Instead of “Timeouts”, Try a “Hold Everything”

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Never punitive.  Never diminutive.


Purpose: Re-establish Calm, Cooperation, Harmony

For everyone.

Please go read this and this (you’ll see how they align)

In our house, we do not spank, nor do we incorporate isolation, refusal, ignoring, or “timeouts”.

Our daughter doesn’t just do whatever she wants either; when her preferences are damaging, interfering, or otherwise not in her best interest, we intercept.

If behaviors, attitudes, or actions become a concern, the first thing we use is assessment of why (what is the cause) they became a concern.  Then we employ understanding, followed by patience and compassion.  If necessary, we use a Hold Everything (this means the grownups too), and then we activate our resolution and/or solution superpowers.

 

I want to introduce you to what our house calls PAWS.

  • (Pause – to recreate harmony and re-establish calm and cooperation.  Pause to remember to respect, to honor, to approve, to admire… Pause to stop anger response, frustration, impatience, aggravation. Pause to remember the most important thing in whatever has caused the need to pause in the first place – the life on center stage – child, adult, dog, turtle.)

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Perspective (a spontaneous shift in viewing portal, not only in complexity and understanding, but in physical height and life experience)

Attention (purposed focus)

Wait (observe. reflect. observe)

Solve (resolve and grow)

Think on that for a few.

Natural Consequence, Example One

Unedited – my kiddo woke up before I could… I will later tonight if I can.

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Sometimes a natural consequence is one that occurs beyond our control, due to physics.

Sometimes, in my opinion, a natural consequence is one that I effect for my child, but that is wholly associated with the cause of the resulting effect.

In a previous post, I discussed a child’s actions that were concerning his father -> Read Here
These two particular incidents, and my suggestion of a parental response, fit into the Parent Derived Natural Consequence category.

Here’s an example of physics at play:  Joseph, if you carelessly put the dishes away, you may discover what will happen.  Joseph continues to haphazardly put the dishes away and he drops a plate.  Lucky for him, the floor is only wood instead of tile, but the unfortunate thing is that on its way to the floor (physics-gravity), it somehow twists just enough that instead of landing in a manner that just ends in a thud, it triggers a release of energy known as a bang, that results in the splitting in two (or four) of the material that once was a single piece, otherwise referred to as a plate.

Sucks to be Joseph… jeez, he probably could have thrown the plate on the grown and it would have landed just fine, but nooooo, it accidentally “mishandled” it just so that instead, there is now a huge mess and no longer useful plate to put away.

ENTER MOM

Scenario one:  Mom is irritated, starts telling Joseph that if he’d listened to her in the first place, which he already knows, that this wouldn’t have happened.  So, now he feels dumb for letting it happen, knows he’s going to be further demeaned by some sort of punishment for not being more careful in the first place, and he’s gained his mother’s disapproval yet again.

Some children will cry because they are grieved at both the loss of the approval, but also the failure they perceive is theirs.

Some children will laugh and defy as a response to the disapproval and impressed failure to “do as told” to “prevent problems”.

Some children will be compelled to make reparations.  This is guilt.  The concern here is how far the parent decides to let the guilt be used – in other words, they see a way to manipulate, er… that’s more politically correctly termed “teach a lesson”.

Scenario two: Mom hears the crash.  Waits.  Child either begins to clean up or starts calling for mom.  This depends on how the same situation has been handled before, and on the child’s personality.

Mom enters the kitchen a moment or two after the crash (a younger child will need you sooner to prevent injury).  But she comes quietly, not in judgement or disapproval, but understanding.  She knows what the law of gravity is. She knows that we, as a human race on planet earth, are stuck with this reality.

If child is already attempting to clean up, mom must ascertain the safety of this.  If it’s not safe, mom must intervene.  If child is capable of cleaning up the mess, mom just allows it and makes a note to come after the child is finished and make sure no shards of glass are left anywhere.  – This, by the way, is either the child who is terrified of the parent’s response, or, hopefully, the child who is wholly valued and respected, and is therefore confident enough to reason that he wasn’t quite attentive enough, which resulted in gravity winning, and well, now there is a mess and so to prevent anyone from getting hurt, it needs to be tended to.  No guilt, though there might be some grief, especially if the broken item was of special meaning to someone and the child is aware of it.  No disapproval imposed… by outside forces.  And hopefully, the child is whole and confident, so while they may tell themselves to be more careful next time, they don’t take a hit to their “value”, nor do they hit it themselves.  No humiliation.  No failure.  Just physics.

Now, if the child is, for whatever reason, not attempting to clean up the mess himself, the mother can initiate the process as follows:

“Hum… Looks like we better get to work cleaning this up before someone gets hurt.  I will pick up the pieces if you will go get the broom.”  The glass might hurt the child, so the parent is preventing injury, but the child is still actively involved in assisting.

Child returns with broom, mom encourages “Joseph” to start sweeping in an area that is safe, as she continues to work on removing potential harm.  Child is contributing, and building his confidence in his ability to resolve the concern he allowed gravity to cause.

Once everything is cleaned up – Mom tells child, “Great! Looks like it’s all clean.”  AND THEN LEAVES the area and says nothing more about the incident. Period. Like as in doesn’t ever mention, unless the child brings it up in the future.  If there are still more dishes to be put away, the mother also doesn’t mention this to the child.  She waits.. gives the child the credit that he is intelligent enough to see that there are more dishes to finish.   – Now let’s say he goes ahead on his own and finishes the task.  Great.  Nothing more is said, except if the mother knows he needs reinforcement.  If so, she still waits and unless he initiates, the most she says is something like, “Thanks for taking care of the dishes.  I appreciate you.”

However, if the child is shaken, or perhaps not entirely driven to be responsible without encouragement (like how I said that??), then the mother is put into the position of refocusing.  Again, she waits.  She observes.  Wait = Observe.

Child abandons task and goes to play.  Mother notices.  An hour later, mother reminds child, “Joseph, I noticed there are still dishes in the dishwasher waiting for your attention.”

Joseph’s reply will range all across the board.  Mother simply affirms his response with, “ok”.

That looks like this –

Joseph:  “I know, but I don’t want to do them anymore.”
Mother: “Ok.” – Now wait, don’t walk away, just stay silent.  Give Joseph a chance to explain himself.  Pretend you are having this conversation with another adult.  If he doesn’t begin explaining, prod, a little, but with respect. “Joseph, you don’t want to do any more?”  Keep the look on your face neutral but inquisitive. Don’t lace your words with a tone and motive.  He knows.

Joseph: “Yeah, I don’t want to.”
Mother: “Can you help me understand why you don’t want to?”
Joseph: “I’m worried I will drop more.”  (This is what a confident child will say.  A child who knows he is respected and treated as a valuable member of the family.  A child who doesn’t know he holds his mother’s respect will be defiant and simply state that he has better stuff to do, or insist it’s just a preference.)

If the child is concerned over a repeat failure, the mother can offer her approval and encouragement by stating that if it happens again, we’ll just clean it up again.  If appropriate and beneficial for the CHILD, the mother might also offer a little advice in the form of a trick… NEVER stating that if the child were just “more careful” (or whatever other version of that concept) that it won’t happen again.  Why never state this?  Because no matter how careful you, as an adult, are, eventually gravity will get the better of even you!  Don’t pretend it won’t, and don’t expect your kid to agree to be bound by that double standard either.

Advice in the form of a trick:  “You know Joseph, when I put the dishes away, I’m worried I might drop them too.  So, I give each one a name as I pick them up.  Then, I keep my eye on it from the moment my finger first touches the plate until it’s safely where it belongs.  Then, when I’m all done, I try to remember the names so that next time I see that same plate, I won’t have to wonder what I named it.”

Result

Child is upheld, child is respected, child is approved of
Dishes get done, even if it takes the rest of the day
Child has a new game, and it keeps him focused on his task, which hopefully decreases the chance of gravity winning

Now, there is only one additional note to make here.  In the event that you have a kiddo that hasn’t had the luxury of the high level of your respect and admiration, and doesn’t thrive in his autonomy and self worth…. OR you have a kiddo that is just not into the task for his own purposes (that being it’s boring, he has other stuff that he enjoys more, etc), you’re going to need to use a bit of parental control to make sure the task is completed and the child respects the value of his contribution.

Here’s my suggestion… and it requires patience, tolerance, foresight, and effort on the part of the parent.
Let’s say the child just outright opposes and does not finish the task of emptying the dishwasher.
Ok, this isn’t a problem.  Yes, it annoys you (mom/dad) because it means you will have to do it and the child won’t gain the good from completing it.  But that’s not all that’s going on…

Mother:  “Joseph, I noticed there are some dishes still waiting for you in the dishwasher.”
Joseph: “I don’t want to do anymore.”  – Go through the reasoning and get to just that – kid doesn’t want to comply.
Mother: “Ok Joseph, I’ll take care of them now then.”  Say nothing more, walk away and go do the dishes right then.  It will take you 2 minutes.  Just do it.  Be quiet.  Wait. Observe.  Don’t pass judgement and don’t resent or become annoyed at your kid.

If Joseph shows up to finish before you complete the task, simply thank him for his willingness to take care of the task (don’t go into helping you out, chipping in, whatever else, just focus on the task, as if it is itself worth valuing), walk away and let him.

If Joseph shows up too late and you’ve already finished, simply tell him as much.  “Joseph, I have completed it.”  Say nothing more.  He gets the point.  Trust me.  He’s not stupid.  You don’t need to add insult. He needs your respect.  He gets the point.  (Keep reading – don’t tell me that well yeah, he gets the point, that being that if he doesn’t want to do something he can just refuse and mom will do it for him.)

If Joseph doesn’t show at all, fine.  Complete the task yourself.  Say nothing to him.  Don’t resent, don’t reject, and don’t allow him to feel your disapproval at any point.

Make plans for that night’s dinner to be something Joseph really, really likes.  Include courses in the meal that go together, but omit one of them.  For instance, make macaroni and cheese with ham and apples on the side.  Omit the cheese (use butter so it’s palatable, but don’t make it as “good” as normal).

DINNER TIME

Everyone sits down, your partner knows what’s going on, but other children do not.  Everyone, including Joseph begins eating.  Someone states that the macaroni tastes different, like it doesn’t have enough cheese.

Mother:  “Well, it doesn’t actually have enough cheese because I didn’t have enough time left after taking care of emptying the dishwasher today to give to cutting up enough cheese for our dinner tonight.”  Older kid, “Oh come on, it only takes three minutes to empty the dishwasher!”  Mother, “Well, yes I know, and Joseph started it and so today it only took me two minutes.  It also only takes two minutes to cut up the appropriate amount of cheese, but I allocated those two minutes to the dishwasher instead.”  (NOT I had to allocate, I ‘did’ – chose to – simple fact.. NO DIGS at the kid that caused all this – don’t point fingers, ever. And don’t omit so that the opportunity for someone else to opens up. No passive retaliation here.)

Say nothing more about it.  If the kids complain about the taste, agree with them.  Don’t apologize, don’t lay blame, just agree.

Takes a lot of work… I know. But by doing that work, you’ll grow a whole, confident, capable, and responsible child into an adult that will hopefully continue the work in is own life.

 

Either the consequences of the act will be enough, or they won’t be- and then a parent’s job becomes to modify the environment or provide supervision until the fascination with the forbidden thing ends.

Punitive Timeouts & Spanking: Equally Damaging

As you read this, if you are unaccustomed to my beliefs or written tone and rhythm, please go here first.  Then, as you read, keep Ken’s comments in mind.

I am in a state of aggravation, spurred by injustice, impossible scenarios, no sleep, trepidation over the damage I may be causing my child with all this transition (moving, traveling), and struggling through a significant crevasse between my husband and I.  Right now, I am not whole.  I am torn in two, with a thread of goo left dangling in between. Please forgive my attempt at coping by using sarcasm instead of sheer wit and completely pure communication.  I’m jaded and in protective mode right now… and as if life isn’t large enough as it is at the moment, I have found myself being expected to conform or defend some of my core beliefs to some very real and large, tangible people (outside my home’s walls, but not far from them).  One of the topics is the use of timeouts.

Somehow, me saying that timeouts are torture in my opinion isn’t enough to get the various people to which I refer above to leave me alone.

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What is the point of a time out?

From the adult’s perspective, if we’re honest, first and foremost, hopefully the answer to that question is to insist a child realize they have evoked your disapproval by their actions and behaviors.  Second, to be completely honest, it is to give the adult a moment’s peace, during which they do not have to contend with the child’s behaviors and actions that are causing frustration.

We accomplish our task by forcing our child to endure rejection, isolation, and dehumanizing “space to think”, which if they had managed to “think” in the first place, they would never have allowed themselves to be forced into the position they found themselves in – the experience of ostracism by a trusted, loved, care giver.

Below you will find links to subsequent posts as I complete them related to the subject, picked apart concept for concept, and sometimes sentence for sentence.  I hope you will summon your curiosity and continue the learning process, open your mind to your child’s world view, and soften your heart so that a greater knowledge and understanding might enter your parenting and the future health of your child (and you).

Too spiritual, mystical, out-there talk??

Ok, here’s the same thing without the flowers and fairies:  Timeouts cause the brain to sense physical pain because it is in fact, a deliberate action of forced isolation, rejection, and detachment, even at the most “dutiful and appropriate” level. What’s worse, that isolation, rejection, and detachment is being forced upon a child powerless to prevent it by the very entity that is supposed to represent a safe, secure, and protected place/person (be it a parent, teacher, etc).

The betrayal, on multiple levels, is astounding and horrifying.

It’s real.

Don’t believe me?

Try this: Cause those around you to purposely ignore your presence, the other adults you see as valuable for one reason or another, in your daily life. Now, make it so you cannot stop their lack of or refusal to acknowledge you (otherwise known as “removal of positive reinforcement”) until you conform to their will and wishes, or until you regain their approval in some way (if you are capable).  Tell me this is not damaging.  Tell me this doesn’t hurt you. Tell me that it doesn’t make you squirm, angry, resentful, vengeful, and ultimately needy.  I dare you to try.

Now, take that one step further and view the same scenario through the eyes of an under/undeveloped child, inexperienced in social and emotional behavior patterns, still forming a fundamental sense of self and confidence, not capable of fully understanding why, or what they have done to loose the approval of others that resulted in this forced rejection and isolation. (May bet is that if you use timeouts, or spanking for that matter, you do not fully disclose pertinent thoughts to your child, as that might just give them too much knowledge to use against you at some point, so there is a good chance that the child is not fully aware of all aspects of their infraction.)

My take?  Smacking a child may possibly cause less scarring than using timeouts/ostracism, and you all know what I think about using violence and spanking, smacking, hitting, whipping, or using any sort of like action – that being to strike, in any manner.   The reason is simple: Spanking causes humiliation, fear, and physical pain.  Ostracism causes all the same, in addition to a loss of perceived self value, loss of approval, pain of rejection, fear of isolation, and the prevention of remedy (while they sit there thinking about what they’ve done, they are effectively prevented from generating a resolution or remedy).  The amount of psychological scarring and damage is doubled.

Please understand that if I am made aware of your choice to hit your child, and you’re within arm’s reach of me, I will hit you in the exact manner and force you used on them.  And then… maybe I’ll ignore you after, just to make sure you get the full effect of the devaluing and dismissal.

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Ok, here we go……

I have had parents tell me that using timeouts is an excellent option for them, it gets great results.  I cringe.. if you understand anything about me, you know that first and foremost, I believe it paramount that we raise our children with intelligence, the ability to reason and understand their world, respect for their world (this includes those who are in a position to care and provide for them), and a curiosity to explore, develop, and learn.  THE moment I hear a parent tell me that they’ve figured out a system to manipulate their child, for the sake of their own will and desire, regardless of why or what, I start to ache for their little one.  Then, I find out they hit them (ok, spank – really, show me what the physical action of a spanking is, now repeat the action with the same force using the same tool either against a piece of foam like the kind you use in the base of a fake plant, or a brick wall if you’re brave and dumb enough.  It’s the same action as hitting, and when the object makes contact, let’s see what happens).  OR I find out they faithfully don’t spank, “would never dream of it, that’s awful and abusive”, but oh yes, they definitely use timeouts, otherwise known as rejection, which includes the transmission of obvious disapproval, and then of course the torturous forced isolation aspect.  Yes, that’s a great solution.

That same parent, in their next breath, ridicules their child passively, dishonors their child’s autonomy and dignity by speaking about them as if they are less, and typically though standing right there, the parent behaves as if the child is not in the room. Then, as if to redeem themselves in the face of, well, my face, which is typically by then contorted and unable to hide the pain it feels due to the unavoidable sense of compassion and dismay I feel for the child, they begin to offer semi-relevant praise “about” their child, that they sort of direct through their child in hopes that I’ll buy it and encourage them that they’re really a great parent after all.  All the while, their child is standing there knowing full well that the praise is empty, that it has a hitch or some sort of catch and they’ll hear about it as soon as I’m not in the room, and that their parent will insist they acknowledge the efforts and praise offered, as if it is an obligation for the child to also validate the parent, as the parent insisted I do.

But I don’t. And to date, only one parent has stood their ground long enough to start asking me why I won’t buy into their ploy and help them feel good about themselves, so that their kid is forced to do the same thing… Only one parent has ever had the courage to question my refusal to help them make their child feel inferior, of course that’s not really what they want, they just want to be superior.

The parent that asked me why it was that it seemed as though I appeared to think they were full of shit, is the same parent that an hour later broke down in front of their child, crying, while sitting on the floor in front of the child, begging the child to forgive him for his arrogance, sense of entitlement, and gross oversight of the true value of his child.  The child responded with compassion and bewilderment, and didn’t say much.

The two left that night, together, connected in a way they’d never been, with a mutual respect present that was brand new.  The child admired the parent, though he was confused and didn’t seem very trusting or certain of the situation.  The parent discovered the immense worth and complexity of his child, and found that he too held a high level of admiration for the child, it had just been hiding under the surface for years – 9 years to be exact (the child was 10 years old).

I heard from this father about a month ago, his child is now 12.  This father is still struggling with allowing himself to truly acknowledge and respect his child’s autonomy and worth. He is driven to seek reasons and actions that justify him feeling and thinking this way, before he demonstrates this belief to his child.

We talked about this concern and the father indicated that he, himself, held a deep resentment toward his own parents and other care givers for never allowing him to feel as though he was a legitimate and useful contributor, simply because he was nothing more than a child.  He grew up assuming that all children were nothing more than something to be dealt with, tolerated until they’re grown, appreciated for what they do that pleases the adult (and in truth, mimics the adult’s preferences), but not too highly appreciated lest the child become arrogant… it goes on and on.

It’s a simple point of attributing a lessor worth and diminished degree of legitimacy to a person, simply because of their age.  We, as a human race, do this to each other based on ethnicity, language, religion, wealth, and gender. We’d be truly crazy hypocrites if we didn’t do the same thing because of age too. Come on, really.. we’re not that dumb, are we?

The positive side the father reported, however, was that his child and he shared a mutual respect for each other, and instead of punishment for error, the father had learned to use logic, reason, natural consequence, and give his child room to error, room to disagree, room to explore and discover, room to question and seek guidance – instead of shoving it down the child’s throat, and room to return respect and admiration for the father that can so deeply love, if he allows himself to be that vulnerable.

The real catch is, this father changed not only the dynamics of his relationship with his then pre-teen child, but that decision affected his relationship with the child’s mother immensely and brought the two parents back together in a mutual love and respect that neither had ever experienced in their former relationship together. Now, each member of this family knows they are valued, appreciated for who they are and what they think, admired for their efforts and dedication, and respected because they are, not because of what they do or don’t. Love found a place to call home and it took root. And this kid, let me tell you, is one emotionally healthy, intelligent, and confident kid, with a boatload of personal integrity and ability to demonstrate compassion and dedication like none I’ve recently seen or known, of the same age.

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Now, to discuss specifically the harm and damage that is the actual result of using a timeout punishment system – quite possibly the most poignant and intelligent perspective I have ever come across regarding the use of timeouts:

What you probably didn’t realize is that the silent treatment is a form of ostracism. When someone is ostracized it affects the part of their brain called the anterior cingulate cortex. Do you know what the anterior cingulate cortex does?

The anterior cingulate cortex is the part of the brain that detects pain. When you give someone the silent treatment you are causing that person physical pain. Simply by ignoring someone else’s existence you can inflict pain on them. This is what the ever popular “time out” with a child is so effective. The child feels ostracized, therefore is feeling pain even though no physical pain was inflicted on them, and therefor they want to behave so they don’t have to feel that way again.

The silent treatment can be a very destructive behavior when it involves personal relationships. Let’s say with a husband and wife for instance. The silent treatment breeds bitterness on both ends and it borders on emotional abuse… I’m not making that up to be dramatic. That’s what “they” say.

S O U R C E

Then, we take a look at this from another angle –

Numb to the pain

It turns out that “hurt feelings” may be a more valid term than most of us think. Research by Williams suggests that ostracism triggers the same area of the brain that’s active when we feel physical pain. He and his colleagues used FMRI to examine what happened in the brain when people played several versions of “Cyberball”: Participants were either included in the game, excluded having been told their computer wasn’t hooked into the network, or intentionally excluded.

Each time participants felt excluded—even when it was unintentional—the brain’s dorsal anterior cingulate cortex lit up, according to findings published in Science (Vol. 302, No. 5643). This area is well-known for being part of the brain’s pain detection system, says Williams. Participants also reported feeling emotional pain.

Williams’s findings make sense from an evolutionary perspective, argue Leary and Geoff MacDonald, PhD, in a 2005Psychological Bulletin (Vol. 131, No. 2) article. They propose that social pain piggybacks on nerve pathways in the brain originally laid out for physical pain. The two now share many of the same pathways, resulting in similar responses to the two seemingly disparate phenomena, they say. It makes sense, says Leary, a Duke University professor of psychology, because social rejection and pain serve the same purpose—alerting an organism to a potentially life-threatening risk.

It may also support a counterintuitive theory proposed by Baumeister and his colleagues: that social rejection leads initially to emotional numbness. They have conducted studies in which they tell participants that based on a psychological evaluation they will end up alone later in life. They’ve found that the participants’ behaviors are affected by the news, but their moods aren’t. Baumeister compares this emotional numbing with the analgesic effect that can happen after an injury. We don’t feel pain until we’ve gotten to safety. This same pathway, he argues, may cause emotional numbness after rejection to allow the brain to begin to cope with the pain before it sets in. In fact, in a series of studies, Baumeister and colleagues find that after rejection, not only are people emotionally numb, but their threshold for physical pain increases.

Williams agrees that emotional numbness can happen. In qualitative interviews he conducted with victims of long-term ostracism, many people described their trouble engaging emotionally. However, he says, it’s not clear yet when or under what conditions people feel numbness versus pain.

Rejection’s link to aggression

Regardless, it’s clear from the research that ostracism and rejection have very real consequences. Williams’s student Lisa Zadro, PhD, now at the University of Sydney in Australia, interviewed 50 people who were either ostracized or perpetrators of ostracism. Those who’d been ostracized reported depression, eating disorders, promiscuity disorders and even attempted suicide. Almost all said that they would have preferred physical abuse to ostracism.

S O U R C E

In fact, long-term rejection can have disastrous consequences in the form of anger and aggression. Leary examined cases of school shootings and found that as many as 80 percent of shooters suffered from prolonged peer rejection. These are, of course, only correlations, but many lab studies support the idea that rejection can lead to aggression.

“There seems to be a failure of self-regulation in people who feel rejected,” says Baumeister. “And this allows a shift toward anti-social and aggressive behavior.”

But aggression is only one reaction people can have, says Williams. He and others find that people may also become more socially attentive in an attempt to win approval. Aggression, he argues, is more likely to occur when people have lost a sense of control. They use aggression to reassert themselves—a motivation that becomes more salient than any desire to be liked.

If you use timeouts, any chance you see the correlation here with either the aggressive response, or the opposing passive response? Do I need to draw to connect the dots or can you?

… on his first day, I witnessed the teacher giving a 4 yo boy a time-out for grabbing a toy from another child. They made him go and sit by himself on a chair away from the other kids and told him to “think about what he had done”. Then they eventually led him back to the group, and said, “next time you want a toy, you will use your…” and he said right on queu, “…words”. So obviously this is not the first time it has happened. I was just shocked. I was told in my tour they didn’t use time-outs. Apparently they do. They didn’t speak meanly, they were calm, but everyone was staring and I felt bad for him. I felt he was humiliated a little, ostracized, singled out.

S O U R C E Go read the rest of this.  The article is a bit choppy, but insightful.

Research suggests that ostracism is an effective form of controlling contranormative behaviors, punishing deviance, and increasing in-group cohesion (Alexander 1986; Barner-Barry, 1986; Basso, 1972; Boehm, 1986; Mahdi, 1986). For example ostracism is still one of the more common methods used to discipline young children, by parents and teachers alike. The issue of enforcing time outs, in schools and special education programs alike, has been discussed at length by social psychologists. The common denominator of most forms of time-out is the reduction of social attention. But this can be carried out in a number of ways, from physically relocating the child to a time-out room, to systematically ignoring the child who remains the same social environment (Brooks, Perry, & Hingerty, 1992; Heron, 1987). It has yet to be determined as to whether time-outs are a beneficial form of discipline.

S O U R C E


Note #2 – the ancient Greece part – I added a bit of something to the definition.

os·tra·cism
–noun

1.

exclusion, by general consent, from social acceptance,privileges,friendship, etc.

2.

(in ancient Greece, and in most contemporary homes and schools where children spend their time, across the United States and other countries) temporary banishment of a citizen,decided upon bypopular vote.

Adoption: Creating a Mini-Me!

My personal life struggles are great enough that I cannot write from the heart much of late. This is probably when I should write the most, at least about the topics I’m struggling with. However, those of you who write will understand when I say that, highly therapeutic or not, I just don’t have the energy.

So instead, I’ll work on debunking yet another article from NGJ.  Though, I must warn you, I may not debunk very effectively.

The quote below is of a comment/letter sent to the NGJ crew, and the response of Mrs. Pearl.  With a little editing by Mike, who we all know is the only reason her response has any value at all.

If you’re nodding your head in agreement right now, please email me privately so we can talk…

S O U R C E

Dear Pearls,
We adopted a child when he was just a baby. We now have several younger birth children. Our whole family enjoys camping and fishing except our oldest. He only likes sports. We have never had a TV or joined in games of this kind, but he will find a way to watch or play any chance he has, even to the point of lying. This causes an extreme breach between us. I have trouble forgiving him. What can we do to get him on the family team? How do we deal with a child who doesn’t want to be a part?

DEBI’S COMMON SENSE (WITH A LITTLE EDITING BY MIKE)
You want him to be a part of your team but you do not want to be part of his. You are assuming that talent and interest can be dictated—a grave mistake. YOU are the one making it an “adoption” problem. When you love someone, you want to see them fulfilled as a person—as the person they are, not the person you want them to be.

I concur. The submitter-parent is unaware of the damage they, themselves, are causing.  Such is the situation with so many parents, and adoptive parents.

The ironic thing here is how well this article and response from the Pearl clan illustrates their hypocrisy.
Here, this is stated, “You cannot, and should not, replace a person’s dreams with your own goals and desires.” And yet, in so many of their other articles, they are insisting on doing just this, but with enough of a twist that instead of ultimate control and power, it looks like love and nurture.

No, one should not attempt to replace or even interfere with the hopes and dreams of another, except where they might serve to encourage or assist that person in achieving them.

You cannot, and should not, replace a person’s dreams with your own goals and desires. If you like hunting or sports or mechanics, that is your heart, and it is fine for you, but if your son likes something different, you are the one who needs to sacrifice to aid him in the fulfillment of his dreams.

If you have read Created To Be His Help Meet, you know about the 3 kinds of men. Like God is three, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, man was created in God’s IMAGE. Some men are Command men, some Steady, and some Visionary. Well, boys are little men. If you happen to have a Visionary, then you can be sure he will not be interested in sports or fishing. When you go fishing, he will be interested in building a dam to change the watercourse. If you take him to a sports game, he will be more interested in coming up with a new way to play the game. Boys need to grow up to be the men they were born to be. Help them be the best at WHO THEY ARE.

In this paragraph, in my opinion, the useful information starts and ends with the last three sentences, but mostly just the last two – children (not boys specifically) must be allowed to explore their world and become what they choose. To do anything else to force the person to become what you wish for them. This method does not improve their life.

I detect that you think there is some vanity or evil in your son’s interest. You are too religious even for God. Concentrate on building character in whatever pursuit your son chooses. It is wise to make available many options that are constructive and character building, but don’t think that in the end you can dictate interests. Buy yourself a baseball glove or soccer ball and take him to play. Stand by and cheer like it was the most exciting thing in the world. It is the only way you are going to win.

Ah, here we have what I suspect is Mr. Pearl’s voice…  “It’s the only way you are going to win.”

What is there, exactly, to win.  It’s not about winning, it’s about the positive development of a human, from birth to death.

It is indeed unwise to attempt to push your own agenda and interests on anyone, especially a child in your care.

Peace-Centered Parenting, Non-Violent Children

S O U R C E

I came across this site today in search of an image that depicts my hope to gain the attention of those who skim over the front page of this blog.  You’ll see I added a pic from the page, and have linked it back to the page.   But I also wanted to take a minute to commend and outwardly appreciate the efforts of those who have created this work of art.

People always say that children should come with an instruction manual, well that is part of the problem. There are tens of thousands of manuals out there and all of them say different things.

Even in the new millennium the experts can’t quite agree on the “right” way to raise a child.

The problem is, each of us has our own idea of what defines successful parenting. Sometimes those ideas change from day to day. Experts can’t agree, and we can’t agree.

For me, my parenting philosophy came from many sources. My own childhood was a huge factor but so was my fascination with psychology, with finding out what makes the human mind tick.

When I realized how easily we can damage our children for life, how careful we must be with their fragile minds I actually scared myself. As parents, we have one of the most important jobs on earth, shaping a future generation.

… What we do in our home can affect society for many years to come. That sort of puts your parenting goals in perceptive doesn’t it? …

… All I really intended to do in the beginning was remove the hypocrisy from my parenting. I refused to ask something of my children that I was not willing to demand from myself. I didn’t realize I had become an advocate of non-violent parenting until well after the decision had been made. I just began wondering why people hit their children and then tell them not to hit. Why they are disrespectful of their children yet demand respect from them.

We are our children’s first and best models of expected behavior. Our children are going to do what we do, not do what we say. When we lie to someone saying we aren’t feeling well so we can’t attend that birthday party, our children are watching us. The person on the other end of the phone might not know we are lying but our children do. They are learning from us even then. –

… I had to work very hard with my own children to help them understand that being disrespectful of another person, even if we don’t like them or what they are doing, is always wrong.

I didn’t do it just to protect the teacher, I did it to protect myself in the future as well.

If I am going to demand respect from my children, I must demand it in all situations, not just situations of my choosing –

I am in complete agreement.  I have witnessed the carelessness with which some parents behave in the presence of children and am appalled by their complete lack of respect for themselves, the entity in question, and their children.  However, I am then not at all surprised when I see the poor behavior and attitudes of their children displayed either when the parent is not present, or often in direct confrontation of the parent.

… What goes on behind closed doors often transfers to public. Respect is important in public, but even more so in private. When parents are openly disrespectful to their children, or even towards one another they are encouraging the cycle of disrespect to continue.

Such a crucial understanding to accept and adopt, religiously.  Seriously.  If the masses would do just this one thing, many of the world’s conflict and sorrow would cease.  Just think, in a single generation, if enough of us chose this path, what difference could be made in our communities and society of the future!

Papa Ate the Monsters!

“Well, of course he did!”
– Like there was ever any question, or anything else to do but!

_____________

Those of you who have some idea of what my family and I are going through right now will understand the title.

Furthermore, you will understand what I mean when I tell you that Papa eats the really big ones, Little Bug eats the little baby ones, and Mama sends the rest back to their planet.

The monsters get on their spaceship and go back to their planet.  That’s what we do with the ones we don’t eat.  Cuz people belong on this planet and monsters belong on the monster’s planet.

Then, for special reinforcement needs, we have the magical light bracelet.  It keeps those pesky monsters away. And the few that slip through, well, Papa takes care of those.  (You know how many light bracelets I have had to buy in the last week!! – Yeah you can freeze and reuse, but that only works about twice.)

What I find most fascinating is that after weeks and weeks of me trying to “deal” with the monster crisis, and failing, Papa figured it out in about 2 minutes of actually being made aware that I needed help.  Papa came to the rescue.

I tried nurturing, comforting, empathy, acknowledgement, comforting, gentle logic, rationalizing at 2 year old level, acknowledging, nursing, and did I mention comforting, nurturing, and mommy love.  Guess what? Papa stepped in one afternoon and told his little bug that he was going to take care of her, keep her safe, and EAT THE MONSTERS.  I freaked – ARHGHGHG!! Don’t tell her that the monsters are inside you now!  That hit my logic and sense of being all wrong.  Hell, she was inside me, there surely shouldn’t be any monsters in there!!

I held my tongue however, as we were all together, and I swallowed my stomach.  I watched… I waited… She pondered his solution for about 10 seconds (while I would have been more comfortable sinking to the bottom of the pool – we were swimming at the moment he decided to explain his special appetite for monsters to her).

About 15 seconds later, she asked him if he was sure he’d eaten all of them.

“Yep!  And I put ketchup and mustard on them.”

To which she replied, “And peanut butter, and chocolate, and, and, coffee cream??”

And so went the conversation, with Papa patting his “full” belly and her fear subsiding, second by second.

_______________________________________

Now, daily, Papa eats the monsters.  And if Papa isn’t around and she finds some, Mama either sends them back to their planet, Lils eats’em if they’re baby ones, or we find a light bracelet (her favorite is the blue, when Papa isn’t with us – she has long since assigned blue to Papa as his color).

He also taught her to grab a flashlight and face her concerns of there being monsters “in there – wherever” with it on as bright as she can make it shine.  She clears rooms regularly, with her little LED light and her glow bracelet.  You should see… and when she gets worried, Papa steps up right behind her and helps her find em, eat’em, and send them back to their own planet.

 

Now I can’t decide whether this experience is a twisted, positive one,
or something I regret for allowing the insecurity to develop
and cause the monsters to appear in the first place
(we could have refused the relocation, I suppose).

However, it has given Papa an opportunity to valiantly
protect and impart strength to his little girl.
_

I still wish she thought monsters were funny –
you know, like Grover or Cooking Monster.

Our choices thrust her into a world of uncertainty, unfamiliar surroundings, and a resulting encompassing insecurity.  We expected something like this, but hoped keeping her close to us would be enough (like when she was tiny).  Wrong.  She is all too aware of everything at this point, and it is making a huge impact on her.

Her mind has resolved to manage her fears and insecurity through the manifestation of monsters.  This does not make me happy, but I am leaning toward the feeling that I have to find good in this development somehow. And what better good could there possibly be than for her relationship and reliance on her Papa to have blossomed
as a result of him coming to her rescue
by developing a ravenous appetite for grumpy monsters.

Beautifully Read

Why African Babies Don’t Cry:
An African Perspective
by Claire Niala

S O U R C E

I was born and grew up in Kenya & Cote d’Ivoire. Then from the age of fifteen I lived in the UK. However, I always knew that I wanted to raise my children (whenever I had them) at home in Kenya. And yes, I assumed I was going to have them. I am a modern African woman with two university degrees and I am a fourth generation working woman – but when it comes to children, I am typically African. The assumption remains that you are not complete without them; children are a blessing it would be crazy to avoid. Actually the question does not even arise.

I started my pregnancy in the UK. The urge to deliver at home was so strong that I sold my practice, setup a new business and moved house / country within five months of finding out I was pregnant. I did what most expectant mothers in the UK do – I read voraciously: Our Babies, Ourselves, Unconditional Parenting, anything by the Searses – the list goes on. (My grandmother later commented that babies don’t read books – and really all I needed to do was “read” my baby). Everything I read said that African babies cried less than European babies. I was intrigued as to why.

I (Angie) read very little while pregnant, mostly because I would simply fall asleep.  However, I share this woman’s thought pattern.  All the books, information, science in the world can only help you to understand your little one better, and make better decisions for her growth IF, and ONLY IF, you understand her in the first place.  To do this, you must slow down, get out of the way, and listen.  Observe, pay attention to everything, it will connect itself if you do.  She will tell you exactly what she needs, how  to help, how to nurture, and how to grow her into the strongest, most intelligent and capable woman she can be, if you’ll just listen.  See the world through her eyes, come along side her, be the wind, let her open her sail as she sees fit.

Educating oneself is crucial, but if the subject matter for which all the education is obtained is unknown and not understood, it is all for nothing but to create aggravation and dissatisfaction.

See her world as she sees it.  Listen.  She’ll tell you, and your job is to make sense of it for her until she can do it for herself.

Why Spank? Well, It Works. Embarrassment is a Powerful Tool

Yesterday I received a comment related to the Bare Bottom Spanking post that has me thinking beyond my initial response to the father that sent the comment.  I have copied in the conversation below, but want to add a few additional thoughts on this subject before letting it snooze for a while.
Concerning the subject of humiliation as it relates to development of the very young through to adulthood, I want to offer you a few morsels to chew on.
Here is an excellent site, and one that I encourage any of you who might struggle with some of the issues on either side of the wall to take a look at.  (Click the title link for source)

What is Emotional Abuse?

Abuse is any behavior that is designed to control and subjugate another human being through the use of fear, humiliation, intimidation, guilt, coercion, manipulation etc. Emotional abuse is any kind of abuse that is emotional rather than physical in nature. It can include anything from verbal abuse and constant criticism to more subtle tactics, such as repeated disapproval or even the refusal to ever be pleased.

Emotional abuse is like brain washing in that it systematically wears away at the victim’s self-confidence, sense of self-worth, trust in their own perceptions, and self-concept. Whether it is done by constant berating and belittling, by intimidation, or under the guise of “guidance,” “teaching”, or “advice,” the results are similar. Eventually, the recipient of the abuse loses all sense of self and remnants of personal value. Emotional abuse cuts to the very core of a person, creating scars that may be far deeper and more lasting that physical ones. In fact there is research to this effect. With emotional abuse, the insults, insinuations, criticism and accusations slowly eat away at the victim’s self-esteem until she is incapable of judging the situation realistically. She has become so beaten down emotionally that she blames herself for the abuse. Her self-esteem is so low that she clings to the abuser.

Emotional abuse victims can become so convinced that they are worthless that they believe that no one else could want them. They stay in abusive situations because they believe they have nowhere else to go. Their ultimate fear is being all alone.

My interpretation of spanking a child is to force the will of the person who wields greater physical strength and a faster intellect than the child entrusted to their care.  To spank does not solve a problem, does not teach wisdom or deliver knowledge.  To spank stops an annoyance, teaches fear response, and closes the door on a willing spirit to learn (both of the parent and the child).  It serves to do nothing but give the adult some immediate satisfaction that they’ve done something to correct the issue at hand, but they have not.  Though it may seem as though this has been achieved, it is simply a facade.  When we use violence, physical or emotional, verbal or nonverbal, we instill our children with the need to develop response systems that provide them with some sort of self protection and survivability.  This is the complete opposite from teaching respect, appreciation, wonder, confidence, responsibility, and love.
Today I feel like I am banging my head against a wall because of how obvious it is to me that violence begets violence, regardless of the intensity level.  Yet, so many are completely unable to see this.  I think I might have an inkling of an idea what Magellan must have felt when trying to explain to the populous that the earth is indeed a sphere and no, we won’t fall of the edge if we keep going.
I’ll try to write more later tonight.
Take a look at this article, somewhat inserted here but you’ll need to visit the site.
(Source is Title Link)

Humiliation

No one likes being treated like dirt
You have been insulted, your ego is bruised, your pride is hurt, you have been show powerless and diminished in some way, and now you are hurt and mad as hell! You have just been humiliated, it is unfair, and you don’t like feeling foolish. Humiliation often results in violent retaliation and revenge.
Remember, at the end of the day, the only opinion of yourself that matters is your own.

Definitions:

  1. Feeling disrespected.
  2. A loss of stature or image.
  3. An image change reflecting a decrease in what others believe about your stature.
  4. Induced shame
  5. To reduce the pride or fail to recognize the dignity of another
  6. An event perceived to cause loss of honor and induce shame.
  7. Feeling powerless.
  8. Being unjustly forced into a degrading position.
  9. Ridicule, scorn, contempt or other treatment at the hands of others

Root: from Latin humilislow, lowly, from humusground. Literally, “reducing to dirt”.

Synonyms include losing face, being made to feel like a fool, feeling foolish, hurt, disgraced, indignity, put-down, debased, dejected, denigrated, dishonored, disrespected, dis’ed, defamed, humbled, scorned, slighted, slurred, shamed, mortified, rejected, being laughed at. While humility is considered a strength, humiliation is hurtful; the distinction pivots on autonomy.

Appreciation is the opposite of humiliation.

Humiliation involves an event that demonstrates unequal power in a relationship where you are in the inferior position and unjustly diminished. Often the painful experience is vividly remembered for a long time. Your vindictive passions are aroused and a humiliated fury may result. There are three involved parties: 1) the perpetrator exercising power, 2) the victim who is shown powerless and therefore humiliated, and 3) the witness or observers to the event.

Because of the powerlessness and lack of control that it exposes, humiliation may lead to anxiety.

is recognizing and accepting our own limitations based on an accurate and modest estimate of our importance and significance. The humble person recognizes he is one among the six billion interdependentpeople on this earth, earth is one planet circling the sun, and our sun is one of a billion stars in the presently known universe. Because of this broad and sound perspective on her significance, the truly humble person cannot be humiliated.

Humility reduces our need for self-justification and allows us to admit to and learn from our mistakes. Our ego stands down.

Humiliation and Shame

The essential distinction between humiliation and shame is this: you agree with shame and you disagree with humiliation. Humiliation is suffering an insult. If you judge the insult to be credible, then you feel shame. Others can insult and humiliate you, but you will only feel shame if your self-image is reduced; and that requires your own assessment and decision. A person who is insecure about their genuine stature is more prone to feeling shame as a result of an insult. This is because they give more credibility to what others think of them than to what they think of themselves. This can result in fragile self-esteem.

People believe they deserve their shame, they do not believe they deserve their humiliation. Humiliation is seen as unjust.

Forms of Humiliation

Humans have many ways to slight others and humiliate them. For example:

  • Overlooking someone, taking them for granted, ignoring them, giving them the silent treatment, treating them as invisible, or making them wait unnecessarily for you,
  • Rejecting someone, holding them distant, abandoned, or isolated,
  • Withholding acknowledgement, denying recognition, manipulating recognition,
  • Domination, control, manipulation, abandonment,
  • Threats or abuse including: verbal (e.g. name calling), physical, psychological, or sexual,
  • Assault, attack, or injury
  • Having safety or security reduced by intimidation or threat,
  • Dismissing, discounting, or silencing your story,
  • Losing basic personal freedoms such a mobility, access, or autonomy; being controlled, dominated, intruded on, exploited, or manipulated,
The list goes on.  See the article here -> S O U R C E

(from) Mark
August 5, 2010 7:01 pm

As a child who was spanked and later as a parent who has chosen to spank, I see nothing sexual about spanking. What made spanking effective as a discipline tool for me as a child is its dramatic nature. Grounding may ultimately hurt many children worse. However, telling me I was going to be grounded carried nowhere near the emotional connotation for me as hearing that I was going to get a spanking. When I heard that I would be spanked, my throat would get tight and I would feel genuine fear.

I have tried to resort to other punishments for my own children besides spanking for several reasons. First, any punishment that is used too much becomes ineffective. Second, I would prefer to discipline without using the kind of physical force necessary when you spank. Three, I would prefer to give out a punishment that doesn’t leave my children crying.

Even so, I have found a couple of situations as a parent that I felt really called for a spanking. One involved a situation when my eight year old son insisted on playing with firecrackers and a friend when he had been told not to do so. Another involved a situation with the same son a couple of years later where he took a spray paint can and with the help of two friends sprayed some bad words on the wall of a house that was for sale. His misconduct here involved lying about where he was and taking a spray paint can from an open garage of a neighbor. Other discipline was used as well. However, I felt nothing could have conveyed my message as effectively as an over-the-knee spanking of his butt.

I disagree with bare butt spanking. Its unnecessary. I have taken down their pants though and spanked them in their underwear. It preserves their modesty and still causes enough embarrassment that they think long and hard about what they’ve done.

I applaud this father for his choice to speak, to describe, and to add his insight.  And I want to encourage further conversation on the subject matter from all of you.
Here is my very long winded reply  –

Hi Mark,

Thank you for your remarks and insight. It is encouraging to hear the voice of a father who is actively parenting his children. I want to take the opportunity to reply to your thread because I think it raises a couple of interesting and thought provoking concepts.

First, I’d like to address your concluding remarks on the effectiveness of embarrassment as punishment, and the long and far reaching effects it has on children, and adults. I’m going to site a few articles and tie together a couple thoughts on the subject; I welcome responses.

Please review the following posts/articles:

Corporal Punishment, Psychological Effects

Obtaining Obedience at What Cost

The Long Fingers that Dig Deep

________________________________
“Children should not be the scapegoats of adults’ painful experiences. The claim that mild punishments (slaps or smacks) have no detrimental effects is still widespread because we got this message very early from our parents who had taken it over from their own parents. This conviction helped the child to minimize his suffering and to endure it. Unfortunately, the main damage it causes is precisely our numbness as well as the lack of sensitivity for our children’s pain. The result of the broad dissemination of this damage is that each successive generation is subjected to the tragic effects of seemingly harmless “correction”. Many parents still think: What didn’t hurt me can’t hurt my child. They don’t realize that their conclusion is wrong because they never challenged their assumption.” S O U R C E

__________________________________
Next, I’d like to draw a connection for some of you that perhaps you’ve not yet considered. The act of punishing our children’s deeds by use of spanking, grounding, or time out is something that doesn’t make sense to me because the consequence has nothing to do with the offense. Let me paint a picture for you that addresses this concept from one angle.

Our judicial system is full of people who have done something that the community views as wrong. They’re stuck in a cell, and our taxes basically keep them out of our way because of what they have done. Most of them will never have to confront the victim of their wrong doing, nor will they be expected to make reparation. And if reparation is ordered it is very unlikely it will have any direct correlation to the actual crime they committed, and even less chance that the offender will be expected to make any personal reparation to their victim. This lack of expectation of one to take personal responsibility has a lot to do with a given individual’s propensity to continue to commit crimes throughout his or her life.

There is a movement among some judicial systems to pave a path of justice and reparation, instead of simply trapping the offender. In Colorado, there is a group called Restorative Justice and their goal is to cause offenders to take personal responsibility, make personal reparation, and ultimately reintegrate into the community a whole person who is then capable of not continuing in their ways of difficulty because they wholly understand what harm it does. In the few cases where the individual is unable to rehabilitate and reintegrate satisfactorily, the typical judicial recourses are employed and basically, the system gives up on them.

My contention is that spanking, grounding, and other forms of punishment (this is not discipline, these are punishments) are ineffective in the long run because they are in essence no better than sticking the offender in a box and saying, “You did something bad, now sit here and think about it until the judge thinks you’ve thought long enough.” And how will that judge know? Recommendations from those who control this individual’s every move. They see how the individual responds and chooses to behave in this controlled environment with instant psychological and sometimes physical consequences that sometimes fit their actions. Further, the judge asks the person what he’s been thinking about while stuck in this box and told to think, which if he had done in the first place, he wouldn’t have been stuck in the box in the first place… so if he’d been able to figure things out properly on his own then, or after his incarceration, we wouldn’t have repeat offenders.

This, alas, is not how it works most of the time. In my opinion, we treat offenders much in the same way parents who use certain forms of punishment do. Natural consequences don’t apply, authority derived and determined punishments are instead delivered. And the only connection the offender is allowed to conclude is the authority figure decided I did something wrong, so they’re going to punish me in a way that satisfies them, but doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with whatever I did, oh and it will humiliate me, which is the only thing I will remember (unless there is physical pain), but chances are I’ll forget what that humiliation was really for… just that on that day, I lost another piece of me and my self-confidence.

_________________________
That said, I want to just throw out a couple of alternative ideas regarding the two incidents you described where you felt it appropriate to spank your son:

For the offense of playing with fireworks after having been warned against it, AND after (your son) having been informed of the reasons for the warning (i.e., dangers to self, to others, to property – not just because mom/dad said so), I submit the child be taken for a session of volunteering at the Burn Unit at Children’s hospital. Such an event will offer the offending child a very real world and tangible experience to call upon when decided whether to involve himself with the play of fireworks in the future. And if you can get the other child’s parents to agree, have them both go at least twice. (Note: Discussing the situation with the adult coordinators in advance of arriving to volunteer, and in the absence of your child, will allow you to censor appropriately for your child’s age and sensabilities.)

This sort of experience gives the kids the chance to make the very real connection what fire and like items can do to a human child, and they won’t forget what they learn. They will have the opportunity to turn the experience into good for the community as well. Instead of humiliation they will gain wisdom and a sense of pride for their contribution and new found knowledge. This is something useful for your future and theirs, and in ways that may not be immediately obvious.

Responding with this sort of discpline allows you, the parent, to gain the same end result you’re after – the kids stop being careless with really dangerous stuff. They, the children, grow in maturity, wisdom, compassion, and self control, instead of learning how to play the game better and just not get caught the next time.

It is then the continued responsibility of the parent to enforce the experience by discussing any concerns or thoughts the child might have, perhaps facilitating a friendship between your child and one that has suffered a burn (if there is a need for an ongoing reminder of real world consequences).

I realize this sounds like a ton of work and time commitment for the parent, and how much easier would it be to get your way by spanking once, and assuming the humiliation will sit long enough that they’ll not commit the same offense ever again. But you and I both know that the moment your son is old enough to stare that humiliation in the face and turn it back on you in rebellion, and the moment he’s old enough to figure out how to control his time and resources (I wager, about 14 years of age), he will again do exactly what you have insisted he not. He will do it because of his curiosity that has been intensified by it being put off limits, and because he is strong enough to reject the humiliation you put on him. He may also be reluctant every year the country uses fireworks as a celebration, and may not understand why he has these feelings, but you will know that they stem from the humiliation that his mind unconsciously attaches to the objects.

Alternately, he will never challenge you and will follow in blind obedience, and our world will have another drone.

Forgive me for my bluntness, but if you’ve read any of my posts, you’re probably well aware of it already.

Concerning the spray paint incident… My gut reaction is that your son is acting in a pattern and if it were me, I’d be trying very hard to figure out what was behind/beneath his actions (say, perhaps any/all of the wrong doings over the last 5 years) and address the source before I did anything else (literally, before dinner, before tomorrow, whatever). However, as a response to the incident, instead of spanking him and telling him that I, the authority figure, disapproved of his choices, I’d again allow real world consequences to prevail, and real world lessons to be learned.

In the event that my child made the decision to be so disrespectful of another’s property, I would begin by asking him just that, “Why do you think it is you don’t have more respect for these people, and the things they have that matter to them?” Then, I would listen to his response. Very intently. I would continue to ask him questions that encouraged his thoughts and feelings, and at each response I would not respond with my own, but acknowledge his words and remember well what he is communicating (and what isn’t successfully being transmitted, but is there nonetheless).

Then, I would explain to my child that he must make reparation for the damage he chose to cause. Further, I would plainly inform my child, in the presence of the other child, that they have both made decisions that are now going to prevent them from spending unsupervised time together for the forseeable future. Then, I would inform him that his reparation would incude him either cleaning the marks off the house himself, or if that was not possible, he would join the professional and do whatever the professional would have him do to repair the damage. If new siding or something similar were necessary, he would offer whatever money he had to pay for it. He and I would take our time to help the home owner obtain whatever supplies they might need, and do any of the work they’d allow us to do to repair (us, yes us, meaning my offending child and me, the parent ultimately responsible). If my son’s funds were insufficient and mine had to be tapped, my son would be in my debt and he would commence working whatever was necessary to gain the real money necessary to repay me.

My son would be as present as the owners would allow, and if they wouldn’t allow it, he’d be at the next Habitat for Humanity opportunity, or something similar, doing the same physical work related to building/caring for a house. AND it would be his hands that would hurt because of a splinter, having to grip a hammer for a long time, or whatever other discomfort just comes along with that sort of work (hot sun, standing for a long time, carrying heavy stuff back and forth, tending to the needs of the grown ups who can do what he cannot, etc).

Additionally, for the second part of his offense, his room would be left open for strangers to come visit during a garage sale (this would be a surprise to him). If there were many valuable items that would cost me, I would prearrange a visit from some neighbors that he didn’t know, and ask them to take what they wish from a selection of items that will get the point across to him, but not hurt my pocket. And no, I would not then replace the items out of my own pocket.

Finally, I would address what was behind his choice of words. What satisfaction did he gain from the selection of words he chose? Does he perhaps harbor some resentment toward these people?? Has he made some sort of judgement of them and felt the need to passively tell them? Were these words specifically “taboo” according to his parents, and therefore if he managed to not get caught, would the resulting level of satisfaction and passive statement made be worth the risk?

When our children act out, whatever their age, we must take a moment to look inward. Chances are, there is something there we could improve, change, or cease that would make a difference in our children. However, the younger they are when we take this responsibility and awareness upon ourselves, the better chance for success and well developed children in their older years.

– I was three years old when my mother first spanked me, and I lost a considerable amount of respect for her intelligence and compassion that day. I had lied about taking some stickers off the refrigerator, and as a result I was forced to endure the humiliation of being bent over her knee. I complied, I complained, and I learned that next time either lie better or don’t get caught. Did I mention I was three?

The kicker was that I didn’t know ahead of taking the stickers that it would matter, but when my mom confronted me I sensed that she thought what I had done was wrong, so I responded because I didn’t want to feel her disapproval. Even though I hadn’t intentionally disobeyed an order or expectation, I knew I would suffer her disapproval anyway if I fessed up. So, my tiny 3 years of experience prevailed and in my effort to not have her disapprove of something I had done with no malicious or rebellious intent, I figured my best option was to pretend I didn’t know what she was talking about thereby preventing her disapproval of ME specifically. I hoped that she would just be sad that the stickers weren’t there anymore and leave it at that… and maybe give me a chance to return them since it had become apparent it mattered to her.

No such luck. She cornered me, I lied, she countered, I gave in, she spanked me, I was humiliated, she tried to reconcile, I rejected her, she left me alone, I drew my own conclusions and you know what, I don’t give a hoot about stickers anymore – they annoy me. Now, my two year old loves them and sticks them everywhere! My mother uses them as a reward and gift for her grand daughter. I think it’s great because it’s an activity they mutually enjoy and share untarnished between the two of them. But you will never find a single sticker or even a magnet that resembles one on my fridge, as it would serve as a reminder of a dark and brooding feeling inside of me that turned to resentment toward my mother. A small amount of resentment, perhaps, but there just the same.

That was the one and only time my mother ever spanked me. Maybe she was wiser than I thought she was.


Parenting Disciplin (Source of below quote ->)

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary lists the definition of discipline as:

1. punishment

2. obsolete: instruction

3. a field of study

4. training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character

Why is punishment listed as the first definition and the Latin root meaningto teach has become obsolete?

I suspect that this description perfectly mirrors our current parenting paradigm in which generation after generation has passed down parenting discipline advice and techniques based on cycles of punishments and rewards, dangling carrots and taking away privileges and love in an attempt to modify behavior. This philosophy of discipline has not taken us very far.