Grr... your punishment just crushed MY kid! - Mothering Forums
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Gentle Discipline > Grr... your punishment just crushed MY kid!
LynnS6's Avatar LynnS6 05:27 PM 04-28-2008
OK, I just need to vent.

Ds and his best friend go to different schools. Due to a host of factors, they don't see each other that often, and the last 2 playdates have had to be canceled because we've been sick.

Sunday was ds' birthday party. He'd planned it for over a month. His best friend (plus 6 other kids) was invited. His friend's mom (who is a friend of ours too) was going to come early to help us set up (we were at a local rec center for a party/swimming). So, 15 minutes before the party, the mom shows up, without her son.

Turns out her son had "lost his privilege" of coming to ds' birthday party. Ds was in tears.

I get that they were really upset with their son (age 6) -- he had gone over to a neighbor's house without permission and didn't come back when asked to. Instead, he ran the other direction when the parents came to find him. It took them nearly an hour to find him/bring him home. He did this twice in one week. Once, Wed and then again on Friday.

I don't know if I'm more ticked about the ineffectual punishment, the fact that it really did put a cloud on ds' party OR that they didn't tell us AHEAD of time. They knew Friday evening that their son wasn't coming to our party. I could have at least prepared him for the fact that his best friend wasn't going to be there.

Ok, end of vent.

Now a question: What can these parents do to keep their 6 yo from taking off like this?

What can I give the parents to read to help them? They are well meaning, but not terribly effective at discipline. (Too harsh on some little things like snacks, and a bit oblivious to other things until they've become a BIG problem (ignoring chasing the cat until he's cornered her and she feels threatened). I know they've tried "Love & Logic" (they were our introduction to the program, which my dh declared "needs a lot more love and less logic"!) But as dh describes it, their basic instincts are just plain off much of the time. (Things escalate to a power struggle a lot.)

moondiapers's Avatar moondiapers 05:41 PM 04-28-2008
sounds like a pretty logical if not natural consequence to me. I wouldnt' take child out anywhere fun that had been running from me when it's time to go home. Not a headache I'm willing to deal with. My 8yo just did this to me a couple of weeks ago. When he was invited back for another playdate we had to decline because I dont' feel like chasing him all over god's green earth for 30min to come home while he laughs at me.
moondiapers's Avatar moondiapers 05:41 PM 04-28-2008
Actually I change my mind. I think it IS a VERY natural consequence....mom not feeling like taking a child out that is hard to catch to bring home.
Leilalu's Avatar Leilalu 05:46 PM 04-28-2008
sounds like she did the right thing, IMO, though it would have been considerate to warn you as well.
savithny's Avatar savithny 12:11 AM 04-29-2008
Yeah, even if this one isn't totally natural, there are plenty of times when the natural consequence of an action is going to be that you have to miss something that another child is looking forward to.

Stinks, but there it is
Breeder's Avatar Breeder 12:11 AM 04-29-2008
She should have warned you. It was very rude for her not to consider that your child's feelings would be hurt and that you would need to really him for the sad fact that his friend would not be coming to his birthday party.

For me personally, I think it would have been more logical not to allow him back at the neighbor's house. What mom doesn't "feel" like doing should have no say in the choosing of a punishment.

I often don't 'feel' like explaining consequences throughly to my DS but I do, because it's what I should do.
LynnS6's Avatar LynnS6 12:15 AM 04-29-2008
If he'd run away at another outing, I could kind of "get" the punishment. But, he ran away FROM HOME without telling them. To ME the logical consequence of that is that he is not allowed out of the house without mom and/or dad. You install locks/alarms on every door and he's not allowed out without mom and dad being 2 feet behind him.

I guess I just don't "get" grounding a kid period. I get time-outs. I get losing other privileges. But what does grounding teach?
yoginisarah's Avatar yoginisarah 12:18 AM 04-29-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by Breeder View Post

For me personally, I think it would have been more logical not to allow him back at the neighbor's house. What mom doesn't "feel" like doing should have no say in the choosing of a punishment.
I agree. I'm sorry your son was hurt by it
Delta's Avatar Delta 12:42 AM 04-29-2008
I avoid consequences that end up hurting other kids or inconveniencing other parents for this exact reason. I really hate it when I'm canceled on for playdates and the like because the other kid is in trouble. After all, I've usually arranged my schedule to accomodate, told my child and he's looking forward to it, etc. I understand if the other kid is sick or what have you, of course those things can't be helped. But I know I'd feel pretty inconsiderate if I canceled plans or commitments because my child misbehaved.
Needle in the Hay's Avatar Needle in the Hay 07:38 AM 04-29-2008
Thoughtless, thoughtless people!
That was disrespectful to you and especially to your DS. People get wacky ideas sometimes. I remember my cousin getting into trouble and then the punishment would be that he couldn't go to the basketball game with his dad (yeah, take away the one-on-one dad time!!) or he couldn't go to his Cub Scouts meeting or karate class!

You do not say that your child is coming to a party and then not bring him unless there has been some kind of emergency. You find some other punishment if you really believe your child needs one.
Needle in the Hay's Avatar Needle in the Hay 07:43 AM 04-29-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by moondiapers View Post
sounds like a pretty logical if not natural consequence to me. I wouldnt' take child out anywhere fun that had been running from me when it's time to go home. Not a headache I'm willing to deal with. My 8yo just did this to me a couple of weeks ago. When he was invited back for another playdate we had to decline because I dont' feel like chasing him all over god's green earth for 30min to come home while he laughs at me.
You seriously chased him for 30 minutes?
mowilli3's Avatar mowilli3 08:33 AM 04-29-2008
I think she was pretty thoughtful to show up and help you even though she wasn't bringing her son. I'm sorry that your son was upset, but that is also a consequence of her son's actions. I agree that she should have left him at home. I'm not a big fan of punishments, but I don't allow the effect on other people to determine how I deal with my kids. Of course, if my DC are still running away from me at 6 yo, I'm going to have to do some deep introspection.

If I were his mom, I'd go back to him and say, "Your friend was really sad not to see you at the party. I think at 6 YO, you are responsible enough to respect our rules about leaving the house and coming back home. When you disregard those rules, I get angry and afraid. I will not take you out if you won't stay where you are supposed to. Since your friends want to see you so much, we need to work on a way for you to ask my permission to leave and to come back when I call you. I was very upset with you the last two nights that you ran out of the house to visit our neighbor, but I want you to spend time with your friends. Will you show me how responsible you can be so that I can feel comfortable letting you go out to play?"
Tinker's Avatar Tinker 10:12 AM 04-29-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leilalu View Post
sounds like she did the right thing, IMO, though it would have been considerate to warn you as well.
I'd have to agree. It's what I probably would have done as well.
kungfu_barbi's Avatar kungfu_barbi 11:20 AM 04-29-2008
i am absolutely fascinated by the initial replies on this thread and the (almost) consensus that the punishment described makes any sense at all. i had to double check to make sure i hadn't accidently logged onto a mainstream parenting board!
mamazee's Avatar mamazee 11:44 AM 04-29-2008
I don't like that punishment either. Well, I don't like any punishment, but particularly birthday parties. They are a really big deal for kids. For an adult, it would be like missing a huge event you'd been looking forward to. We have to look at things through kids' eyes. If you were having trouble and your husband said, well then we won't go on that cruise you've been wanting to go on, you'd be upset. I really think we should look past the behavior to the reason for the behavior and address that rather than simply punish the behavior. It sounds to me like he went to a friend's house without permission, and the response to that made him afraid to go to his parents later. There's got to be a way to teach your child to let you know where he/she is without making him run away from you later. There's some problem of connection or something between the parents and the kid. If they were at MDC I'd recommend Hold On To Your Kids and Unconditional Parenting. When there's a problem in the connection between parents and a kid, punishment will just make it worse.
Leilalu's Avatar Leilalu 12:04 PM 04-29-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by kungfu_barbi View Post
i am absolutely fascinated by the initial replies on this thread and the (almost) consensus that the punishment described makes any sense at all. i had to double check to make sure i hadn't accidently logged onto a mainstream parenting board!
I don't know that it "makes sense" exactly, but it is definitely a consequence the mom is free to throw out. If my kids were acting up in a way that was dangerous to them, involving LEAVING THE SAFETY OF THE HOUSE WITHOUT ME, I would naturally want to give them a consequence that involved not leaving the house, so that I could keep tabs on them easily. Outings are completely stressful with a child who trys to run away all the time.
LotusBirthMama's Avatar LotusBirthMama 12:20 PM 04-29-2008
I'm sorry you're son was upset, but I have and probably will use the same punishment again. If DS or DD left the house w/o permission and refused to come back than damn skippy the punishment would be that they couldn't leave the house.

I have found grounding and not going to friend's homes/parties to be a very, very effective punishment for my 10 yo.
TortelliniMama's Avatar TortelliniMama 12:22 PM 04-29-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by mowilli3 View Post
I think she was pretty thoughtful to show up and help you even though she wasn't bringing her son.
So, it was thoughtful of the mom to not disappoint the OP, but it's okay that she disappointed the OP's son? I'm really surprised at how unimportant the OP's ds is seen in this scenario. For a child, this is equivalent to his best man not showing up at his wedding.

I'm also going to guess that if the party in question had been for the other child's grandmother, he would have gotten to go, even if he would have enjoyed spending time with his cousins or whatever, because the disappointment of his grandmother (an adult) would have been seen as outweighing the "need" for this particular punishment.
LotusBirthMama's Avatar LotusBirthMama 12:43 PM 04-29-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by TortelliniMama View Post
So, it was thoughtful of the mom to not disappoint the OP, but it's okay that she disappointed the OP's son? I'm really surprised at how unimportant the OP's ds is seen in this scenario. For a child, this is equivalent to his best man not showing up at his wedding.

I'm also going to guess that if the party in question had been for the other child's grandmother, he would have gotten to go, even if he would have enjoyed spending time with his cousins or whatever, because the disappointment of his grandmother (an adult) would have been seen as outweighing the "need" for this particular punishment.
Look, when my son breaks the rules, I do not consider other people in relation to his punishment. I don't say, "Gee, I would ground you for that dangerous and incorrect behavior, but I would hate to make your friend sad...so go on! Have a great time at the party." So, I am sorry the OPs son was disappointed, but he was unimportant as far as the other mom choosing how to discipline her own child.

I think the mother should have given the OP notice for sure. That was thoughtless. It was not thoughtless to punish her DS the way she saw fit just to keep someone else kid happy.

And I don't know the mom in question, but I have absolutly missed fun family events b/c DS was grounded and I needed to stay home with him.
LotusBirthMama's Avatar LotusBirthMama 12:46 PM 04-29-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by kungfu_barbi View Post
i am absolutely fascinated by the initial replies on this thread and the (almost) consensus that the punishment described makes any sense at all. i had to double check to make sure i hadn't accidently logged onto a mainstream parenting board!
Do not confuse gentle discipline with never having a punishment.
paquerette's Avatar paquerette 12:59 PM 04-29-2008
In response to the question "how can they stop the running away in situations like this" I would look at how they're reacting when they do finally catch him; or how they're reacting in situations where he's done something wrong and he doesn't try to run away, when they find out. If he knows that the parents are going to react in some horrible way (even a big screaming/chewing out fest) then I think that would be a big clue why he runs away when he knows he's done something wrong.

Maybe part of the issue is that he needs a bit more freedom? I do not think he should be able to leave the house without telling anyone, but if the neighbors aren't sketchy and he's an otherwise bright and sensible kid, maybe things should be loosened up so he can go over there by himself. My mom didn't tail me around the neighborhood when I was 6. Come to think of it, I would go out to play in the yard and sometimes go to a neighbor's house without letting her know. If she wanted me she went outside and hollered, and if I didn't answer she'd call their houses. I knew to be home by dinner or dark, not to go beyond a certain point, and not to mess around in people's yards unless there were kids there and they invited me.
karne's Avatar karne 01:13 PM 04-29-2008
We don't decide on consequences in our house based on what will be convenient or agreeable to other people. We don't generally do "punishment" here, because I agree, it severs a connection sometimes between us and our kids. However, leaving the house and running away is very serious, and the consequence seems appropriate, and I'll bet, made an impression. A pp suggested locks, or some other thing to keep the child in the house, but honestly, my first step would not be that. It seems quite extreme. I think the mom was correct in keeping her child home.
onlyAngil's Avatar onlyAngil 01:48 PM 04-29-2008
I only have a two year old...

But I love your idea of what when a child runs away.

Any ideas about my two year old and going out? I am at the point were I feel I cant take him out, becuse he runs off when its time to go, or at lest tosses the bigges fit I have ever seen.
nextcommercial's Avatar nextcommercial 02:07 PM 04-29-2008
My child wouldn't be going anywhere if he had been running away from me at home.

But, Mom should have called you on Friday night to warn you ahead of time. Perhaps they weren't sure they were going to actually follow through with it, but maybe the boy was still being impossible.

I agree with what they did, but not with not telling you in advance.
moondiapers's Avatar moondiapers 02:08 PM 04-29-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by Needle in the Hay View Post
You seriously chased him for 30 minutes?
yes, while he laughed at me, dodged inbetween other people's houses and behind them...all along a boat canal. I think my feelings after being disrespected like that ARE very natural...AND my natural feelings are valid. When he asked to go to that friends house next time, I didn't feel like dealing with that crap again, so I said "no"....I don't want to chase you. We'll try again another time.
nextcommercial's Avatar nextcommercial 02:17 PM 04-29-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by moondiapers View Post
yes, while he laughed at me, dodged inbetween other people's houses and behind them...all along a boat canal. I think my feelings after being disrespected like that ARE very natural...AND my natural feelings are valid. When he asked to go to that friends house next time, I didn't feel like dealing with that crap again, so I said "no"....I don't want to chase you. We'll try again another time.
LMAO! I wish I was that nice. I think I would have hissed something very mean and innapropriate. I'm fairly sure my head would have been spinning too.
philomom's Avatar philomom 02:20 PM 04-29-2008
Yes, she did the right thing. Sorry your son got the fallout.
moondiapers's Avatar moondiapers 02:31 PM 04-29-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by TortelliniMama View Post
So, it was thoughtful of the mom to not disappoint the OP, but it's okay that she disappointed the OP's son? I'm really surprised at how unimportant the OP's ds is seen in this scenario. For a child, this is equivalent to his best man not showing up at his wedding.

I'm also going to guess that if the party in question had been for the other child's grandmother, he would have gotten to go, even if he would have enjoyed spending time with his cousins or whatever, because the disappointment of his grandmother (an adult) would have been seen as outweighing the "need" for this particular punishment.
Well if your bestman runs from the police ..... he will likely miss your wedding as well.
moondiapers's Avatar moondiapers 02:35 PM 04-29-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by TortelliniMama View Post
So, it was thoughtful of the mom to not disappoint the OP, but it's okay that she disappointed the OP's son? I'm really surprised at how unimportant the OP's ds is seen in this scenario. For a child, this is equivalent to his best man not showing up at his wedding.
.
I don't feel that the mom disapointed the OP's son. Her son proved untrustworthy out of the house....so he disapointed his friend all on his own.
One_Girl's Avatar One_Girl 03:02 PM 04-29-2008
It sounds like they reacted just fine. A six year old running in the other direction and disappearing twice for over an hour is a big deal to most families even if they do practice gentle discipline, it is called gentle discipline not no discipline and there are a lot of terrible things that can happen to kids on their own especially at this age. It sucks that they didn't tell you about it ahead of time but since he has shown that he is not trustworthy out of the house he should not be allowed out of the house. There is no way I would leave the house with my dd at five if she had a habit of running off and disappearing and I can't imagine changing my opinion about that once she is six.
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