I found this site a couple of weeks ago. Since joining, I've been really taken aback by how punishment-centric this community seems to be. Time after time, if a mom confesses to having issues with her child, the consensus seems to be that she should: Find what he really loves and take it away! Keep him in his room for an hour (or longer!)! Whoop his butt! Because, after all, how else will he learn to respect you?
Am I the only one that thinks that respect can't be tortured out of a kid? No wonder teenagers are carrying guns so that people will "respect" them. So many parents on here seem to think that their kid would "walk all over them" if they didn't take a hard line, or that they wouldn't need to be so strict if their kid wasn't such a devil. Couldn't it be that your kid is a devil because you're so strict?
I have a 6-year-old DD. At curriculum night at her school, the Head of School gave a speech about an incident that happened when she was a pre-teen: She and some friends at camp had anonymously written a mean note to another girl. When she was found out, instead of punishing -- or even notifying her parents -- the head of the camp sat down with the girls and asked them to think about their actions and decide if that was the kind of thing they wanted to do and the kind of people they wanted to be. At the time, the Head of School was just relieved that she didn't get in trouble, but later that event had a profound effect on how she taught and parented. They don't punish at DD's school (it's Quaker, and they have a wonderful conflict-resolution program), and you've never seen such a mature group of kids as their seventh and eighth-graders. They're used to having a say in resolving their own issues, and treated as people who can aim higher.
My own DD has had her share of defiance, but because we spend a lot of time together having fun as a family, and she knows we listen to her and take her concerns seriously, she's never what I'd call "disrespectful" -- she's considerate and very, very loving. Just because we rarely punish doesn't mean that we don't set limits. I'm not a perfect parent by any means, but when I do go wrong it's by being punitive out of frustration -- what I'm striving for is to be as consistent and understanding as our Head of School.
I've seen posts lately -- such as one asking for moms to share their most creative punishments -- that seem gleeful about punishing their children. What are you striving for? Coming down on your kids for things that should be in their domain -- such as eating, and for older kids, doing their homework -- is just infantilizing your children and, it appears, ruining your relationship.
For those who want to move away from the punishment cycle, I'd highly recommend the book "How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk."
Does anyone agree with my rant?