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At what age do punishments mean anything?

(45 Posts)
weeblueberry Thu 04-Jun-15 11:54:06

My DD1 had just turned two and I know this is obviously a very difficult time. We've also just added a new baby into the mix so nothing is easy and we're aware she's pushing boundaries.

She's doing things she never used to and we're not sure whether 'punishments' work at this age. I'm obviously not talking about smacking or taking things away but how do we explain to her (other than actually explaining to her...) that things are wrong? She's throwing things and acting out and we're not quite sure how to stop it. She used to easily go to sleep for naps but now stands screaming in her cot for us. Not upset. Just shouting for us.

Do you just leave it? It seems as though then when we do nice things or get her gifts she might think we're rewarding her bad behaviour. She's been hellish this morning but we're due to go to soft play with a friend. At what point would not going to show her what she was doing this morning was naughty behaviour?

I'm consious she's very young and none of this means much to her and this behaviour is expected. But when do punishments actually mean something to them? Other than a momentary tantrum and then forgetting about it ten minutes later?

Any book suggestions maybe?

OliveCane Thu 04-Jun-15 11:57:37

Marking my place. My DD is same age and seriously pushing boundaries. I'm thinking of trying naughty step

weeblueberry Thu 04-Jun-15 11:59:16

Naughty step wouldn't work for DD I don't think. She just would smile the entire time and I don't think she'd consider it a punishment. I also don't think she'd stay in one spot.

Midorichan Thu 04-Jun-15 13:03:16

I started (gently) with my son when he was 15 months old. We decided that we would lay down the foundation for him so that even if he didn't understand the words etc, he would soon understand that what he was doing wasn't acceptable and he would be made to have some alone time. After which we would kneel down and explain to him very simply why he had been put in the naughty corner. We did it not expecting any results for months to come, because after all he was still only a little boy, but we figured we might as well start as we meant to go on. He is now 23 months old and completely understand the "naughty corner" concept, and has even, on occasion, taken himself off there when he's thrown something at one of us then seen the look on our faces, and has promptly turned around and gone and stood there on his own until we've gone to get him. I very rarely now have to tell him off, although as he;s still just a little boy, we still have our bad days. We make it "fair" for him by also putting ourselves in the naughty corner (I once slapped his dad's backside in a moment of appreciation, to my son's horror for "hitting" dad, so I had to go in the naughty corner for "hitting" smile

It seems to be working out well, but I think a lot of that is down to his temperament.

Midorichan Thu 04-Jun-15 13:04:39

I should also add I was VERY strict on the time outs - no matter what i was doing, no matter where we were, he would go in the naughty corner if he stepped out of line. We were never lax about it, and it's worked out pretty well.

Millionairerow Thu 04-Jun-15 14:45:27

They're looking for your attention but yes at that age ignore the bad behaviour ( gives them attention), reward when behaving well, get them involved with new baby as
Much as you can and be consistent. Too young to understand. And try and have individual time them without baby eg bed time story and songs alone. Good luck

steppemum Thu 04-Jun-15 14:52:30

In and ideal world (ha ha) natural consequences work best.

So throwing things, remove the toys for one day.
Kicking? remove shoes, put child in another place so they can't hurt you.

Screaming etc, say simply Mummy can't hear you when you scream and shout.

Throwing food? remove plate and ignore til they calm down.

I did use time out. Worked perfectly for one child, not for another, so it is trial and error.

Love51 Thu 04-Jun-15 15:05:05

I 'punished' dd when she was teething and clamped me while breastfeeding. I didnt use a naughty step, but i didnt let her keep feeding (until the next feed time ). I think with under twos it needs to be immediate, not cancelling the afternoon event because of the morning. Remove toy or object or if needs must, remove child. After 5-10 mins return object with instruction about how to play nicely. If they repeat offence, remove for longer, like until after tea. 2 isnt too young for a time out for hitting.

steppemum Thu 04-Jun-15 17:06:58

I think the point of time out is that it is removing the child from your attention and from the thing they were doing for a while.

Once time out is over they get positive attention from you

meglet Thu 04-Jun-15 17:08:11

around 8yrs when threatening them with grounding puts the fear of God into them.

weeblueberry Sat 06-Jun-15 08:23:56

Thanks all! I think we need to ignore the bad behaviour more. It's just hard when we're in a shopping centre and she's shouting at the top of her lungs... sad Nothing seems to stick though so we will try anything at this stage. Will also give the naughty step a go again...

gozitan Sat 06-Jun-15 08:34:45

I have never punished. My oldest is 18 years.

I don't punish dogs, my OH or my elderly mother.
I don't believe that punishment teaches anything. Kids grow up fearing the punishment rather than accepting responsibility for their actions.

gozitan Sat 06-Jun-15 08:37:18

www.amazon.co.uk/Growing-Up-Trust-Raising-Punishment-x/dp/1846941059

claraschu Sat 06-Jun-15 08:42:13

I also don't believe in punishment; there is something humiliating in the judgmental nature of it. I have done things like disconnect the internet if people use it way too much, stop the car and wait if people are yelling, take everyone home from a fun day out if they are fighting and being rude, etc.

I don't think of it as punishment, just as my natural response to an intolerable situation.

gozitan Sat 06-Jun-15 08:51:56

claraschu I agree. I wouln't punish a dog, I certainly wouldn't punish a child.

All children have challenging behaviours, there are many other ways to deal with this. Withholding an unrelated activity because of bad behaviour is meaningless in my view. It simply teaches resentment.

stressbucket1 Sat 06-Jun-15 09:14:18

OP I really struggled with enforcing the naughty step with a young baby around its so hard to keep putting them back on to do the time out whilst seeing to the baby at the same time.
We got better results from praising the positive stuff loads.
They are just desperate for attention at that age particularly with a new baby try and make it positive attention rather than negative otherwise you just end up nagging them all the time.
Totally agree with natural consequences they work better as they get older too

Velociraptor Sat 06-Jun-15 09:34:09

I wouldn't punish a child of that age, but I would certainly be telling her very firmly and simply when her behaviour is not acceptable. If you don't tell her what she is doing is wrong she will never know. I think the understanding of these things come gradually, and at different ages for different children.

gamerchick Sat 06-Jun-15 09:37:36

I think in this case some love bombing is in order. I know it's tricky with a baby but is there any time in the day you could dedicate to just her?

mariposa10 Sat 06-Jun-15 12:39:50

How terribly sad to punish a breastfeeding baby for clamping down with her teeth. What on earth can such a young baby learn from feeding being withheld? Please no one else do this.

weeblueberry Sun 07-Jun-15 11:55:04

Thank you all. We're desperately trying to focus on all the positive things she does and I do think it works because she's certainly not as bad as she was when DD2 was first born and isn't as bad as she could be. It's more when it impacts people other than myself that I feel the need to act. For those of you who don't 'punish' what do you do if they strike out against you or another person? If they start wailing for no reason (not crying, shouting) in the supermarket and telling them to stop just makes no difference? DD1 is a really good kid - most of the time she just finds these things hilarious and thinks it's even funnier when I ask her to stop. Surely if they're doing that and it's affecting everyone around you you can't just let them continue if they don't stop when you ask them to?

weeblueberry Sun 07-Jun-15 11:56:30

Just wanted to say again we have tried explaining the things she's doing are wrong and asking her to stop (and explaining its because it's affecting those around her) but I genuinely think she just can't process that at this age.

CultureSucksDownWords Sun 07-Jun-15 15:37:01

I agree with the general idea of not punishing a child.

I think you can keep "explanations" very short and clear when they are little eg one or two sentences. Try and tell her what she can do rather than what not to do. Praise praise praise for the smallest of positive behaviour. Distract her from things you don't want her to do.

Do you know why she was wailing in the supermarket? Was she bored, tired, hungry? At that age with my DS I would have taken him out of the trolley and given him my full attention until he had calmed down. Then I would have tried to engage him in an activity that would keep him occupied (food, toy, can you spot x/y/z, a running commentary on what I'm doing etc).

toomuchtooold Sun 07-Jun-15 18:42:37

FWIW I go for a firm no, a quick explanation of why not and, if it continues, letting them feel the consequences (e.g. as a PP said, removing toys if they're throwing them). I don't think it sticks at 2, it definitely does at 3 though, and in a sense you can start training yourself to respond now in the way you want to when she is slightly older and cops on. It will probably be at some time in the next year but you can't be sure when!

(Never had much luck with the naughty step or star charts etc. I did try the naughty step but gave it up after a time when DT2 grabbed a toy off DT1, DT1 gave her a resounding smack on the head and then took herself off to the naughty step with an air of triumph, like "I did it, I'd do it again, and I'll take the punishment gladly" grin

Love51 Sun 07-Jun-15 21:33:18

Mariposa my point was that one persons logical consequence us anothers 'punishment' The child in question clamped me twice towards the end of a feed - Im not going to let her bite my nipples! She did it twice on one feed then once on another occasion. She learned that if she bit me the feed would stop. We dont allow people to hurt each other in our family.

BoobsandLoubs Sun 07-Jun-15 21:42:42

Gozitan, how exactly did you/do you deal with a misbehaving child if you don't punish them? I'm genuinely interested in alternative ways, if for instance my 4 year old hits his 2 year old brother on repeated occasions, currently I put him in his bedroom and say fir example, "right no cartoons after your bath".

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