Bad (insert your name here)!

One of the most difficult aspects of parenthood, at least for us, is figuring out how to discipline your child. I mean, parents spend most of their time trying to keep their kids from screaming, and discipline usually induces it. So I spent a long time thinking about it (I had nothing better to do while in time out), and I finally realized something. It’s not so much the punishment itself that matters, it’s the attitude behind it. I decided that the only way to properly punish your child is to remain calm and kind, but firm about it. That keeps the kids from thinking you hate them (more than they do already) but shows that they have to accept the consequences of their actions.

Obviously, it’s not always easy to remain calm when your child is deliberately pushing your buttons, but by and large I find that Sam reacts better to punishment when we do it this way. (By the way, our particular method of discipline is to put him in time out on the stairs, rather than sending him to his room. There are no toys on the stairs, and he also won’t come to associate his room with being punished.)

I don’t really remember what my parents did to punish me as a kid. I remember being grounded a few times, and getting a number of lectures. Frankly, I think my parents were kind of at a loss as to how to get me to behave.

What did your parents do to punish you? And what do you (or will you) do to discipline your kids?


Actually, it is kind of funny because my parents would make us eat food we don't like as punishment (sounds cruel, but it really wasn't)...which illustrates that food is a driving force in my life...punishments, rewards...etc. Camilla Hinckley said that she and Gordon never raised their voice to the kids. I need to learn from that.
Jer said…
My dad likes to tell how he spanked my older brother, never touched my sister, beat the crap out of me, and never touched my younger brother... and he wasn't the one who changed.

Each kid responds to different forms of punishment. For me, nothing worked unless physical force was applied.

I don't disagree with parents who choose NOT to use physical punishment (spanking), but I also don't agree that anything that "leaves a mark" should be considered "abuse". I was NOT abused as a child, but I did have some red, sore skin often.

All that being said, I don't know how I'll discipline my kids. I think that will depend a lot on my wife's views. There is one rule from my parents I plan to incorporate, though:

When Dad was the angry one, Mom did the punishing. When Mom was mad, Dad punished us. This kept any of us from associating either one with being the "disciplinarian", as well as making sure they always were able to keep calm about punishment, like you said.
Turbo said…
My parents sent me over to your house.
Heidi Bell said…
Recently Samantha my almost 4 year old, got punished by not getting to wear her new sparkly flip flops for a whole day. -- She kept getting out of bed the night before, so I threatened that. And I am not one for empty threats! It worked. She was very regretful, and the next night went right to bed.

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