Is this too harsh of a punishment? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 204 Old 09-22-2007, 01:45 AM
 
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Originally Posted by blsilva View Post
I do think that the punishment went a little far. It is basically punishing her for something she could not control in the moment.
Bolding mine. This is what it comes down to for me. And this is why it seems cruel and over the top.

-Angela
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#62 of 204 Old 09-22-2007, 01:57 AM
 
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I would view not as punishment but as not wanting to put her and your in that situation ( meltdown) for a while. That's reasonable. And not cruel.
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#63 of 204 Old 09-22-2007, 02:00 AM
 
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I would view not as punishment but as not wanting to put her and your in that situation ( meltdown) for a while. That's reasonable. And not cruel.
If that was the case then it should not have been mentioned in the heat of the moment in such a way that said "do what I want, or else ____"

-Angela
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#64 of 204 Old 09-22-2007, 02:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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alegna - I get it, you don't agree. Could you maybe find another thread? It's getting old. I asked for support, and I feel like you're a bulldog who keeps grabbing on and not wanting to let go. You've yet to offer any advice, and I'm getting tired of being admonished by you. Please don't give me the line about how you're just honest and you can't help it, I'm all too familiar with it when it comes to you. I don't need my nose rubbed in it right now. I asked for advice, and if you have none to give, could you please drop it?
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#65 of 204 Old 09-22-2007, 02:36 AM
 
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I don't think youe reaction was 'cruel', fwiw.
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#66 of 204 Old 09-22-2007, 02:57 AM
 
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Originally Posted by littleaugustbaby View Post
I would like to ask that if people want to disagree, that they could at least offer some advice, because I'm feeling a lot of criticism, but not a whole lotta help.
In this spirit, I would like to point out that we don't seem to be applying GD to the mom in this thread. One of my basic GD principles is that if I don't like what my children are doing, that I offer an acceptable alternative.

For me, I try to see these kinds of discussions as a way to help me respond differently next time, and not so much a critique of what i did that time. If I'd felt comfortable with the decisions I'd made at the time, I wouldn't be posting!

My experiences have been:
1. I try really hard not to issue threats/consequences in the heat of the moment. (I don't always succeed.) But, for reasons I don't understand, saying "If you run in the street again, we will __________" (fill in the blank with whatever consequence you want) seems to make my kids WANT to run into the street more.

If I focus more on what I want the child to do, it works better. "Stay on the sidewalk. The street is not safe. Stay here. Do you need me to help you stay here?"

2. There is nothing wrong with retracting a consequence that was too harsh or that was unjustly imposed in the heat of the moment. "I've been thinking. I was very grumpy when I told you that we wouldn't go to the park for a week. That wasn't fair. I've changed my mind, and we will go to the park again."

That models what to do when you make a mistake, and it keeps me (at least) from enforcing something I know to be stupid or an overreaction. None of us is immune to overreaction, but sticking to it just because we said so isn't modeling good relationship skills for our kids.

In your case, I think that NOT going to playgroup after school IS a reasonable decision, but not how you framed it for your daughter. You might re-frame it for her as "I noticed that when we go to playgroup on school days, you are very very tired and it's hard for you to control yourself. So, I've decided that it's better for us to stay home on school days. We'll still see the playgroup, but only if they're meeting on days when we're not so tired."

When I see that my kids are out of control, for whatever reason, my first assumption is that this is not a 'choice' on their part. Thus, whatever I do is to get them through the moment. When I have time, I will reflect on how we got to the point where we were out of control. Was it too much to do? Were they hungry? (Real triggers in our house!) Were they tired? Were they tired and hungry? (Don't even want to go there.) Were they overstimulated?

Then I try to figure out what I can do differently next time - bring a snack, leave earlier, decide not to go to a meeting that runs from 7-8:30 on a school night. Ds is easily overstimulated and I have to pay particular attention to his overall level of stimulation (it's cumulative in a day) and MY level of stimulation, because I too am prone to that. And when we're both overstimulated, it's a really lousy combination. So, I've discovered that leaving the radio OFF while I cook dinner has lowered both of our stress levels enormously. Bringing a snack for the kids to eat on the way home from daycare solved many a meltdown. But I had to go through the tantrum, the frustration, etc. before I could figure out those things.

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#67 of 204 Old 09-22-2007, 03:24 AM
 
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I think that this is a really hard situation. But more important is that you and your dd have a really good relationship and have talked this all out. I think that's way more important than what was said in the heat of the moment.

Listen, we're all human. I can imagine myself saying similar things in that situation. When you're being flailed against and hit, you react. This particular thing hasn't happened to me but tantrums, yes. I think when it escalates to this level, it's really on another plane entirely. You did what felt right in the moment and sometimes we just want it to stop...especially when your dc is out of control like this.

We can all say that yes, she was overstimulated and tired. It sounds like LAB knows this perfectly well. What else would one do in this situation? I think some of the responses have been a bit unrealistic. When the day goes this far south and there's this kind of aggression going on, it's perfectly natural to have a reaction to it.

Someone suggested reframing the consequence in a different way as to sound less punitive....with my ds, this would not work at all. No matter how lovingly I come across, if he doesn't get to go to the thing he wants to do he'll get very upset. I think it almost pisses him off more when I do the "I think the playgroup is too much right now. Let's..." However you say it, they don't have control over the outcome and that is what is upsetting to them. It would be to me, too.

So I don't have any pearls of wisdom to share...only to say that the outcome says it all. You two have talked it over and are in a good space now. Sometimes we just muddle through the rough times and that's all we can do.
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#68 of 204 Old 09-22-2007, 04:41 AM
 
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I do not see the problem here. The OP had a tired and cranky kid melt down, and avoided the next time she saw that coming. That is her job as the parent- it's not a punitive- the kid is tired and can't deal with it all- she' s 4. he can't deal wit the exiting playgroup when tired- skip it a while and it will pass. Most of us have so many things to choose from for our kids- there are lots of great choices, but when we do too much, meltdowns are more frequent from both adults and kids. I think she listened to her mothering instincts and her child and knew the pizza party was not the best for them no matter what every one else did. I don't see it as some mean punishment thing. What about listening to our kids meltdowns? They are telling us they can't handle something. As parents shouldn't we pay attention to them, and not just keep putting them in that situation because other folks are and there might be a fun sounding activity involved? While a 4 year old melting down in a situation they can't deal with is normal, I think avoiding situations they can't handle, and therefore meltdowns, makes sense. Personally in our family, life runs more smoothly when avoid meltdowns rather than creating them. Good job mama for following your instincts IMHO.
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#69 of 204 Old 09-22-2007, 09:09 AM
 
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Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post
In this spirit, I would like to point out that we don't seem to be applying GD to the mom in this thread. One of my basic GD principles is that if I don't like what my children are doing, that I offer an acceptable alternative.

For me, I try to see these kinds of discussions as a way to help me respond differently next time, and not so much a critique of what i did that time. If I'd felt comfortable with the decisions I'd made at the time, I wouldn't be posting!
.
All around great post, Lynn!
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#70 of 204 Old 09-22-2007, 09:13 AM
 
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My not quite 4 year old is *not* allowed to hit me, or other people, when she is disappointed. She knows this, because I have taught her.
We all know our children and their abilities best. That said, I think this is an important point.

Honest question, when does hitting in anger become less tolerated as a developmentally appropriate "uncontrollable" impulse? Hitting at 4 seems pretty understandable....but what about 5, 6, 7, 8, 9......? This is something I've been struggling with IRL, and an honest question (not a dig at anyone's philosophy at all).
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#71 of 204 Old 09-22-2007, 09:25 AM
 
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The point of most pp's is not to criticize you, but to reinforce the fact that the punishment was too harsh, which is what the question was. I don't think anyone meant to hurt you. It seems like you're wanting someone to reassure you that you did the right thing, though.

It didn't seem to me that you were trying to avoid the situation in the future, but using it to teach her a lesson. For a 4 year old, not acknowledging the tantrum, but acknowledging her feelings would be a start. She's also old enough for you to talk to her aside from the situation about how she feels when these meltdowns occur, and brainstorm ideas for how you can both make the situation better. Punishing is never effective. It may work temporarily, but it's not going to change anything in the longterm.
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#72 of 204 Old 09-22-2007, 09:26 AM
 
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Have you read this great Mothering Mag article on tantrums? It was very helpful for me. Here's the link.http://www.mothering.com/articles/gr.../tantrums.html

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DD, 8, DS, 6, and Baby DS born July 1, 2010 Married to DH for 10 years!
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#73 of 204 Old 09-22-2007, 09:42 AM
 
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If it makes you feel better, I have done basically the same thing. There was a time period when I would tell my children everytime we left a playground or pool, "Remember, if you cooperate now when it's time to leave, then I will bring you back again. If you can't cooperate when it's time to leave, then we won't be able to come again tomorrow."

Maybe it's less of an issue with one kicking and screaming child, but if you've had the experience I have of trying to leave the pool area (after giving them the five and two-minute warnings and reminding them of the popsicles waiting at home), getting the baby in the sling and ready to go, holding the hand of your three-year old non-swimmer, and then having your five year old throw off his towel and leap into the five feet deep water, well, it seemed like a pretty big safety issue to me.

Whether you call it a punishment or a consquence, it did help to improve my children's temperment when leaving such places after I had refused to take them to the pool when they asked and informing them that I could not take them because their behavior the last time we went when I told them it was time to leave was unsafe and I couldn't take them to the pool if it wasn't going to be safe for everyone.


Of course, there was absolutely no thing you could have done and asked for opinions on and gotten 100% approval. No matter what a parent does, someone will think you should have done something different. Sigh.

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#74 of 204 Old 09-22-2007, 09:44 AM
 
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Sorry, I haven't read all the responses in this thread yet, but wanted to throw in my 0.02 €.
I don't think it was necessarily too harsh, but I don't think it was an appropriate punishment. Consequences need to be immediate. Not allowing her to attend a pizza party a week after the offense - even if you told her immediately - just comes to late. Your child can't connect her offensive behavior with the consequence you laid out. Most likely she had already forgotten that tantrum in the park by the time the pizza party rolled around.
But it's too late to fix that and your dd will survive. You mentioned her being too tired and maybe avoiding play dates/extended outings on school days might help. Give it a try. Otherwise you could also cut your playdates short, letting her know that you need the extra time to calm her down and get her into the car because she keeps throwing tantrums. If she can demonstrate "proper" behavior on a regular basis (allowing for the occasional tantrum that will happen), then you can start extending playdates/outings. This gives your dd a little power over the outcome - if she behaves, then she can play longer.

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#75 of 204 Old 09-22-2007, 09:57 AM
 
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I also think the consequence/punishment is too abstracted from the occurrence.

It's hard to actually explain the nuances between these approaches. For me, it boils down to a feeling of whether I'm on dd's side or whether I've set myself up against her.

The punishment as you've described it feels punitive. You against her. And this coming from a parent who also thinks that it's reasonable to expect a four year old not to scream and hit when frustrated.
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#76 of 204 Old 09-22-2007, 10:01 AM
 
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Originally Posted by alegna View Post
You threatened her at a time that she was clearly not in control or capable of reasonably making a decision about her actions.

Not at all the same thing as setting out a known consequence *ahead of time* which again, is not something that every 4 year old has the capability to grasp anyway.

-Angela
I have to agree here.

One of my friends wrote a great piece breaking down the cycle of tantrums, and she's given me permission to share it:

There are 5 parts to every temper tantrum, they can vary in length,
intensity, and behavior, but all the components are there at some
point.
The first is Antecedents. This is the "trigger" that sets off
the tantrum, and also includes the early warning signs. This is a
good time for teaching...better ways to get what they want/don't
want, waiting skills, coping skills, expressing how they feel, etc.
Early warning sgns might include whining, shaking, tensing up,
increase in breathing rhythm, cheeks getting pink, etc. This is also
the time to discuss consequences of what will happen if they
continue on the path to a tantrum. Whet ever you can think of to
prevent the behavior (except giving in).
The next stage is Escalation.
This can be short or long. Some kids go through this so
fast you barely notice it, others take longer. This is the "winding
up" stage. This is NOT a time for teaching. This is the time to try
and redirect or distract. Remove them from the environment that is
setting them off, distract them with a different activity, anything
to divert them and prevent the tantrum fron happening, EXCEPT giving
in to what started them in the first place. If you do that, they are
more likely to get to that point quicker next time, and will be
harder to stop from getting to the next stage,
which is CRISIS, or TANTRUM.
This is basically a loss of control. They will not behave
rationally, or respond to reason. Once you hit this stage, and you
all know what this looks like, all you can do is wait them out.
There are things that you can do to try and shorten the duration, or
reduce the intensity, like bringing them to a quiet room or calm
down spot, reducing environmental distractions, or just holding them
on your lap. Keep talking to a minimum. This is not the time to
teach, or discuss consequences, or you will just prolong it.
When they finally begin to calm down, this is called De-Escalation.
Also not a time to teach or talk about consequences, or you will send
them right back to escalation and then tantrum again. Just use a
calming voice, you can talk about how mad they must have been
feeling, over all be sympathetic. Let them use this time to regain
control of themselves. This can actually be the trickiest stage,
more than the tantrum, because this is where it either starts to
end, or goes back up, depending on your response to them.
The last stage is Post Crisis Depression.
This is when they might come tell you they're sorry, or want
reassurance that you still love them, or they might just fall
asleep. Again, reassure them that you DO still love them,
accept their apolgies, and remain calm. After this is a
return to baseline, or normal behavior. THIS is when you teach! Talk
about what set them off, and how to do it better next time. This is
when you give them the words to explain the emotions they were
feeling. Give them better options, and let them tell you their
thoughts if they can.

This cycle is the same for EVERYONE, kids and adults, and once you
are aware of it, you will start labeling the steps in others and
yourself. Of course, MOST adults don't get all the way to full
crisis mode, but some do. (BTW, if you start telling your
significant other what stage of behavior they are in, they DON'T
appreciate it, lol. My DH knows this behavior cycle by heart too,
but doesn't like to have it pointed out to him when he's getting mad
about something.)

Hope this helps, or at least was interesting, lol.
Amnesty
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#77 of 204 Old 09-22-2007, 10:10 AM
 
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Originally Posted by blessed View Post
. You against her. And this coming from a parent who also thinks that it's reasonable to expect a four year old not to scream and hit when frustrated.
I'm shocked, (once again in this forum,) that people think 4 year olds should be allowed to scream and hit their parents with no consequence. :
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#78 of 204 Old 09-22-2007, 10:35 AM
 
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I'm shocked, (once again in this forum,) that people think 4 year olds should be allowed to scream and hit their parents with no consequence. :
I don;t think that anyone has said that.
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#79 of 204 Old 09-22-2007, 10:36 AM
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I think your punishment was harsh and extremely punitive. I don't believe the action of choosing to skip a couple of playdates was unreasonable, but the presentation was completely punitive and kind of mean in my opinion.

I think you knowingly set up a situation where it was highly probable that your child would lose it (you knew she was over-tired and such) and when a meltdown happened, you punished her for her lack of self control. I gently ask... if you didn't have the self control and forethought to know that taking an overtired four year old to a park may end in a tantrum, why would you expect a four year old to have self control and decision-making skills when overtired? Something to consider.

I often feel frustrated when I see parents expecting more from their children than they expect from themselves. I believe the way you presented the punishment "go nicely or miss the party" (or some variation) shows the same behavior you are trying to eliminate your child expressing. Isn't what you did the same as an adult tantrum? She melted down because she couldn't hang on to the bike, you melted down because you couldn't get her to comply (in other words, control the actions of another person) so being in a position of control by default, weiled a punishment you knew would negatively affect her in an attempt to establish your dominance ----

In other words, I'll show you what happens when you don't allow me to control you or your behavior.

So, if the attempt is helping her to learn self-control, I would suggest mastering it first.

I feel as though you are backpeddling now and spinning the situation as:

"she gets over stimulated and becomes disrespectful of others recently so maybe skipping playgroup for a week and regrouping would help us work through it together (which would be fine imo)

When in actuality it was more: "You embarrass me when you meltdown and I get pissed that I can't control you, so when you don't adhere to my standards of behavior, you will lose things you enjoy. "

I have no doubt you love your child, that is not even in question. I am not calling you a bad mama or evil, or any of that. However, the fact is, it was a punishment. The punishment most likely didn't do a thing to "teach" your child socially appropriate ways to communicate her upsetment in public. If anything, it communicated to her that hiding your emotions in order not to receive sanctions is acceptable, and that when mama gets pissed she can turn on a dime from being my advocate to being my adversary.
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#80 of 204 Old 09-22-2007, 10:37 AM
 
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Originally Posted by littleaugustbaby View Post
alegna - I get it, you don't agree. Could you maybe find another thread? It's getting old. I asked for support, and I feel like you're a bulldog who keeps grabbing on and not wanting to let go. You've yet to offer any advice, and I'm getting tired of being admonished by you. Please don't give me the line about how you're just honest and you can't help it, I'm all too familiar with it when it comes to you. I don't need my nose rubbed in it right now. I asked for advice, and if you have none to give, could you please drop it?
You did ask whether people thought that your punishment was too harsh. You asked if it was Okay...and you asked what others would do.

Those are the questions that people seem to be answering (I am not defending alegna, referring to entire thread)
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#81 of 204 Old 09-22-2007, 10:45 AM
 
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You did ask whether people thought that your punishment was too harsh. You asked if it was Okay...and you asked what others would do.

Those are the questions that people seem to be answering (I am not defending alegna, referring to entire thread)
Those are good points.

But just as in our parenting, we are obligated to consider whether our methods are achieving the desired goal.

In this case our goal is to help each other be more attached and capable parents.

It feels good to chastize the OP - just as on some level it felt good for her to punish her child. But it has the counter effect to what we are trying to accomplish here. Because now she's rejecting our advice and viewpoints, rather than learning from them.
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#82 of 204 Old 09-22-2007, 10:54 AM
 
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Originally Posted by dubfam View Post
I don;t think that anyone has said that.
I absolutely think that has been said. The message is, "4 year olds scream and hit people when they are angry. That is developmentally normal. Therefore, imposing a consequence for it is inappropriate/cruel."
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#83 of 204 Old 09-22-2007, 10:58 AM
 
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But I don;t think that anyone said that consequences for hitting and screaming would be cruel. PP's have said they don't agree with the way this was handled, and have said that they don't believe in Punishment for this...but no one has said there should be no consequence. Just that it shouldn't be punitive.

I think this is where GD starts getting really hard. There is a difference between consequences and punishments. And it can be hard to see the difference.
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#84 of 204 Old 09-22-2007, 11:01 AM
 
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Blessed-ITA with what you are saying.
The OP was coming across as if she just asked for support in her post, I was pointing out that she had asked people to tell her whether they thought this was right or wrong.
I don't think that it is okay to talk down to anyone...kids or adults. It is very unproductive.
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#85 of 204 Old 09-22-2007, 11:05 AM
 
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Originally Posted by littleaugustbaby View Post
I asked for advice, and if you have none to give, could you please drop it?
My advice is that a situation like this needs compassion and parenting when it happens. It will happen. It is normal. It IS frustrating. My advice is to work on controlling your feelings in those situations (something every mom struggles with!) and not punishing for something that a young child doesn't have control over.



-Angela
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#86 of 204 Old 09-22-2007, 11:08 AM
 
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Originally Posted by sunnmama View Post
Honest question, when does hitting in anger become less tolerated as a developmentally appropriate "uncontrollable" impulse? Hitting at 4 seems pretty understandable....but what about 5, 6, 7, 8, 9......? This is something I've been struggling with IRL, and an honest question (not a dig at anyone's philosophy at all).
Like everything- it depends on the situation and the child in question. There are no universal answers in child development.

-Angela
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#87 of 204 Old 09-22-2007, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by thismama View Post
I absolutely think that has been said. The message is, "4 year olds scream and hit people when they are angry. That is developmentally normal. Therefore, imposing a consequence for it is inappropriate/cruel."
I don't think that is true. I think it is developmentally appropriate sure, but I also strongly believe that the only people we can control is ourselves. If the child is wanting to scream and hit me, then me honoring my boundaries and not allowing them to hit and scream at me is the only "consequence" they need imo. They have seen me modeling that I will not be hit or screamed at, they have seen that screaming at me or hitting me is not something I will consent to, they see me modeling self-control and my ability to stay calm when I feel frustrated (isn't that what OP is trying to teach? self control?) while also removing myself from a situation where I am not being respected (admittedly this is easier to do in a contained place that is not a park) -- entering in arbitrary consequences doesn't do a thing to model or teach or ensure that my kid won't tantrum.....but maybe doing the above may send a message of effective and healthy conflict resolution and respectful expression of emotion.
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#88 of 204 Old 09-22-2007, 11:10 AM
 
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Originally Posted by goodheartedmama View Post
The point of most pp's is not to criticize you, but to reinforce the fact that the punishment was too harsh, which is what the question was. I don't think anyone meant to hurt you. It seems like you're wanting someone to reassure you that you did the right thing, though.

It didn't seem to me that you were trying to avoid the situation in the future, but using it to teach her a lesson. For a 4 year old, not acknowledging the tantrum, but acknowledging her feelings would be a start. She's also old enough for you to talk to her aside from the situation about how she feels when these meltdowns occur, and brainstorm ideas for how you can both make the situation better. Punishing is never effective. It may work temporarily, but it's not going to change anything in the longterm.
: Bolding mine.

-Angela
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#89 of 204 Old 09-22-2007, 11:26 AM
 
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Originally Posted by thismama View Post
I absolutely think that has been said. The message is, "4 year olds scream and hit people when they are angry. That is developmentally normal. Therefore, imposing a consequence for it is inappropriate/cruel."
I did say that a *punishment* was not appropriate. And I stick by that. AND I think there is a difference between a consequence and a punishment. A consequence would have been that it was time to leave at that point (in the case that that was not the plan already) A *punishment* is taking away a pizza party a week later. No correlation from a 4 year old point of view. None at all.

-Angela
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#90 of 204 Old 09-22-2007, 11:28 AM
 
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I think your bolding is right on the mark, Angela.

But I still question how best to go about implementing a change in her perspective. Maybe frank honesty and confrontation is the way. Who knows?
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