Do you punish? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

View Poll Results: Do you punish?
I typically use unrelated punishments, like timeouts and grounding. 7 6.09%
I typically use logical/related consequences. 23 20.00%
I am mostly non-punitive, but use unrelated punishments occasionally. 17 14.78%
I am mostly non-punitive, but use logical consequences occasionally. 40 34.78%
I do not punish (except perhaps for slipups, then I vow to do better next time) 21 18.26%
Other 7 6.09%
Voters: 115. You may not vote on this poll

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#31 of 43 Old 10-21-2010, 03:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mom2happy View Post
Leaving the playground if she was pushing someone was her "punishment"
I feel the same way about this as ssh and mamazee. It *could* be used as a punishment, or it could be non-punitive.

Originally Posted by kcparker View Post
I guess my perception is that punishment is done with the mindset that the child needs to "be taught a lesson," through being made to feel bad/shamed/guilty, rather than being taught through natural or logical consequences or through modeling. So, a timeout done because the situation needs to be defused can be a natural consequence, whereas a timeout meted out because the parent thinks the child needs to "pay" for an infraction are qualitatively different. The former says, "We all need to take a minute to cool down,"; the latter says, "You are a bad kid and I want you to go away from us until I say to come back."
Yep, you just put my thoughts into words.

When ds1 was little, when he started using an object in an unacceptable way (hitting the window with blocks, for example) and redirecting wasn't helping, I'd say "should we take away the temptation to do xyz?" He always agreed, I put it out of sight, and it was all good. So that's taking away something because it's being misused, but is clearly not a punishment.

Becky, partner to Teague, SAHM to Keagan (7yo), Jonah (2yo)

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#32 of 43 Old 10-21-2010, 06:38 PM
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Like other PP's, when I stop to think about it, I'm not really sure what punishment is. There have been times when we've had to stop activities because it was clear they weren't able to participate safely (running away, not following directions, etc...). I don't intend the stopping to be a punishment and try to frame it in a 'this isn't safe right now, we can try again tomorrow' way, but they might experience it as punishment.

But no time out chair or grounding or anything like that happens around here.

Mom to DD 10 and DS 8.
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#33 of 43 Old 10-21-2010, 06:53 PM
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I try to have punishments be related, but that is not always possible. My children just came off of a one week grounding due to their constant fighting.
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#34 of 43 Old 10-21-2010, 06:58 PM
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I prefer not to punish... but when *I* feel really angry about something, I'll often send my kids to their room or something, to keep myself from screaming/raging at them and just generally give us all space (and honestly when i didn't have a baby in the house *I* was often the one to walk away, but that's not always so easy anymore). So, I don't consider it a punishment, but it probably comes off as punish-y to my kids... *sigh*

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#35 of 43 Old 10-21-2010, 07:27 PM
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I said that we do not punish (except perhaps for slipups, then I vow to do better next time). Some people might say that we are mostly non-punitive, but use logical consequences occasionally.

As an example, our girls once made a huge mess in the bathroom when they were supposed to be brushing their teeth. They dumped out a whole bottle of shampoo. Caused a flood. Emptied a tube of toothpaste into the sink and smeared it on the wall and the towels. That night there were no bedtime stories.

I didn't feel that was a punishment though. We only had one bathroom, and it needed to be cleaned up for everybody else to use it. By the time I cleaned up the mess, it was way, WAY passed bedtime. If I had read stories after I cleaned up the mess the kids would have been up too late and been super cranky the next day. So, it could be a logical consequence that their actions caused me to use bedtime story time to clean up their mess, or it could be a natural consequence. It depends on your opinion regarding the urgency of the cleanup.

I will remove a child from a situation for inappropriate behaviour, but they are generally free to go back once they are ready to behave appropriately. Unless of course the real problem is something like tired or hungry, in which case we just address the root cause.

Julie - Mom to Elizabeth (Libby) age 6, Penelope (Penny) age 5, Elliott age 29 months, and Oscar who is 1 year old!
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#36 of 43 Old 10-21-2010, 08:28 PM
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I don't mind being considered punitive by mdc standards but I agree that time outs for violence are logical & related. Dd is 5 but SN and very severely speech delayed- time outs (or the threat of one) are the absolute only thing that will stop her from being violent. If she's going to start throwing every object she can put her hands on at me while I'm holding the baby, I can't remove every item from the house, but I can remove her to a safe space until she has calmed down.

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#37 of 43 Old 10-21-2010, 10:22 PM
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I would say non-punitive, but I don't see natural and logical consequences as punishment. I do enforce my boundaries, but all people (and animals) have a right to have and enforce boundaries. I also help my children learn to enforce their own boundaries. For instance, one of our boundaries is that video games must not be mistreated or result in fighting. I enforce that by terminating video game play when it becomes too rough or cranky. They can play again when they are ready to play respectfully. This is a logical consequence. If I grounded them for a week, either generally or specifically from the game, that is arbitrary, intended to "teach them a lesson" and punishment. If I allowed them to play roughly, the game would get broken and the natural consequence would be that they did not have a game to play. I use logical consequences when the natural ones are "too much" and the logical will have the same effect. It is permissive to just let them do whatever, or tag along behind them begging them to behave. Parents in my area tend to do either this or be very punitive.
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#38 of 43 Old 10-22-2010, 12:12 AM
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i cannot punish. i have a visceral reaction when i try to punish. my stomach really knots up.

dd is an EXTREMELY curious child. when she was young her punishable things were a result of her curiosity.

its always been her and me. i've never disciplined her when i know she is either tired or hungry. she just cannot listen.

i've always involved her in decision making. i follow the principals of 'non violent communication'. and so its really going against a lot of things to punish dd.

she has been mostly a good child even when she was little. her discipline esp. as a toddler were limits. and i made her understand why i have those limits. so she never really went against those limits. she has made messes. i joined in to explain her curiosity and then set limits to that. things like if she makes that kind of mess she needs to help clean up and that there are somethign she cant use in that manner and she needs to ask me before using it. explained i dont want it done again. and why. and she never did repeat it.

for some reason i have found even as a toddler (she did really well with words and talking. i think the talking helped sooth her. she has always reacted well to the sound of talking - very calming to her) she did ok.

sometimes though she keeps telling me mom you must punish me when i am bad. so i tell her let me know when you do something that i need to punish you and tell me how to punish you and i'll try.

recently she told me she'd rather i slap her than take her tv time away. we were having quite a conversation about it. we talked about what we prefer as punishment and sat back and neither of us could figure out when she was last punished.

now if i had more than one child i dont know what my answer would have been.

but really i have never really ever felt i had to use punishment with my child.

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#39 of 43 Old 10-22-2010, 12:34 AM
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Originally Posted by SpottedFoxx View Post
What do you mean by punish?

Do I strike my child? No.
Do I humiliate my child? No.
Do I offer consequences for actions (both good and bad)? Absolutely.

Originally Posted by oaktreemama View Post
I am non punitive though I might, if I were less than the perfect Mother I am, yell sometimes. And then I would be really sorry-IF I wasn't perfect.
heeheehee, if I weren't a perfect mother, I would also occasionally yell or declare that I am about to have an aneurism (hey, it's my less-than-perfect counterpart's inner drama queen, and it brings levity to the stress ), but would also be sorry and vow to make it right c:

Originally Posted by AAK View Post
I chose logical/related consequences, but to be honest I don't think of that as punishment. If I leave my library book in the yard and it gets wet, I am required to pay for it. Not as a "punishment" but simply to "make it right". That is how I think of my "consequences". They are there to "make it right" not to punish. If there isn't an appropriate or natural consequence. . . then we talk about what happened etc. A lot of times (with my older kids) I am able to identify the concern and they are able to take it upon themselves to "make it right".

At the same time, certain things come (as privledges) with responsibility. For example: my dd wants a cell phone. She does NOT need a cell phone. She is demonstrating responsibility first (through a prearranged agreement with me) to earn this. Once she does, she can LOSE the phone--it is outlined in the agreement. So, this example may illustrate punishment. However, I think of it as creating a situation for her to excel in. She knows beforehand what is expected of her to earn and maintain the priv. of having a cell phone. She is doing her part, and I will also do mine. I expect her to hold up to her end of the bargain throughout. If she doesn't, I will take the phone for a period of time--since we came up with this before hand (at her suggestion) I will consider it a related consequence if it happens. But, I could see how some would say it is punishment.


this exactly-- we parent quite similarly, Amy but I don't think what you describe is a punishment c:
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#40 of 43 Old 10-22-2010, 04:45 PM
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To be honest, I don't think that timeouts/groundings are "unrelated" or not logical/natural consequences for older kids, depending on what the offense was. So I put other.

I also tend to think of it as allowing my children to face consequences for their behavior choices. Though certainly I'm sure that some people would say that since they tend to be negative (at least in the eyes of the child in that moment) most people would say that's just a semantic difference.

For example, DD is responsible for putting on her dance clothing, getting her dance bag packed, and be ready to walk out the door by a certain time so that we can get to the studio on time for every class. I got tired of nagging her, because it a) didn't get her to move any quicker, was b) an invitation to a power struggle, and c) made us even more late as she scrambled, forgot stuff, cried and screamed and whined, ect. End result--a very rude late entrance to her dance class which disrupted it and annoyed her teacher, she was grumpy, and I was grumpy. So I told her that I was done with the nagging. I told her the time that she needed to be ready, or else I would not drive her that day. She procrastinated, I set a timer the last 15 minutes and put it in her room, she still poked around. The timer went off, and we were done. She was really upset, but we did not go. I wasn't angry or abusive, didn't restrict her from other activities, but you get the picture.

If my kids forget their lunch, they must take care of it by buying lunch at school and then paying me back out of their allowance for that week if they've already used up their 2xMonth mom-pays-for-school-lunch quota. They also may choose at any time to buy lunch at school with their own money.

If they start fighting and being abusive to each other in the car on our way to an activity or event, I turn the car around and we go back home. No screaming, no lecturing, no "I'm so disappointed", just action. No shaming or lecturing. If they ask why, I tell them the truth--I actually do care about how they act in public, I feel stressed and unsafe if I have to drive while I have people in the back of the car screaming at each other and trying to hit each other or throwing things, so I think it's best if we go home and do something else until we're all ready to go out.

My daughter has been struggling with being belligerent towards me off and on, as she navigates the whole 8-10 year old social dos and donts thing (the mean girls thing is starting sadly, so sometimes she wants to practice what she's being given on her brothers or dad or me). I am happy to coach her through talking about what's bothering her, but if she's just unloading a bunch of abuse at me, then she loses my chauffer services for the day, and I may choose to not hang out with her until she calms down. I suppose that is "punitive", but I think it's important for her to realize that she can't be verbally abusive towards people without consequences, as well as giving her tools for how to not damage relationships (once she calms down, we talk strategies, what triggered it, ect.). She has been "grounded" from all activities for up to a week because she refused to do the things that were expected in order to get out the door and/or decided to act out in a way that she knows will incur consequences. She is my kid who learns by testing. It's very stressful to parent, but I don't fault her for it--some kids are like that. I know that because I was one, and still learn best by testing.

So I guess I am dissatisfied by the choices because they seem more like segmented all or nothing. I have used time outs and grounding (defined by me as having to stay home instead of being able to go to an activity) but IMO they were logical, known consequences--and were given without engaging in power struggle or as revenge.

I think it's logical that if you hurl verbal abuse at someone and then demand that they take you somewhere, you're going to find that you might be disappointed. I also think that once the kids are older, it's perfectly logical that if you demonstrate that you are mean to someone, they may prefer to not engage you until you're more under control (the parental exception being that I will always respond to being asked for help to calm down, such as my presence once the verbal abuse stops, a hug, a backrub/hair petting, use of my cool gel pens/markers to write in her journal/on paper, ect.).
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#41 of 43 Old 10-22-2010, 04:53 PM
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Punishments can be logical and related. In fact, someone (can't remember who) wrote that the guidelines for punishments in gentle discipline had three Rs: they should be related, respectful, and something else I can't think of. Anyway, any negative consequence created purposely by a parent in an attempt to teach not to do something is punishment, but punishments can absolutely be gentle and related and logical.
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#42 of 43 Old 10-23-2010, 01:44 PM
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I think some people get tied up in the connotation of the word punishment, just at they do with the word discipline. If you grew up in my generation or before it probably has a very negative underpinning for you. Punishments involved violence, either physical, verbal or passive which aimed to strip you of the pride and arrogance that led you down the garden path in the first place.

Punishments when I was a kid ranged from a smacked bottom, hand or face to such delightful things as soap in the mouth or being grounded from using the telelphone/watching TV/riding my bike, etc. for a few days to a few months at a time. Punishments were frequently overeactive, illogical, and apart from the physical ones, next to impossible to enforce. They rarely taught me anything, and usually gave me plenty of time to plot out how not to get caught the next time.

So I while I do not have any hang ups with the word punishment, I can see how some people do. I worked for a school in Costa Rica that tried to do away with punishments and create a "non-punitive" system. First it was based on a ladder of pseudo consequences (meetings, talks, letters home, all well worth whatever infraction was made), but that proved to just be a synonym for ineffectual punishments leading up to eventual expulsion. Then they worked on a system of "Restorative Justice" far as I could tell it was just a fancy word for punishments that were meant to make the victim/s feel better and sometimes gave the rule-breaker some ownership in their punishment. But the semantics were SO important to so many of the students and staff I didn't want to burst their bubble and tell them so. Most of the time it just lead to writing a letter, openly apologizing via e-mail to the community, lots and lots of meetings to discuss the actions and eventually expulsion.

At the end of the day discipline is just about teaching people how to improve, be it as communicators, atheltes, or members of a society. Sometimes we need to use unpleasant consequences to teach people how to improve. If my students write a crap essay, we drill essay structures and they have to re-write it. They don't like it and they see it as a punshiment, but it makes them a better writer. To me that is very similar to when my son makes a mess of the living room and I have him clean it up. He doesn't like it and he definitely sees it as a punishment, but it makes him a more responsible member of the family.

I agree with mamazee, ideally punishments should be related, respectful and (taking a stab at the third R) reasonable. BUT we are human beings and as such have an innate urge to abuse our power of authority, so if occassionally, we do not follow those 3 Rs for whatever reason, if we scream unkind things at our children, or we see them coloring on the walls and decide they can't go to the park for three months, then perhaps it is time for us to discipline ourselves, give ourselves a time out and when we are ready, apologize and try a "take two".*

I think the mistake I make most as a parent is forgetting to model for my child how to take back poor choices and make things right, which ultimately I think is the goal of any form of discipline with regards to children, that they learn how to right the wrongs they commit.

*Take two is something we do in our house if someone wakes up grumpy or starts being rude. We say "Let's try that again 'Benjamin needs a snack-- Take Two'"

Rebekah - mom to Ben 03/05 and Emily 01/10, a peace educator, and a veg*n and wife to Jamie.
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#43 of 43 Old 10-23-2010, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by ssh View Post
I disagree. Stopping an activity if it becomes dangerous is just staying safe. Not letting my DD stand on the kitchen table isn't punishment either. Picking her up before she could run into the street also wasn't. Because none of these responses involve separate imposed penalties that are in retribution for a behavior. To give you a couple of definitions "Punishment is the authoritative imposition of something negative or unpleasant on a person or animal in response to behavior deemed wrong." , "a penalty inflicted for an offense or fault". Just stopping a dangerous activity isn't a separate penalty, it's just keeping everyone uninjured. Punishment would have been "you couldn't behave at the park so you can't have an already planned treat." or some other imposed penalty. To put it in adult terms, if you are stopped by a police person, asked to slow down and given a warning that's not punishment. The dangerous activity of speeding was stopped. If you are given a ticket and and then have your insurance rates go up that would be punishment.

Also young children often misbehave when they are stressed so if my DD couldn't play safely maybe she was too stressed to play right then anyway. Often she was hungry or feel asleep in the car when we'd have to leave. So I don't think leaving somewhere if a kid can't handle it is punitive. I know the times we've left stores or restaurants when my DD was younger, she really didn't mind leaving at all. I think it's being responsive to your child's needs.
I don't mean to nitpick but this is an incongruous analogy. Taking a child out of the park when they are being unsafe isn't at all warning them and asking them stop playing inappropriately.( BTW taking my son out of the park is totally something I have done and will always do if my son acts violently towards other kids) but...If the police in your analogy had said you could no longer drive on those roads and were now restricted to only the roads nearer your house, or that you could not drive for the rest of the day, THEN that would be the same thing. I think most of us would consider that a punishment for our poor driving choices. I would.

I agree that it is being responsive to your child's needs, but I think a punishment, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. My kid would definitely see it as punishment and scream the whole way home "I said I was sorry, I'm SOOOORRRYYYYY!!!! Please mooooommmmyyy PLEEEEEEEEASE go back to the park, I won't do it agaaaaaaiiiin. I promise!" So I would have a hard time arguing that it's not a punishment. I have no qualms with that though. I still need to keep him and other's safe, and that doesn't always mean keeping him happy.

Rebekah - mom to Ben 03/05 and Emily 01/10, a peace educator, and a veg*n and wife to Jamie.
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