Punishment: is it ever necessary? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums
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#61 of 188 Old 02-26-2007, 03:23 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Deva33mommy View Post
1 a : to impose a penalty on for a fault, offense
Using this definition, then I guess I have to say I absolutely punish. My daughter bites me while breastfeeding (fault), then I stop breastfeeding (penalty). If they use a toy to throw it at someone (fault), then they lose the toy (penalty).

It seems to be a very fine line between imposed consequences and punishment. But reading that definition of punishment makes me believe that they are one and the same.
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#62 of 188 Old 02-26-2007, 03:27 PM
 
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How do you enforce rules without *some* form of punishment?
I think this comes down to different ways of viewing children. If you view kids as innately social beings that want do the socially acceptable thing if they are able to, then you see "breaking a rule" as something that needs guidance and help.

"Children need to see that they are assumed to be well-intentioned, naturally social people who are trying to do the right thing and who want reliable reactions from their elders to guide them." TCC Intro xv

I do assume ds is well intentioned. IF it happens that he hits the dogs, there is a reason. If he was hitting because she was too close to him, then that is a valid reason. His action is what is not acceptable. So I find him a different way to solve the problem of the dog being too close to him.

Like I said earlier (or maybe in the other thread) the rule about "no harming others" is definitely "enforced" here, and it is very rare that ds does something that is disrespectful to the dogs or to people.
But punishment is not a good way of enforcing it. It's counter productive, ime.

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#63 of 188 Old 02-26-2007, 03:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Deva33mommy View Post
eta- if we go by the definition of punishment "1 a : to impose a penalty on for a fault, offense, or violation b : to inflict a penalty for the commission of (an offense) in retribution or retaliation"
then for a person to feel they were being "punished" they'd have to know that there was an *offense* that they were being punished for.
If running away in the store, or wanting to stay at the park, isn't treated as an *offense* then the resulting action can't be a punishment, can it? (honestly asking that question- it was a thought that just now occured to me, so I haven't thought much on it)
I guess to me, it really only counts as a punishment if you are doing it as a penalty for doing something wrong. There are still going to be plenty of times when you impose your will on a child. Let's say you never ever did that gratuitously, and always took the child's wishes and needs into account. There are still times when the child's behavior threatens his own safety or the safety of others, is anti-social, or otherwise harmful. You can't just let your child be in danger. As a parent, you are going to be in situations in which you impose your will on the child's, and make him do something he doesn't want to do--or stop him from doing something he does--for his good or for someone else's.

which is one of the things that really sucks about being a parent, I think!

I think there is a good analogy to be made with how we deal with adults who break the law. We have to stop people from doing things that are dangerous to themselves or to others. Punishment might not work to do that.

Sometimes it seems like teaching people a lesson that they were wrong is the goal. It's not the goal. The goal is to stop bad behavior. That's why it makes sense to reassess which behaviors are deterred by the threat of punishment (say, speeding in your car) and which behaviors seem to increase, or not decrease, with the imposition of punishment (rates of recidivism to prison.) Let's study it and see if it really works with adults, but keeping in mind that we are not punishing adults for its own sake, even if it works to punish (which it might not!)

I look at a friend of mine whose daughter, also just turned four, sometimes manifests some really difficult behavior. When she does, her mom gives her a time out, and it looks really ineffective! I think we get into this bag of "do you understand what you did wrong" when really the point is to say "no, you aren't hitting me, that is stopping right now." The time out with the lecture might look more humane, but I don't want my kid having to decide not to hit me because if he does he'll get punished.

There are some behaviors that we have to interrupt and it can't be contingent on a deterrent.

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#64 of 188 Old 02-26-2007, 03:32 PM
 
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#65 of 188 Old 02-26-2007, 03:35 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Deva33mommy View Post
I think this comes down to different ways of viewing children. If you view kids as innately social beings that want do the socially acceptable thing if they are able to, then you see "breaking a rule" as something that needs guidance and help.

"Children need to see that they are assumed to be well-intentioned, naturally social people who are trying to do the right thing and who want reliable reactions from their elders to guide them." TCC Intro xv

I do assume ds is well intentioned. IF it happens that he hits the dogs, there is a reason. If he was hitting because she was too close to him, then that is a valid reason. His action is what is not acceptable. So I find him a different way to solve the problem of the dog being too close to him.

Like I said earlier (or maybe in the other thread) the rule about "no harming others" is definitely "enforced" here, and it is very rare that ds does something that is disrespectful to the dogs or to people.
But punishment is not a good way of enforcing it. It's counter productive, ime.

I'm still confused. I'll try to think of an example from my end.

Ummm, ok. Say my kids are in bed for the night. They share a room. One is acting goofy which is keeping the other up. It's not fair to the other kid to have to be kept up when he's tired so I will say "goofy child, if you do not settle down, I will have to bring tired child into my room so he can get some sleep". Goofy chld sees this as a punishment (in that he will have to remain in his room alone while the other gets the 'treat' of sleeping in Mama's bed. This is, to me, a logical consequence being imposed by me, but is viewed probabl as a sort of punishment by some (including goofy child, I would think).

Also, the kids acting awful towards eachother and me when we are planning a day of fun somewhere where they need to be somewhat in control (like, say, the museum). they really want to go to the museum but I cannot take two crazy, hyper, fighting kids to the museum with me because that would be a living hell. So I tell them that they need to mellow out a little bit or we can't goto the museum. Threat? Bribe? Punishment if they can't calm themselves and we don't end up going?

In all cases, I do not doubt the innate goodness of my children, nor do I doubt their desire to be social etc. Not for a second. But in my opinion, teaching them by enforcing certain codes of behaviour (or rules, if you will) is helping then to express their inate goodness and have a happy social life.
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#66 of 188 Old 02-26-2007, 03:40 PM
 
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I think we mean different things by Punishment".....

I see punishment and coercion as two different things. Coercion is me putting a kid in a stroller even though they'd rather walk. Punishment is me taking away their toys for a week because I didn't pick them up.

Just because something is an aversive experience doesn't mean it is a punishment, not does it make it undesirable.
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#67 of 188 Old 02-26-2007, 03:43 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mamajama View Post
How do you enforce rules without *some* form of punishment?
I don't "enforce" rules just as DC don't "enforce" rules.

We actually don't call them "rules", we call them "things that make sense". We come up with them together and if one of us forgets or slips or what-have-you, others remind him/her.

So it's not like I am the "rule maker" in the family. I am the one who starts the dicussion/introduction/modeling of principles.

One rule we have for the rules - they HAVE to make sense. And if it makes sense, then why not do it?

If some society rules don't make sense to DC - it's my responsibility to explain it in the way that they do.
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#68 of 188 Old 02-26-2007, 03:44 PM
 
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i just don't see why i'd need to punish them for breaking the rules. like-your example-ds doesn't get his shoes on and come to the car, ok, i'll help him and explain why it would make it a lot easier on me if next time he'd just put his shoes on when i asked him to, because i'm really in a rush today. or, ds getting into his sister's space. i would encourage dd to go somewhere else (ie, the other side of the couch, or her room, wherever she could keep doing whatever it was she wanted to do.) while i tried to get the boy involved in something else while i'm telling him hey, sissy needs space man. give her a break and we'll play with her later. (he totally idolizes her so this IS something we deal with.)

i have to admit i only skimmed this thread but i *think* i did see alfie kohn mentioned by the same people who use time out and that's kind of funny to me. he calls time out "love withdrawl."
I don't use time out but I think it's ok to reference and appreciate some of Alfie Kohn's work without needing to subscribe to the whole package.

Question from an almost insane mother (!): What if they simply flat out freaking refuse to go along with gentle, intelligent, logical suggestions. My 4yr old is nuts, I tell you. He is always one step ahead in order to get his way. He tricks me! He flat out refuses to do as I say. He will be uncompliant simply for the sheer joy of being non-compliant. Of course, this only really happens if he needs to go poo (sounds weird, I know, but I've noticed it to be true) or is tired or has some other basic needs like huger or attention fueling him. I understand that. But then I am required to somewhat forcefully intervene because although we all have needs that are sometimes not immediately met, that does not give us leave to walk around destroying people's lego creations and otherwise causing a ruccus. So I will have to remove little guy from the situation. He is not happy about being removed--in fact he is kicking and screaming and I need to take him to his room so I can figure out what's going on for him. So it seems like I'm punishing him. It would be viewed even that I am giving hima t ime out. But really, I'm just dealing with things. I don't know what happened to the question but it's implied in the above rampage.
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#69 of 188 Old 02-26-2007, 03:46 PM
 
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I don't "enforce" rules just as DC don't "enforce" rules.

We actually don't call them "rules", we call them "things that make sense". We come up with them together and if one of us forgets or slips or what-have-you, others remind him/her.

So it's not like I am the "rule maker" in the family. I am the one who starts the dicussion/introduction/modeling of principles.

One rule we have for the rules - the HAVE to make sense. And if it makes sense, then why not do it?

If some society rules don't make sense to DC - it's my responsibility to explain it in the way that they do.
That makes total sense and is basically how we run as well. But my kids are still pretty young. What would you do if you set a time for your child to come home and they just simply blew it off and stayed out an extra few hours?
Or if they drove your car after having a few drinks?
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#70 of 188 Old 02-26-2007, 03:49 PM
 
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Good points, but I think there is a need for punishment. If our children were always kept that liberal and free, they would run amok! They must understand that there are consequences for poor actions and decisions.
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#71 of 188 Old 02-26-2007, 03:53 PM
 
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#72 of 188 Old 02-26-2007, 04:03 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mamajama View Post
What would you do if you set a time for your child to come home and they just simply blew it off and stayed out an extra few hours?
I would get upset I guess. In 19 years (that's how old my oldest is) he "blew it off" once, and as he explained later - he just forgot. Dancing, girls, friends - he did not think about calling mom (I can relate, lol)
He basically started crying (don't tell him I told you!) when he came home and realized that DH and I were worried sick and started to call local police because we did not know his whereabouts.

Punishment would not do much good in such situation...

Oh, and I don't set a time. They do. I ask "what time are you going to be home? Call me if there is a delay or you need a ride". End of story.

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Or if they drove your car after having a few drinks?
Again, there is not much *I* can do is there? If they are h*ll bend on putting themselves in dangerous situation (remember, I am talking about OLDER kids!), they will, not matter how much I "punish" them. Plus, I can not even conceive of a punishment I can impose on a 5'11" male who has been stronger and in many cases smarter than me for quite some time.

The reality here is - *he* would be the one telling us to call him if DH and I go out and have a drink, so *he* can come and pick us up. That's what has been modeled to him since the get-go.

So basically, what I am after is self-control, not parent-imposed control. Judging by my youth and Dh's youth and many stories from our friends - parent imposed control isn't worth much. We honestly did way more "wrong stuff" behind our parent backs than I see DS doing.

And I also remember, that no matter what - there is no iron-clad guarantee. We (the parents) can only try to do our best.
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#73 of 188 Old 02-26-2007, 04:06 PM
 
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I'm bopping in and out of this thread because my life is picking up speed, but here's my thought on rules. My kids are waaaay too creative thinking up crazy stuff to do for rules to work in my house. Although, don't sit on your sister's head is happening often enough with the 2 year old sitting on the six year old's head anytime she lays down that it might be tantamount to a rule.

We work together to make our nutty days go. As much as the consequence folks can't imagine how our days work, I can't get my mind around the kinds of conflicts other people have to contend with. When somebody has an obstructing kind of day at our house, it usually means that that person is feeling bad in some way. (That person is as likely to be me as the 2 year old.) We work to make contact and connect. We use verses and songs to ease transitions and try to arrange scheduling to minimize strain. If I notice that a transition is causing trouble in some kind of consistent way, I work to find a way to ease the trouble.

I'm reminded of how I found MDC in the first place. I was back at work after my 3 month maternity leave. dd1 had always had some trouble with nursing. She wasn't thrilled with the bottle, so just began reverse cycling. If I'd had cio in my "toolbox" you bet your bippy she'd have been wailing in another room for a good long time. As it was, I haunted kellymom and the LLL site looking for answers...I found MDC on a google search on increasing supply when pumping during the day. All the advice I could get boiled down to: Quit your job or get used to it. I couldn't quit my job, so I did get used to it. But I didn't cio. And now, I wouldn't trade 1 little minute of those quiet, close times in the middle of the night playing with my incredible infant.

I want to feel that way about now when she's 12. I know it was worth my sacrifices then. I'll betcha taking the road I'm taking now will leave me with incredible memories of when she was only 6. And if it doesn't, at least our family has had a lot of fun together.
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#74 of 188 Old 02-26-2007, 04:13 PM
 
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I really think the child's perception is the key to whether something is punishment. For some reason, the way I interact with ds works fine and he rarely is angry or resentful. But when my dh apparently does things in a similar way, ds gets angry as if he were punished.

A child knows when you enforce personal boundaries that you aren't being punitive. He knows when you tell him he needs to come now because you have to stop at the store on the way home to pick up supplies for dinner that you aren't being punitive. The child might not be happy but that doesn't equal punished.

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#75 of 188 Old 02-26-2007, 04:18 PM
 
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My 4yr old is nuts, I tell you. He is always one step ahead in order to get his way. He tricks me! He flat out refuses to do as I say. He will be uncompliant simply for the sheer joy of being non-compliant. Of course, this only really happens if he needs to go poo (sounds weird, I know, but I've noticed it to be true) or is tired or has some other basic needs like huger or attention fueling him. I understand that.
I don't think age 4 counts. That year is merely about survival with the least amount of damage. I am so glad ds is not 4.

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#76 of 188 Old 02-26-2007, 04:19 PM
 
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I also question whether so many things ought to be punishable offenses. Perhaps people should be free to decide for themselves whether or not to wear a motorcycle helmet or smoke marijuana.
You're free to not wear a motorcycle helmet as long as you have the resources to pay for your medical treatment in case of an accident. And I mean PAY. Out of pocket. Because your not wearing a motorcycle helmet has the definite possibilty of creating major medical bills and costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. And I don't mean insurance, because if you have medical insurance and are in a horrific accident and need months of rehabilitation, then you make my insurance rates go up. Why should your freedom of decision impinge upon my ability to provide medical care for my family? (Because it will!)

While I agree that punishment doesn't seem to be that effective for some adults, I DO think the greater good is served because enough people WILL take this seriously to do what the law says. Is it the most effective solution. Certainly not. But is it one I'm willing to live with.

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#77 of 188 Old 02-26-2007, 04:20 PM
 
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We work together to make our nutty days go. As much as the consequence folks can't imagine how our days work, I can't get my mind around the kinds of conflicts other people have to contend with. When somebody has an obstructing kind of day at our house, it usually means that that person is feeling bad in some way. (That person is as likely to be me as the 2 year old.) We work to make contact and connect. We use verses and songs to ease transitions and try to arrange scheduling to minimize strain. If I notice that a transition is causing trouble in some kind of consistent way, I work to find a way to ease the trouble.
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#78 of 188 Old 02-26-2007, 04:39 PM
 
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I do assume ds is well intentioned. IF it happens that he hits the dogs, there is a reason. If he was hitting because she was too close to him, then that is a valid reason. His action is what is not acceptable. So I find him a different way to solve the problem of the dog being too close to him.
I get that. But what if he hits the dogs not because they are too close to him, but because he is mad at YOU for telling him that we are eating dinner in 5 minutes and thus there is not enough time to play firefighter or whatever before dinner. (Substitute younger sister for the dog, and that's what you have in our house.)

Yes, I realize the underlying problem is that (a) he's hungry (and probably tired) and (b) he's angry at me and that he needs to learn more acceptable ways of expressing his anger.

HOWEVER, when he's busy walloping his sister is NOT a teachable moment. I also need to separate him from his sister to prevent her from getting hurt.

So, I take him up to his room. And he FREAKS out. Doesn't matter if I stay there or leave him. If I try to hold him, he freaks out even more and acts like I'm torturing him (it probably feels that way to him).

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We still need to look at the consequences to the child, from the child's point of view, not the parent's. If the child is protesting and tantrumming its probably an indication that this is aversive experience for the child.
I'm sure that our taking our son to his room when he hits is aversive to him. I've quit calling it 'time in' because to him it's clearly a 'time out'. I stand in the doorway until he calms down. Sometimes I shut the door to keep him in his room. (if he goes out in a fury, he'll return to the behavior, so we do need to wait until he's mellowed a bit.) Sound like a timeout? Sure does for me. And I also know that on rare occasions, it's the ONLY thing that works to break the cycle. We only do it for hitting, and that doesn't happen that often.

I'm actually OK with it. Is it ideal? It is a relatively logical consequence. If you hurt someone, you can't be around them until you can control yourself. Is it punishment? According to some definitions, yes. I am removing him from somewhere he wants to be to prevent him from doing something that's not acceptable.

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#79 of 188 Old 02-26-2007, 05:16 PM
 
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You're free to not wear a motorcycle helmet as long as you have the resources to pay for your medical treatment in case of an accident. And I mean PAY. Out of pocket. Because your not wearing a motorcycle helmet has the definite possibilty of creating major medical bills and costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. And I don't mean insurance, because if you have medical insurance and are in a horrific accident and need months of rehabilitation, then you make my insurance rates go up. Why should your freedom of decision impinge upon my ability to provide medical care for my family? (Because it will!)
Maybe we should just make motorcycles illegal. And private cars, for that matter, or at least severely restrict their use. That should save us all a lot of money. And maybe the government should come up with a way to regulate everyone's diet, so society doesn't have to pay for all the health problems caused by some people's poor eating habits. And maybe it should be illegal for teenagers and women over 40 to get pregnant, because their pregnancies are more likely to result in costly medical complications.

I'm just not sure financial considerations should be primary when we're deciding to restrict people's freedom. (I'm also not sure I would say helmet laws are a bad idea. And I do actually think severe restrictions on car use might be a good idea.)
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#80 of 188 Old 02-26-2007, 05:45 PM
 
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I guess I shouldn't make a blanket statement like "all punishment is counter productive" when I can see how *sometimes* a logical consequence might be the best thing that one can do in a particular situation.

I still don't think punishment is necessary, though.

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I get that. But what if he hits the dogs not because they are too close to him, but because he is mad at YOU for telling him that we are eating dinner in 5 minutes and thus there is not enough time to play firefighter or whatever before dinner. (Substitute younger sister for the dog, and that's what you have in our house.)
I'd physically stop the hitting. I'd tell him that if he's angry at me to tell ME.
In our house, ds doesn't have to come to the table and eat (though I do want him to sit if he is eating), so if he wants to keep playing and not eat, that is fine. I DO tell him that *I* am going to eat. No one is going to keep playing with him. It has never happened that he is still playing after the food has been on the table for 1 minute. He decides to come eat.

So if I pretend that coming to eat as soon as dinner is ready, is important to me...what would I do? hmmm...I don't know!
IF it came down to the point that he kept going back to hitting her, and I could see that he wasn't going to stop unless something changed, I'd try a time-in type thing. Ds would most likely agree if I phrased it in a positive type way. If not, I really can't say what I'd do.

I have to say though, that a time out with a seriously unhappy child sounds like it would be more disruptive to my dinnertime enjoyment than allowing him to continue playing, then coming when he's ready.

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#81 of 188 Old 02-26-2007, 05:53 PM
 
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I would get upset I guess. In 19 years (that's how old my oldest is) he "blew it off" once, and as he explained later - he just forgot. Dancing, girls, friends - he did not think about calling mom (I can relate, lol)
He basically started crying (don't tell him I told you!) when he came home and realized that DH and I were worried sick and started to call local police because we did not know his whereabouts.

Punishment would not do much good in such situation...

Oh, and I don't set a time. They do. I ask "what time are you going to be home? Call me if there is a delay or you need a ride". End of story.


Again, there is not much *I* can do is there? If they are h*ll bend on putting themselves in dangerous situation (remember, I am talking about OLDER kids!), they will, not matter how much I "punish" them. Plus, I can not even conceive of a punishment I can impose on a 5'11" male who has been stronger and in many cases smarter than me for quite some time.

The reality here is - *he* would be the one telling us to call him if DH and I go out and have a drink, so *he* can come and pick us up. That's what has been modeled to him since the get-go.

So basically, what I am after is self-control, not parent-imposed control. Judging by my youth and Dh's youth and many stories from our friends - parent imposed control isn't worth much. We honestly did way more "wrong stuff" behind our parent backs than I see DS doing.

And I also remember, that no matter what - there is no iron-clad guarantee. We (the parents) can only try to do our best.
my mother has always been like this also! we were always required to ask permission if she was around (if she had anything else planned we were not allowed to go otherwise it was mostly so she knew where we were) tell her where we were and leave a phone number. also what time we'd be home and if we weren't able to be home then we had to call BEFORE that time.

i blew her off one time and returned to find her so worried she was bawling. I never felt so bad in my life

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#82 of 188 Old 02-26-2007, 06:14 PM
 
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I think with our life, our family, our personalities, we need some imposed consequences.
For example, my 10 yo DS delights in causing his sister mental anguish. I usually give him three warnings and if he continues to taunt her he gets one of her chores for a day. Punishment? Yes. But I KNOW from experience with this kid, talking about why we don't taunt others won't work. He's trying to upset her- he wants to hurt her- yes, he will admit to that. I did have him in very GD freindly play therapy for a year and even the therapist ( who is generally anti-punsihment) felt this was reasonable.
There are also many more examples of the "simply insisting/coercion type things, like simply putting shoes on a child, putting him into the carseat, saying, "I will be happy to let you do X as soon as X is done" etc.
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#83 of 188 Old 02-26-2007, 06:35 PM
 
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I'm really interested in this type of thinking. I still don't see that as a punishment. I do see what people are saying, but it still doesn't set in my head as "carrying child out of the park" = punishment.
That is part of what is confusing me about including imposed consequences as punishment. You need to leave the park so you gently take the child with you out of the park. That is a consequence for the child not leaving on his own, but I don't equate that with punishment at all. It is an imposed consequence. It is not punishment.

Also, I don't know if the definition even matters. What do I care if someone thinks I am punishing my kid? At the end of the day, how my family feels and works together is the most important thing, not what label we use to define ourselves.
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#84 of 188 Old 02-26-2007, 06:53 PM
 
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Using this definition, then I guess I have to say I absolutely punish. My daughter bites me while breastfeeding (fault), then I stop breastfeeding (penalty). If they use a toy to throw it at someone (fault), then they lose the toy (penalty).

It seems to be a very fine line between imposed consequences and punishment. But reading that definition of punishment makes me believe that they are one and the same.
If someone punches you and you move away so the next blow doesn't hit you, would you consider that punishment? I sure wouldn't and I don't see how that it is different than taking a biting baby off the breast for a bit.
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#85 of 188 Old 02-26-2007, 07:14 PM
 
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If someone punches you and you move away so the next blow doesn't hit you, would you consider that punishment? I sure wouldn't and I don't see how that it is different than taking a biting baby off the breast for a bit.
The difference is that the baby is probably a lot more unhappy about being taken off the breast than the puncher is about you moving away. The baby may well be so unhappy about being taken off the breast that he stops biting so it won't happen again. Moving away from the punching guy isn't likely to bother him so much that he avoids punching you again.

But discussing what is or isn't technically a punishment probably isn't as useful as discussing what is or isn't a good discipline strategy, and why. It seems like everyone agrees taking the biting baby off the breast is fine, whether or not they think it's a punishment, so it may not matter whether it is.
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#86 of 188 Old 02-26-2007, 07:30 PM
 
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I haven't read the entire thread, so I apologize if I'm repeating something somebody already said. (Hey, that rhymed. )

The behavioral definition of punishment is applying an unpleasant stimulus in response to a behavior you want to extinguish. When it comes to most children, I think that in most situations punishment is not only unnecessary, but often backfires. Plus, most punishments are carried out when the parent is angry. I've never seen this work to solve a behavior problem. That said, I'm basing my opinion on my observations of other families over the ten years I was a family therapist. Now I have my own child but she's only a year old, so discipline issues are pretty irrelevant right now! My main goals in raising her are that she grows up with a strong sense of self-respect and of empathy for others. So, punishment doesn't really fit in with that. Hopefully I'll be successful with other ways of shaping her behavior - praise, reward, modeling, etc. But again, I might be singing a different tune a few years from now! Speaking of behavior issues, little sprite is having a meltdown - gotta go....

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#87 of 188 Old 02-26-2007, 07:33 PM
 
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I don't use time out but I think it's ok to reference and appreciate some of Alfie Kohn's work without needing to subscribe to the whole package.
Yep, that's me. I think it was me delicious was referring to.

The whole "love withdrawal" thing: I read it, I found it interesting, I contemplated it. As it relates to my life, there are certainly ways I could do time out where my child would feel it as love withdrawal, and ways I can do it where this is not the vibe. I choose to use time out in the second way. I think we can get too fussy with our children, too worried about walking on eggshells, and I feel that Kohn while he has some great ideas is guilty of that.
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#88 of 188 Old 02-26-2007, 08:00 PM
 
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The behavioral definition of punishment is applying an unpleasant stimulus in response to a behavior you want to extinguish.
That is the best definition of punishment I've heard
It seems like the most helpful definition in deciding if something is or isn't punishment.
The definition does matter to me. Because I am anti-punishment. That's a part of me just like "I'm a mom" or "I'm unmarried and in a long term committed relationship" and "I'm crunchy" lol. I dunno. I like the labels I give myself. lol (I don't really care much what labels other people give me. Um, unless they are good. lol)
But I also agree that it is more useful to talk about if something is a useful discipline strategy or not.

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#89 of 188 Old 02-26-2007, 10:03 PM
 
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I think that punishment, consequences, discipline...and any other terms like that are just slightly different shades of gray for the most part. (I'm not getting into abuse and that sort of thing). Personally I think that the most important thing to consider no matter what you do is whether your child feels respected.

I believe myself to be a nonpunisher (for the most part) because, to me, the term punishment relays a sort of randomness to it. For example - you didn't clean your room, so I'm going to spank you. Or you're yelling so you need to sit in a time out chair. Or since you didn't come when I called you to leave the park there is no desert tonight.

We use time outs in our family, but I don't view them as really artificial punishment. If you're two and you're having a major tantrum, screaming and thrashing around in the middle of a board game your siblings are playing, I think it's time for you to take some time out and go cool down in another room. That can be with or without me. That can be 15 seconds or a half hour - whatever is appropriate. I don't arbitrarily assign a time to it...sometimes the second we leave the room the tantrum starts. Sometimes they just want to cuddle on my bed for a while. Sometimes they seriously want to be left alone for a while. My oldest gets frustrated easily. While I would like to talk to him about the way he's behaving, sometimes it just isn't feasable at a certain point in time. Sometimes I have to ask him if he needs to 'take some time'. He'll either tell me he does, and he goes up to his room (again, sometimes with me, sometimes not) and lays in his bed or plays or whatever until he's ready to deal with the situation. Sometimes the two oldest are just AT each other and I cannot deal with it and I ask that we all have some time. They separate, I get a few minutes peace to gather my thoughts and calm down.

Geez, it sounds like we do this all the time. But really, there is usually some reason behind the behavior and we get to the bottom of it. Hungry? Thirsty? Tired? Overstimulated? Annoyed cause your little sister won't leave you alone cause she's hungry? We just can't always get there right away with emotions flying.

I also use other consequences, lest you think that is the only thing in my parenting toolbox. But again, they aren't arbitrary; they aren't me thinking up ways to make my kids miserable when they misbehave to deter them from it. If there are toys all over the living room and we're expecting company and the kids won't pick them up they know that I will. However, because I usually have alot of other things that I need to do I probably won't have time to put them where they should be. Chances are I'll just grab a bag or a box, toss them all in and stick them away in a closet to be dealt with when I have time. If bedtime is dragging on and on and on (we have tried doing away with it and it just didn't work for us for reasons I won't get into here) and dd is not getting there until a half hour after it hits, she knows that I will be asking her to get ready a half hour earlier because there's only so many nights I can deal with a desperatly tired five year old who just can't stop crying (she gets VERY emotional when she's tired. Takes after me )

Anyways, I do think it is possible in an ideal world (one where moms are never sleep deprived, stressed out, or having to deal with evil reletives) to raise a child without punishment - based on what I view as punishment.
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#90 of 188 Old 02-26-2007, 10:49 PM
 
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The definition does matter to me. Because I am anti-punishment.
That's interesting - it almost sounds like you're saying you first decided you were going to be anti-punishment, and now you're figuring out exactly what punishment is so you can avoid doing it.

I'm interested in the definition mostly because it's hard to talk about this stuff with other people if we're all using the same word to mean different things. Unfortunately, I've realized I can't get everyone to use my definition, even though it's the correct one (basically the same one ACsMom gave.)

To go back to an older post (this thread is moving too fast for me!):
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Originally Posted by Deva33mommy View Post
I was thinking last night about this. It seems to me that the intent of the parent does have something to do with whether I consider something punishment or not. (I realize that is not what you were saying exactly, but hear me out...)
So if I pick up my ds when he runs away from me in the store, and my *intention* is to teach him to not run away next time by making the consequence of running away negative for him, it's not likely that I would be willing to work with him to make being held agreeable to him. That would seem more likely to be a punishment to me, and I would *assume* for my ds as well.
If I pick him up, and my SOLE intention is to keep him close to me to keep him safe, I have no desire for this interaction to "teach him a lesson" so that he'll be less likely to run away next time, I'm really likely to do everything I can to make the situation as positive for him as possible. That would not seem like punishment to me, and I would hope that ds doesn't experience it as punishment, even if it does suck for him.
Yeah, I agree that in these two examples the different intent makes one example a punishment and the other not - but it's because the different intent leads to slightly different actions. If you did and said exactly the same things in two different situations, but one time your intent was to punish and the other time your intent was only to keep him safe, it probably wouldn't make sense to say that the only time it was a punishment was the time you meant for it to be. But I'm sure most of the time different intent does lead to different actions (or tone of voice, or words.)
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