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Appropriate consequence Dilemma - please help!!

12 replies

Pinkbatrobi · 18/03/2013 12:53

10.3 DS asks (rudely) 12.7 DD to shut up (as she's constantly half singing something or other under her breath). This happens as we are getting ready to go out playing bowling with friends (whose DC are their friends too). We ask her to please be quiet and him not to be so rude. He's lacing up his shoes. When he's finished he gets up and IN COLD BLOOD punches his sister in the stomach. Tears on her part and I lost it and shouted at him. DH wanted to abort trip to bowling as a punishment, I talked him out as it would have also affected DD. We all went, and told him we would think of appropriate punishment. With hindsight one of us should have stayed home with him, but we were late and cross and didn't think it through properly.

Rest of the day was fine, (DS even won at bowling!), but no mention of punishment as DH and I can't think of anything that would be a natural consequence, fair, and relevant. Especially as now it's going to be inflicted at least 24 hours too late!! I feel we have got this REALLY wrong but now don't know how to fix it! Should he do something for his sister? But what? Should we just go for the usual no screentime/no play dates etc? What would you have done and what would you do now??? I really don't want him to think he can get away with hurting his sister unpunished!!! Please help....

Ps this is a boy who can be so lovely but does have anxiety/anger/behaviour/ issues and we are trying to follow the 'Love Bombing' system written about by Oliver James (which has already given some good results) which is all about positive reinforcements and ignoring bad behaviour, limiting punishments etc... So I feel we are really being inconsistent too!!

OP posts:
fieldfare · 18/03/2013 12:57

Hindsight is wonderful, and yep ideally one of you should have stayed home with him so he missed out on bowling.

Does your dd have chores? Could your ds do one of her chores for the week?

Seeline · 18/03/2013 13:01

What would I have done? I would have lost it with him too Grin I would also have stopped him going, and stayed at home with him whilst DD and DH went and had fun, but hindsight.....
I don't think bad behaviour like this can be ignored. How about sitting down with him and having a chat about what happened, and why. Then ask him what he thinks might be an appropriate punishment? If nothing comes up then yes, it probably is a case of limiting screen time, stopping a favoured activity or whatever.
I sympathise my DD and Ds are the other way round with a similar age gap - most of the time they just wind each other up sooo much before one of them cracks and thumps the other. I do tend to ignore those situations - 6 of one, 1/2 dozen of the other Smile

Pinkbatrobi · 18/03/2013 13:27

Wow you guys are so great answering so quickly! Thanks for that. I could kick myself - I knew by the time we were in the car that why oh why didn't I think of just one of us staying but by then we were on our way, and we had told him we were going to think about it...they do chores but they swap around, so there isn't anything obvious that he could take on for his sister...i thought about withdrawing his pocket money, but that feels too much like paying for the pleasure of hitting his sister and I suspect he'd find worth it..Grin I like the idea of asking HIM what he think would be appropriate. This love bombing thing puts a lot of emphasis on the child being in charge/responsible and being given a voice, so I guess it would be consistent with that. Sometimes I wish I had a preprinted list of punishments to refer to, rather than having to make them up as I go along... Or is that too OCD? Does anyone do this I wonder? Think of what is the natural consequence for the most likely misdemeanours?

OP posts:
BertieBotts · 18/03/2013 13:34

Thing is there isn't really a natural consequence, the natural consequence is that his sister is upset - which was presumably his aim!

At 10 he should know better than to resort to violence, so is it a case of impulse control, needing to learn a different way to focus his anger, or does he know it's wrong but doesn't care because his intention was to hurt her? If it's the latter then I think this is a situation where you do need an unrelated consequence/punishment that he will care about - both to show him that you won't stand by and let him hurt his sister, and to show your DD that it's not okay for someone to hurt her. I don't think he needs to make it up to her directly (although him doing all of the chores for a specified period is quite nice :))

chicaguapa · 18/03/2013 13:42

I like the idea of having a list of punishments. Grin We have some (bought) cards with treats on that DC can pick one of at random if we want to reward particular behaviour. I love the idea of an opposite whereby they have to pick a penalty at random. It could be anything from 'lose an hour's screen time' to 'do your sister's chores for a whole week'. The beauty would be that the penalty could be really disproportionate for the crime, but that's the risk they take if they choose to do something they know will result in having to take a card. Think I might give that idea more thought.

Back to the OP, I don't know what I would have done on that occasion. I'd have probably done the same as you in all honesty. And known that it was the wrong thing to do.

On Friday DS(8) took one of DD(11)'s cakes that she'd bought with her Comic Relief money at school. So he had to give his pudding to DD on Saturday. DD was happy with that and DS felt it was a fair punishment.

Maybe if you're going to involve your DS in deciding his punishment for thumping his sister in the stomach, you could involve her too so they can come to a decision together? Then he will have to take into account that what he did was wrong, but also how it affected the other person.

Pinkbatrobi · 18/03/2013 14:13

Thanks for your your thoughts, and especially for understanding! i feel so stupid.

Yes I hope he knows it was wrong, and what shocked me was that he continued to lace his shoes and THEN got up and punched her... Gave it all the time he needed to have calmed down, and also caught DD totally by surprise...but I like the idea of involving her in choosing (although I would bet she won't want to be involved) and particularly like the idea of consequence/punishment cards... Uhmm will think about that one more.

OP posts:
Madmog · 18/03/2013 14:28

Think you did exactly what we would have done. Obviously there are going to be family fallouts, but physical action isn't acceptable even if he's annoyed - in which case you want to try and deal with this and help them both. Perhaps, you could tell him that, say you feel he should be punished and either he has to do something to help his sister or perhaps have time out from the family to think about his actions, ie a night or two this week after tea and bath (or whatever you do) he has to spend the evening in his room on his own - he will not be allowed to play on any electrical gadgets and if he wants to do anything it will be catching up on his homework or reading. We did this for my daughter a couple of months ago and hated doing it, but I think she now realizes there will be consequences if her behaviour isn't acceptable.

BertieBotts · 18/03/2013 15:58

I don't know if it's a good idea to involve her TBH, you're the adult, you need to decide what the penalty will be. Otherwise you're just fuelling the sibling rivalry. If he knows it was wrong but doesn't care/did it in a premediated rather than lashing out kind of way then I don't think he should be deciding either.

Mumofjz · 18/03/2013 16:08

How about a written apology, making sure that his focuses on the feelings of his sister and what his actions have caused.

We made our DD do this when she continued to blatantly lie to us. The apology was only as good as her understanding of her effect of actions to us.

Pinkbatrobi · 19/03/2013 01:00

We had a family 'meeting' tonight and I told them that DH and I were going to decide but we wanted to hear their opinions about what the fairest consequence would be. As I had guessed, DD said she doesn't want him punished, she just want them to be friends and for him to stop hurting her. He said he understand he needs a punishment but taking his screentime away was 'likely to make him want to hit her more, not less'. Didn't like this one little bit, but TBH I know sometimes he does go and bother her when he's bored, to get attention, so I know it could happen. We had said we were going to play a game and they were both getting impatient, so they both asked if we could park it, sleep on it and re discuss tomorrow. I made it clear it will not go away, because I want DD to know that she is 'protected' from another attack. And I want to make sure he understands that this is not acceptable. So we'll have another go tomorrow, and I really want to have a solution by then - this is getting ridiculous! I like the idea of time away from family. I also like idea of letter of apology. Maybe will combine those two and send him off to write a convincing letter away from us while we have a good time playing a game or something... I also thought another thing but not sure if it's stupid: They have just had their rooms redecorated and there was a picture that DD wanted for her new room that I didn't get her because it was quite expensive...DS is very good at drawing and painting etc. what if I asked him to spend some time painting something in the style of the picture she wanted (which he has seen) for his sister, to show her how much he cares about her really? Is this too much like fun for him and not enough of a consequence? Oh dear I fear I am losing the plot completely!!! Maybe letter of apology AND picture as a present...

OP posts:
Gingerodgers · 19/03/2013 01:13

Maybe treat your daughter instead? It seems like its getting late for punishment, if he is missing out on a treat, which ideally would have been the consequence anyway, then he might feel punished.

ChippingInIsEggceptional · 19/03/2013 01:22

Oh dear - you really are twisting yourself into knots over this aren't you :( There's something to be said for 70's parenting - at least it's over and done with quickly!

I would have carried onto bowling and made him sit still, in one place and watch. Then no one else misses out, but he does and he sees what he's missing out on.

However, too late for that now :) I would be very concerned about his comment 'that would make me want to hit her more not less' - he has anger issues doesn't he - do you know where the come from? How about getting a book aimed at children about controlling your temper (a proper book, not a story book) and make him read it and then talk it through (sounds like a painful enough consequence to me!).

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