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Is this too harsh of a punishment? - Page 3

post #41 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by littleaugustbaby View Post
Let me clarify.

She did not melt down because we were leaving. She was fine when we left. She melted down when she took another child's bike, and I asked her to get off the bike because we were leaving, and we also did not know the child who owned the bike, and we did not ask their permission first. She was fine until we were almost to the car, when she suddenly threw herself on the ground and it all started from there...delayed reaction, perhaps?

She was not "punished for a week." The only thing that has been taken away are her playgroup outings (1 so far, and AFAIK there are none scheduled for a while) for one week. Other than that, she has not had any other restrictions. She has been to the park, plays outside, has all of her toys, even got a treat at the store yesterday. She has not been locked in her room for a week, or anything like that.

I would like to ask that if people want to disagree, that they could at least offer some advice, because I'm feeling a lot of criticism, but not a whole lotta help. There have been some great ideas, but I'm also feeling like some people are quick to point fingers without offering any real solutions, which really doesn't help anything. So please, if you just want to point out what a crappy mom you think I am, keep it to yourself. Thanks.
My post was not trying to jab at you...it was in response to the pp comparing your situation with a 14 year old going out and partying. Which are totally different, IMO.

I think that people are debating about the appropriate way too handle this, not trying to make you feel bad. I don't think anyone thinks that you are a crappy mom, and I don;t think that anyone meant to imply that (myself included)
post #42 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by littleaugustbaby View Post
Let me clarify.

She did not melt down because we were leaving. She was fine when we left. She melted down when she took another child's bike, and I asked her to get off the bike because we were leaving, and we also did not know the child who owned the bike, and we did not ask their permission first. She was fine until we were almost to the car, when she suddenly threw herself on the ground and it all started from there...delayed reaction, perhaps? :lo.

I can see you did not read my whole post. I had a special message in there for the OP-- which I think is you. I realize it's a long and emotional thread.

All that said. I really do not think punishment is ever apporpriate with littles. Ever. I do however, think we parents can loose it at times, but we need to get over our own issues and move on.

Punishment is not ever apporpriate for small children. I think it's best if parents stop trying to justify inapporpriate resposes. "But she was really, *really* horrible and I truly had no choice!" That's just not the truth, you know?

Having lost my temper with my 4, I sympathize, but I personally do not think punishment is ever ''justified' even if a tot is really 'bad.'

Sometimes I need to sit back and think "Gosh, I screwed up. What can I learn from this?"
post #43 of 204
That would not work for DC but I can totally understand the temptation, LAB. I think I would probably frame what you decided to do about the unpleasant playdates is say something like, “I’d like to spend next week doing things just the two of us because the playdates have been really difficult for both of us. We can try a group thing next week.” And, I’d probably only do that after DC had calmed down. I also think it would have been fine for you to change your mind about the punishment.

On another note, like some other people have said, I would also be looking into why these are happening. Yes, she will outgrow them but there are most likely things you can do to help. I’d try making the playdates a little shorter or longer, changing the time of day, offering some incentive for leaving – like going to the library after the playdate rather than before (or whatever other fun thing you may do during the week).

There is this whole weird semantical thing with discipline that drives me nuts. (It’s not something I’ve seen on this tread or in the OP but something that I do think is relevant)

It’s this thing about why it’s different to not go to the playdate because you think DC isn’t up for it and not going to punish her for behaving badly the last time.

For me, the distinction has much less to do with how I phrase it (contrary to my advice above) than how I actually feel.

If that makes any sense…; - )
post #44 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by littleaugustbaby View Post
Just wanted to respond to this. I see what you're saying, but I disagree - believe me, *I* would have loved to go too. I'm a single mom and don't get a lot of adult time, so by us not going, I'm missing out on some much needed social interaction for myself. It's not about getting back at her, it's about a desperate need and desire to not only get to the bottom of what's causing the behavior, but to teach her to more constructively communicate her feelings, rather than resorting to screaming and hitting.
She's 4. Screaming and hitting when disappointed is developmentally normal. I think your expectations are not appropriate.

-Angela
post #45 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeteaa View Post
why do you think this thread would be shut down? I think the OP's situation is VERY common. If your 14 yr old was drinking at a party, would you let him/her go to another party the next night? So if somewhere between 4 and 14 its ok to use this "punishment".... I would like to know when that is.

You are not going to like my answer.

I do not think 'punishment' is ever apporpaite when kids screw up or melt down.

I will flip this and ask you how you might like to be treated if you ever 'lost it' and broke down crying? (And I am not suggesting you 'broke down' and killed someone, just that you cried uncontrollably and maybe pushed at your partner who was trying to comfort you). Are you serioulsy asking more of a 4 yr old?
post #46 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by littleaugustbaby View Post
Yeah. I mean, I'm used to tantrums, but she was pissed. She will usually scream and cry when she is upset, but she was physical, which really threw me, because I am not used to that. At one point when I was trying to get her out of the street, I was holding her, and she kicked my car hard enough that I lost my balance and almost sent the both of us tumbling into the road, but I caught myself at the last minute. Once I had her in the car, she was fighting me to try to get back out of the car, and she was flailing her arms and hit me across the face, which sent my glasses flying (luckily I caught them before they hit the ground!) Also, at some point during the struggle to get her out of the parking area and into the car, I dropped my cell phone (and did not realize it until I got home!), and had to end up getting someone to watch her after she went to sleep so that I could comb the park with a flashlight to find my cell phone. Then on the whole ride home, she told me she wanted to live with her daddy (who visits her maybe 2x a year), and I know she's 4 and does not mean it and does not understand, but that still stings a bit.

FWIW, she's doing great, and I'm glad we didn't go to the pizza party. She was pretty tired after school, and we've been having a good time vegging out and watching cartoons together today.

What you describe is not a child *choosing* to throw a fit and "be bad" It's a young child out of control because she is over tired, over stimulated and unhappy. Yeah- I really understand the frustration at the moment and the worry and the fear. But it comes down to- it's MY responsibility as mom to keep her from becoming over tired and over stimulated so that she can handle her unhappiness in an appropriate way.

-Angela
post #47 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roar View Post
What I can see this punishment accomplishing:
Making her feel bad that she's a kid who sometimes loses it.
Making her feel like you don't accept that sometimes she's less than perfect.
Making her resent you because you took away the party.

What I can't see this punishment accomplishing:
Making her more able to control herself when she's too tired to do so.
Giving her greater emotional maturity than she has at this age.

How it would have gone down at our house... If the party was right after the park we would have gone home - not as a means of trying to teach a lesson but because clearly we were too tired and it just wasn't going to be a good plan for the day.

If it had been on another day, we'd have gotten out of the park the best we could. I would have acknowledged that we all have days where we make mistakes. I would resolve to next time try to avoid going to the park when we are overtired or over hungry. I would acknowledge that after the child probably feels embarrassed or sad about their behavior too. Before we go to the park next time I'd spend a bit of time planning together how we'd like that to go including talking about a peaceful exit strategy. We'd talk about "leaving on a happy note" and we'd have a plan for something desirable in the car (a snack, a music tape to listen to and we'd talk about that plan). I'd make sure we hit the park rested enough to implement the peaceful exit strategy. I'd hope that would help, but I'd know that four year olds are four they aren't forty and it may not go the way I wish. Sometimes the park will be left in tears. And, so it goes.
Very well put, as usual. :

-Angela
post #48 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by dubfam View Post
We also don't punish/make consequences for bed wetting, spilled milk, potty accidents etc as we see all of these things as part of being 4 and part of being human. We will help Owen fix these things and offer some guidance, but no punishing.
Brilliant. And Owen will grow to be a sweet big boy and get it all, even though you don't punish.

I worry that so many think if you don't 'lay down the law' kids will not develop into the wonderful folks they are destined to be,

I agree it's totally different to not go to playgroup because right now playgroup is too hard. It's not about punishing. It's nobody's fault. Nobody's bad. It's just too much right now. That's *OK*.

"Babe. That playgroup is really not working for us. That day is super-long for us, and it's just too much for one little day. Let's make that a time we get ice cream ( or toffuti or whatever) and then go home, snuggle together and read." Or whatever. Watch a DVD. Whatever relaxes you all. Playgroup isn't where it's at right now. No biggie.
post #49 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by UUMom View Post
I am going to ignore those posters who think it's fine to punish 4 yr olds--- or who think punishments are effective for any age. (ignore)

If a child is feeling overwhelmed, then we need to realize that punishing a small child who is tired is sort if like a partner punishing you because had a long and sucky day and fell apart. To a partner you might understand that shit happens-- that he/she needs comfort. If an adult warrents and benefits from kindness, does a child warrent less? (OP, not talking to you here, you asked and I totally respect your asking).

Not in my book. A tired child needs love and compassion even * if * they freak out-- or does whatever else is deemed so horrible that a punishment must be carried over several days hence. ( If a partner would punish you over several days, how long would you stay in such a relationship?)

When an adult loses it (I am not talking murdering an ex wife and her friend while the dog barks incessantly, leaving two children without a mother) we hope that the person who loves us most takes us in his/her arms, lets us know we are not the devil incarnate, and says "Baby, I love you. You had a sucky day, sweets. Let's forget this crummy crap happend. Let's go for a massage, a glass of wine, and a nice dinner. When we get back, I'll rub your feet, run you a nice bath, and then do whatever you tell me to do".

That's what regular, non- serial killer people who are in pain need. That's what many of us wish from loves when the day totally bites ass.

Kids get squat...they get to carry their miserable days over into endless punishments. However, if an adult in a good relationship has a bad day, it's a different story, they expect some love and understanding.

If one thinks a child 4 years into the world deserves something more severe than our compassion, I dont know what to tell any of you.
: and and

-Angela
post #50 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by littleaugustbaby View Post
Thank you for recognizing that. This was not the type of a meltdown where she was crying over a box of popsicles at the grocery store. This went way beyond that to the point where she was a danger to herself and others. Just getting her strapped into the carseat (which was a necessity at that point so that she did not injure herself) took 2-3 minutes because I could not physically restrain her. It was not in any way possible for me to talk through *anything* with her at that point because she was so completely over the edge. For normal tantrums, talking through it is our normal strategy.
I'm glad you're talking about it. This right here was the natural consequence. It must have been scary for her to feel so out of control. It must have been hard to be restrained (which of course sounds as if it was perfectly necessary) This is not something that should be punished. Rather discussed, explored and used as a jumping off place for planning and problem solving.

-Angela
post #51 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeteaa View Post
So how is this diferent from the OPs situation? NOW please don't be cruel, I'm trying to ask a serious GD question.
Because it was not presented ahead of time as a choice (assuming the child can think and plan ahead to make such a choice- 4yrs is on the edge of when that is possible)

It's like saying - well you should have KNOW that if you left your shoes in the living room I'd take all your shoes away- huh? It was not discussed or understood ahead of time. It was doled out as punishment after the fact.

-Angela
post #52 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by alegna View Post
She's 4. Screaming and hitting when disappointed is developmentally normal.
It may well be. However, letting children know that screaming and hitting are not acceptable behaviours when disappointed is a valid and important lesson.

My not quite 4 year old is *not* allowed to hit me, or other people, when she is disappointed. She knows this, because I have taught her.
post #53 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama View Post
It may well be. However, letting children know that screaming and hitting are not acceptable behaviours when disappointed is a valid and important lesson.

My not quite 4 year old is *not* allowed to hit me, or other people, when she is disappointed. She knows this, because I have taught her.
Oh I agree that it should be taught. No question there. BUT it should also be acknowledged as sometimes not a conscious choice. My dd KNOWS lots of things that sometimes in a moment of emotional outburst (either happy or not) she does simply because she can't control it.

My issue is with *punishing* something that was not a conscious "disobedient" choice.

-Angela
post #54 of 204
Well, I think consequences are a good thing. The problem with no 'punishment', aka no consequences, is that what can end up happening is the parent is the only one dealing with the actual, real consequences. Our job is to shield our children, so when they freak out and run in the street, we chase them and grab them back from danger. When they colour all over the walls, we pay the damage deposit. They don't suffer the true consequences of their actions, as well they shouldn't.

But this fact has to be considered in dealing with children's behaviour, because otherwise a serious imbalance is established.

(btw, I edited my last post. could you edit to match? tx.)
post #55 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama View Post
Well, I think consequences are a good thing. The problem with no 'punishment', aka no consequences, is that what can end up happening is the parent is the only one dealing with the actual, real consequences. Our job is to shield our children, so when they freak out and run in the street, we chase them and grab them back from danger. When they colour all over the walls, we pay the damage deposit. They don't suffer the true consequences of their actions, as well they shouldn't.

But this fact has to be considered in dealing with children's behaviour, because otherwise a serious imbalance is established.

(btw, I edited my last post. could you edit to match? tx.)
no punishment does NOT equate to no consequences.

punishment is often arbitrary and tossed in for any action that a child does that is not acceptable to the parent...whether the child KNEW that it wasn't allowed, or not. consequences are what happens as a direct result of the child's actions...and they generally know exactly what will take place.

natural consequences are even better...as they need no implementing.
post #56 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by loriforeman View Post
no punishment does NOT equate to no consequences.

punishment is often arbitrary and tossed in for any action that a child does that is not acceptable to the parent...whether the child KNEW that it wasn't allowed, or not. consequences are what happens as a direct result of the child's actions...and they generally know exactly what will take place.

natural consequences are even better...as they need no implementing.
post #57 of 204
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by alegna View Post
Because it was not presented ahead of time as a choice (assuming the child can think and plan ahead to make such a choice- 4yrs is on the edge of when that is possible)

It's like saying - well you should have KNOW that if you left your shoes in the living room I'd take all your shoes away- huh? It was not discussed or understood ahead of time. It was doled out as punishment after the fact.
No, it wasn't. I told her that if she continued to hit and kick me and try to run into the street, then we would not be going to playgroup for one week. She continued, and made it out into the street again, and at that point I told her no playgroup for one week. It's not as though we got home and I said, oh by the way, because of how you acted, no playgroup. Even if she had stopped with the physical stuff and continued to scream, I would not have told her no playgroup.
post #58 of 204
I think that, rather than punish her, I would have tried to find out why she was having a tantrum and tried to prevent it next time. It sounds like you are doing that by deciding not to do playdates after school- it may just be too much for her. I think that this, in combination with a good conversation about other ways she can handle herself (and thoughts on how to make transitions easier on her, something that has made leaving the park a whole lot easier for us!) are steps in the right direction.

I do think that the punishment went a little far. It is basically punishing her for something she could not control in the moment. As you yourself have said, many children that age have meltdowns when leaving the park (or any fun event, for that matter), simply because they have very strong emotions about leaving, and very limited resources on which to call to control themselves. Punishing them for this seems wrong to me. You could simply consider it a great learning experience, and a chance to help her learn better tools for next time.

That said, I totally understand the impulse to *do something* in the moment. It is hard when our kids have meltdowns, especially in front of others. We often want to find a way to just make them stop. I have had to learn the hard way to step back from the situation and rethink what I really want him to learn, and how best to achieve that.
post #59 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by littleaugustbaby View Post
No, it wasn't. I told her that if she continued to hit and kick me and try to run into the street, then we would not be going to playgroup for one week. She continued, and made it out into the street again, and at that point I told her no playgroup for one week. It's not as though we got home and I said, oh by the way, because of how you acted, no playgroup. Even if she had stopped with the physical stuff and continued to scream, I would not have told her no playgroup.
I think that is a pretty direct consequence, er punishment.

I have seen it argued on here that the two terms are interchangeable. Personally when I think of the term 'punishment' I think of something more severe, harsh or including withdrawal of parental love or approval. This doesn't really fit for me, but whatever.

People can call this punishment or consequence, I don't think it much matters. I think there was a 4 year old child putting herself in danger and hitting her mother, in this situation. Yes, they do that. But it doesn't mean there should be no consequence to the child, only to the parent, for this type of behaviour.
post #60 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by littleaugustbaby View Post
No, it wasn't. I told her that if she continued to hit and kick me and try to run into the street, then we would not be going to playgroup for one week. She continued, and made it out into the street again, and at that point I told her no playgroup for one week. It's not as though we got home and I said, oh by the way, because of how you acted, no playgroup. Even if she had stopped with the physical stuff and continued to scream, I would not have told her no playgroup.
You threatened her at a time that she was clearly not in control or capable of reasonably making a decision about her actions.

Not at all the same thing as setting out a known consequence *ahead of time* which again, is not something that every 4 year old has the capability to grasp anyway.

-Angela
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