What is reasonable discipline?

(70 Posts)
Softywife Fri 11-Jan-13 09:09:00

DH wants an objective opinion.

"Do you think it's reasonable to tell a 4 year old to stay in her bedroom with the door closed until she apologises or a time limit is up as a punishment for seriously misbehaving. Bathroom breaks allowed and baby monitor on. The time DH has in mind is 2 hours."

PS Originally he said 3 hours and the misbehaviour was throwing a tantrum because she was upset about going to nursery.

AngelWreakinHavoc Fri 11-Jan-13 09:11:22

2 hours is faaaar too long for a 4 year old.
5 minutes should do it if that is what punishment you see fit.
And I hope this is not saved for when she comes back from nursery or that is not fair at all. She will have no idea why she is getting punished if you leave the punishment till later on.

AngelWreakinHavoc Fri 11-Jan-13 09:16:46

Oh. I would also want to get to the bottom of WHY she didnt want to go to nursery.

Softywife Fri 11-Jan-13 09:17:46

It would have been instead of going to nursery.

I'm purposely not giving my opinion here as he wants objective views.

Greensleeves Fri 11-Jan-13 09:19:01

No, he is completely unreasonable and over the top! A few minutes is appropriate if he wants to do time outs.

Softywife Fri 11-Jan-13 09:20:29

I would also want to get to the bottom of WHY she didnt want to go to nursery.

I'd been away and she wanted to spend the morning with me and DD2.

mummy2benji Fri 11-Jan-13 09:37:51

I use the naughty spot and ds gets 4 minutes on it as he is 4 years old (3 minutes when he was 3, etc). That has always worked really well for us. At the end of that time I explain briefly why he was put on it and hat he did that was naughty and he has to say sorry. If he won't, he gets another 4 minutes - but he does always say sorry. Once or twice lately he has refused to take antibiotics that were really important for me to get into him, and the naughty spot wasn't enough - he sat on it reasonably happily and didn't seem too bothered - so I sent him to his room. He cried at that and sat in his room crying - I told him that when he would take his medicine for me he could come out. I went in to him after 15 mins though, didn't want to leave him longer than that. Got the antibiotic down with a bit of a fight but then it was forgotten about. I do agree that 2 hours is too long for a 4 year old. They are quite emotionally susceptible at that age and may withdraw into themselves at being left and think they have been abandoned. Being neglected = mummy and daddy don't love them in a child's mind. Discipline is important but I prefer the "well we can't go to the soft play centre if you don't eat your breakfast, but when you've eaten something we can go out and have fun" approach.

notso Fri 11-Jan-13 09:41:46

Far too long. I would imagine depending on her character she would either try to come downstairs and there will be an battle to get her back and another tantrum or she will find something to amuse her and then just have a nice long play in her bedroom completely forgetting about the tantrum.

My parents did this with me at 5 for staying out to play too late and I can remember completely trashing my room in rage at first but then with glee, my mum then guiltily came in and put everything away.

Maternityleaveisawesome Fri 11-Jan-13 09:43:17

Agree with others - 2 hours is very very long for a 4 year old. With this time, either the child will feel neglected, or forget they are being punished and play happily. Neither of these are any good!

lljkk Fri 11-Jan-13 09:53:29

TWO HOURS? Maybe 5 minutes, but 2 hours is absurd.

4yo DS has been very stroppy about going to school this week, he hates the change back to routine & doesn't like the long days, anyway. I feel emotionally exhausted by 9am. He is missing computer time on Saturday & I threatened he'd miss out on daily biscuit today to ensure cooperation (that worked). Most punishments need to be quick & immediate to have an impact at this age (and sometimes they don't work so you have to go down the super compassionate route, instead). I am not sure that DS is mature enough to connect no computer games on Saturday with how awful he was yesterday morning (but I will try it anyway).

witchwithallthetrimmings Fri 11-Jan-13 09:54:53

far too long and punishment not appropriate.
time out for short period for the tantrum, then get her to explain calmly why she did not want to go.

Tinselandchocolates Fri 11-Jan-13 10:07:26

Punishments don't help, only consequences. She needs to understand why she should/shouldn't do whatever. Pertinent to the misbehaviour and timely.
2 hours is downright cruel, she's only 4 FFS! 4 mins naughty step but must be immediate, if that's the route you take.

Lots of praise of good behaviour. Pasta jar can work well - piece in for good behaviour, piece out for bad behaviour. Mega treat when jar full.

TBH I think it's a really bad idea to let her stay at home because she had a tantrum, just lets her know that's how she can get her own way. "Paying for it" with 2 hours locked in a bedroom is absurd. If you've decided she needs to go to nursery then take her, backing down because she's had a tantrum is a disaster!

WhereMyMilk Fri 11-Jan-13 10:21:02

Any punishment must be a natural consequence of the bad behaviour. So in this case an explanation of why her behaviour is unacceptable and four minutes thinking time.

Re: rewards-stickers, jars etc. Giving a reward is a positive thing. But once given you must not take it back again for bad behaviour as this leads them to think that there is no point in doing something good, as they will lose their reward at some point anyway. Leading to negative thinking and loss of self confidence.

Tinselandchocolates Fri 11-Jan-13 10:25:36

Interesting point wheremymilk, hadn't thought of it like that.

valiumredhead Fri 11-Jan-13 10:30:38

2 hours??? Is he kidding? shock

If you do time out then it's 4 mins.

It also depends on what the serious misbehaving is - considering he is being so over dramatic about the punishment then I think we need to know what she did that was so naughty.

Softywife Fri 11-Jan-13 10:36:54

I think we need to know what she did that was so naughty.

She was refusing to go to nursery and threw a tantrum, screaming and shouting. She kicked at the inside of our car.

valiumredhead Fri 11-Jan-13 10:38:32

I just read back and realised the tantrum was because of not wanting to go to nursery. Sorry!

Massive over reaction - no need for a punishment at all, you need to find out why she din't want to go. Was it general messing about, was she scared of something, tired?

Softywife Fri 11-Jan-13 10:38:59

Leaving aside the 2 hours for a moment, do you think it would be reasonable to shut her in her room until she apologised?

valiumredhead Fri 11-Jan-13 10:39:40

X posted!

At least she didn't kick another person wink

Again, it's no buggy, it's a tantrum, kids have them.

What do YOU think OP?

valiumredhead Fri 11-Jan-13 10:41:22

Shutting in rooms is not necessary at all imo. I have only just started telling ds who is 11 now that he can go upstairs and calm down a bit and come down when he is ready to be polite.

valiumredhead Fri 11-Jan-13 10:41:33

biggy not buggy

Softywife Fri 11-Jan-13 10:42:17

you need to find out why she din't want to go. Was it general messing about, was she scared of something, tired?

She loves nursery normally. I'd been away for work for 3 days. I imagine that she wanted to stay with me because I'd been away (this is for work but usually it's 1 or 2 days not 3) and because she was jealous of DD2 was spending the morning with me (DD2 is too young for nursery).

valiumredhead Fri 11-Jan-13 10:43:45

Well, sounds like that's it - she probably needed a bit of time with you to re connect. Could she not have had the morning with you?

Softywife Fri 11-Jan-13 10:44:47

What do YOU think OP?

I don't want to add my opinion until everyone's said theirs - it might skew what people post and wouldn't help.

paranoid2android Fri 11-Jan-13 10:47:40

Totally unreasonable as others have said. Kicking the car doesn't seem that naughty to me . It sounds like she was upset and just expressing how she felt

MrsBungleBear Fri 11-Jan-13 10:49:21

I would do time out of 4 minutes for a tantrum. I don't think tantrums are acceptable behaviour and so would time out and get an apology.

2 hours is far too long.

Softywife Fri 11-Jan-13 10:50:12

Just to be sure I get a balanced view, does anyone reading this think it's a reasonable approach but has been keeping quiet?

Casmama Fri 11-Jan-13 10:50:51

I think the naughty step works well for some kids but with my ds the going back after 3 mins sometimes winds him up more and it then takes many return visits before he will apologise and then we both feel like crap about it.
Sometimes if he is really wound up I will say come out when you are ready to apologise and it rarely takes more than 10 mins but allows him to retain a bit of control and dignity.
I can't imagine that it would have taken 2 hrs for your dd to apologise so I think the time period is irrelevant.

However, I think you both should have been more understanding about how she felt- she is only four and had missed her mum. Yes her behaviour was unacceptable but in your shoes I would look at what I could have done differently.

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Fri 11-Jan-13 10:56:03

I'd have kept her home before she kicked off. It's nursery

Your DH is going to have to get a good grip on life, she's 4, the fact that he even considered putting her in her room for 3 hours over a tantrum is worrying.

A regular tantrum requires 'stern words' or the loss of a 'priviledge' or toy for a bit if anything. Getting upset because Mummy has been away and DD2 and Mummy are going to be at home and you want stay with them is perfectly understandable and only someone lacking in empathy would be punishing her for it sad

Softywife Fri 11-Jan-13 10:56:58

I think the time period is irrelevant

So, on the assumption that she would apologise quickly, do you think it would be okay to bring her back from nursery and put her in her room with the door closed?

Casmama Fri 11-Jan-13 10:57:34

I feel a bit sad for your Dd actually. I have to go away with work for days sometimes and know my DS really misses me. There is often a bit of bad behaviour when I get back but I make some allowances because he didn't choose a job that takes his mummy away but has to deal with the fact I'm not here.

I think in your shoes I would have been tempted to keep her off but appreciate that I don't know much about your situation.

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Fri 11-Jan-13 10:58:57

It's beyond my ability to be quiet grin.

I'm pretty tough. I was brought up in the 70's and have the 'it didn't do me any harm' approach to it all. I think most parents now are FAR too soft and that many children could do with much firmer boundaries, much more 'being told' and a lot less 'being pandered too' etc and I am saying this is ridiculous.

Casmama Fri 11-Jan-13 10:59:25

Sorry I hadn't seen your reply before my last post.

No ABSOLUTELY not. At that age punishments need to be immediate. To further deprive her of her mother after being at nursery is pretty cruel actually and I would not allow that to happen in my house.

Softywife Fri 11-Jan-13 11:01:32

after being at nursery

DH wanted it to be instead of nursery.

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Fri 11-Jan-13 11:01:58

The time period is not irrelevant, not at all. For actual misbehavior (deliberately hurting someone, esp her baby sister for example) a few minutes in her room until she's ready to apologise is fine. 2-3 hours is never fine. Never.

No - the poor little mite has been punished enough already, she has been made to go to nursery when you have been away and are now at home with the baby - excluding her sad < that's what she sees and frankly, as it's only nursery and not her GCSE's I tend to agree with her. How can either of you think of punishing her further?

KittyBreadfan Fri 11-Jan-13 11:03:48

I think considering locking a child in their room for two hours is disgusting.

Softywife Fri 11-Jan-13 11:04:03

a few minutes in her room until she's ready to apologise is fine.

What if she won't apologise?

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Fri 11-Jan-13 11:04:23

Why the fuck would he want to make her go into her room for the duration of nursery? Is he normally this cruel? How does he treat you? Is he normally completely insensitive to her needs?

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Fri 11-Jan-13 11:05:25

Why should she apologise for wanting to stay at home with you? You have been away, she missed you, she's 4. WHY does this need any punishment?

puddock Fri 11-Jan-13 11:05:48

Honestly? I have a 4 year old, and I'd be horrified if anyone suggested that as an approach. It is way out of proportion.
Even if you do use time out as a technique, your DH should be thinking in terms of minutes, not hours - and not shutting the child away during it.
Tantrumming is a sign of being emotionally overwhelmed, IMO it's less frustrating all round for a parent to try to identify the need that your child is expressing and meet it if possible, or at least to talk and acknowledge her feelings.

eshie Fri 11-Jan-13 11:06:08

Agree with other posters 2 hours is way too long, does not fit the 'crime', which as far as i can see is wanting to spend time with Mum!!!

Narked Fri 11-Jan-13 11:08:53

She's 4!!!!

Totally OTT.

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Fri 11-Jan-13 11:09:29

If it had been a situation where she needed to go (say you had hospital appointments or work or whatever) then she should have been cuddled, & reassured that you would be there <that you wouldn't be away for another prolonged period> and that when she was picked up you'd do something nice/special etc and that it was the weekend and so you'd be able to do xyz etc. Not wound up into a tantrum then had her father wanting to further punish her. Poor wee dot.

Casmama Fri 11-Jan-13 11:09:40

When I said the time period is irrelevant it is on the assumption (based on my child) that the apology would be quick and it would never be anywhere near that length of time.
I don't know this little girl though and agree 2-3 hours is completely inappropriate.

Instead of nursery, well that's just stupid. She doesn't want to go so she throws a tantrum- result is she doesn't have to go and can then apologise after 5 mins and she gets to come out and play or refuses to apologise and is punished for 2-3 hours.

You would have been as well not trying to send her in the first place and avoiding the drama.

Lifeisontheup Fri 11-Jan-13 11:12:11

At that age I would have probably said you can stay with me but it will be boring and you'll have much more fun at nursery, when you get back we can do xyz (treat type things). If you don't go we won't be able to do xyz. Then if she choose to stay then make the morning boring ie no tv just normal household things with not too much attention for her.
I certainly wouldn't be insisting on shutting her in her room, isn't it supposed to be a minute for each year of their age if you use a naughty spot?

Casmama Fri 11-Jan-13 11:12:32

Now I would tell her off for the tantrum and spend some quality time together.
If you, dh and dd2 are all in the house then no wonder she didn't want to be excluded by being sent to nursery.

Badvoc Fri 11-Jan-13 11:16:25

She is 4 fgs and missed her mum.
Your poor dd sad

Hullygully Fri 11-Jan-13 11:16:31

I am so angry on your dd's behalf and I feel so sorry for her that all I can say is that I would like to mince your dh into tiny pieces as his "reasonable discipline" for even THINKING such a thing.

Softywife Fri 11-Jan-13 11:19:03

If you, dh and dd2 are all in the house

DH was at work.

Casmama Fri 11-Jan-13 11:20:06

So you were meant to enforce this punishment?

No way I would do this.

Hullygully Fri 11-Jan-13 11:20:24

Tell dh that children respond best to love, support, understanding and encouragement.

"Discipline" and "punishment" produce resentment, lipservice and dislike.

Badvoc Fri 11-Jan-13 11:20:30

Your dh is a twat op.
Poor girl.

spiderlight Fri 11-Jan-13 11:23:04

Totally disproportionate, in my opinion. I never punish tantrums - to me they're a sign that the child has lost control and needs to be held and helped to calm down and I tend to blame myself for letting it get to that point. I don't see that shutting her away until she apologises would do any good either - you're hardly going to get a sincere and meaningful apology from a child that young who's in that state, and it's far more important to address the root of the issue, which is that she'd missed Mummy. She's just going to get ever more distressed in there - it's not something I would ever do, and certainly not for two hours. I don't like time-out approaches anyway, but even they say one minute for every year of age, don't they?

I hope she's calmed down now.

Casmama Fri 11-Jan-13 11:25:31

I would also take lifeisontheups advice if a similar situation should arise in future.

YesWeWill Fri 11-Jan-13 12:30:35

So your dd1 didn't want to go to nursery and had a tantrum. And your DH wanted to put her in her bedroom for up to 2 hours (or until she apologizes) which meant she then wouldn't have gone to nursery, which was her aim in the first place? confusedconfused
And if she had apologized immediately, he would... have taken to her nursery and got the tantrum again because she still would have wanted to stay at home with you and dd2

hmmhmm I don't think he has though out the effect of his' punishment' tbh.

valiumredhead Fri 11-Jan-13 13:14:31

The point is that she shouldn't have to apologise - her tantrum was instead of her saying ' Actually mum, I've really missed you and would love a quiet day at home with you and my sister.' She is 4 so is unable to articulate her feelings clearly.

mysweetie Fri 11-Jan-13 14:49:44

I agree with your DH's discipline but disagree with length of time. If my DD also does misbehaving specially those kicking she will surely have a talking session with me. My DD is only 19 months now and I am also using time-out but only when she don't listen for a repetitive instruction or rules such as not to play with her pee(because when she does it, she puts her finger on her face and mouth),not to play with muds ( muds gets into her nails) --though she is not doing this anymore and crying nonstop(without reason-copying it from nephews). I usually do time-out in the exact place she does the deed, in the same position or standing she is just 19mo so with the same position that she is not allowed to move or stay she understand/somehow understand why she is punish..when doing this I also explains her why. I do the standing still or stay on the position for 1-7 minutes but on my experienced the longest is 8-10min when she is outside and she 4gots it(which I let it go) and she is playing and dancing with my nephew already but few minutes later she repeated playing with muds so the time-out is repeated but this time I was serious usually when she understand why she is punished she will be crying for me and the punishment would be stop when I will get her. Kiss and hug her while explaining that she should not do that again. And it very effective.

For a 4y.o maybe the longest time that she can be time out is 15-20 without crying but if she is crying it should not exceed in 2 minutes crying, because if it did the kid will feel abandonment. Hug and kisses in a discipline also is super important.

Softywife Fri 11-Jan-13 14:58:16

Thanks everyone for taking the time to post.

I feel like I owe you all an explanation. I couldn't post my side before as DH would have thought I'd swayed your opinions.

DH and I had an argument because he feels I don't discipline our DDs enough. My opening post was what he said I should have done not what I actually did. I don't think his approach is appropriate for her age and that he expects too much emotional maturity and logic from her. She IS bright but she's only 4!!! Far too young to be shut in her room on her own for more than a few minutes. He thinks I'm just making excuses for her and that she's manipulating me.

What actually happened was that I made her do a 4 minute naughty wall for the shouting and then calmed her down and tried to find out what the problem was. I then distracted her a bit, took her (gently) to nursery and waited there long enough to make sure she was happy and settled before heading home again. (If she hadn't settled I would have taken her back home again and had a quiet morning with them both). I also made a big fuss over her when I picked her up at lunch time and we had some good one-to-one time whilst DD2 was napping. All of which I thought was the right balance of empathy without 'rewarding' the tantrum.

This 'discipline' issue crops up time and time again and I was hoping that your combined, and hopefully fairly objective, views might convince him he's mistaken.

I know it's really common for parents to disagree over how to raise their kids but.... sad angry sad !!!!

Anyway, thanks again thanks.

valiumredhead Fri 11-Jan-13 15:00:23

I think you handled it really well OP.

I have to opposite problem - it's always me that disciplines ds!

FeistyLass Fri 11-Jan-13 15:03:23

Of course the time is disproportionate, and the fact that she is getting to stay home as a punishment for wanting to stay home is madness completely inconsistent.
Is the punishment for wanting to stay at home or for kicking the car? You see, if it's the former then it seems very odd to punish her for that. If it's the latter then consider consequences for her actions. hint - a consequence for kicking a car door should not be getting locked in a room for hours shock
I'm also intrigued that your dh wants an objective opinion. Why does he value the opinion of strangers more than the view of his dw? Because regardless of what we say, your dd needs a consistent and loving approach from her parents.

Hullygully Fri 11-Jan-13 15:04:35

show him this thread

then mince him into bits

FeistyLass Fri 11-Jan-13 15:04:53

oops, sorry, you'd already posted. Your response sounds great smile

HilaryClinton Fri 11-Jan-13 15:33:11

I found his suggestion in the OP really disturbing. I genuinely think that a person with so little clue how to appropriately manage his child's behaviour needs to actually go out of his way to learn about children's behaviour and decent parenting.
He has to come away from this knowing that his current level is unacceptably poor.

valiumredhead Fri 11-Jan-13 15:34:34

I agree Hilary

QuickLookBusy Fri 11-Jan-13 16:22:29

Agree with Hillary.

Would also suggest a talk about how he was disciplined as a child. I suspect he may have had similar treatmentsad, although I apologise if this isn't the case.

TwinTum Fri 11-Jan-13 16:36:26

Out of interest, why did you want her to go to nursery? If I had been away for 3 days I would have been happy for my DC to skive off nursery. Did you have things to do? I can see the point that you don't want to reward a tantrum, so I mena before it got to the tantrum stage.

Softywife Fri 11-Jan-13 17:01:19

I think you handled it really well OP. Thanks valium and Feisty. smile

Why does he value the opinion of strangers more than the view of his dw? I thought he might be convinced FeistyLass but actually he's sticking to his strict approach so far. sad

Hilary He needs to actually go out of his way to learn about children's behaviour and decent parenting. But if he won't even accept his approach is wrong how can I convince him to learn a different way. confused

QuickLookBusy I suspect he may have had similar treatment Yes and he doesn't see a problem with it. sad

TwinTum, She normally goes to nursery every weekday morning and she loves it. She's got plenty of friends there and she enjoys the activities. My work takes me away for a day or two every week. I had the day off work but wanted to keep to her normal routine as much as possible. I didn't think the extra day I'd had away would be a problem until she suddenly started the tantrum and we were already on our way to nursery by then. Unfortunately.

HilaryClinton Fri 11-Jan-13 17:06:56

So even though he has had many many consistent objective opinions, he still says we're shit because... He thinks therefore it is so?

thegreylady Fri 11-Jan-13 18:14:00

Poor little girl-at that age a 5 minute time out is long enough for any misdemeanour but in this case your dh wants to punish a distressed child for being distressed....what a nasty man.

Casmama Fri 11-Jan-13 19:53:53

I think you did the right thing and you need to keep working on you dh. Good luck.

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