Punishment-free parents: need help with a biggie - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 83 Old 04-26-2009, 09:07 PM
 
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my ds who is nearly 6 just smashed a sliding glass door even though I remind him constantly not to hit it. This is severly financially constraining. We dont have the money. Well, unless we want to give our car back.
What on earth are you going to do? how do you close the door now and keep your family safe? That is horrible.

Katherine, SAHM to 2 little princes
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#62 of 83 Old 04-26-2009, 09:12 PM
 
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Its nice outside now so not a big deal for tonight. I dont know what we are going to do yet.

My problem with "punishment free" is that my kids act so badly and even though I see it as consequences of their enviornment, I am seen as neglectful by my dh and my parents (or aka-support system) want nothing to do with the kids if they dont say "how high" when asked to jump.

Its a situation that I dont really get how to handle because I really REALLY need help.
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#63 of 83 Old 04-26-2009, 09:30 PM
 
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Its nice outside now so not a big deal for tonight. I dont know what we are going to do yet.

My problem with "punishment free" is that my kids act so badly and even though I see it as consequences of their enviornment, I am seen as neglectful by my dh and my parents (or aka-support system) want nothing to do with the kids if they dont say "how high" when asked to jump.

Its a situation that I dont really get how to handle because I really REALLY need help.

That is such a popular refrain "no one likes my kids because they don''t say 'how high' when asked to jump". I think I've heard you say that more than once before. I think this goes well beyond your kids refusing to ask "how high". Your son just destroyed a sliding glass door which had the potential to actually kill him in his effort to destroy it. I too would likely consider that neglectful because in clinging to this punishment free philosophy, you are not finding anything else that seems to be working to keep at least your son out of danger.
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#64 of 83 Old 04-26-2009, 09:46 PM
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((hugs transformed)) My mom was severly punished groing up and she one purposely smashed her hand through a window cutting her arm open. Your lack of punishment is not the cause for your 6yo acting like a 6yo.

That being said, and also in regards to the OP, I agree with the posters who said to put away the things you don't want ruined and increase supervision. Reality is we can't watch our children every second of the day, but I find the real damage is done when I have been looking the other way for too long. In the moment when I stop to evaluate my anger I realize the person I am most upset with it myself.
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#65 of 83 Old 04-26-2009, 09:49 PM
 
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((hugs transformed)) My mom was severly punished groing up and she one purposely smashed her hand through a window cutting her arm open. Your lack of punishment is not the cause for your 6yo acting like a 6yo.
That being said, and also in regards to the OP, I agree with the posters who said to put away the things you don't want ruined and increase supervision. Reality is we can't watch our children every second of the day, but I find the real damage is done when I have been looking the other way for too long. In the moment when I stop to evaluate my anger I realize the person I am most upset with it myself.
Shattering a sliding glass door after being told numerous times not to hit it is a "six year old acting like a six year old"?
I feel that it absolutely is not!
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#67 of 83 Old 04-26-2009, 10:12 PM
 
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Shattering a sliding glass door after being told numerous times not to hit it is a "six year old acting like a six year old"?
It is a dysregulated 6 year old who needs help regulating, not punishment.

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#68 of 83 Old 04-26-2009, 10:14 PM
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it's not you transformed. PM me if you need.

Do you think (or know) if your son has any sensory issues? The thing with my mom happened well after the age of 6. It's a terrible situation and I understand you want to find a solution, and I am sure with support you can (and I'd love to be part of that support for you) but what you describe could happen to anyone, from those who are gentle disciplined to those who are harshly punished (such as my mom)...

I have seen grown adults do these things. Heck, there are even some posters who have been numerous time to have some compassion and can't even manage to pull that off! And they are adults who are perfectly regulated! It's not you, please try to take to heart the things people are telling you from the heart, and leave the rest.
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#69 of 83 Old 04-26-2009, 10:14 PM
 
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It is a dysregulated 6 year old who needs help regulating, not punishment.
I didn't ever say he needed punishment. I only really said that she needs to figure out something that might actually work to help her children. It may be a shift in her philosophy that is the key.
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#70 of 83 Old 04-26-2009, 10:15 PM
 
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This is a very subjective topic.

Sometimes a child in a healthy discipline situation will do an innocent childish thing that has disastrous results. In that type of situation nothing will be gained by changing discipline tactics in response to what happened. Additionally, nothing can be artificially imposed by parents after-the-fact that will be more shocking and memorable to the child than *what happened*. If the child's behavior wasn't the result of the discipline situation in the home the best response is to be supportive of the child emotionally because typically such a child will be harboring a great deal of inner stress and upset over the unexpected result of their behavior.

There is a wonderful example of this in the book Mindful Parenting. Several adolescent boys who met during family vacation at a resort, got carried away with some horseplay and 'one upmanship' behavior. They ended up destroying the exterior of the recreation room wall. The patrons were horrified. They gathered around and waited for the parents of the boys to pick them up. Two of the boys were picked up. The dads screamed at them, shamed them, and took them back to their cabins under threat of a beating/grounding from all other vacation activities. The man telling the story (one of the boys himself at the time), recalls that when his father arrives, he stares at the damage, stares at the crowd, looks at his son, then gets in his car and leaves without a word. He returns with wallboard, nails, and tools, and stays up all night in the rec room repairing the wall. The next day he did not say a single word about it, and the family proceeded to enjoy their vacation. The boy in this situation was moved in a profound way by this reaction. It was the perfect response for that particular family. The boy never did anything like that ever again, and was deeply influenced by the lessons in wisdom, compassion, and forgiveness from his father.

My point is that yes, you can have a family dynamic, such that this kind of reaction, even for *big stuff* is powerful, wise, and effective.

But this is a real and subtle difference from a situation in which a child has a pattern of destructive behavior, and there is not an effective discipline dynamic in the home. In that situation, you have layers of issues that need to be addressed. It can sometimes be the case that it doesn't matter how you response to a big act of destruction--the child has emotionally detached from their behavior in that moment. The repair work there is going to happen between the destructive acts. Reconnecting the child emotionally to their behavior, and to discipline in the home, etc. is going to be found in all the smaller moments through the day. You have to lay the groundwork of success over small conflicts, in order to stay connected during an instance that is 'a biggie'.

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I am finally getting him tested for some things (not sure what yet-at the very beginning of the journey) I think maybe autism (PDD-NOS) But I dont really know. He has SOMETHING going on.

I have always "known" in my heart. But I have had untreated mental illness until recently and am just now getting the help I need. I am ready to transfer that "oxygen mask" over to my son now.
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#72 of 83 Old 04-26-2009, 10:20 PM
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that was so well put heartmama. I agree, some times people feel like their discipline has "failed" and so they need to do "more". Nope, you need to just keep doing what is right. Yes, sometimes new solutions need to be found, but a child doing a normal child thing does not mean you need to change your discipline tactics every 5 minutes. In fact, I would see that as more of a mistake in this case.

How did he react to what happened? I think its great you didnt shame him or punish him or use love withdrawal. what happened was probably lesson enough for him. And perhaps also a sign for you that there are some underlying issues that needs addressed.
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#73 of 83 Old 04-26-2009, 10:20 PM
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So glad you are starting the process! We are here for you and your son!
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#74 of 83 Old 04-26-2009, 10:29 PM
 
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This is a very subjective topic.

Sometimes a child in a healthy discipline situation will do an innocent childish thing that has disastrous results. In that type of situation nothing will be gained by changing discipline tactics in response to what happened. Additionally, nothing can be artificially imposed by parents after-the-fact that will be more shocking and memorable to the child than *what happened*. If the child's behavior wasn't the result of the discipline situation in the home the best response is to be supportive of the child emotionally because typically such a child will be harboring a great deal of inner stress and upset over the unexpected result of their behavior.

There is a wonderful example of this in the book Mindful Parenting. Several adolescent boys who met during family vacation at a resort, got carried away with some horseplay and 'one upmanship' behavior. They ended up destroying the exterior of the recreation room wall. The patrons were horrified. They gathered around and waited for the parents of the boys to pick them up. Two of the boys were picked up. The dads screamed at them, shamed them, and took them back to their cabins under threat of a beating/grounding from all other vacation activities. The man telling the story (one of the boys himself at the time), recalls that when his father arrives, he stares at the damage, stares at the crowd, looks at his son, then gets in his car and leaves without a word. He returns with wallboard, nails, and tools, and stays up all night in the rec room repairing the wall. The next day he did not say a single word about it, and the family proceeded to enjoy their vacation. The boy in this situation was moved in a profound way by this reaction. It was the perfect response for that particular family. The boy never did anything like that ever again, and was deeply influenced by the lessons in wisdom, compassion, and forgiveness from his father.

My point is that yes, you can have a family dynamic, such that this kind of reaction, even for *big stuff* is powerful, wise, and effective.

But this is a real and subtle difference from a situation in which a child has a pattern of destructive behavior, and there is not an effective discipline dynamic in the home. In that situation, you have layers of issues that need to be addressed. It can sometimes be the case that it doesn't matter how you response to a big act of destruction--the child has emotionally detached from their behavior in that moment. The repair work there is going to happen between the destructive acts. Reconnecting the child emotionally to their behavior, and to discipline in the home, etc. is going to be found in all the smaller moments through the day. You have to lay the groundwork of success over small conflicts, in order to stay connected during an instance that is 'a biggie'.

That was really what I was asking her to consider. There are potentially many underlying issues that likely need to be addressed before anything changes. It is unfair to a child who cannot regulate his behavior to be stuck in this dynamic.
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#75 of 83 Old 04-26-2009, 10:32 PM
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transformed I think your dynamic of unconditional love is excellent, and your son is lucky to have you! I am glad to hear you are also taking the steps necessary to learn what additional support he needs to be more regulated. You may need to incorporate more to meet your child needs, but you don't need to shift your philosophy

ETA: I am glad you pm'd! talk more soon, I hope!
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#76 of 83 Old 04-26-2009, 10:57 PM
 
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it's not you transformed. PM me if you need.

Do you think (or know) if your son has any sensory issues? The thing with my mom happened well after the age of 6. It's a terrible situation and I understand you want to find a solution, and I am sure with support you can (and I'd love to be part of that support for you) but what you describe could happen to anyone, from those who are gentle disciplined to those who are harshly punished (such as my mom)...

I have seen grown adults do these things. Heck, there are even some posters who have been numerous time to have some compassion and can't even manage to pull that off! And they are adults who are perfectly regulated! It's not you, please try to take to heart the things people are telling you from the heart, and leave the rest.
I don't think it's lack of compassion that made me inclined to ask if there may need to be a shift in her philosophy.
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#77 of 83 Old 04-27-2009, 12:07 AM
 
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I think a "neutral" natural consequence would be to discuss what happened, how it makes the parent feel, alternatives for what the child could have done instead, and then asking her to help clean up her mess. HOW is that negative or positive?
For a well attached child, making someone they love sad is definitely a negative consequence.

I'm not one who thinks all negative consequences are bad, and I definitely think that seeing that your actions hurt someone is often an appropriate consequence, but yes, most young kids will avoid hurting the people they love.
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#78 of 83 Old 04-27-2009, 12:30 AM
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gsd - i am not talking to you. anything you internalize is on your own terms.
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#79 of 83 Old 04-27-2009, 12:32 AM
 
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I don't spank, I don't do time outs, I don't do conventional "punishments" but I do think children do have to occasinally be told no, you cannot do that. You cannot destroy property. You cannot hurt other people. This behavior is unacceptable.

When my children do something wrong, I tell them "that behavior is not acceptable because..." and if their behavior made me upset or sad or even angry, I let them know that too.

I have no problem with my children feeling guilty. In fact, if they have done something wrong they should feel guilty. That is what I call "having a conscience."

And when they do show remorse for what they have done, I forgive them, and we move on, and they very rarely do the same (or similar) thing again.
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#80 of 83 Old 04-27-2009, 06:10 AM
 
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Sure, adults normally clean up messes they make. But they don't do it because someone else forces them to; they do it out of consideration for others. So if I want my kid eventually to clean up his own messes, I need to encourage him to develop consideration for others. I think punishment discourages, rather than encourages, the development of consideration.
I agree. The point of unconditional parenting or GD or whatever particular strain of non-punitive parenting you subscribe to is to invest in the relationship. I want my son to say "please" and "thank you" and "I'm sorry" because he feels those emotions, not because I told him those are the appropriate things to say in certain circumstances. I want him to abstain from writing on the walls (we haven't actually faced that problem yet) because he knows that there are more appropriate places to write. I want him to not touch certain things that are delicate or dangerous to him, because he recognizes that it isn't a good idea. Until he's capable of doing all the deep reflecting necessary to make these sorts of choices, I try to create an environment where he'll succeed (along the lines of not expecting him to do things that aren't developmentally appropriate for a 3.5 year old--no breakables, valuable furniture, we go out to eat when he's hungry and in a good mood, we have play dates when he's exhibiting communicative and sharing behavior--when he's having a hard time, we do something just the three or two of us, like yesterday we hiked a huge mountain and he was so focused on it the entire day that the only "incident" we had was over a lost walking stick that he wanted to turn around and go back for). And I try try try to always put the relationship first, not objects or formalities. Certainly he acts out, does things I don't like, and can be rude or inappropriate, but my response is to express my feelings about his behavior while simultaneously communicating that I love him no matter what. Often I request different behaviors, but I don't ever force him to do anything (like cleaning up a mess he made). It's my goal to put our relationship and his emotional well being first. Sure, it may be hard sometimes, but as Alfie Kohn says, getting your children to be compliant is a short term result. I want long term results: happy, emotionally strong and centered child, trusting relationship, etc.

One more thing, which I can't resist saying. If you must speed (and DH does, which I can't stand), please be careful. It's not just yourself that you're endangering. My sister was seriously injured in a car crash. Cars are such dangerous things!!! Please don't ever forget that when behind a wheel. It shouldn't be just the fear of a ticket that compels us to drive safely. Life is really fragile.
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#81 of 83 Old 04-27-2009, 09:58 AM
 
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I don't spank, I don't do time outs, I don't do conventional "punishments" but I do think children do have to occasinally be told no, you cannot do that. You cannot destroy property. You cannot hurt other people. This behavior is unacceptable.

When my children do something wrong, I tell them "that behavior is not acceptable because..." and if their behavior made me upset or sad or even angry, I let them know that too.

I have no problem with my children feeling guilty. In fact, if they have done something wrong they should feel guilty. That is what I call "having a conscience."

And when they do show remorse for what they have done, I forgive them, and we move on, and they very rarely do the same (or similar) thing again.
you can tell them until you are blue in the face but that doesnt make them observe a rule.
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#82 of 83 Old 04-27-2009, 10:00 AM
 
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I don't think it's lack of compassion that made me inclined to ask if there may need to be a shift in her philosophy.
Can you elaborate on your comments? I don't feel like they are making any sense.
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#83 of 83 Old 04-27-2009, 06:09 PM
 
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really? if it was a mistake and an expensive table, you wouldnt try to fix it but make him buy you a new one?



The OP said the marker wouldn't come off and if my husband did it, yes, he'd buy a new table or a lot of table cloths to cover it up!
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