(i'd like to hear good arguments )
When DS#1 didn't come home from a friend's house when he was supposed to and had everyone out looking for him after dark and I told him he was going to have to check in with me every hour on the hour for the next week...it was not a withdrawal of love. But it was DEFINATELY a punishment to him!! (He usually only has to check in with me when he leaves a friend's house, or goes somewhere else in our neighborhood. He has to keep me "updated" as to his whereabouts).
We explained that we were worried for him, that we love him and checking in on time is a requirement that we have in order to make sure he's okay.
Wait, is that what you even meant by punishment?? Or is that more "discipline"? *sigh* forget I said anything.
DS, 10/07. Allergies: peanut, egg, wheat. We've added dairy back in. And taken it back out again. It causes sandpaper skin with itchy patches and thrashing during sleep. Due w/ #2 late April, 2012.
~Marie: Mom to DS(17), DS(16), DD(14), DD(10), DD(8) & someone new on the way.
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I think making the jump from a time out or a toy taken away or a parent unwilling to embrace every tantrum to a child feeling that they have had love withdrawn or used as a manipulative tool is quite an extreme conclusion. I think mostly, what the child feels is- Ooops. Mom is mad. Don't want to do that again...
Personally, I think this is one area of parenting and discipline that we can all find ways to torture ourselves with if we let ourselves get stuck in the machine- "If I put her in time-out, she'll think I don't love her anymore! If I yell or get upset, she will be scarred forever! Just one mistake and I'll ruin my child's emotional stability for life!" Sure, all kids are different. But in general, I think an overall healthy relationship that is based on love and stability and respect can weather the ups and downs and the trial and error we all go through as parents and as children.
Does this make punshment "good"? Again, not all that clear when you think about it. Punishment as the only tool and as manipulation is not a good long term strategy. Feeling punished all the time is demoralizing, as well as ineffective. But an occasional time-out for serious offenses, putting a toy away that has been used to injure, refusing to participate in every tantrum is not quite as hard line... it could be called "punishment", but can it be done in love and work for both the child and the parent? Maybe.
And just to say- most here are usually talking about younger children. I worked for about 15 years with children and teens in residential treatment who had issues with the law. Many of them desperately wanted "consequences". And not as self punishment for emotional pain, but to know that someone was watching, someone cared about their actions and someone was willing to fight (with them and for them) for them to do the right thing. They saw appropriate and sensitively applied "consequences" not as a withdrawl of love, but as a display of love. Someone cared enough about them to make sure they were safe and were doing well. The ones with "strict" parents (not abusive parents, but ones who had a tight ship) would talk about that with pride- that their mom cared. Were the discipline techniques perfect? Not by a long shot. But they got the message: "I love you. I won't let you do this because I love you. I do the best I can." Of course, these kids were not the picture of what you would hope for in a discipline sense, but it shows that somewhere in there, kids KNOW. They know the difference between someone that treats them coldly and truly withdrawls their love on a whim and someone who loves them enough to try to teach them the ropes.
oooooh..okay. I thought you meant me! I was all...OMG is what I did WRONG somehow?!?!?!!
Aww, you know what you did I wouldn't call a punishment jsut because our children dont like our boundries rules or even conquences doesn't mean its punishment. For example my DD hates to wash her hands its a sensory thing we make it as plesant as possble (warm water foam easy to rinse soap) but she still has to wash and for her its "punishment" I wish it wasn't I hope in time shes wont be bothered by it but I cant say well no hand washing. Or when my the 4 year old had trouble obeying our no street or parking lot rules (apartment living) we had to tighten the reigns and for awhile she could not play outside unless I or DH as activly watching (VS the occasional peek out the door) it wasn't a punishment though she felt it was. Having him be accountable was a reasonable concquence and a way to keep him safe. Thats not a punishment even though he might have thought it so. You did not love him less if anything you were saying I need to know your safe caue I love you.
Punishment to me is placing unrelated conquences and instilling shame to drive home the message. Its purposly saying here take that feel bad. Its to me withholding love maybe not intentionally but yes.
I guess first one needs to define punishment. I agree that punishment is different than discipline and tends to involve some withdrawal of love.
|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|
And I do realise that there's a problem with my choice of "I don't like what you did" to describe the reason for the punishment, but I really think that that's what it boils down to and I am using it to include "what you did is unsafe" "what you did is unacceptable" "what you did could cause wanton destruction and all hell to break loose" in my phrase. I'm using "I don't like it" in part to signify that I don't think it's a matter of having a good enough reason. Punishment is still punishment even when the circumstances are more dire and/or the reason is a 'good' one.
Merriam-Webster has the second definition of discipline listed as "to train or develop by instruction and exercise especially in self-control" which I'm all in favor of and I believe can be achieved without imposed penalties.
My own personal definition of 'punishment' is "I don't like what you did so I'm going to do something to you that will make you uncomfortable/unhappy so you learn a lesson."
I imagine it would feel pretty cruddy to know that your parent is TRYING to make you unhappy.
When it comes to more related consequences, especially ones that are done specifically to keep someone safe, and there are talks about how to work it out so it is at least somewhat agreeable to dc, then I would think that not all of that would be felt by the child as love withdrawal.
So, if ds hits someone with a toy, and won't stop, and I take it away long enough to find an agreeable solution, I'm sure he might not perceive that as love withdrawal (though he may, as well).
It seems to me that there would be a difference between if Parent's main goal is to make dc unhappy (regret what you did), and if Parent's goal is to solve a problem while trying to find a MAS, but not stressing too much if they don't. I dunno... Maybe there's not that much of a difference.
Becky, partner to Teague, SAHM to Keagan (7yo), Jonah (2yo)
It seems that the issue of "love withdrawal" has much more to do with the relationship and intention toward one another rather than discipline techniques. I agree very with much with a pp who worked in residential treatment. I have also worked in that environment and those kids are craving guidance, containment and consequences...it's how they know anyone gives a rip.
I grew up with no consequences or punishments. I actually wished I was grounded because it would show me that my mother noticed me enough and cared enough to discipline me. Her loose parenting style left me feeling quite unloved even though she never punished. And she was a loving, caring person. So for me, it was a matter of her spending the time and attention to discipline me that would have been important.
Actually, I think all too often the concept of "punishment" gets entangled with the concept of "love" in a way that is more harmful than if the two were mutually exclusive. "I am spanking you because I love you." Or "This hurts me more than it hurts you." Many of us grow up very confused about what it means to love and be loved, because we associate love with hurt.
Shaming has no place in discipline. I do tend to ignore behaviors I don't care for, and everyone gets angry sometimes. The trick is to be a good example to your dc and be rational even when you're angry or take a step back and cool down.
SO, do I agree that punishment = withdrawal of love? No.
My 3yo is going through this sulky kind of thing right now. If we reprimand her, she'll get sad and say "be nice to me!"
So I guess it's true that LO's can take things way more personally than we mean them.
Becky, partner to Teague, SAHM to Keagan (7yo), Jonah (2yo)
I think most punishment (using a general definition of some kind of non-abusive consequence to an unwanted behavior) is a temporary withdrawal of approval, but not a withdrawal of love. Whether a child understands that distinction probably depends on his/her maturity level and personality.
but let's say you run in the street and dirty your socks.... mom makes you hand scrub those socks clean again (of course why do the bottoms of our socks need to clean anyway but...) that would be an appropirate punishment that has nothing to do with love...
Punishment that involves the parent shutting down emotionally, or inflicting additional emotional pain or shame is all about withraw of love and not necessary obviously.