Originally Posted by dis
I'm really glad things worked out well for your son, I really am. But how do you know that they wouldn't have worked out just as well - heck, maybe even better or faster - with a different discipline style? I know as a child I was very similar to your son. I would definitely have been considered high needs an spirited if my mom had ever heard of those terms. And my parents used time-outs - I have memories of being in time out as a 4 year old at my own birthday party due to some particularly bad behaviour.
And by the time I was 5, I was the politest, nicest, sweetest kid around. And I loved my parents and had (and still have) a great relationship with them. And they did it WITH time-outs - no damage to the parent child relationship.
It's really hard to use anecdotes to try and prove anything about discipline styles, because someone could easily say that if you'd used time-outs, the results could have been exactly the same, or maybe things would have been better sooner. Maybe if my parents hadn't used time-outs I would have turned out horribly! We can't travel back in time and re-do things to find out.
For what it's worth, I was responding to a post that said people who haven't used time outs do not have difficult children.
The conventional wisdom is that punishments are a NECESSARY part of child-rearing. That without them a child will NOT likely learn discipline, manners, self-control, etc. And those are the mild predictions!
I believe I've seen the word "heathen" a time or two.
I'm saying that in my case and in the cases of many other parents, that has not proven true. In fact, the exact opposite has happened. Our kids aren't perfect by a long shot, but so many of the common issues that people assume is part of "the package" just don't exist (lying, sneakiness, angry/rebellious teens, etc.). It doesn't seem to be coincidence to me. I'm sure others feel differently.
Obviously, I have no way of knowing the outcome had I done things differently, but given what I know about how people *generally* respond to things like control and punishment and respect, it does seem to follow that a child treated with respect would start to manifest that in his character. And a child who was treated in a controlling manner would also manifest that. Given what I've seen and heard, I'd much rather deal with the repurcussions of "respect" vs. "control." And I'd also much rather BE a person who who gives respect instead of punishment or seeks to control. Again, other people feel differently.
Another part of it is the hindsight of how our relationship was, and how my child reacted, when I was "off the beam"--and not treating him the way I would want to be treated (mostly after my 2nd was born). Things were not good. I did not feel good about myself. Seeking obedience vs. seeking consensus did not make seem to make anyone in the family happier or improve our relationships or make behavior go away. It really fostered a negative attitude all the way around. I can't imagine how that would improve over a longer period of time.
I know that there are lots of great kids out there who are left to CIO, who are not bf, who are punished, and probably kids who are being hit....but that doesn't mean that those practices are ideal or something that I would feel good about doing. Millions of other parents feel differently. Millions of parents think we're crazy and are doing our kids a HUGE disservice. But if they tell me that what I'm doing is going to result in a kid who is out of control, who has no manners, who has no respect, who can't follow directions, who won't abide by societal rules, isn't kind/considerate/gentle/compassionate, will never stop bothering the cat, will never learn that hitting is wrong, etc., etc.-- then they're not looking at my real live kid who is a walking testament to how wrong those predictions are.
Again, my message is that there is a choice. Just as we, in this forum, spend a considerable amount of time advocating that hitting children is not necessary to discipline (and we all know that many people still believe that it is--despite the research, despite the warnings), I'm saying that time-outs are also not a necessary part of discipline. And there's research out there that shows some of the dangers of it and I think many people in this thread have spoken about their perceived dangers of it. And my sense is that the research that folks like Kohn have done is going to grow. Time outs are relatively new in the grand scheme. I think we're going to continue to hear that they are NOT having the effect that we thought they would.