A Question on Parenting: Does the Punishment Fit the Crime?
We’ve all seen those pictures and videos that have gone viral of parents “shaming” their child in an effort to punish them for a wrongdoing. Billboards, signs, acts of service… In an effort to “apologize” for some egregious offense, many of these examples seem extreme and embarrassing… and in some cases, on the verge of child abuse. I’m usually horrified that a parent could actually do this… that they would exploit their child on this level, rather than disciplining the good ol’ fashioned way.
And therein lies my personal conundrum: disciplining the good ol’ fashioned way. I don’t really know that I do that. Nor do I know how. I acknowledge a misbehavior, give him the proverbial “potch on the tush,” remind him its’ a no-no, tell him he can’t do that again, “OR ELSE…” and then, shockingly, he does it again… Because, well, let’s face it: There’s rarely a follow through on the “ELSE” portion of the program.
I used to have tactics. I used to have a list of consequences. Punishments that fit the crime. Now… I am sort of lost. I’m a mom without discipline domain.
FINALLY, however, the other day after committing a very big no-no, my consequences chops kicked in and I DID THE RIGHT AND FAIR THING. I think…
Essentially, his teacher reported to me that my 5 yr. old had been “smart alec-y… talking back…” He was interrupting and even told her that what they were doing was "stupid". Without missing a beat (once he got home), I sent him to wash his hands and go to the bathroom (two things that do not happen, btw, while he’s at school). When he came back, I told him calmly that it’s one thing to behave disrespectfully at home, but it’s another thing to do it at school and to a teacher. I told him this sort of behavior would not be tolerated. I then took a deep breath and said, “As a result you have lost all electronics… and television….”
“For how long?” he said sadly.
Here’s where it’s hard for me. I took another deep breath. “For the rest of the day.”
“AND… in addition, you must write your teacher an apology letter.”
So we did. And he complained that he was tired and couldn’t write nicely. I threatened him with writing it over (and over, and over again) if it wasn’t done properly…. I told him that when I was his age, we had to write down “I will not’s…” 100 times in a row sometimes…. (I SO became the mom that told the “when I was your age, I had to walk 10 miles in the snow…” Yeah, because that really happens in SoCal).
The point is, I think he got the point. He was completely well behaved the rest of the week and understood the severity of the situation. I think.
Did I do the right thing? Was taking his TV and electronics away for a day enough? Keep in mind he is in Transitional Kindergarten (essentially, year 1 of 2 years of Kindergarten). What would you do?