Punishments dictated by NCP? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 13 Old 08-26-2012, 01:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So apparently ex has had a rough time with our boys this weekend and as punishment he wants to keep their laptop until he sees them next, a week from monday. I have written to him saying I want the computer returned and if he doesn't I will inform the judge he is refusing to return property of the childrens. Should I let him keep their laptop (including over my weekend) so he can punish the kids or am I right in thinking he has no right to withold something of theirs?

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#2 of 13 Old 08-26-2012, 01:57 PM
 
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What he has is no right to do is enforce his punishment on your time.  But you are going to look petty if you go to court solely for this issue. 

 

What is the parenting split?  If it's 50/50, then this is going to be hard to work around.  If it's EOW, well, the solution is simple.  Don't have the kids take the laptop to their Dad's again.  And if your ex complains, simply tell him that you can't trust him to return it. 

 

Personally, I am of the opinion that if the punishment is going to run over to the other parent's time, then both parties need to be in agreement on the punishment or it doesn't happen. 

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#3 of 13 Old 08-26-2012, 02:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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He has eow ond one evening every other week. It is just one of many things to be addressed at the next court hearing in October. I want to stop the kids from taking the laptop on his weekends but then I would be punishing them every weekend as thats about all they have to play with when they are with him.

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#4 of 13 Old 08-26-2012, 05:38 PM
 
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I recommend making the most selfless, mature effort you can, to understand all the circumstances surrounding him taking away the computer and, if it was at all justifiable, support his parenting - even if it's not how you, personally, would handle it.

 

Kids don't have an inalienable right to a laptop and I find taking away electronics to be one of the most effective ways to discipline kids, these days.  If you "ground" them the way we were grounded, as kids, they can still communicate with all their friends online, or amuse themselves playing games.  They don't want to lose that lifeline or that entertainment.  Losing it once - for a period that really smarts - can be a good motivator to change behavior.  And if you've posted this, there's another computer in your home, in case the kids need it for a school assignment.  

 

I'm the CP, but on the rare occasions I tell my ex I've grounded our kids from electronics, I really appreciate it that he follows through at his house.  I can't remember him giving them a punishment that extended into my parenting time, but he does make rules about movies they can't watch, that kind of thing.  During my parenting time, I respect what he tells them, even if I wouldn't make the same rule.  Seeing a certain movie isn't nearly as important as the kids knowing they are expected to respect their parents, not undermine us or manipulate us into undermining each other.  Even when my ex and I don't feel very respectful of each other personally, we both want our kids to be the kind of people who respect their parents.

 

But that's not always easy to see!  When I'm really angry with my ex, it takes a lot of thought and effort to figure out what message I want to send to my kids and separate that from whatever message I might like to send my ex!  So spend some time and think about it, Mama.

 

If you turn around and lift a punishment your ex has given the kids, it obliterates any message he sent them, that their behavior was out-of-line.  It also tells them you don't respect their dad and you don't think they need to, either.  Discipline from him becomes a joke that the kids can get you to overrule.  They also learn your hostility toward their dad is more important to you, than them behaving decently when they're away from you.  You risk those ideas spilling over, into their relationships with teachers or other authority figures who expect your kids to control themselves or follow rules they may not like.

 

Your ex may be a class-A jerk who deserves for you to make him miserable.  Just make sure teaching your kids to be good people who are respectful and considerate of others and take responsibility for their actions comes ahead of giving your ex what hell he may deserve.  I'm sure, if you spend time on Mothering, raising your kids well is far more important to you than your ex is.

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#5 of 13 Old 08-26-2012, 06:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, after a lot of back and forth messaging he has returned the computer.  I was more annoyed that he expects me to be fine with him keeping something belonging to the kids for over a week when I know the kids got into trouble because they were bored out of their minds. After they came home I sat the boys down and told them I expect them to behave at their dads as though I was there watching them, so if thier dad needs to call me saying they are being bad then I will punish them. I am keeping the computer away from ds for the week. he can have it back on saturday morning.

 

Whatever the kids did can't have been that bad because dad returned them late due to taking the boys for icecream. Really good punishment, not.

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#6 of 13 Old 08-27-2012, 06:09 PM
 
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I am glad you got the computer back. 

 

I have an idea for next time.  If he is a jerk to your kids, take away his computer for a week and a half. 

 

If you want to teach your kids respect then respect them.  Stand up for them not him.  If they were bored at his house and are being punished for it stand up for THEM.  Read the gentle discipline forum.  Read "unconditional parenting".  Don't enforce stupid punishments on your kids just to prove to them that adults are always right and their dad should be 'respected'.  I will assume that like many many single people - part of your divorce had to do with different ideas about parenting.  If it is ok to respect his punishment of taking away the computer for an extended period then what is it not ok to respect?  If he hits them and says their punishment should be that you give them each a smack once per day for the next week will you do that?  Where do you draw the line? 

 

Of course hillymum you know what I'll say.  Don't speak to him about this in front of the kids.  Get the computer back by speaking to him only about that one issue - let him know he can punish them how he wants on his time and that next time you will send them without the computer so that they will continue to have their punishment at his house. Tell him at his house he can do as he pleases and you will not ask him to punish them for you and vice versa.  Tell them that their dad is punishing them at his house.   and that at your house the computer will NEVER be taken away.  (Unless you are willing to agree that when you are a bad mom you will take away your own computer.).  That is my point of view.  I am a huge believer in unconditional parenting - which in this situation translates into no punishments and no rewards - they do not get prizes for being 'good' and do not get punished for being 'bad' nor do I use the words good boy bad boy or whatnot with them or threats or rewards for 'good' behavior.  (I love them unconditionally and I will not put conditions on their behavior - 'if you do x, y will happen to you".  Just play, have fun, live life, be "good", be "bad", be kids, scream, jump, play, cry, swear, be curious, ask questions, don't be scared to talk to me, drive me crazy but I'm not going to hurt you and I love you no matter what.  I'm not going to take away 'love' when I don't like your behavior.  I will ask you to change the behavior and work with you on that - but not by taking away some random thing that has nothing to do with anything and will only serve to let them know you are in power and they are your underlings.  my 2c.  (I know I'm harsh!!!)

 

I really hate your xh for putting you in that position.  It is very wrong and very manipulating of him. 

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#7 of 13 Old 08-27-2012, 06:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Rocky, you would have been proud of how I delt with him. The maddening thing is it was through text and I didn't realise he was driving at the time. I am writting an email to tackle the issue of punishment during his time vs my time, and his texting while driving with the children in his vehicle.

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#8 of 13 Old 08-27-2012, 08:45 PM
 
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I am glad you got the computer back. 

 

I have an idea for next time.  If he is a jerk to your kids, take away his computer for a week and a half. 

 

If you want to teach your kids respect then respect them.  Stand up for them not him.  If they were bored at his house and are being punished for it stand up for THEM.  Read the gentle discipline forum.  Read "unconditional parenting".  Don't enforce stupid punishments on your kids just to prove to them that adults are always right and their dad should be 'respected'.  I will assume that like many many single people - part of your divorce had to do with different ideas about parenting.  If it is ok to respect his punishment of taking away the computer for an extended period then what is it not ok to respect?  If he hits them and says their punishment should be that you give them each a smack once per day for the next week will you do that?  Where do you draw the line? 

 

Of course hillymum you know what I'll say.  Don't speak to him about this in front of the kids.  Get the computer back by speaking to him only about that one issue - let him know he can punish them how he wants on his time and that next time you will send them without the computer so that they will continue to have their punishment at his house. Tell him at his house he can do as he pleases and you will not ask him to punish them for you and vice versa.  Tell them that their dad is punishing them at his house.   and that at your house the computer will NEVER be taken away.  (Unless you are willing to agree that when you are a bad mom you will take away your own computer.).  That is my point of view.  I am a huge believer in unconditional parenting - which in this situation translates into no punishments and no rewards - they do not get prizes for being 'good' and do not get punished for being 'bad' nor do I use the words good boy bad boy or whatnot with them or threats or rewards for 'good' behavior.  (I love them unconditionally and I will not put conditions on their behavior - 'if you do x, y will happen to you".  Just play, have fun, live life, be "good", be "bad", be kids, scream, jump, play, cry, swear, be curious, ask questions, don't be scared to talk to me, drive me crazy but I'm not going to hurt you and I love you no matter what.  I'm not going to take away 'love' when I don't like your behavior.  I will ask you to change the behavior and work with you on that - but not by taking away some random thing that has nothing to do with anything and will only serve to let them know you are in power and they are your underlings.  my 2c.  (I know I'm harsh!!!)

 

I really hate your xh for putting you in that position.  It is very wrong and very manipulating of him. 

Certainly, you are entitled to your own theories and practices in parenting.  By and large, they sound very nice.  But your extremes are intellectually unreasonable.

 

Supporting your ex when he's not harming your kids (after all, generations of them achieved happiness without personal laptops) hardly forces you to support him when he's beating them!  Any sensible person can, indeed, discern some line between those two things.  Easily.  That I tolerate differences of opinion with my husband does not mean I'd tolerate it if he started hitting me. 

 

You profess total non-judgmentalism with regard to children (there is no "good" or "bad"), yet you express such superiority and harsh judgment of adults who don't think like you, that you accuse other parents of only loving their children conditionally, if they don't parent like you?  Wow.  Will your kids' childhoods prepare them for life in an adult world where even people as gentle as you may "really hate" them and think and say scathing things about them, if they don't ascribe to the "right" philosophies? 

 

The idea that taking away a child's laptop - or anything else - means you've "taken away your love" is profoundly insulting.  Under certain circumstances - with children of certain temperaments - your practice of asking kids to change their behavior, rather than taking "random" things away from them is, no doubt, best.  But what if I give my teen a car, then realize she's too immature to use it safely?  She's drinking and driving, being overtly reckless and endangering her life and others' (more than the average teen driver).  Some people might call it loving, to "punish" her by taking away the car until she shows more responsibility.  Some kids who know they've gotten off-track gain self-esteem from earning back a privilege.  If my gifted tween who dreams of going to a top-notch university seems so distracted by video games, You Tube, texting his friends and listening to his iPod that he stops managing his time and his grades plummet, some might call it loving to limit his time with the electronics - or take them away altogether - until he gets back on track.  Not on-track with some arbitrary goal I've set, for him to flatter me; but on-track with his own potential and his own professed dreams.  If adults aren't meant to have greater wisdom and insight than children, to guide and protect them - sometimes even from themselves - then why are we here?  Why don't we leave our young at birth, to raise themselves?

 

I don't know all the ins and outs of the OPs situation with her ex.  But I've seen kids use electronics to tune people out, to be rude and mean, to avoid putting any effort or creativity into entertaining themselves or interacting with their family members.  I can think of many situations where a decent, reasonable person could consider it loving and appropriate to make kids spend some time without their laptop.  And it's necessarily the dad's fault that the kids misbehave, because he doesn't provide enough entertainment?  Only a few generations ago, a normal child might own precious few toys and could have a great time pretending random household items - or things in the yard - were dolls, soldiers, whatever.  They made up their own games, invented stories for each other, did puzzles.  There are great cognitive skills to be honed, in all of that.  And none of them require Dad providing a bunch of stuff.  The stuff does not, in fact, embody a parent's love...nor is it responsible for children's behavior.

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#9 of 13 Old 08-28-2012, 04:46 AM
 
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Certainly, you are entitled to your own theories and practices in parenting.  By and large, they sound very nice.  But your extremes are intellectually unreasonable.

 

What I find to be intellectually unreasonable is forcing your parenting style in the other parent's home.  My house, my rules.  My ex's house, my ex's rules. 

 

And if he expects me to enforce a punishment of his that encroaches on my time, he better get my agreement FIRST.  If he doesn't, oh well.  BTW, when I discipline the kids, IF it falls into his time, I will get his AGREEMENT first.  Or I change it to where it is only on my time. 

 

You may want to have the same rules as your ex and that is your prerogative.  But that doesn't mean that someone else is wrong for not doing so.   Nor does it mean that they are intellectually unreasonable. 

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#10 of 13 Old 08-28-2012, 11:20 AM
 
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What I find to be intellectually unreasonable is forcing your parenting style in the other parent's home.  My house, my rules.  My ex's house, my ex's rules. 

 

And if he expects me to enforce a punishment of his that encroaches on my time, he better get my agreement FIRST.  If he doesn't, oh well.  BTW, when I discipline the kids, IF it falls into his time, I will get his AGREEMENT first.  Or I change it to where it is only on my time. 

 

You may want to have the same rules as your ex and that is your prerogative.  But that doesn't mean that someone else is wrong for not doing so.   Nor does it mean that they are intellectually unreasonable. 

Goodmom:  Just to clarify, I wasn't calling your thoughts intellectually unreasonable.  I'm sorry if it came across that way.  I was addressing the other responder, whom I had quoted.  And I didn't think everything she said was unreasonable, just the extremism.

 

I quite agree with you that, ideally, neither parent should make rules or consequences the other parent will be expected to follow through on, without discussing it first.  In imperfect reality, however, every parent sometimes finds him/herself in a hectic situation where the kids are acting up and we give a rule we want them to follow, or impose a consequence we think is appropriate, without thinking through all the parameters.  It's not always possible to call and consult with the other parent, in the heat of the moment.  That doesn't necessarily make the rule or consequence wrong, just awkward to discuss with the other parent, after the fact.  

 

Plus, your ex might have major trouble with the kids Sunday afternoon, shortly before he has to take them back to your house for the next week and a half.  If he gives them a consequence that ends as soon as they see you and resumes 10 days later, when they get back to his place, it will mean nothing to the kids.  By the time they get back to his place, they won't remember the behavior that caused him to take away the laptop.  Your life is completely separate from your ex's.  But your kids aren't completely separate people, with completely separate lives that go into suspended animation when they switch between households.  Sometimes, looking at things from the kids' perspective and what they need to learn means letting lessons or activities cross that threshold between Mom's and Dad's.

 

FWIW, I think the way you decided to handle it was just fine.  I thought the other poster's idea, of undermining your ex by telling your kids, "At MY house, you'll NEVER have your computer taken away, because *I* love you unconditionally!" is extreme and short-sighted.  It necessarily implies that their dad DOESN'T really love them.  I think it's really confusing and hurtful to kids, when one parent is so bent on showcasing the superiority of their parenting that they poison the kids' minds and attitudes toward the other parent.  But it doesn't sound like you did that.  You were frustrated with your ex, but handled it in a balanced way that focused on the kids - not just what they want, but what they need to learn.


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#11 of 13 Old 08-28-2012, 11:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I just want to say I greatly appreciate Rockys advice on how to handle interactions with my ex. I don't always agree with what she has to say, but her advice is worth listening to. While I am very much a gentle parent I do discipline my children, put them in time outs and remove toys/electronica or limit time with such things. Rocky has strong opinions on certain subjects as do we all. She voices them freely, but I do not feel she does so to state her way is right and any other way is wrong. She just states her perspective on things. Take from her what is usful or applicable to you, and let the rest go. We aren't all going to agree with everything everyone says but there is no need for anyone to be offended or to feel attacked, or to get defensive and attack anyone. We are all here for support because we are dealing with issues no one should have to deal with on their own, let alone be fighting with the other parent over.

 

 

Hugs to you all and thank you for your comments!

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#12 of 13 Old 08-28-2012, 02:11 PM
 
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I just want to say I greatly appreciate Rockys advice on how to handle interactions with my ex. I don't always agree with what she has to say, but her advice is worth listening to. While I am very much a gentle parent I do discipline my children, put them in time outs and remove toys/electronica or limit time with such things. Rocky has strong opinions on certain subjects as do we all. She voices them freely, but I do not feel she does so to state her way is right and any other way is wrong. She just states her perspective on things. Take from her what is usful or applicable to you, and let the rest go. We aren't all going to agree with everything everyone says but there is no need for anyone to be offended or to feel attacked, or to get defensive and attack anyone. We are all here for support because we are dealing with issues no one should have to deal with on their own, let alone be fighting with the other parent over.

 

 

Hugs to you all and thank you for your comments!

Yes to all of that!  If you want me to read your e-mail by the way please post it in the lounge. 

 

I love that we can have open discussion and love to hear what everyone has to say.  I don't want to have to be worried I'm going to offend someone every time I open my mouth but I REALLY want to help and I REALLY want your help (all of you) in the form of how you do things and what your opinions are.  These are only opinions and if I have to worry that I said everything politically correctly it would be really hard to have a genuine dialog.  In vocalminority's last post you are taking my thoughts and putting words in my mouth and taking what you perceive to be my position and actually making it extreme and then calling it extreme.  Really not what this was about and not at all what I'm about.  It's about us trying to help eachother through a difficult situation, bouncing ideas off one another.

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#13 of 13 Old 08-28-2012, 02:24 PM
 
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VocalMinority, another facet of this, iirc, is that hillymum's ex is an asshat.  So what might seem logical co-parenting may not always be that way with him.  It is great advice, whether parenting unconditionally or with limits, to discuss the parameters of consequences with your ex before imposing them.  I don't extend consequences to my ex's house, because he could not discipline the kids when we were married without being verbally abusive.  His answer to not being abusive is to just not discipline them at all, unfortunately.

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