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Does non-punishment parenting work (ie not even telling them off)

(24 Posts)
daisy2212 Wed 27-Apr-16 15:41:44

Genuine question - how DO you get y our child to do something when it's refusing if you can't threaten taking something away etc, or finally say 'JUST GET IN THE BATH'.

Pootles2010 Wed 27-Apr-16 15:47:03

But he says at the start 'sometimes you have to play hard ball' and then at the end 'we aren't lax' - so there must be some punishment/line there somewhere.

daisy2212 Wed 27-Apr-16 16:08:06

I agree, so what does 'playing hardball' mean? What's the recourse if your calm encouragement is not working?

neolara Wed 27-Apr-16 16:10:08

It might work if you have a very compliant child. Imo it's a recipe for disaster for most kids.

ChalkHearts Wed 27-Apr-16 16:18:12

Firstly, pick your battles.

There are very few things worth 'fighting' over. Stuff that would hurt them or others need to be stopped immediately but most other things don't.

They don't need to tidy their rooms or eat with a knife and fork or wear a clean t-shirt.

I'm a pretty lax parent. Works for me.

miaowmix Wed 27-Apr-16 16:23:56

It wouldn't work for me. But deep down I quite like the old Captain Von Trapp school of parenting.

Chalkhearts - knife and fork is not a deal-breaker for you? Please tell me your child/ren is a baby, otherwise how does that work?

talllikejerryhall Wed 27-Apr-16 16:29:07

This is nonsense on stilts. Reminds me of the time I was walking over a bridge and came across a lovely middle-class standing over her screaming, red-faced toddler, who lay on her back, screaming for England, while her mother gently murmured, "Come on, Talulla darling, please walk for mummy."

Sometimes you just have to tell what's expected of them in no uncertain terms.

Though I think that it's important to be respectful and kind, always...

Giraffeseyelashes Wed 27-Apr-16 16:32:10

I have no idea. Maybe it does work in the long run. But I sure as nuts wouldn't want to spend time with a family who cannot contain their children (and I'm sure many others would feel the same) so they might find themselves fairly friendless until such time as the children learn self-discipline.

Kleinzeit Wed 27-Apr-16 18:01:39

It’s pretty much the usual really, there’s no smacking, they do take toys away but the child can earn them back. Yawn.

I like the quiz at the end though - the options are “YES I’d try it”, “NO it sounds namby-pamby”, and “I already use it and it works amazingly for me”.

“I tried and it doesn’t work” is not an option grin

Pootles2010 Wed 27-Apr-16 20:25:55

Knife & fork and clean t shirt is non negotiable for me. Ds is a very placid, compliant child but we still get at least 5 times a day where have to put foot down.

SilverHoney Wed 27-Apr-16 20:31:33

I think the biggest factor in "telling off" vs "peaceful parenting" is time.

If you have the time to wait out every sulk, talk though every disagreement, negotiate every instruction then that's great.

However in the real world of work, nursery runs, multiple children, sometimes shoes have to be put on now, we have to leave the park now, and I will be brushing your teeth before bed.

BertieBotts Wed 27-Apr-16 20:42:04

The article expresses it terribly.

Yes it is sort of possible. I mean, the question "Is every situation in parenting possible to handle without punishment?" the answer is yes. Absolutely. The problem is that you have to be an incredibly patient, quick thinking and consistent person to be able to make it work all of the time. Most people I know who try to parent this way (myself included) end up having to fall back on a generic punishment at some point because otherwise - you're only human and you end up being nice, nice, nice, nice, and then exploding in a screamy rage because WTF WHY IS NOBODY LISTENING TO MMEEEEEEEEE???? Which is less helpful.

Punishments are shortcuts - is it okay to sometimes use shortcuts? Yes I think it is. Trying to never ever parent with shortcuts is totally madness. As long as you keep the big picture in mind - that your goal is to teach them WHY not to do something and/or WHAT to do instead, it really really doesn't matter if you sometimes use a shortcut to get to the "Not" doing something part. Just the same as if you generally offer a balanced diet it's totally fine to sometimes get takeaway. If you generally interact with your children it's perfectly fine to let them use screens. Etc. I don't subscribe to the view that punishment is a necessary part of learning because I think it's quite an inefficient way of learning, but as a shortcut, and one which keeps shouting and other unwanted parental behaviours to a minimum, it works.

Would like to say more but I've injured my hands and typing isn't very comfortable for me at the moment - may be back tomorrow smile

WellErrr Wed 27-Apr-16 20:51:43

they don't need to tidy their rooms or eat with a knife and fork or wear a clean t-shirt.

Of course they do.
I always wondered who was raising all these inept adults.......

Pootles2010 Wed 27-Apr-16 21:17:03

I wonder what happens when they go to school Well?

ZigZagIntoTheBlue Wed 27-Apr-16 21:24:45

grin wellerr - that's what I was thinking! I agree with picking battles, but certain behaviours are unacceptable and sometimes shoes need to be put on NOW especially when I've asked nicely three times. I can't bear the ineffectual 'darling, please don't scream/run into the road'

NickyEds Thu 28-Apr-16 09:34:01

There's one of these mothers at the toddler group I attend. "Are we being gentle darling???" err no the little sod is dragging a smaller child around by the hair. Every other adult in the room is thinking " would you just punish that child! Somehow! Give him some sort of sanction". She never does, but she's very positive when he decides to stop pulling hair (usually when someone else retrieves the other dc).

PolterGoose Thu 28-Apr-16 10:56:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BarbarianMum Thu 28-Apr-16 11:53:35

I think I probably could have/do bring up ds1 like this (apart from when very young and unable to keep out of danger) as he's naturally very easy going, kind and sensible. He'd be very tired though (doesn't like bedtimes).

With ds2 though it would be a total, unmitigated disaster - both for him and all around him.

BarbarianMum Thu 28-Apr-16 11:57:26

they don't need to tidy their rooms or eat with a knife and fork or wear a clean t-shirt.

Well personally I'm trying not to raise the sort of adult that feature so heavily on the Relationships board on here - dirty, slovenly, lazy, no manners.

Lotsofcamping Thu 28-Apr-16 19:34:07

I actually agree with Chalk. And Bertie It's all about picking your battles. I don't force my kids to tidy their rooms. But they have learnt that no one else will and it's pretty rubbish when they are a complete mess. When they were younger a dirty t-shirt didn't matter. As they get older they realise that they don't actually want to be seen in a dirty t-shirt. I explain the reasons why they need to do things and let them learn the consequences if they don't. I'm definitely not bringing up slovenly children.

I don't like it when people talk about the "be gentle" parents who are being completely ineffectual. That's not what the article is talking about. That's just rubbish parenting. I don't punish really. I've never done a time out. People may think I am completely lax but my kids are great.

In the bath situation earlier. The kids get a choice. They are told they are having a bath. Do you want a bath now or when you have finished what you are doing. And we work it out. It does take time and thinking about but I like my calmer house.

Tokelau Thu 28-Apr-16 19:55:25

I don't like it. When my DD started school, she palled up with the little girl who started at the same time as her. After a while she used to say, I don't like X, she won't share, she's mean etc. We shared playdates and I got to know X's mum, who was a really lovely woman. She seemed to do this type of parenting though. The little girl was never told off, never made to share, never told to say please or thank you. She was very spoilt, and had every toy that you could imagine. Sadly, she behaved like a brat. She also had a very nasty attitude to everyone, as if she thought she was better. She was very unpopular at school, because, quite frankly, she was horrible to be around. I could tell many stories of her bad behaviour.

She was unhappy in school and her parents moved her to a different school when she was about 8. Apparently she didn't settle and make friends there either.

Very sadly, her parents split up a few years later. I don't know what happened, but she now refuses to speak to her mum, and lives with her dad. I bumped into her mum, who is heartbroken, and doesn't know how to get her DD to talk to her again.

I don't know if it is due to the type of parenting, or perhaps she was just a child with problems, but she was awful as a young girl, and I felt that she needed discipline and boundaries.

BertieBotts Thu 28-Apr-16 20:29:45

confused Not sure why you've bolded me, Lots, I think I'm in agreement with you!

But I have certainly found that there are situations where I get frustrated trying to follow the non-punitive methods (which I love and I wish I was more on top of myself to use all the time).

And I think that you are lucky if you have DC who mind that their rooms are messy. Because mine doesn't care. And I wouldn't particularly mind either, except that things get broken or lost or for example pens get left under piles of things and trodden into the carpet, which isn't great when you are renting and need to get your deposit back, and it's also a huge waste of stuff that I've spent money on providing, but they just don't make the connection despite having it explained lots of times. And I have a DH who gets really stressed at stuff like shoes being left in the middle of the living room floor (which is as much me leaving them there as DC!) I do have to tell DS to put his dirty t-shirts in the wash because he'll quite happily go to school (aged 7, non uniform school) in something which is advertising his dinner from the previous day. I don't care if he doesn't change it immediately, and I don't need to add any kind of consequence, just a request to please put it in the wash is enough, but it's still something that I'm imposing on him that he wouldn't independently do.

I do think that there's an alternative to punishment in every situation - and yes there is a way to make DC clean their rooms without threatening or whatever but sometimes, you're just tired, and you need a shortcut, and I wish I'd realised earlier that that is okay because I spent a lot of time between the ages of 3 and 5 hitting a wall with behaviour that I both couldn't physically stand any more but also couldn't find a way of steering him out of and in trying to avoid what I felt were harmful or suboptimal methods involving rewards and consequences I just ended up getting really frustrated and effectively throwing a tantrum myself. Not helpful.

Lotsofcamping Fri 29-Apr-16 17:57:06

I did agree with you Bertie. I just missed a full stop out! Whoops!

corythatwas Fri 29-Apr-16 18:37:19

To be fair, needing to take a shortcut isn't just about the failing patience of the parent: sometimes you do need to realise that other people will be affected if you can't get your child to obey straightaway.

Thinking about the days my dc were young enough to have play dates what I always felt was: If other child is in my house and I need child to leave the house, I don't want to have to wait while you find a fun way of achieving this: the only choices I want available involve getting out of the house now. One of dc's friends had a wonderfully sweet and patient parent. I stopped inviting him after a while because nobody has asked me if I wanted to exercise that much patience or not.

I tended to be fairly laidback in questions that only involved the family. When we were outside I wanted a certain amount of obedience. Otherwise they would have missed out on a lot of fun: sailing, visiting family abroad, staying with other children, swimming in the sea.

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