Punishment: is it ever necessary? - Page 5 - Mothering Forums

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#121 of 188 Old 02-27-2007, 12:35 PM
 
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Oh, another really quick thought. I also yell sometimes when I'm frustrated and recognize this as something I need to change. There's a difference between doing something because you slip up and make mistakes and doing something because you think it is right.

Nobody's perfect.
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#122 of 188 Old 02-27-2007, 12:36 PM
 
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Originally Posted by chloeM View Post
I can tell you this: As a child that grew up with no punishments, no groundings , no time outs,no consequences I believe this to be detrimetal to a child. I grew up in an upper midle class family, well educated family. My mother took this aproach and we all became drug users, all the girls got preggo at a young age and have noooo respect for my mom. We didnt feel loved either. I hated being put on the same level as her and we learned nothing, no matter how much she talked to us!!!
I'm sorry that you had that experience. I'm interested in learning about it, if you want to share.
I'm wondering, did you guys have clear boundaries? Did your mom tell you how your actions would affect others? I guess what I'm wondering is, how many ways was your mom's discipline style different from many of the non-punitive gd styles here.
You talk about being on the same level as your mom, and I don't think that all non-punishing parents do that. I do think that kids are kids, and parents are parents. But I don't think that parents have to punish in order to be the authority figure in the household.
I agree with you on making excuses for behaviors. I do think there are underlying reasons that need to be addressed with toddler behavior, but it doesn't mean that the behavior ought to be excused, simply because there was a reason for it. kwim?

We grew up with some punishment. More so in my teen years. But all the things I was grounded for as a teen, I had learned my lesson before the punishment. I turned out great (imho lol)
My brother did not, unfortunately. He's racist, he drinks all the time and is a jerk when he's drunk, he does drugs, he was selling drugs on my mom's property, he sold coke to an informant within 500 feet of a school, he has no concern for others, he steals money from family and friends, he thinks the world is against him, and NONE of it is his fault.

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#123 of 188 Old 02-27-2007, 12:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm finding through this discussion that a simple definition of punishment may be difficult to pin down. And that my original examples of what I consider punishment were not good examples!

Just last night I had to pick up my DD and carry her into the bedroom. She was having a total meltdown because her brother was reading a book and she wanted to take it in to the bedroom for story time and I said no, she had to pick a different book. The poor kid was so tired and obviously not able to control her emotions. I felt sympathy for her. And I knew it was not her fault that she was reacting this way and also that it is unsettling for her and even frightening sometimes when she loses control of herself. So there was no scolding or demanding. I just gently said "hey, S is reading that book right now so we're going to have to go pick another one". And she started yelling and I could see she was not able to just go with me so I said "hey kiddo, let's go pick another story" and I picked her up and carried her to the bedroom.

She screamed "No! Put me down! I don't want to go!" but I carried her anyways and when we got in there I soon found ways to soothe her and within a minute or two of us arriving in the bedrom she was happily climbing in bed with another book. (yes, I pat myself on the back in moments like this because I have many moments where i screw it all up, lol!).

I thought about this example all night and how it WAS coercion on my part to carry her in there. But why wasn't it punishment? I know, but find it hard to write out.

Like deva, it just seems obvious to me when it is and isn't punishment. Yes, I used my bigger size and strength last night, but I did it to HELP her. I know that she was out of control and needing an "emotion coach" in that moment, and...and I think this might be the key....there was no expectation on my part that she DO or NOT DO or CEASE TO DO something in order to prevent me from carrying her out, and my carrying her was not framed in a "you can stop me from doing this if you do X" sort of manner. I just said "hey, it's time to go do this".

So, where does this fit in to our discussion? :-)

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#124 of 188 Old 02-27-2007, 01:03 PM
 
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I think consequences are necessary to have any meaningful understanding of natural living. Whether those consequences constitute punishment would be difficult to agree upon. And too, the world doesn't follow a neat pattern of consequences-terrible things happen which are completely unavoidable, and then there are those who get away with extremely dangerous behavior. In addition humans have an ability to learn *some* information (not all) second hand, without direct experience.

I have a tendency to feel that the simpler one is living and the closer to nature, the more likely that environment will provide natural consequences for behavior, and reinforce whatever learning the parent is trying to impart for survival. The more one moves away from that into a climate controlled artificial environment, the less one's choices and behaviors tend to "matter", and the opportunity for extremes in terms of excessive or insufficient awareness of learning self disciplined behavior is a greater issue.

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#125 of 188 Old 02-27-2007, 01:18 PM
 
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So, where does this fit in to our discussion? :-)
Could one have sat with her where she was, instead of carrying her away when she screamed to put her down? Could one have asked the other child to take the book elsewhere? Could one have found a book that everyone could read together? Could the other child have an interest in an alternate book? Could one find a movie, snack, bath, walk outside, sung a song, discussed, talked, validated, asked the other child for possible solutions, ask her for possible solutions, any other options...?

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#126 of 188 Old 02-27-2007, 01:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Deva33mommy View Post
My brother did not, unfortunately. He's racist, he drinks all the time and is a jerk when he's drunk, he does drugs, he was selling drugs on my mom's property, he sold coke to an informant within 500 feet of a school, he has no concern for others, he steals money from family and friends, he thinks the world is against him, and NONE of it is his fault.
Then who is at fault? Who is making his choices for him?
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#127 of 188 Old 02-27-2007, 01:36 PM
 
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Could you have sat with her where she was, instead of carrying her away when she told you to put her down? Could you have asked the other child to take the book elsewhere? Could you have found a book that you could all read together? Could the other child have an interest in an alternative book? Could you find a movie, snack, bath, walk outside, sung a song, discussed, talked, validated, asked the other child for possible solutions, ask her for possible solutions, any other options...?
In my experience with situations like that, the child remains fixated on trying to grab the book so unless the other child is willing to hand it over so the first child calms down, nothing can be done in the presence of that book. So you either have two children pulling on the same book, a unpossessive child who hands over the book, or you haul the child who is attempting to book-jack away to calm down and protect the rights of the other. After the child calms down or if the child never got worked up in the first place, all those other options may work.

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#128 of 188 Old 02-27-2007, 01:46 PM
 
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I just wanted to thank everyone who shared about their upbringing. It was really useful for me to reflect on the way I was brought up - the things I think my parents did that were excellent and the things I disagree with. And to realize how thankful I am for my upbringing and the wonderful childhood I was blessed to have. But it also made me see how one generation effects the next, and to realize that my job as a SAHM is very important (something I struggle with remembering sometimes). My work will have an impact on generations to come, and that is humbling and inspiring. Thanks so much for the discussion!
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#129 of 188 Old 02-27-2007, 02:16 PM
 
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Then who is at fault? Who is making his choices for him?
Wait, you got that I was saying "none of it is his fault" because that's how HE thinks, not what I think. right? I think he's an adult and is responsible for his own choices. He obviously does not.

For example, he used to steal money from me when I worked as a waitress at Waffle House. As far as he was concerned, it was justified. I had money, and he "needed" it.

He got caught with drug paraphernalia (well, he's gotten caught with drugs more than once). As far as he was concerned, it wasn't his fault though. If the guy behind him hadn't rear-ended him, the cops never would have looked through his car and found it. That's honestly truly how he feels.

When he got caught for drinking and driving, he thought it was my mom's fault, because she refused to drive him to his girlfriends house. This isn't an issue of being drunk and needing to go home (though imo that's not even an excuse for drunk driving). He was home. And he wanted to see his girlfriend.

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#130 of 188 Old 02-27-2007, 02:17 PM
 
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Wow! Great replies thus far. To clarify:



ITA. Deva and others had similar examples.

Unfortunately it's not always easy to draw the line b/c I think the distinction comes with tone and intent. Some argue this is nit-picky but I absolutely believe that kids know the difference. So:

Mama: "I see you are having trouble leaving the playground today and we can't seem to come up with a solution that works for both of us so I'm going to help you by carrying you to the car" [and while child protests and tantrums mama offers sympathy "it's hard isn't it? I totally know how you feel"]. not punishment

VERSUS

Mama: "We need to leave. Either you come with me now or I will make you leave. Okay that's it, we're leaving!" [angrily totes off child and berates child for tantruming]. punishment

Another example:

"If you don't clean up this mess I'm putting it away for a while and you won't be able to play with these toys!" punishment

VERSUS

"I see you are having a hard time using this toy safely. I think we'll put it away until I can sit with you and help you use it safely." not punishment

I think what most of you are describing is not punishment. But hey, I'm not the decider so let's discuss that too if you like!
I haven't read the last 5 pages, so this discussion may be on a totally different tangent by now, but I respectfully disagree with the above. Sugarcoating it doesn't change anything. Sure, it's a nicer way to behave, and is more respectful of the child (and it illustrates the difference between a bad mommy day and a good mommy day), but either way the parent is imposing an external consequence by taking something away (playground time, a toy) because the child wasn't behaving in an appropriate way. Didn't a lot of people on here agree that a punishment is a punishment if the child sees it as such, regardless of the parent's intention? Then taking the block away that they are hurling at your head is a punishment regardless of how nice you are about it. It doesn't mean you shouldn't take the block away, but there is no away around the fact that it is an externally imposed consequence, which many on here have argued is just another way of saying punishment.

I think this is why there is so much confusion about punishment/consequences. It really is a grey area, and the reaction you get from the GD forum is all dependent on how you phrase things.
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#131 of 188 Old 02-27-2007, 02:22 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Piglet68 View Post
I'm finding through this discussion that a simple definition of punishment may be difficult to pin down. And that my original examples of what I consider punishment were not good examples!

Just last night I had to pick up my DD and carry her into the bedroom. She was having a total meltdown because her brother was reading a book and she wanted to take it in to the bedroom for story time and I said no, she had to pick a different book. The poor kid was so tired and obviously not able to control her emotions. I felt sympathy for her. And I knew it was not her fault that she was reacting this way and also that it is unsettling for her and even frightening sometimes when she loses control of herself. So there was no scolding or demanding. I just gently said "hey, S is reading that book right now so we're going to have to go pick another one". And she started yelling and I could see she was not able to just go with me so I said "hey kiddo, let's go pick another story" and I picked her up and carried her to the bedroom.

She screamed "No! Put me down! I don't want to go!" but I carried her anyways and when we got in there I soon found ways to soothe her and within a minute or two of us arriving in the bedrom she was happily climbing in bed with another book. (yes, I pat myself on the back in moments like this because I have many moments where i screw it all up, lol!).

I thought about this example all night and how it WAS coercion on my part to carry her in there. But why wasn't it punishment? I know, but find it hard to write out.

Like deva, it just seems obvious to me when it is and isn't punishment. Yes, I used my bigger size and strength last night, but I did it to HELP her. I know that she was out of control and needing an "emotion coach" in that moment, and...and I think this might be the key....there was no expectation on my part that she DO or NOT DO or CEASE TO DO something in order to prevent me from carrying her out, and my carrying her was not framed in a "you can stop me from doing this if you do X" sort of manner. I just said "hey, it's time to go do this".

So, where does this fit in to our discussion? :-)
Heh, see, I knew I shouldn't have quoted and disagreed with you in my last post, because you already came back and said what I was thinking!

I bolded the above part because I think that this is where it gets tough - in essence, there was an expectation. If she had stopped trying to grab her brother's book, then she would not have needed to be carried out of the room. And that's okay. I think it's totally fine to have expectations about how we all behave towards one another. It doesn't mean that you are a punitive parent.

I have often had to carry an upset child away from another child because they just get too obsessed with what they want from that child to be rational any longer.
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#132 of 188 Old 02-27-2007, 02:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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just to clarify, sh wasn't trying to grab th book. sh was just standing thr upst that sh couldn't hav it. and th 2 of us wr supposd to b going to th bdroom anyways. i saw sh was too upst to go, so i carrid hr.

dos that chang what you wr saying, "c-baby"?

[gt it? ha ha, i can't spll ocan right now, lol]

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#133 of 188 Old 02-27-2007, 02:46 PM
 
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She screamed "No! Put me down! I don't want to go!" but I carried her anyways and when we got in there I soon found ways to soothe her and within a minute or two of us arriving in the bedrom she was happily climbing in bed with another book. (yes, I pat myself on the back in moments like this because I have many moments where i screw it all up, lol!).

I thought about this example all night and how it WAS coercion on my part to carry her in there. But why wasn't it punishment? I know, but find it hard to write out.
Its funny, but as I read your account of last night, I thought the opposite: It WAS punishment, but it was NOT coersion

I think its punishment because:

1. It appeared to be unpleasant for her.
2. Even though you said it wasn't a kind of threat ("If you stop screaming I won't carry you out") the truth probably is that if she HAD settled down on her own and chosen a different book, you probably WOULDN'T have carried her out.
3. Her problematic behavior ceased after the "punishment."

I also think you did the best thing for everyone involved, including your son, who probably was being "punished" by her behavior as he couldn't read his book in peace.

I think its probably theoretically possible to parent without punishment. I think it would take a great deal of planning in advance, knowing what the triggers are, having only one child (because frequently one child's behavior "punishes" another child's) and no pets. I don't think its realistic, though, and I'm not certain its in the child's best interests, as shown by your example, and many other examples on this forum.

I DO think its possible to parent without coersion (saying, "If you don't stop X, I will do Y" or "If you do X, I will not do Y," meant as a warning or threat).
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#134 of 188 Old 02-27-2007, 02:53 PM
 
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Most people that think they had no punishment have actually been spanked as young children and will not remeber. And thats the truth. I think leaving the child with no consequences is leaving your children to the wolves, and my mom tried lots of GD with us to no avail.
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#135 of 188 Old 02-27-2007, 03:04 PM
 
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just to clarify, sh wasn't trying to grab th book. sh was just standing thr upst that sh couldn't hav it. and th 2 of us wr supposd to b going to th bdroom anyways. i saw sh was too upst to go, so i carrid hr.

dos that chang what you wr saying, "c-baby"?

[gt it? ha ha, i can't spll ocan right now, lol]
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#136 of 188 Old 02-27-2007, 03:08 PM
 
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Most people that think they had no punishment have actually been spanked as young children and will not remeber. And thats the truth. I think leaving the child with no consequences is leaving your children to the wolves, and my mom tried lots of GD with us to no avail.
huh?

I actually was spanked a few times as a very young child. I do remember it. Actually I only remember 2-3 times, all safety related, although it is possible there were more times. I also remember my mother decided spanking was not right and sat me down to explain that what she had done was wrong and she would never do it again. And she did not. I was around 5 yo. However, my sister, who is 7 years younger than me (and also now a well adjusted adult) never did get spanked and I KNOW I would have remembered if she had even if she could not remember.

There is no such thing as "no consequences". Life is full of them. I choose not to use parent imposed consequences. That is all.

I guess I am wondering what your point is. Are you saying that all children who come from punishment-free homes will become problem teens and maladjusted adults (are those the "wolves" we are talking about)? Are you saying that punishment is the only answer to boundaries and discipline? And that anyone who claims to have been raised in a punishment-free home is (intentionally or not) lying? I am pretty sure we can find whacked out people that have been raised in every concievable manner. I in no way think that the way I parent is a guarentee of how my child is going to "turn out". If it were that easy, we would have nothing to discuss, eh?
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#137 of 188 Old 02-27-2007, 03:22 PM
 
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I have not met many children with teens or adults that could say that they had sucsess with no consequences. Most people here have very young children. In my house I have rueles set up and if they disobey those rules they have a consequence. What that consequence is I decide at the time. My oldest is 11 and I have an awsome relationship with him and he is not intimidated if i give him a consequences. He understands and respects me. What I did learn from my childhood was to have a relationship with my kids and Im thankful for it. Since there were only natural consequences and we didnt care much for those. I just chose not to let natural consequences kill my child, before teaching them about choices and consequences. Thats how I parent they have a choices and with each choice there is either a good consequence or a bad consequence, and most of the time they chose the good. Its not every child that will end up a hellion, but the chances are too big for me to take.
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#138 of 188 Old 02-27-2007, 03:30 PM
 
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I think leaving the child with no consequences is leaving your children to the wolves,

I find this statement VERY judgemental in the context of this discussion... is that really necessary?

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#139 of 188 Old 02-27-2007, 03:37 PM
 
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im not judging people, Im just not in agreement with it. And alot of people have made comments about what I have said in a negative tone, I am not scrare by a conversation.
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#140 of 188 Old 02-27-2007, 03:38 PM
 
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I wish i had of just paid the consequences and moved on, but I didnt and cant forgive myself. I lnged for discipline, I would push buttons to try to get her to do so,and by the time she realized that what she had done by the way she parented,it was too late.
I do NOT want my children to HAVE to have consequences or punishments in order to move on... It really scares me how this might manifest in an adult (and has in someone I know)... they would need to self impose or seek out punishments if they make a mistake in order to "move on"... I want my kids to accept their mistakes and forgive themselves, know that I am on their side to guide them and then take responsibility for their mistake in the context of the situation...

And FWIW I actually know two people who were raised with this sort of no punishment dicsipline and they both came out great and are in healthy commited relationship based on trust and love. On the other hand I know several people who were punished and have no discipline and used tons of drugs and got pregnant in their teens... (I know of family of fur who were spanked and all four girls were pregnant before they were 18...) so I guess I could say it was because they had no self esteem because they were spanked which IMO may be part of it... but clearly there were other factors as well... Personally I look to larger case studies and psycological research as well as watching my own kids and how they react to (and model) what I do... I won't judge an entire parenting philosophy based on one family's case which I am not even sure directly applies to the situtaion as it seems like there were other issues...

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#141 of 188 Old 02-27-2007, 03:41 PM
 
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I am not "scared" either I am just asking that you be polite! I don't think that because you felt "other" have done this it makes it right! I AM offended by that statement and if you are offended by other people's tones I suggest you address it...

The point of this forum is to have respectful discussion so that we may learn from each other and fine tune our viewpoints... if we don't do this a mod will shut down the thread... so I am only asking in the interest of keeping the thread open so we can learn from each other...

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#142 of 188 Old 02-27-2007, 03:41 PM
 
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i am the youngest child and by nature I am not a rebellious person .I was a very respectful child. I just saw my brother and my sister get away with everything without consequences (didnt care about natural ones) so I tested it too. And although my mom really begged us not to do these things, it didnt work, because I didnt have an idea of what the consequences are so I dont want to leave it to the outside world to teach them
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#143 of 188 Old 02-27-2007, 03:43 PM
 
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Im sorry if you feel offended you that was not the reason it was said. I chose not to adress other people cause I dont get easily offended and respect peoples point of view,but really dont agree with it. Its nothing personal, but sorry that it might have offended, however if someone tends to disagree, they are jumped on, but thats the nature of ths forrum
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#144 of 188 Old 02-27-2007, 03:45 PM
 
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For me, just like the child that was beaten, it hurts to see others go through what I had to go through to learn. I really dont want my kids learning the way I had to cause it hurt unnecessarily.(in my heart)And I love my mom, but long to respect her and see her as such, so much that it hurts. But for us its too late to see that way, especially my brother who is no longer with us
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#145 of 188 Old 02-27-2007, 04:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Deva33mommy View Post
I have to admit, that this is frustrating for me. Not at anyone here, but geez.
I can't be the only one who sees "punishment" as being timeouts, spankings, groundings, taking away priveledges, etc.
I would never have thought that a punishment would be anything that anyone could do that someone didn't like, and cause that person to change their behavior (I know I'm being extreme there).

The merriam webster definition is definitely how I see "punishment" and how I assume most people do as well. "to impose a penalty on for a fault, offense, or violation "

Even if the technical definition might be right in psychology speak, I don't think that's the common usage of the term. Is it?
I'm in agreement with you here. If we extend punishment to be anything that someone doesn't like, where are we then??


But I have to add that there are actually two kinds of punishment, if you're going with the behavioralist definitions:

Positive punishment (an oxymoron, I know, blame the behaviorists) -- ADDS an aversive stimulus to prevent a behavior the future. So, this would be something like the shock collars on dogs with invisible fences. Or spanking.

Negative punishment -- REMOVES a positive stimulus to affect future behavior. So, removing TV time as a consequence of not picking up. Time outs in sense most parents use them (not as a time in or a cooling off period) -- so time out for refusing to put your socks on.

I don't think we're debating positive punishment here (after all it's GENTLE discipline, which eschews spanking, etc.), but negative punishment. In other words - how linked to the behavior do the consequences have to be? Is it OK to remove something positive as a consequence for doing something negative?

I guess I'm in the camp that says negative consequences that are directly (either natural consequences or logical ones) tied to your behavior are OK, and perhaps even valuable. So, if you're being anti social, then being separated from the rest of the family while we calm down is OK. If you don't pick up your toys and I have to spend my time doing it, then I have no time to read you a story. Is that punishment? Yes, it is, because book reading is something very positive for my kids, and I'm removing it as a consequence of their behavior. What I won't do is consequences that aren't logically tied to the behavior. Time out for refusing to take a bath? No.

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#146 of 188 Old 02-27-2007, 04:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by BellinghamCrunchie View Post
I think its punishment because:

1. It appeared to be unpleasant for her.
2. Even though you said it wasn't a kind of threat ("If you stop screaming I won't carry you out") the truth probably is that if she HAD settled down on her own and chosen a different book, you probably WOULDN'T have carried her out.
3. Her problematic behavior ceased after the "punishment."
Number 1 is definitely true.

Number 2 is not b/c even if she had settled down we were still going to the bedroom, but she would have walked on her own. Oh wait, maybe that is what you meant, lol!

Number 3 is not entirely true (and I know I'm nitpicking here) b/c she was still tantruming, and in fact got much louder and more vehement when we got to the bedroom. But away from the distracting book she desired, I was able to calm her down by talking in soothing tones with her for a minute. Once she calmed a bit I was able to find a solution with her.

I'm only belabouring the issue b/c I, too, am struggling with definitions. I still say what I did wasn't punishment, but I think it could be successfully argued that I used force and power. I don't think I did, but I can see how it's a gray area!

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#147 of 188 Old 02-27-2007, 04:53 PM
 
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Originally Posted by chloeM View Post
my mom tried lots of GD with us to no avail.
Given your other descriptions, I find this hard to believe -- was yuour mom TEACHING you? Did you talk about the effects of your actions on others? If not, then it wasn't really discipline. Discipline has teaching at its core.

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#148 of 188 Old 02-27-2007, 05:34 PM
 
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Originally Posted by BellinghamCrunchie View Post

I think its probably theoretically possible to parent without punishment. I think it would take a great deal of planning in advance, knowing what the triggers are, having only one child (because frequently one child's behavior "punishes" another child's) and no pets. I don't think its realistic, though, and I'm not certain its in the child's best interests, as shown by your example, and many other examples on this forum.

I DO think its possible to parent without coersion (saying, "If you don't stop X, I will do Y" or "If you do X, I will not do Y," meant as a warning or threat).
Ummm...there are over 1000 families on the AlwaysUnschooled list parenting without punishments and most have more than one child and pets. And we have over 400 families on the Consensual Living list parenting without coercion or punishments and most have more than one child and pets.


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#149 of 188 Old 02-27-2007, 05:43 PM
 
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Originally Posted by chloeM View Post
Most people that think they had no punishment have actually been spanked as young children and will not remember. And thats the truth. I think leaving the child with no consequences is leaving your children to the wolves, and my mom tried lots of GD with us to no avail.
I doubt anyone would find our child "left to the wolves"; and we impose no punishments or consequences, and never spanked. And our son experiences full autonomy, with engagement and information facilitated to diminish any unpleasant consequences. It really isn't black and white: GD does not equate to non-engagement and "left to the wolves".

Quote:
Effective discipline is based on loving guidance. It is based on the belief that children are born innately good and that our role as parents is to nurture their spirits as they learn about limits and boundaries, rather than to curb their tendencies toward wrongdoing. Effective discipline presumes that children have reasons for their behavior and that cooperation can be engaged to solve shared problems.
See? None of that means "left to the wolves".

I am sad that you felt lack of engagement and facilitation as a child. That sounds scary and lonely. I certainly agree, that I wouldn't want that for our child either.

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#150 of 188 Old 02-27-2007, 06:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by WuWei View Post
Ummm...there are over 1000 families on the AlwaysUnschooled list parenting without punishments and most have more than one child and pets. And we have over 400 families on the Consensual Living list parenting without coercion or punishments and most have more than one child and pets.


Pat
I believe you. I believe that by certain definitions of punishment, 1000s of families raise children without punishment. And definitely it is possible to raise children without coersion.

But by the definition of punishment I am using (an unpleasant stimulus that follows a behavior that causes the behavior to be less likely to occur in the future) I think its very, very difficult, and probably impossible, to raise children without punishment. Even showing your natural feelings: a frown, or a raised voice, averting eye contact... all of these things can influence behavior. Any of them could be punishment. Its impossible to control all the variations of human experience to avoid all punishment.
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