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Punishment: is it ever necessary? - Page 5

post #81 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by irinam View Post
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.


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.
my mother has always been like this also! we were always required to ask permission if she was around (if she had anything else planned we were not allowed to go otherwise it was mostly so she knew where we were) tell her where we were and leave a phone number. also what time we'd be home and if we weren't able to be home then we had to call BEFORE that time.

i blew her off one time and returned to find her so worried she was bawling. I never felt so bad in my life
post #82 of 188
I think with our life, our family, our personalities, we need some imposed consequences.
For example, my 10 yo DS delights in causing his sister mental anguish. I usually give him three warnings and if he continues to taunt her he gets one of her chores for a day. Punishment? Yes. But I KNOW from experience with this kid, talking about why we don't taunt others won't work. He's trying to upset her- he wants to hurt her- yes, he will admit to that. I did have him in very GD freindly play therapy for a year and even the therapist ( who is generally anti-punsihment) felt this was reasonable.
There are also many more examples of the "simply insisting/coercion type things, like simply putting shoes on a child, putting him into the carseat, saying, "I will be happy to let you do X as soon as X is done" etc.
post #83 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deva33mommy View Post
I'm really interested in this type of thinking. I still don't see that as a punishment. I do see what people are saying, but it still doesn't set in my head as "carrying child out of the park" = punishment.
That is part of what is confusing me about including imposed consequences as punishment. You need to leave the park so you gently take the child with you out of the park. That is a consequence for the child not leaving on his own, but I don't equate that with punishment at all. It is an imposed consequence. It is not punishment.

Also, I don't know if the definition even matters. What do I care if someone thinks I am punishing my kid? At the end of the day, how my family feels and works together is the most important thing, not what label we use to define ourselves.
post #84 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by MtBikeLover View Post
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.
If someone punches you and you move away so the next blow doesn't hit you, would you consider that punishment? I sure wouldn't and I don't see how that it is different than taking a biting baby off the breast for a bit.
post #85 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roar View Post
If someone punches you and you move away so the next blow doesn't hit you, would you consider that punishment? I sure wouldn't and I don't see how that it is different than taking a biting baby off the breast for a bit.
The difference is that the baby is probably a lot more unhappy about being taken off the breast than the puncher is about you moving away. The baby may well be so unhappy about being taken off the breast that he stops biting so it won't happen again. Moving away from the punching guy isn't likely to bother him so much that he avoids punching you again.

But discussing what is or isn't technically a punishment probably isn't as useful as discussing what is or isn't a good discipline strategy, and why. It seems like everyone agrees taking the biting baby off the breast is fine, whether or not they think it's a punishment, so it may not matter whether it is.
post #86 of 188
I haven't read the entire thread, so I apologize if I'm repeating something somebody already said. (Hey, that rhymed. )

The behavioral definition of punishment is applying an unpleasant stimulus in response to a behavior you want to extinguish. When it comes to most children, I think that in most situations punishment is not only unnecessary, but often backfires. Plus, most punishments are carried out when the parent is angry. I've never seen this work to solve a behavior problem. That said, I'm basing my opinion on my observations of other families over the ten years I was a family therapist. Now I have my own child but she's only a year old, so discipline issues are pretty irrelevant right now! My main goals in raising her are that she grows up with a strong sense of self-respect and of empathy for others. So, punishment doesn't really fit in with that. Hopefully I'll be successful with other ways of shaping her behavior - praise, reward, modeling, etc. But again, I might be singing a different tune a few years from now! Speaking of behavior issues, little sprite is having a meltdown - gotta go....
post #87 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamajama View Post
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.
Yep, that's me. I think it was me delicious was referring to.

The whole "love withdrawal" thing: I read it, I found it interesting, I contemplated it. As it relates to my life, there are certainly ways I could do time out where my child would feel it as love withdrawal, and ways I can do it where this is not the vibe. I choose to use time out in the second way. I think we can get too fussy with our children, too worried about walking on eggshells, and I feel that Kohn while he has some great ideas is guilty of that.
post #88 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by ACsMom View Post
The behavioral definition of punishment is applying an unpleasant stimulus in response to a behavior you want to extinguish.
That is the best definition of punishment I've heard
It seems like the most helpful definition in deciding if something is or isn't punishment.
The definition does matter to me. Because I am anti-punishment. That's a part of me just like "I'm a mom" or "I'm unmarried and in a long term committed relationship" and "I'm crunchy" lol. I dunno. I like the labels I give myself. lol (I don't really care much what labels other people give me. Um, unless they are good. lol)
But I also agree that it is more useful to talk about if something is a useful discipline strategy or not.
post #89 of 188
I think that punishment, consequences, discipline...and any other terms like that are just slightly different shades of gray for the most part. (I'm not getting into abuse and that sort of thing). Personally I think that the most important thing to consider no matter what you do is whether your child feels respected.

I believe myself to be a nonpunisher (for the most part) because, to me, the term punishment relays a sort of randomness to it. For example - you didn't clean your room, so I'm going to spank you. Or you're yelling so you need to sit in a time out chair. Or since you didn't come when I called you to leave the park there is no desert tonight.

We use time outs in our family, but I don't view them as really artificial punishment. If you're two and you're having a major tantrum, screaming and thrashing around in the middle of a board game your siblings are playing, I think it's time for you to take some time out and go cool down in another room. That can be with or without me. That can be 15 seconds or a half hour - whatever is appropriate. I don't arbitrarily assign a time to it...sometimes the second we leave the room the tantrum starts. Sometimes they just want to cuddle on my bed for a while. Sometimes they seriously want to be left alone for a while. My oldest gets frustrated easily. While I would like to talk to him about the way he's behaving, sometimes it just isn't feasable at a certain point in time. Sometimes I have to ask him if he needs to 'take some time'. He'll either tell me he does, and he goes up to his room (again, sometimes with me, sometimes not) and lays in his bed or plays or whatever until he's ready to deal with the situation. Sometimes the two oldest are just AT each other and I cannot deal with it and I ask that we all have some time. They separate, I get a few minutes peace to gather my thoughts and calm down.

Geez, it sounds like we do this all the time. But really, there is usually some reason behind the behavior and we get to the bottom of it. Hungry? Thirsty? Tired? Overstimulated? Annoyed cause your little sister won't leave you alone cause she's hungry? We just can't always get there right away with emotions flying.

I also use other consequences, lest you think that is the only thing in my parenting toolbox. But again, they aren't arbitrary; they aren't me thinking up ways to make my kids miserable when they misbehave to deter them from it. If there are toys all over the living room and we're expecting company and the kids won't pick them up they know that I will. However, because I usually have alot of other things that I need to do I probably won't have time to put them where they should be. Chances are I'll just grab a bag or a box, toss them all in and stick them away in a closet to be dealt with when I have time. If bedtime is dragging on and on and on (we have tried doing away with it and it just didn't work for us for reasons I won't get into here) and dd is not getting there until a half hour after it hits, she knows that I will be asking her to get ready a half hour earlier because there's only so many nights I can deal with a desperatly tired five year old who just can't stop crying (she gets VERY emotional when she's tired. Takes after me )

Anyways, I do think it is possible in an ideal world (one where moms are never sleep deprived, stressed out, or having to deal with evil reletives) to raise a child without punishment - based on what I view as punishment.
post #90 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deva33mommy View Post
The definition does matter to me. Because I am anti-punishment.
That's interesting - it almost sounds like you're saying you first decided you were going to be anti-punishment, and now you're figuring out exactly what punishment is so you can avoid doing it.

I'm interested in the definition mostly because it's hard to talk about this stuff with other people if we're all using the same word to mean different things. Unfortunately, I've realized I can't get everyone to use my definition, even though it's the correct one (basically the same one ACsMom gave.)

To go back to an older post (this thread is moving too fast for me!):
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deva33mommy View Post
I was thinking last night about this. It seems to me that the intent of the parent does have something to do with whether I consider something punishment or not. (I realize that is not what you were saying exactly, but hear me out...)
So if I pick up my ds when he runs away from me in the store, and my *intention* is to teach him to not run away next time by making the consequence of running away negative for him, it's not likely that I would be willing to work with him to make being held agreeable to him. That would seem more likely to be a punishment to me, and I would *assume* for my ds as well.
If I pick him up, and my SOLE intention is to keep him close to me to keep him safe, I have no desire for this interaction to "teach him a lesson" so that he'll be less likely to run away next time, I'm really likely to do everything I can to make the situation as positive for him as possible. That would not seem like punishment to me, and I would hope that ds doesn't experience it as punishment, even if it does suck for him.
Yeah, I agree that in these two examples the different intent makes one example a punishment and the other not - but it's because the different intent leads to slightly different actions. If you did and said exactly the same things in two different situations, but one time your intent was to punish and the other time your intent was only to keep him safe, it probably wouldn't make sense to say that the only time it was a punishment was the time you meant for it to be. But I'm sure most of the time different intent does lead to different actions (or tone of voice, or words.)
post #91 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daffodil View Post
To me, punishment is something aversive that you do after a behavior occurs that makes that behavior less likely to occur in the future.
I think this is the perfect definition. Its very close to the behavioral definition, but it allows that behavior can change as the result of receiving information and that this is not punishment, while strictly following the behavioral definition doesn't allow for that (a stimulus immediately following a behavior that makes the behavior less likely to occur in the future).

Quote:
The behavioral definition of punishment is applying an unpleasant stimulus in response to a behavior you want to extinguish.
This is pretty good, too, but the word "extinguish" means something different from "eliminate" (it means to remove the reinforcer following a behavior so that the behavior goes away - you can't both punish and extinguish a behavior - they are different things).
post #92 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daffodil View Post
That's interesting - it almost sounds like you're saying you first decided you were going to be anti-punishment, and now you're figuring out exactly what punishment is so you can avoid doing it.
No, I mean, I KNOW what *I* consider to be punishment, and I don't do it, because I think it undermines a child's innate sociality. I'm totally anti-punitive time outs- That one is super easy for me to avoid. I never do unrelated punishments. And I don't impose consequences that are intended to be a "penalty for an offense" or that are intended to reduce the incidence of a certain behavior.
I'm just arguing that certain things aren't punishment, because I do them and they don't feel like they are.

Quote:
I'm interested in the definition mostly because it's hard to talk about this stuff with other people if we're all using the same word to mean different things. Unfortunately, I've realized I can't get everyone to use my definition, even though it's the correct one (basically the same one ACsMom gave.)
ok, sorry. lol. I can't keep anything straight!

Quote:
Yeah, I agree that in these two examples the different intent makes one example a punishment and the other not - but it's because the different intent leads to slightly different actions.
I think that's a good point- the intent causes the interaction to go
a little bit differently.

Quote:
To me, punishment is something aversive that you do after a behavior occurs that makes that behavior less likely to occur in the future.
I think the reason the other definition made more sense to me, was that it said something about a behavior you *want* to eliminate.
I guess the only reason that definition doesn't seem to totally apply, is that the few times I DID punish ds (by leaving the room, or whatever) it didn't make the behavior less likely to occur in the future. But he definitely took it as a punishment!
So I think that some things that are punishments, wouldn't be considered as such if you are going by the technical definition of them.

eta- I get all bungled up when we have these particular discussions. I can't quite make everything in my mind mesh right. I'm going to take a break so I can think about this and try to fit it all together.
post #93 of 188
If you want the functional defs here is a great link:

http://www.as.wvu.edu/~sbb/comm221/chapters/rf.htm

Excerpt:
PRINCIPLES OF REINFORCEMENT
There are three basic principles of this theory. These are the Rules of Consequences. The three Rules describe the logical outcomes which typically occur after consequences.

Consequences which give Rewards increase a behavior.
Consequences which give Punishments decrease a behavior.
Consequences which give neither Rewards nor Punishments extinguish a behavior.
These Rules provide an excellent blueprint for influence. If you want to increase a behavior (make it more frequent, more intense, more likely), then when the behavior is shown, provide a Consequence of Reward. If you want to decrease a behavior (make it less frequent, less intense, less likely), then when the behavior is shown, provide a Consequence of Punishment. Finally, if you want a behavior to extinguish (disappear, fall out of the behavioral repertoire), then when the behavior is shown, then provide no Consequence (ignore the behavior).
Now, the Big Question becomes, "What is a reward?" or "What is a punishment?" The answer is easy.

What is a reward? Anything that increases the behavior.

What is a punisher? Anything that decreases the behavior.


It seems to me that what is being objected to is not so much "punishment", but reinforcement theory. I personally cannot see parenting without reinforcement - it seems impossible.
post #94 of 188
But this bit about ignoring behavior making it go away does not sound right to me... it's too simplistic.
post #95 of 188
Ignoring some behaviors makes them go away - but I think it's more likely to be the case with behaviors that have the specific purpose of getting a reaction. I've known of people who refuse to respond to their baby's cries during nighttime hours and soon the baby learns that there is no sense in crying. My oldest went through a phase where he tried tantruming to get his way on certain things that weren't negotiable. I'd offer my attention and if he didn't want it (and he usually didn't - he just wanted me to cave) I'd say "I'm sorry you're upset. Let me know if you'd like some cuddles" or something along those lines. And then I'd busy myself elsewhere. Ignoring the tantrum stopped it quite fast. He'd still be upset, but in a more quiet and less violent way (he was like 2ish). But I think that most behaviors need to be addressed by talking about why it isn't ok and what options are available.
post #96 of 188
I think it's important to realize the strength of "punishment" in learning. Many things we learn in life are through punishment (in the scientific sense) or vicarious punishment. Take this as an example: Today I was punished a lot. A whole lot. My body is changing in size and balance and I have a lot to learn (stress learn). I bent over my desk and landed on my newly protruding belly. It didn't feel good (punishment). I now will be more tender in my movements regarding bending over desks. I will be negatively reinforced (relief from painful or unwanted experiences) by being more mindful. The negative reinforcement locks in my learning. I also tripped over some toys in my office (didn't see them--didn't look) (punishment) I will now be more mindful of the toys there. All of these can also be seen as "natural consequences" or some such newby term out there as well. For any of us to say we never impose a punishment on another human being or never allow a punishment to occur would be saying that we aren't learning a darned thing. Punishment gets a bad rap--mostly because it is the most ineffective form of child discipline, but negative reinforcement (avoiding that impending doom) IS, in fact, highly effective. Lucky kids will find their own punishments all day to curb and shape their behaviors, and have a loving parent there to kiss the booboos. But with no booboos comes no learning. Imposing some structure and limits on children is very important. We're helping them learn. We're guiding them. Structuring grocery time is not a punishment, simply because a kid would rather mess around in a toy aisle. They get the 5 minutes there and we move on. Am I mean because I make the kid leave? Absolutely not. I'm helping this young person learn to share time with a family, and learn to be helpful, etc., etc. I'm guiding. But all guidance is not going to be met by a child with a happy face. (I see that you would really like to stay here all day, maybe for a whole year, but the five minutes are done now and we must finish getting the milk). Some things in life really suck while you learn them (walking) but we keep on with it and eventually it will make sense. We have to trust those who guide us to know better than we do so that the painful experience isn't quite so bad. It's that trust that really founds good parenting. Letting a child take command in the effort to be loving is really setting someone up for future disaster. Using harsh, senseless, parentcontrol-dominated punishments that damage the psyche is a bad idea. Having limits is a fantastic one, even when kiddo is sometimes disappointed.
post #97 of 188
question- those that are using the technical definition of punishment- is there a specific term you use to mean time-outs and illogical consequences, etc? The things that the general public would think of when they heard the word "punishment". "No desert, since you didn't pick up your toys" that type of thing.
Is there one term that is used?

eta- that was a bad example. I was just trying to illustrate that I meant something negative and unrelated that was to serve as a *penalty* for something.
post #98 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deva33mommy View Post
question- those that are using the technical definition of punishment- is there a specific term you use to mean time-outs and illogical consequences, etc? The things that the general public would think of when they heard the word "punishment". "No desert, since you didn't pick up your toys" that type of thing.
Is there one term that is used?
I don't think so.

The term "reward" is used in kind of the opposite the way you mean, "reward" referring to any consequence meant to be pleasing (regardless of its affect on behavior) -

Maybe the word "penalty" would work in the same way.
post #99 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roar View Post
Do you feel like as long as these folks are punished, then they will no longer commit crimes and you will be safe? It reminds me of the parent who says I spank my kid so they won't run in the street. I wonder would they feel safe leaving their child unsupervised by the street after they'd been spanked because punishment works that well to deter misbehavior? If punishment worked so well we wouldn't have people committing crimes after they'd already served time.
Actually, I did make a point in my pp to recognise that punishment doesn't work for everybody...which is the reason why there are repeat offenders. However, it can not be denied that punishment does work for a fair amount of people. We'll say, for the sake of discussion, that it's a 50/50 shot. I feel most (not all) disciplinary methods have a 50/50 shot of working.

I stole $20 from my mom's roomate when I was 8 years old. Not only was I grounded from every priveledge I had (and it was summer time!!!) for 2 weeks, but I had to write 500 times "I will not lie or steal". I had to face the man I stole the money from and appologize for what I did. Being grounded gave me plenty of time to think of my actions, and how they affected my mom's roomate. Nobody trusted me anymore, and that was very humiliating.
I can think of a more gentle way that my mom could have approached this issue with me, and it might have been just as effective. However, my point is that I was punished, and I learned a lesson from my punishment. I never stole again. Not only out of fear of the consequences, but becuase I realised that I hurt others around me. In doing what I did, I lost trust from people I cared about.
I can honestly say I'd do things a bit differently than my mom did with me, as there was a lot of screaming, yelling, hitting and severe humiliation involved...but none the less, I *would* impose a resonable punishment in this case.
FTR...I don't believe in spanking a child for running in the street. I simply didn't give my son the opportunity to run in the street. He'd try and dart, but I'd use a very firm grip with him, and a firm voice...it didn't take him long to understand that running from me was totally unacceptable. Now that he's older, and we can verbalize with eachother, he knows why I don't want him running in the street.

I have to say I'm really enjoying this thread...and I wish I could've sat here all day reading the posts as they came in. I'm a little overwhelmed at the moment, as there is SOOO much to read. I'm hoping I can get back into the discussion, but I'm afraid I might just lurk the rest of the way
post #100 of 188
In your example we want to *increase* picking up toys - so not getting desert is the reward for not picking up toys. Desert is the reward for picking up toys. Confusing, right?

Penalty might work.
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