or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Gentle Discipline › Punishment: is it ever necessary?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Punishment: is it ever necessary? - Page 4

post #61 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deva33mommy View Post
1 a : to impose a penalty on for a fault, offense
Using this definition, then I guess I have to say I absolutely punish. My daughter bites me while breastfeeding (fault), then I stop breastfeeding (penalty). If they use a toy to throw it at someone (fault), then they lose the toy (penalty).

It seems to be a very fine line between imposed consequences and punishment. But reading that definition of punishment makes me believe that they are one and the same.
post #62 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamajama View Post
How do you enforce rules without *some* form of punishment?
I think this comes down to different ways of viewing children. If you view kids as innately social beings that want do the socially acceptable thing if they are able to, then you see "breaking a rule" as something that needs guidance and help.

"Children need to see that they are assumed to be well-intentioned, naturally social people who are trying to do the right thing and who want reliable reactions from their elders to guide them." TCC Intro xv

I do assume ds is well intentioned. IF it happens that he hits the dogs, there is a reason. If he was hitting because she was too close to him, then that is a valid reason. His action is what is not acceptable. So I find him a different way to solve the problem of the dog being too close to him.

Like I said earlier (or maybe in the other thread) the rule about "no harming others" is definitely "enforced" here, and it is very rare that ds does something that is disrespectful to the dogs or to people.
But punishment is not a good way of enforcing it. It's counter productive, ime.
post #63 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deva33mommy View Post
eta- if we go by the definition of punishment "1 a : to impose a penalty on for a fault, offense, or violation b : to inflict a penalty for the commission of (an offense) in retribution or retaliation"
then for a person to feel they were being "punished" they'd have to know that there was an *offense* that they were being punished for.
If running away in the store, or wanting to stay at the park, isn't treated as an *offense* then the resulting action can't be a punishment, can it? (honestly asking that question- it was a thought that just now occured to me, so I haven't thought much on it)
I guess to me, it really only counts as a punishment if you are doing it as a penalty for doing something wrong. There are still going to be plenty of times when you impose your will on a child. Let's say you never ever did that gratuitously, and always took the child's wishes and needs into account. There are still times when the child's behavior threatens his own safety or the safety of others, is anti-social, or otherwise harmful. You can't just let your child be in danger. As a parent, you are going to be in situations in which you impose your will on the child's, and make him do something he doesn't want to do--or stop him from doing something he does--for his good or for someone else's.

which is one of the things that really sucks about being a parent, I think!

I think there is a good analogy to be made with how we deal with adults who break the law. We have to stop people from doing things that are dangerous to themselves or to others. Punishment might not work to do that.

Sometimes it seems like teaching people a lesson that they were wrong is the goal. It's not the goal. The goal is to stop bad behavior. That's why it makes sense to reassess which behaviors are deterred by the threat of punishment (say, speeding in your car) and which behaviors seem to increase, or not decrease, with the imposition of punishment (rates of recidivism to prison.) Let's study it and see if it really works with adults, but keeping in mind that we are not punishing adults for its own sake, even if it works to punish (which it might not!)

I look at a friend of mine whose daughter, also just turned four, sometimes manifests some really difficult behavior. When she does, her mom gives her a time out, and it looks really ineffective! I think we get into this bag of "do you understand what you did wrong" when really the point is to say "no, you aren't hitting me, that is stopping right now." The time out with the lecture might look more humane, but I don't want my kid having to decide not to hit me because if he does he'll get punished.

There are some behaviors that we have to interrupt and it can't be contingent on a deterrent.
post #64 of 188
......
post #65 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deva33mommy View Post
I think this comes down to different ways of viewing children. If you view kids as innately social beings that want do the socially acceptable thing if they are able to, then you see "breaking a rule" as something that needs guidance and help.

"Children need to see that they are assumed to be well-intentioned, naturally social people who are trying to do the right thing and who want reliable reactions from their elders to guide them." TCC Intro xv

I do assume ds is well intentioned. IF it happens that he hits the dogs, there is a reason. If he was hitting because she was too close to him, then that is a valid reason. His action is what is not acceptable. So I find him a different way to solve the problem of the dog being too close to him.

Like I said earlier (or maybe in the other thread) the rule about "no harming others" is definitely "enforced" here, and it is very rare that ds does something that is disrespectful to the dogs or to people.
But punishment is not a good way of enforcing it. It's counter productive, ime.

I'm still confused. I'll try to think of an example from my end.

Ummm, ok. Say my kids are in bed for the night. They share a room. One is acting goofy which is keeping the other up. It's not fair to the other kid to have to be kept up when he's tired so I will say "goofy child, if you do not settle down, I will have to bring tired child into my room so he can get some sleep". Goofy chld sees this as a punishment (in that he will have to remain in his room alone while the other gets the 'treat' of sleeping in Mama's bed. This is, to me, a logical consequence being imposed by me, but is viewed probabl as a sort of punishment by some (including goofy child, I would think).

Also, the kids acting awful towards eachother and me when we are planning a day of fun somewhere where they need to be somewhat in control (like, say, the museum). they really want to go to the museum but I cannot take two crazy, hyper, fighting kids to the museum with me because that would be a living hell. So I tell them that they need to mellow out a little bit or we can't goto the museum. Threat? Bribe? Punishment if they can't calm themselves and we don't end up going?

In all cases, I do not doubt the innate goodness of my children, nor do I doubt their desire to be social etc. Not for a second. But in my opinion, teaching them by enforcing certain codes of behaviour (or rules, if you will) is helping then to express their inate goodness and have a happy social life.
post #66 of 188
I think we mean different things by Punishment".....

I see punishment and coercion as two different things. Coercion is me putting a kid in a stroller even though they'd rather walk. Punishment is me taking away their toys for a week because I didn't pick them up.

Just because something is an aversive experience doesn't mean it is a punishment, not does it make it undesirable.
post #67 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamajama View Post
How do you enforce rules without *some* form of punishment?
I don't "enforce" rules just as DC don't "enforce" rules.

We actually don't call them "rules", we call them "things that make sense". We come up with them together and if one of us forgets or slips or what-have-you, others remind him/her.

So it's not like I am the "rule maker" in the family. I am the one who starts the dicussion/introduction/modeling of principles.

One rule we have for the rules - they HAVE to make sense. And if it makes sense, then why not do it?

If some society rules don't make sense to DC - it's my responsibility to explain it in the way that they do.
post #68 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by delicious View Post
i just don't see why i'd need to punish them for breaking the rules. like-your example-ds doesn't get his shoes on and come to the car, ok, i'll help him and explain why it would make it a lot easier on me if next time he'd just put his shoes on when i asked him to, because i'm really in a rush today. or, ds getting into his sister's space. i would encourage dd to go somewhere else (ie, the other side of the couch, or her room, wherever she could keep doing whatever it was she wanted to do.) while i tried to get the boy involved in something else while i'm telling him hey, sissy needs space man. give her a break and we'll play with her later. (he totally idolizes her so this IS something we deal with.)

i have to admit i only skimmed this thread but i *think* i did see alfie kohn mentioned by the same people who use time out and that's kind of funny to me. he calls time out "love withdrawl."
I don't use time out but I think it's ok to reference and appreciate some of Alfie Kohn's work without needing to subscribe to the whole package.

Question from an almost insane mother (!): What if they simply flat out freaking refuse to go along with gentle, intelligent, logical suggestions. My 4yr old is nuts, I tell you. He is always one step ahead in order to get his way. He tricks me! He flat out refuses to do as I say. He will be uncompliant simply for the sheer joy of being non-compliant. Of course, this only really happens if he needs to go poo (sounds weird, I know, but I've noticed it to be true) or is tired or has some other basic needs like huger or attention fueling him. I understand that. But then I am required to somewhat forcefully intervene because although we all have needs that are sometimes not immediately met, that does not give us leave to walk around destroying people's lego creations and otherwise causing a ruccus. So I will have to remove little guy from the situation. He is not happy about being removed--in fact he is kicking and screaming and I need to take him to his room so I can figure out what's going on for him. So it seems like I'm punishing him. It would be viewed even that I am giving hima t ime out. But really, I'm just dealing with things. I don't know what happened to the question but it's implied in the above rampage.
post #69 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by irinam View Post
I don't "enforce" rules just as DC don't "enforce" rules.

We actually don't call them "rules", we call them "things that make sense". We come up with them together and if one of us forgets or slips or what-have-you, others remind him/her.

So it's not like I am the "rule maker" in the family. I am the one who starts the dicussion/introduction/modeling of principles.

One rule we have for the rules - the HAVE to make sense. And if it makes sense, then why not do it?

If some society rules don't make sense to DC - it's my responsibility to explain it in the way that they do.
That makes total sense and is basically how we run as well. But my kids are still pretty young. What would you do if you set a time for your child to come home and they just simply blew it off and stayed out an extra few hours?
Or if they drove your car after having a few drinks?
post #70 of 188
Good points, but I think there is a need for punishment. If our children were always kept that liberal and free, they would run amok! They must understand that there are consequences for poor actions and decisions.
post #71 of 188
..
post #72 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamajama View Post
What would you do if you set a time for your child to come home and they just simply blew it off and stayed out an extra few hours?
I would get upset I guess. In 19 years (that's how old my oldest is) he "blew it off" once, and as he explained later - he just forgot. Dancing, girls, friends - he did not think about calling mom (I can relate, lol)
He basically started crying (don't tell him I told you!) when he came home and realized that DH and I were worried sick and started to call local police because we did not know his whereabouts.

Punishment would not do much good in such situation...

Oh, and I don't set a time. They do. I ask "what time are you going to be home? Call me if there is a delay or you need a ride". End of story.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mamajama View Post
Or if they drove your car after having a few drinks?
Again, there is not much *I* can do is there? If they are h*ll bend on putting themselves in dangerous situation (remember, I am talking about OLDER kids!), they will, not matter how much I "punish" them. Plus, I can not even conceive of a punishment I can impose on a 5'11" male who has been stronger and in many cases smarter than me for quite some time.

The reality here is - *he* would be the one telling us to call him if DH and I go out and have a drink, so *he* can come and pick us up. That's what has been modeled to him since the get-go.

So basically, what I am after is self-control, not parent-imposed control. Judging by my youth and Dh's youth and many stories from our friends - parent imposed control isn't worth much. We honestly did way more "wrong stuff" behind our parent backs than I see DS doing.

And I also remember, that no matter what - there is no iron-clad guarantee. We (the parents) can only try to do our best.
post #73 of 188
I'm bopping in and out of this thread because my life is picking up speed, but here's my thought on rules. My kids are waaaay too creative thinking up crazy stuff to do for rules to work in my house. Although, don't sit on your sister's head is happening often enough with the 2 year old sitting on the six year old's head anytime she lays down that it might be tantamount to a rule.

We work together to make our nutty days go. As much as the consequence folks can't imagine how our days work, I can't get my mind around the kinds of conflicts other people have to contend with. When somebody has an obstructing kind of day at our house, it usually means that that person is feeling bad in some way. (That person is as likely to be me as the 2 year old.) We work to make contact and connect. We use verses and songs to ease transitions and try to arrange scheduling to minimize strain. If I notice that a transition is causing trouble in some kind of consistent way, I work to find a way to ease the trouble.

I'm reminded of how I found MDC in the first place. I was back at work after my 3 month maternity leave. dd1 had always had some trouble with nursing. She wasn't thrilled with the bottle, so just began reverse cycling. If I'd had cio in my "toolbox" you bet your bippy she'd have been wailing in another room for a good long time. As it was, I haunted kellymom and the LLL site looking for answers...I found MDC on a google search on increasing supply when pumping during the day. All the advice I could get boiled down to: Quit your job or get used to it. I couldn't quit my job, so I did get used to it. But I didn't cio. And now, I wouldn't trade 1 little minute of those quiet, close times in the middle of the night playing with my incredible infant.

I want to feel that way about now when she's 12. I know it was worth my sacrifices then. I'll betcha taking the road I'm taking now will leave me with incredible memories of when she was only 6. And if it doesn't, at least our family has had a lot of fun together.
post #74 of 188
I really think the child's perception is the key to whether something is punishment. For some reason, the way I interact with ds works fine and he rarely is angry or resentful. But when my dh apparently does things in a similar way, ds gets angry as if he were punished.

A child knows when you enforce personal boundaries that you aren't being punitive. He knows when you tell him he needs to come now because you have to stop at the store on the way home to pick up supplies for dinner that you aren't being punitive. The child might not be happy but that doesn't equal punished.
post #75 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamajama View Post
My 4yr old is nuts, I tell you. He is always one step ahead in order to get his way. He tricks me! He flat out refuses to do as I say. He will be uncompliant simply for the sheer joy of being non-compliant. Of course, this only really happens if he needs to go poo (sounds weird, I know, but I've noticed it to be true) or is tired or has some other basic needs like huger or attention fueling him. I understand that.
I don't think age 4 counts. That year is merely about survival with the least amount of damage. I am so glad ds is not 4.
post #76 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daffodil View Post
I also question whether so many things ought to be punishable offenses. Perhaps people should be free to decide for themselves whether or not to wear a motorcycle helmet or smoke marijuana.
You're free to not wear a motorcycle helmet as long as you have the resources to pay for your medical treatment in case of an accident. And I mean PAY. Out of pocket. Because your not wearing a motorcycle helmet has the definite possibilty of creating major medical bills and costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. And I don't mean insurance, because if you have medical insurance and are in a horrific accident and need months of rehabilitation, then you make my insurance rates go up. Why should your freedom of decision impinge upon my ability to provide medical care for my family? (Because it will!)

While I agree that punishment doesn't seem to be that effective for some adults, I DO think the greater good is served because enough people WILL take this seriously to do what the law says. Is it the most effective solution. Certainly not. But is it one I'm willing to live with.
post #77 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by chfriend View Post
We work together to make our nutty days go. As much as the consequence folks can't imagine how our days work, I can't get my mind around the kinds of conflicts other people have to contend with. When somebody has an obstructing kind of day at our house, it usually means that that person is feeling bad in some way. (That person is as likely to be me as the 2 year old.) We work to make contact and connect. We use verses and songs to ease transitions and try to arrange scheduling to minimize strain. If I notice that a transition is causing trouble in some kind of consistent way, I work to find a way to ease the trouble.
post #78 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deva33mommy View Post
I do assume ds is well intentioned. IF it happens that he hits the dogs, there is a reason. If he was hitting because she was too close to him, then that is a valid reason. His action is what is not acceptable. So I find him a different way to solve the problem of the dog being too close to him.
I get that. But what if he hits the dogs not because they are too close to him, but because he is mad at YOU for telling him that we are eating dinner in 5 minutes and thus there is not enough time to play firefighter or whatever before dinner. (Substitute younger sister for the dog, and that's what you have in our house.)

Yes, I realize the underlying problem is that (a) he's hungry (and probably tired) and (b) he's angry at me and that he needs to learn more acceptable ways of expressing his anger.

HOWEVER, when he's busy walloping his sister is NOT a teachable moment. I also need to separate him from his sister to prevent her from getting hurt.

So, I take him up to his room. And he FREAKS out. Doesn't matter if I stay there or leave him. If I try to hold him, he freaks out even more and acts like I'm torturing him (it probably feels that way to him).

Quote:
Originally Posted by BellinghamCrunchie View Post
We still need to look at the consequences to the child, from the child's point of view, not the parent's. If the child is protesting and tantrumming its probably an indication that this is aversive experience for the child.
I'm sure that our taking our son to his room when he hits is aversive to him. I've quit calling it 'time in' because to him it's clearly a 'time out'. I stand in the doorway until he calms down. Sometimes I shut the door to keep him in his room. (if he goes out in a fury, he'll return to the behavior, so we do need to wait until he's mellowed a bit.) Sound like a timeout? Sure does for me. And I also know that on rare occasions, it's the ONLY thing that works to break the cycle. We only do it for hitting, and that doesn't happen that often.

I'm actually OK with it. Is it ideal? It is a relatively logical consequence. If you hurt someone, you can't be around them until you can control yourself. Is it punishment? According to some definitions, yes. I am removing him from somewhere he wants to be to prevent him from doing something that's not acceptable.
post #79 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post
You're free to not wear a motorcycle helmet as long as you have the resources to pay for your medical treatment in case of an accident. And I mean PAY. Out of pocket. Because your not wearing a motorcycle helmet has the definite possibilty of creating major medical bills and costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. And I don't mean insurance, because if you have medical insurance and are in a horrific accident and need months of rehabilitation, then you make my insurance rates go up. Why should your freedom of decision impinge upon my ability to provide medical care for my family? (Because it will!)
Maybe we should just make motorcycles illegal. And private cars, for that matter, or at least severely restrict their use. That should save us all a lot of money. And maybe the government should come up with a way to regulate everyone's diet, so society doesn't have to pay for all the health problems caused by some people's poor eating habits. And maybe it should be illegal for teenagers and women over 40 to get pregnant, because their pregnancies are more likely to result in costly medical complications.

I'm just not sure financial considerations should be primary when we're deciding to restrict people's freedom. (I'm also not sure I would say helmet laws are a bad idea. And I do actually think severe restrictions on car use might be a good idea.)
post #80 of 188
I guess I shouldn't make a blanket statement like "all punishment is counter productive" when I can see how *sometimes* a logical consequence might be the best thing that one can do in a particular situation.

I still don't think punishment is necessary, though.

Quote:
I get that. But what if he hits the dogs not because they are too close to him, but because he is mad at YOU for telling him that we are eating dinner in 5 minutes and thus there is not enough time to play firefighter or whatever before dinner. (Substitute younger sister for the dog, and that's what you have in our house.)
I'd physically stop the hitting. I'd tell him that if he's angry at me to tell ME.
In our house, ds doesn't have to come to the table and eat (though I do want him to sit if he is eating), so if he wants to keep playing and not eat, that is fine. I DO tell him that *I* am going to eat. No one is going to keep playing with him. It has never happened that he is still playing after the food has been on the table for 1 minute. He decides to come eat.

So if I pretend that coming to eat as soon as dinner is ready, is important to me...what would I do? hmmm...I don't know!
IF it came down to the point that he kept going back to hitting her, and I could see that he wasn't going to stop unless something changed, I'd try a time-in type thing. Ds would most likely agree if I phrased it in a positive type way. If not, I really can't say what I'd do.

I have to say though, that a time out with a seriously unhappy child sounds like it would be more disruptive to my dinnertime enjoyment than allowing him to continue playing, then coming when he's ready.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Gentle Discipline
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Gentle Discipline › Punishment: is it ever necessary?