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Why are you guys so punitive? A bit appalled.

Posted by on Sep. 24, 2013 at 2:30 PM
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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?

by on Sep. 24, 2013 at 2:30 PM
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by Bronze Member on Sep. 24, 2013 at 2:33 PM

i agree VERY MUCH with you about this site being very focused on punishment.  but its also this society as a whole. i personally dont understand it.  its such a negative way of being.
we - as in my family - are NOT this way at all.  
great post. 

by on Sep. 24, 2013 at 2:38 PM

We use the nurtured heart approach to parenting, positive reinforcement for good behavior. The only time they are "punished" is when they are sent to reset for a few seconds or even a minute, then it's over, no dwelling on it, just "I like when you do this, but I don't like it very much when you do this, let's not do that again". 
It has worked well with my daughter the past few weeks since we were taught about this technique (an 8 hour class).  

by on Sep. 24, 2013 at 2:42 PM
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I think there has to be a good balance. We don't hit our kids but have grounded them or taken away screen time (tv/computer) but usually when it is and on going issue that can't seem to be resolved any other way. We talk a lot with our kids but sometimes their has to be a consequence to their actions.

Ex: You can't do your chores without me having to hound you, then you haven't earned the privilege of playing on the computer. 

by Kathleen on Sep. 24, 2013 at 2:49 PM
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We are in the middle on this one.  We like a lot of Love and Logic which you may or may not call punishment.  To me it is logical consequences for actions.  If they don't clean up their rooms we quietly take things and clean them ourselves but we get to decide where those things go and it may be in our closet for awhile.  If they don't get ready when asked then they may have to go somewhere in their pj's or not having finished their full breakfast.  You can call this harsh but that is the way the real world works.  We love them uncondionally and they know this and we have a wonderful relationship with them but they know that what they do has a chain effect that may be good for them or not so much.  The nice thing about Love and Logic is they can only blame themselves for the outcome because it is natural consequences. 

Now with that being said, we do sometimes have other consequences that you would most definitely disagree with.  There are certain behaviors that are just not tolerated(being bad at school, hurting one another, etc.) and we will hand out consequences for those things.  We don't do it to belittle them, we do it because once again, those behaviors won't be allowed when they are adults so we are teaching them in a safe and loving environment that those aren't allowed now before they grow up. 

The most wonderful thing about CafeMom though is that there are peole from all walks of life and all different thought processes.  That is one reason I love this group in particular so much is that a person can ask for advice and get ideas from all ends of the spectrum and then can make decisions based on all the different ideas they have gotten.  There is not one right way to do any of these things and not one way will work for every child or for every circumstance so this group is great for lots of different perspectives.

by Silver Member on Sep. 24, 2013 at 2:56 PM
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I 100% agree. Punishing and parenting should not belong in the same sentence. I pretty much parent by this quote:

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I just think people who punish children don't have a basic understanding of child behaviour.
by New Member on Sep. 24, 2013 at 2:58 PM

i agree with you too

by Bronze Member on Sep. 24, 2013 at 3:01 PM

I have never been about punishments.  I don't see how they help a child learn to make good choices out of anything other than fear.  Fear is not the best way to motivate.  It can be effective, to a point, but in the end it seems to only teach/encourage someone to find a way to not get caught rather than make better decisions.

While I haven't explored everything on the site, I recently stumbled onto which seems to be closer to the way I parent than most information out there.  

I think for some parents, they go with what they know, how they were raised.  Others' parenting instincts are different andthey often believe that if they aren't feared, they aren't respected.  They don't see kids as someone to be guided, but rather ruled over. There are many who believe the phrase "spare the rod, spoil the child" means to be punitive rather than guiding.

The reality is that most of us are just trying our best to keep our children healthy, safe and get them to the point of self-suffiencey as decent people who can help make the world a better place.

by Member on Sep. 24, 2013 at 3:59 PM

I agree. It seems like there are still a lot of parents who see kids as possessions to be controlled rather as individuals to be respected. We're all busy, we all have a million things on our plates these days, and one place we're not really held accountable is in our relationships with our kids, so we don't put the time or effort in there. We want them to do everything when we want them to do it and they'd better not inconvenience us or else. Then when they grow up we wonder why we don't have the warm, loving relationship with them that we'd like. Or why they're always acting out in some desperate attempt to be seen or heard. Because they haven't been seen or heard.

Your point is true and valid. Thanks for bringing it up.

by on Sep. 24, 2013 at 5:46 PM

I agree. I'm against hour long time outs or whopping but I do take away what they love. I only do it until they earn it back which can be done in minutes with the behavior they should have already exhibited. That way it's always up to them to make good choices.

I love the book. "How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk." I do think many parents become adversarial with their kids rather than create a family "team". I think far too many parents want to punish rather than guide and expect respect but give none. I also think many parents are lazy, self centered and clueless in the world these days.

by Barb on Sep. 24, 2013 at 6:07 PM
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And here is another point of view:  my sons, who were raised strictly,  both are caring and responsible adults.

I'd like to toss into the discussion that kids are great at tuning out people talking to them and also giving the answers they think will be acceptable.

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