is memorable and gets the rule message across. It also contradicts the other message which is "mom is serious about this" which is a message that sometimes I really wish to get across.

Joline
post #152 of 154
So does sitting in a chair for 3 minutes work? Once one of the kids has sat in the chair for 3 minutes because of a certain behavior or whathaveyou, do they never do that again because sitting there has made them see the light?

I've never used time outs- not because I think they make the child "suffer" in anyway, but because I don't see what children learn from them.

My kids are I think over "time out" age at this point anyway, and not old enough for the "your grounded" thing. I know so far we've done fine without punishments, but I wouldn't swear that I would never ground a teen if I felt it were a matter of thier safety.
post #153 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar
Maybe you could put a fruit bowl on your head and stick bananas in your ears and then reiterate the rule, or stand stock-still for 3 minutes in the middle of the kitchen. That would be memorable, no?
I think that is a fabulous idea Dar. Definately memorable!!!
post #154 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmb123
So does sitting in a chair for 3 minutes work? Once one of the kids has sat in the chair for 3 minutes because of a certain behavior or whathaveyou, do they never do that again because sitting there has made them see the light?

I've never used time outs- not because I think they make the child "suffer" in anyway, but because I don't see what children learn from them.

My kids are I think over "time out" age at this point anyway, and not old enough for the "your grounded" thing. I know so far we've done fine without punishments, but I wouldn't swear that I would never ground a teen if I felt it were a matter of thier safety.

I am right there with you. My ds had reached 2 1/2 and I had never tried time out and I was seriously doubtful as to how effective it would be. I do not believe time out is a good teaching tool.
I had eliminated that behavior (and others as well) through gentle guidance and no punishment up until that point.
However when it returned and he knew he wasnt supposed to throw food, and he was able to refrain from doing so (having proved it for many months) I tried these very same techniques for a couple of months to no avail.
It was only when I finally decided that nothing was working that I tried the time out I described.
After 3 2 minute time outs he almost entirely stopped throwing food.
It went from somethign that occurred at every meal to somethign that occurred maybe once a week.
I can't say why it worked.
After mulling it over I still think time out is not a good tool to educate as to what behavior is appropriate. But I now believe it can be effective to remind children that have already mastered a behavior or skill that it is expected that they use it. THat mom really means it when she says "no".
I still dont use it often at all. I simply do not need it.
I also don't think that every child will respond the way mine did.
I don't think it is the ultimate answer to everybody's behavior issues or a one size fits all approach.
But for my oldest son, it was surprisingly effective. As well as gentle.
My youngest two are only 22 months and I havent used time out (except if that means to separate them when being violent, but not really the same thing) so I cant say whether or not it will be effective.

As for the "you're grounded" thing. I dont like that either for any age. I really think that if punishment is used it ought to fit the crime.
One of my favorite things is to make my responses to them occasionally conditional on their cooperation.
For example. "I asked you to pick up the floor. YOu did not do it so I had to. NOw I am too tired to play trains." or "When you argue with me like that it makes me feel tired and angry. Because I feel tired and angry I cannot drive you to the movies."
It isnt "natural" consequences, but perhaps these things would fall into "logical" consequences. WHich by most definitions are punishments.
My oldest does get a full "grounding" occasionally but this is mostly to remove her from dangerous influences when she is making terribly poor choices. WE dont do it often because it is does not really motivate good behavior. The only benefit is that it is protective against further bad behavior or danger in the immediate future. (which to me is somethign that can be very important under some circumstances)

Anyway CMB I really appreciated your post because I also feld that "time out" wouldnt work. But after 2 months of scraping yogurt off of the walls, I was willing to try it.

Joline
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