Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What about punishment ?

So, now that we've covered praise, what about punishment ?

In our family, I only think punishment is necessary for serious infractions. Most of the time they're just mis-behaving because they are excited/tired/hungry/or forgot that they aren't supposed to do a particular mis-deed. A reminder, hug, cuddle and/or distraction (okay, and sometimes yelling) is more than sufficient.

Yes, of course natural consequences are always best. But sometimes, a punishment is warranted.

An example of this might be when you have a new dogsitter over to your house and at the conclusion of her visit, your 5 year old, in an attempt to get more attention, pulls down her pants and MOONS the dogsitter, even going so far as to stick out her butt and waggle it a little bit.

In our family, this behavior warrants a punishment.

In this case, there was some yelling, and when your 5 year old LAUGHS when you are telling her that she should not show her BOTTOM to other people, I pulled out the "I am so mad I cannot talk to you right now."

But I still felt that there needed to be a punishment, and for a reason I can't quite put my finger on, it needed to be a punishment of doing something undesired, rather than the removal of a privilege.

So, the punishment in this case was having to pick up the toys in a particular room by herself. I'd guess that there were about 8 separate things that needed to be picked up and it was fairly easy because their rightful places were in the same room. When she was reluctant, I enforced it by saying that if she couldn't finish her punishment then she also couldn't watch tv.

Do you punish for every infraction or just major ones ? Is there a formula that you follow to fit the punishment to the crime or do you wing it ?


The Lowe said...

We have zero tolerance for some - hitting or hurting. And it gets an immediate time out.

Sometimes the most effective 'punishment' is walking away - as in 'if you're not ready to cooperate I'll come back in 2 minutes'. Not dissimilar to your "I am so mad I can't talk to you right now"

And yes, often the root of this behaviour is tiredness or hunger but not always the kid's.

Rachel et Natalie said...

sorry I had to laugh. I hope that your dogsitter did too.
We have time out when it comes to hitting and as I learned from Montessori that putting them in the corner does not help but I still do in extreme cases. I do explain them how the other person feels and ask them if they would like to be hit for example... .
I like "I'll come back in 2 min", I'll try that.
I tell Rachel and Natalie that I will not never be mad if they tell the truth (something bad they have done). I will not be happy but not mad and I will still love them very much.

Maud said...

As misbehaviour goes, that's a doozy. How did you not laugh? You were probably too busy being mortified, I suppose.
I find it hard to come up with suitable consequences: if there's a fun trip coming up (I mean, right away, not next week or even tomorrow), I can usually ask if he would rather stay at home, and head off the behaviour that way. But often there's nothing he cares about enough to deprive him of, and I can't "make" him do anything.
Often, especially at the end of the day, we resort to "Is it bedtime already?" and "I'm going to put you in your room," but now that his room is all the way upstairs it's rare that we actually feel like expending the energy to drag him there just to make the point.

I obviously have a whole blog post here and nothing useful to say, so I'll stop...

TooOldForThis said...

I tried sitting in the corner (my children would play with the shadows on the wall and enjoyed themselves immensely) and cleaning the baseboards or kitchen cabinets when they were older (which they also enjoyed).

My children never quite got the concept of "punishment"

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