Jump to content

Menu

I am trying not to parent using rewards and punishments...


Recommended Posts

as my primary means of disciplining my children. Instead I try to use encouragement, example, literature and conversation.

 

Some days this is rather exhausting, and it is not always very effective, at least in the short term.

 

I just want good order, good listening and a little bit of cooperation.

 

I'm wondering what other similarly-minded parents of cheerful, rambunctious, kind, crazy, oft-wild hordes do when they are a little burned out and having trouble finding the joy.

 

And apologies for the grammatically wacky thread title. These can't be edited so I can only laugh.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In my house, encouragement, example, literature and conversation only work if you already have a foundation of obedience/respect. And obedience/respect comes from a proper orientation to authority, which (in my experience) comes from rewards/consequences (which is not always the same as punishment).

 

I know this is not the kind of response you necessarily wanted - feel free to ignore it!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

that a bunch of people are going to jump down my throat, but after living for ten years in California, the land of never saying "no" to a child, much less punishing them" that a few years of absolutely consistent parenting with punishments for bad behavior saves years of ego-centric nastiness in a child later on.

 

In the early years, you change the situation - if a toddler bonks you with a block, you take it away.

 

From about 2.5 to 5 you may need to use other consequences, including time outs, or for really bad ongoing behavior, a swat on the butt.

 

From years 5 onwards, the consequences can be losing tv or computer time, time spent in their room, not getting to go to something they've looked forward to.

 

I am so sick of other people's kids who have no idea how to behave. It takes me almost zero energy to parent my kids these days. No means no. They know I will follow through on any threat I make. They don't trash other people's houses, they don't disrupt other people in restaurants, theaters or museums, I never have to apologize for my kid whining, crying, shouting or screaming in public places.....

 

I'm not at all saying you do, either. I'm just saying that I've seen way too many people try to parent without rewards or punishments (the people who wrote those parenting books should be shot for all the grief they've caused) and I've suffered too much from having to deal with their kids. My kids know not to even bother bringing that type of kid home to my house, either, because they know I'll parent them "my way."

 

Life is hard. You don't always get your way. It's not all about you. Three incredibly important messages kids have to learn before they can grow up to be productive adults.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Correction can be a very positive parenting tool. :) For younger ones, maybe 4 and under, a productive way to correct is through consistent "do overs." At our house, it's the infamous "Rewind!" when someone has made a poor choice in how to act or react. So I model or explain the right thing to do and they get to try it again. And again and again, if necessary, to understand and obey. Sometimes, even mom and dad have to do a rewind. LOL That's a good example, too. And, in our Christian home, it is an example of grace.

 

All correction is not always pleasant and some of it may cause tears, but that doesn't make it harmful or a negative approach for your dear little ones. It saves so much heartache and frustration later!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For younger ones, maybe 4 and under, a productive way to correct is through consistent "do overs."

 

We still do this with our 6yo. "Try that again." And again, and again, until it's done right. My job is to keep the directive firm and not unduly provoking. (My dd is temperamentally choleric, so Eph. 6:4 is key for me. Col 3:21, too.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jennifer, I think that the reward/punishment issue is a different one than yours.

 

I think that your issue is discipline and expectations; the fundamental question being, "Do you have expectations of your children that you convey insistently to teach them self-discipline and proper behavior?"

 

I do not personally spank my child, but I do insist consistently on certain behavior. I know lots of parents that are seemingly much harsher with their children than I am, but that don't convey consistent expectations; and they do not get the same behavior results that I do. I think that you and I are more alike than either of us is like those parents. I think that you and I are neither permissive nor authoritarian. I suspect that we are both pretty effective.

 

The reward/punishment thing is a different issue. There the issue is whether you ever transition children to the point where they are truly internally self-disciplined, or whether you train them to always expect and need external rewards. If you never make that transition, you can end up with very shallow people who don't really enjoy learning or virtue or anything except what will reward them--the pleasure or the motivation comes just from the reward or the need to avoid punishment. I have to say that avoiding rewards is not something I do across the board, but I do limit them considerably, and I am really glad that the question was raised by authors so that I could think it through. For instance, I don't want DD to work around the house or learn math JUST for rewards. So I'm not going to teach her to do that by teaching her to expect a reward for every single thing that she does.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

*hugs* I also try not to parent using rewards and punishments. Based on our relationship, my daughter knows when no means no, and when it is open for discussion. Now, I just have one, so the rambunctions craziness you get from your kids I only get when I have LOTS of kids here (which is often.) Usually, I try to channel the energy into something positive -turning up the music, dancing, playing a board game, etc. Sometimes I (bad me) offer a movie in exchange for two hours of peace. Sometimes I do have to divide and conquer - split the troops into different rooms and tasks to make the noise managable. I know it's different (me not being their mom makes them more likely to obey) than having lots of kids 24/7, and I hear ya...

 

I also try to keep in mind the kids developmental level - a younger child just needs to hear what the rule is, until they are old enough to ask why. And older child has both empathy and reason, and all kids can learn a lot preventatively - many teaching moments occur before frusturation rises. Also, recognizing patterns is helpful - everyday at three child x has a meltdown, hits child y and child y hits back hard enough to leave a mark.... snack at three prevents that. Let's do snack at three!

 

Just my .02..... Good luck and keep on keeping on,

Kris

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You're probably right, except my kids don't get any "rewards" for doing the right thing except for a hug and a kind word now and then. Have my kids internalized the motivation to do what's right? I don't know, except to say that when other kids act crazy, mean or out of control they dislike it as much as I do.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8mittens-

 

The mothering boards have a positive discipline board which may give you some more ideas.

 

eta: of course, some of them are kind of wacky...definitely a "take what you can use and leave the rest" kind of place. I'm speaking from experience, not dislike, mind you. I've posted there off and on since their boards were created and my sister is one of their admins.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm wondering what other similarly-minded parents of cheerful, rambunctious, kind, crazy, oft-wild hordes do when they are a little burned out and having trouble finding the joy.

 

I am attempting mostly non-punitive parenting, also, particularly with my youngers. I find it essential to do the following --

 

1. Avoid even mentioning my (normal, not related to relative level of punitiveness) parenting woes to people who think punishment and rewards are a good thing and my failure to implement them is the cause of all of my problems. I find this discourages me right quick and can sap my strength, joy and creativity right quick.

 

2. Read and reread the parenting advice which supports this method. The Mothering Dot Commune boards are good, as long as I remember not to mention coercively educating my kids. I also like Natural Family Project and Naomi Aldort's book. I know a couple local moms who are the same way, and seeing them always helps.

 

3. Get away! I like my kids; I don't want to live a lifestyle of separation; but I do need alone time to recharge my batteries.

 

4. Identify the character trait behind the behavior, and imagine how that trait will serve them as adults. I have a very persistent five-year-old. He has a level of diligence that just boggles my mind. Try to stop him from taking the path he's chosen, and he'll outlast you, for sure. This is a very bad thing in a person with immature judgement about what's safe. When he's an adult, though, imagine where the same level of persistence will take him. Nothing is ever going to stand in between him and his goals in life.

 

5. I repeat my mantra: Children who feel right act right. Taking a moment to chant this in my head can help me calm down.

 

6. I read and reread the greats. Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr, Buddha, all taught that kindness begets kindness. I find myself happier when I'm working through a book on nonviolence, so this year I'm planning to try to keep one going at all times.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I try to do the same. I don't always succeed, but I could see how time outs and punishments were pushing Hobbes away from us and making him more likely to be naughty. Since we replaced them with hugs and talking, he has behaved much better. This has taken time, however: at least six months to see any change and two years for the change to be cemented.

 

I recommend Hold On to Your Kids for a global view of the issue.

 

Best wishes

 

Laura

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think my children are very different from most children but I really have never felt the need to punish. They have never done anything wrong with intention. If I don't think their behaviour is appropriate I find that looking horrified is enough. If we are in company then I will generally quietly take them into another room and give them a chance to calm down and reflect. Nobody else would notice this and the child isn't embarrassed in front of their friends.

I think the children see through my horrified face nowadays and we generally laugh afterwards. Children naturally want to please their parents. Little children are rarely malicious in my opinion and it would certainly be a mistake to treat them as if they had bad intentions. A parent's label becomes the child's identity.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think my children are very different from most children but I really have never felt the need to punish. They have never done anything wrong with intention.

 

Two of my children are like yours. The worst they do is to become inappropriately playful, but when they realize something is actually hurtful about what they're playing, they're eager to stop. It's easy to see that's what is going on -- that their childishness is getting away with their better judgement. I've never been tempted to punish that.

 

But one of my boys is extremely attentive to details and nuances, feels every hurt deeply, and has only recently developed impulse control. He would hold a feeling in, fake being fine, allow us to cross his boundaries (by not stating them) then exact revenge a week or two later. Until I figured out that this was going on, I felt a strong need to punish. Hurting each other is not okay in our household and I was totally willing to hurt him even worse than he could hurt us in order to stop it!

 

I didn't, though, because I knew my smart boy would hate me for it, and in the end, I'd have lost a child. I kept looking for the underlying cause. It was there, but boy was I questioning my methods for a year or so.

 

I'm really glad I held out. Over the course of several months, just recently, I went from having a nightmare of a screaming, hitting, biting, stealing child, to having a five-year-old who understands how to determine an appropriate boundary and sweetly inform his peers of it, who recognizes unhealthy feelings in himself and seeks out healthy ways to deal with them. He is now as pleasant to deal with as his siblings.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

I'm really glad I held out. Over the course of several months, just recently, I went from having a nightmare of a screaming, hitting, biting, stealing child, to having a five-year-old who understands how to determine an appropriate boundary and sweetly inform his peers of it, who recognizes unhealthy feelings in himself and seeks out healthy ways to deal with them. He is now as pleasant to deal with as his siblings.

 

This is wonderful. Mothers must be diplomats, psychologists, and guardian angels all in one.

:cool:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I parent without unrelated consequences, punishment and rewards.

 

But....

 

Instead I try to use encouragement, example, literature and conversation.

 

 

This would not carry enough weight and authority for me. Parenting non punitively does not mean parenting in a way that never creates negative feelings.

 

My kids have lots of limits and age appropriate standards. I insist on them.

 

I'm wondering what other similarly-minded parents of cheerful, rambunctious, kind, crazy, oft-wild hordes do when they are a little burned out and having trouble finding the joy.

 

I'm writing a book about it. In the meantime, visist my site.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...