‘Punishment’ is such a loaded term; we all have pre-conceived notions of what it means and should achieve.
For Spock, it’s a last resort which should teach a lesson:
The best test of a punishment is if it achieves your objectives without harmful effects- if it makes your child angry or upset it isn’t working.
In The Past
Over the years I’ve tried all sorts of things (like confiscating toys and time outs) but quite frankly my boys have always buckled at them.
Don’t take Sweep; take Blue Dog he’s my favourite– said Ben on one occasion to try and avoid losing his special toy.
Another time when I’d shut him out of the room, Harry banged the door so hard he gouged a chunk of wood out of it.
What’s The Answer?
Putting my Dr Spock hat on, the kids and I sat down to decide on a set of punishments that we could all buy into. I figured if I involved them, they might be more willing to go along with the punishment and learn something from it (which, as Spock says, is what it’s all about).
The first few ideas were quickly rejected:
You could call the police– suggested Harry.
Or you could send us to bed with no supper– said Ben who wasn’t keen on the macaroni I’d made for dinner.
In the end we decided that at the beginning of the week I’d fill two pots with sweets (one for Ben and one for Harry) and each time one of them was naughty, they would lose a sweet from their pot. On Sunday afternoon they would be given their pots and could eat the remaining sweets.
Although I’ll have to hide this post from our dentist, I thought the idea (Ben’s of course!) ticked the right boxes:
• Demonstrates actions have consequences
• Buy in from both boys
• No harmful effects
Of course I could be shooting myself in the foot if the resulting sugar rush leads to more bad behaviour!