Thursday, April 7, 2011

We'll Pass On The Punishment

In our home we work very hard to never punish our child. WHAT?? Yes, you read that correctly. No punishment ever is my goal, however I'm human and fail very much. But I don't agree with popular opinion that punishment is desirable or necessary in order to raise a "good" child.

I'm not going to go into huge detail because I found a post that covers this topic quite brilliantly. It's a really great read. Even for those who may disagree with my stance, her article brings up a lot of food for thought. The blogger is a christian and goes into the religious aspects of this parenting choice. But she also provides enough explanation that is not religious in nature, so I believe it's a great post for all.

Behavior Modification: Punishment

I think the hardest thing for me is being consistent with this. It is very difficult to break out of the punishment mindset when that's how a person was raised. This is the place I find myself in. I know what I want to do and what I believe and yet fall back on earlier programming when I'm tired and frustrated. It's much easier for me to stick with my big rule of no spanking since I've had this personal rule grounded into my head for years upon years. What's harder for me is the other forms of punishment. Loss of privilege, time out, and shaming are ones for me that can creep in easily if allow them to. I can look back and see that I've made progress, but there's still a lot of room for improvement!

Another thing that I'm finding hard to deal with is other people. It's amazing how many people step up and try to punish my child for me when I'm out somewhere with him. I've seen this at church as well as other places. Nobody is trying to spank my child or anything like that, but I am shocked by how many people feel the need to start shaming my child when he is behaving "inappropriately." Subtle comments meant to punish are very common in our society. "Big boys don't act like that," and "Don't say that to your mommy. I don't like that and that makes your mommy sad," (the latter one while Boo was making a valid attempt to express some anger he was feeling). And I don't say this to come across as high and mighty because I've resorted to similar guilt-inducing statements in the moment. But as a mom it's hard to know how to deal with a well-meaning person when they see it fitting to shame my child. I admit that it's easier for me to jump immediately to a defensive and snippy response than to kindly and calmly inform them that shaming is not something we use with our child.

Since I seem to have gone off a bit on the whole aspect of shaming as a form of punishment, here's an article about the effects of shame on children.

"Good" Children - At What Price? The Secret Cost of Shame

Where I need to continue to grow in my journey is to not resort to punishment and to learn how to assert myself with others so that they are not pushing punitive methods onto my child. Does parenting ever get any easier? Wouldn't it be nice if one day we could actually "arrive" at being the ideal parent?


  1. My comment in facebook where I linked this post and tagged some people keeps disappearing. So I'll post it here.

    I have tagged family not because I'm trying to hint at a "need" for you to read this or anything, but because I believe it takes a village to raise a child and you guys are important and actively involved in our life. Whether you agree with the content of this post or not, the more we can know and understand each other's parenting goals, the more we can support each other.

  2. Thanks for sharing Crystal. I do agree that it takes a village to bring up healthy happy kiddos, and we are so lucky to have you guys so close. And while I don't agree w everything the links you posted have to say, I totally respect your way of parenting. We love Ayden tons and know how much the girls mean to you. And, while we disagree on a few things, in general, we agree on more. :) Can't wait to meet the little one!!! *hugs*

  3. Thanks for your comment Malissa. I was really mad at facebook this morning when it wouldn't publish the comment I ended up posting above. I was paranoid that my intention in tagging people would be misinterpreted! Ah - the paranoid family gene that I've inherited that causes me to constantly obsess over whether or not I've unintentionally upset someone! Anyways, I'm also very happy that you guys are in our lives. I can honestly say that every time we're with you my heart melts in one way or the other watching you and Charlie interact with Boo! And of course your girls have all had my heart from the moment they were born!

    I try really hard to be respectful of people's decisions when it comes to parenting. Sometimes I feel like it's a fine line since I'm constantly writing about and advocating for certain methods and ways of doing things as a parent. I always worry about how I'm coming across and whether I'm "stepping on toes" so to speak. I think as parents all we can do is sort through our options and go with what we feel is best. In the end we all want pretty much the same thing - for our children to grow into wonderful, moral, healthy individuals who contribute to society in a positive and meaningful way. We just have different opinions as to how to get there. And that's to be expected after all as we are all different people!

    And I also can't wait to meet our little! Boo told me that baby is big enough and ready to come out "mommy's door". (my chosen method for explaining a cervix to my child!)

  4. Have you been to the Gentle Christian Mothers website and forum? If not you need to :)