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Discipline, your opinion please...

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My eldest, 11 years old.   Has been shirking her chores to the point where I've been out of socks for four days running.   She will go fetch a pair for me out of the dryer or I've worn old hospital booties.

Also, I set up a "sunrise system" for them to follow before school starts in the morning because they weren't doing basic hygiene, morning chore, music practice, etc...   She did great on day one, but after that has refused to use the flip cards and follow the system.   It would be ok if she were doing what needed done, but she still is only doing half of the stuff on it.


Today, I had her write sentences for not brushing hair, not brushing teeth, and not practicing instrument.   She got 10 sentences each and broke down into a bawling fit (at 11) for having to write 30 sentences....  well, I also don't tolerate bawling fits unless there's a reasonable reason... (Best friend moved away, grandma got run over by reigndeer, dog ran away..etc.)   I don't think having to write 30 sentences is all that big of a deal and did NOT need a bawling fit.


I have been having my 9 yr old son hold cans when he decides to throw bawling fits.  (they have to hold the cans straight out from their body for about 7 minutes...totally doable and I don't feel it's too much punnishment, but it's enough to put them in check to decide if the bawling fit is worth throwing or not.)   So, I had my 11 yr old do it today, and ok.. she served her time.

FFWD, we had choir and other events at which point I realized I was out of socks... so I tacked on ANOTHER 10 sentences for the fourth day of not having socks.   We ran to choir and stuff...

On the way home, kids wanted to watch TV and relax at home, I agree, but then remind 11 yr old of the sentences she still has to write....   She starts bawling all over again...

So,... we did cans AGAIN when we got home and now she is writing her sentences anyway while the younger kids are watching her favorite TV show...

My question is...   Do you think this discipline fits the crime, or am I being too easy with only 40 sentences for an 11 yr old.   What do you do when your kids do wrong and then throw really immature fits over their discipline.   Do you let them act up and get their "feelings out" or do you believe it's all manipulation attempts and either ignore it or discipline it?

by on Aug. 28, 2013 at 7:26 PM
Replies (31-31):
by Group Admin on Aug. 29, 2013 at 11:18 AM

Please take this gently.  I was really afraid to write this because I don't want you to feel attacked or like I'm judging you.  My hubby has a very hard time with some of the stuff here because he grew up in a very abusive household. 

First of all, I would never punish with school work or anything that even looks like school work.  That is detrimental to fostering a love of learning and they will begin to see all school work as punishment.

Second of all, I think practicing empathy is a must for all parents.  Often our feelings, emotions, and demands seem as silly and reasonless to them as theirs do to us.  Putting yourself in her shoes: you are being punished for something you have done wrong, you are beginning to feel the punishment, your thoughts may be that tears are the reaction that this punisher is looking for, but then when you do cry there is more punishment?  Now it felt unfair to begin with (because punishment always feels unfair, we humans have an unbelievable capacity to argue it in our own minds that we did nothing wrong) and now it is totally unfair because you are showing your remorse by crying and the reward for showing your remorse is to make the punisher even more angry.  YIKES! Right?

These years are going to be tough, the tween and teen years are hormone-filled landmines of emotion.  But here are some questions to ask yourself....

If she doesn't care about not going to the lessons, why do you?  If she doesn't care about the friendships, why do you?

I know we feel that we need to "socialize" our kids and we worry, but I'm telling you that she will not become some crazy recluse if you allow her to be punished by missing things.  She may miss a whole week, it may take you not paying for the next set.  But eventually she's going to miss her friends and her activities and she will begin to do the work from the natural consequences that occur from not doing her chores.

Just to be clear I'm not saying bend over backwards to spare her feelings all the time, I'm just saying be aware of her feelings and know that her feelings are just as justified as yours.

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