View Full Version : Should kids be punished for mistakes or errors of judgement?

10 Sep 2015, 04:37
...as opposed to willful and intentional disobedience?

How? Why?

(and by punish, I mean punative action rather than the natural consequence of the action)

10 Sep 2015, 05:44
I hope this is what you meant, because I'm really tired and having trouble focusing my thoughts. =)

It depends.

For younger kids, I definitely try to talk to them and explain the consequences of their actions. ("You wouldn't stop hopping while carrying <item x> and knocked down <young child>" or "Because you forgot to pick up your toys until it was bedtime, you lose them until you earn them back.") If the the lapse in judgement is caused by a distraction, I remove that distraction until such time that they understand (Varies based on the child's maturity).

If the consequence is more severe (important item broken, person hurt worse than just a bump, etc), then yes, I will punish them in some way. They will probably lose privileges, and definitely lose the distraction, and possibly have to do extra work to make up for it.

However, everyone makes mistakes, even those who should know better. I believe in explaining it clearly to the child, not berating them to the point of tears like I've seen some people do. The point is to correct the behavior for the future, not shame the child.

B. de Corbin
10 Sep 2015, 06:46
Generally, natural consequences occur for mistakes or errors in judgement. I'd prefer to let the kid face his/her own self-created music.

But there are some things where the consequences don't show up until the damage is difficult to repair (drug addiction, for example), or lapses in judgement can be fatal (drinking and driving, for example). In such cases some kind of appropriate action needs to be taken... but what that is will depend on the thing itself, the causes, and the individual concerned.

I can't make a blanket statement...

10 Sep 2015, 07:13
I used to get punished for making mistakes on tests at school. Usually, I knew the right answer or how to get the right answer, and just added wrong, or wrote a little outside the line, etc., to get marked anything less than 100 (which was disgraceful at home). All this really did, in the big picture, was make me count the days until freedom.

10 Sep 2015, 07:43
Depends. For instance as a kid (until a certain age, I don't remember. Approximately until age of 8) I was racist because I was raised that way. Then I changed. A lot in the kids' perspectives depends on parenting. So if the kid says something wrong, then they should be told so and have shown the right way.

10 Sep 2015, 12:45
I honestly do not have a one size fits all response for it. Sometimes punishment maybe a swat on the butt, smack on the hands or being placed on a time out / grounding. It all depends upon what the mistake, error and intentional or unintentional.

But if it's an error such as a school test failure because they didn't study much less try then yes they will get a time out and loose something. If it's a failure say due to not knowing the material or not understanding the material then they won't get the time out or loose something. Loosing something usually like playing on their tablet, watching a favorite show, getting a certain desert or being allowed to stay up a bit later.

10 Sep 2015, 19:03
If they are making mistakes because they do not have the knowledge available to them to make an informed decision, then no.

I told you not to say that bad word. Punish
Says the f word because they overheard you saying it talking to your friend. Not punish.

11 Sep 2015, 18:46
Punished? No. I think they should be corrected, so they can understand why what they did was wrong, but punishing someone for making a mistake isn't helpful, I feel.

14 Sep 2015, 11:52
Punished? No. I think they should be corrected...

Agreed. Correction often comes with a sense of humiliation or shame even if the parent isn't trying to evoke those feelings in their children, so being carefully corrected so that they don't make similar mistakes is usually emotionally evocative enough to make the lesson stick, in my experience.

Punishment is different -- punishment is deserved and justified. Willful disobedience should be corrected more sternly, in my opinion. That's where punishment comes in.

14 Sep 2015, 13:53
Love and discipline. Children need love to feel accepted but they need discipline to gain confidence.

I gave both to my children and they gave both to their children. When children learn that there are consequences for their action they learn to think before acting. They have confidence in their actions as long as the "right and wrong" remains constant and the love and discipline remains constant. If the rules constantly change and the discipline constantly changes they they have no firm boundaries upon which to form a secure base. all of my children turned into responsible adults despite the fact that my wife (ex wife now) was an addict and most of the time absent. They were good kids and they have had good kids.

14 Sep 2015, 14:21
Eh punishment and corrected are the same thing to a kid getting a spankin. :p

14 Sep 2015, 14:25
Spankings are reserved for defiance. An error in judgment can be corrected by having them work to repair damage or simply with an explanation of why they got hurt and how to avoid it the next time.

14 Sep 2015, 14:32
Spankings are reserved for defiance. An error in judgment can be corrected by having them work to repair damage or simply with an explanation of why they got hurt and how to avoid it the next time.

I'm guessing you never got the chancla?

14 Sep 2015, 14:52
I only spank for stuff that could kill/maim/severely injur you or someone else. Otherwise grounding and loss of privilege are usually adequate for defiant behavior or repeated bad judgement. First time offenses, extenuating circumstances, and genuine mistakes are more of a "clean up your own mess" and tell me what you learned (which sometimes includes looking something up) from it.

IE: If you knock the carton of milk on the floor and spill it, you get to clean it up. If you pour the carton of milk on the floor after I tell you to put it away because you are pissed off at being interrupted from *whatever*, that *whatever* is gone.

14 Sep 2015, 15:02
Oddly I only got spanked once. I was being a brat to my mother and said 'no!' to her in a very snotty way. I was 8 or 9. I'd always been a good kid. But my dad took a belt to me. Just one smack. Didn't even hurt. But my pride was hurt. I huffed and pouted so much he took me to McDonald's for an ice cream cone.

I guess that wasn't the greatest of stories about spanking. Then again I was 'Daddy's little Princess'. Even had one of those pink shirts with the iron on patch with a kitty kat. :p

My mother on the other hand. She hit me in the head with her Movado pearl ring at a restaurant once. I was 14 and a complete snotty one at that. I thanked her years later for not pulling up to the Santa Fe dam and dropping me off in a ditch. :D

14 Sep 2015, 16:15
I had a paddle that I made from Lexan. It hung on the living room wall, in plain sight. It was 4 inches wide and 12 inches long. It didn't cause pain but it was good at making noise. I was careful to never use it in anger and most often I had to fight the laughter back. Kids are great and I hated using the paddle but I knew there were times when it was necessary no matter how "cute" they were. How did I know how hard to hit? I tested it on myself! If it stung me it was too hard for my kids! The sound and the shame they felt was enough. Before the spanking I told them why they were being spanked. I reminded them that I didn't like spanking them but their action required it. They would get a swat or two and it was over. I would tell them that when they were through crying they could come out of their room.
When they came out we were best friends again. We could laugh and cuddle and they knew that I still loved them. I must have done OK because when they had kids they asked to have a paddle to hang on the wall.

14 Sep 2015, 21:36
I'm guessing you never got the chancla?

My parents used kitchen spoons or wooden slats. Spanking never corrected my behavior--it just made me angry.

14 Sep 2015, 22:30
My parents used kitchen spoons or wooden slats. Spanking never corrected my behavior--it just made me angry.

Well why do you think Mexicans are so spicy?:p

14 Sep 2015, 23:30
I will admit I wasn't good at handing out consequences of doing wrong when my 2 were very little...
I had it pretty rough when I was small, often beaten and verbally/mentally abused for the smallest of things, (like accidentally leaving a light on, or knocking over a glass of pop, for instance) it made me a very withdrawn and nervous person, with lots of insecurities, hang-ups and taboos... all of which I tend to have, still...

I remember my Grans telling my parents off for being so hard on me, and I ended up living with one for a time to keep me safer...

So I parented in a kind of reverse way, to begin with, because I didn't want my children to suffer as badly as I used to... letting things slide a bit, not picking up on stuff at times when perhaps I should have.
However, I soon came to realize we all need to know our boundaries, or we grow into people that don't make good society.
I like to think now I did a good job as people who know them tell me they are "lovely lads".

I guess it's a case of getting the balance right, and each situation has to be given plenty of careful consideration.

15 Sep 2015, 08:04
Speaking from personal experience, as an only child who was spanked regularly, spanking was a particularly effective method of punishment for me. Now, my parents were both conservative Christians so seemingly minor things often seemed a bit blown out of proportion. Then again, my parents always had long lectures with me beforehand and made me explain to THEM why I was being spanked in order to make sure that I understood that this was not something they enjoyed doing.

Their lectures, by the way, were sometimes over an hour long. Any arguing or difference of opinion was regarded as continued defiance so they'd yak at me a bit longer until I finally just gave in and mindlessly repeated whatever trivial bullshit they wanted me to say.

And I'll tell you what, it was overkill. I was corrected AND punished every time.

All that to say, there's a time to spank and a time to allow consequence to 'clean up their own mess,' as Thal put it. I also figure that unless you derive pleasure from physically punishing your children, you're probably a decent judge of when those times are.

15 Sep 2015, 17:54
Well why do you think Mexicans are so spicy?:p

Because you're delicious?

07 Oct 2015, 17:26
I just turned my daughter and a bunch of her faceboook "friends" in to the police for selling drugs. Absolutely the hardest phone call I've ever had to make, and I was scared to death.

We adopted my daughter when she was 17 (she's 18 now) - she was our foster daughter. I love that girl as if she was born to us - it breaks my heart I didn't get to see her grow up. Anyway, back in July she left her FB account logged in on Mom's phone, and left her latest message thread up - her and a friend planning to smoke some weed.

Now...I smoked a LOT of weed in my day and, if I didn't have to take piss tests and polygraphs to keep my job, I probably still would. That said, I don't want my daughter self-medicating (there's another story there), especially in the crowd she surrounds herself with. I'm a protective dad with a "sixth sense." I know too much sometimes.

So when we saw they were gonna get high, we decided to see what else was happening in her world. That's when we discovered she was getting solicited to find buyers for some of her contacts, and was obliging. I hit the ceiling. I pulled down the sentencing guidelines for our state and showed her just how easily she could get slammed for intent to distribute and a host of other things, just by her own written word. Long story short, I told her if I ever caught her doing that again I would turn her and the rest of them in. She was restricted to home for some time after that. We started random drug testing. When she got off restriction her curfew was rolled back and she must physically check in with me or mom every six hours. Figured that would get the point across.

Sure enough, two weeks ago, she did it again. We had been monitoring her FB account since July, but had backed off just a little so I guess she thought the coast was clear. This time it was psychedelic mushrooms. I had no choice but to keep my word. I didn't speak to her for three days - not because I was mad, but because I was afraid to look in her eyes...I didn't think I would be able to go through with it.

So my daughter sounds, I'm sure, like a delinquent. Here's the catch - she's not. She's a wonderful young lady who brings joy to everyone around her, despite having gone through hell herself. She was abused as a child in every way imaginable - spent years in the foster care system, in and out of residential treatment (for cutting) and between group homes and foster homes that couldn't handle her. Not long after she came to us, the cutting stopped. 18 months after she came to us, she went off medication with no problems. When she does wrong, she can't hide it for long - she has to get it off her chest; and she's admitted things to me I would NEVER have told my parents. She works as a server at a local restaurant and has a great work ethic. She's still a senior in high school (a year behind) and went from failing grades across the board last year to Cs and above so far this year; and works as a teacher's aid in two special needs classes at the end of the day - the kids write her notes every day and she keeps them all.

When she came to us, the foster care system didn't tell us any diagnosis. They were so happy to find someone willing to take her for the long term, it's like they didn't want to tell us anything that would change our minds. They dropped her off and the only time we heard from them was when we called them ourselves. We knew she had some special need, mainly because my wife is the Special Ed department chair at her high school and had access to her paperwork, which only said "Other Emotional Disorder" along with ADHD.

Well, that OED appears to be Borderline Personality Disorder, which would explain just about everything from the cutting, to the uncontrollable impulsiveness, to the emotional reaction to perceived negative feedback, etc. I'm no psychologist, but have made my living assessing human behavior for the last 20 years, and hers matches up perfectly. The problem is getting a diagnosis before her mid-20s, as they don't like to give that label to adolescents and young adults for some reason.

So I guess the point of this long ramble is that, yeah, it depends. You have to hold kids accountable; but you also have to take into account what could be behind the behavior and work to address that as well. It's easy to say that a mistake repeated is a choice...but it's not always that cut and dry.

Oh - and the police were very helpful. I explained the situation, gave them her background. They understood what Dad was trying to accomplish and, rather than throw a young girl who can't just say no to people she perceives as friends in jail, decided they would not prosecute her. The other people...not so lucky.

Forgive the length - the thread struck a chord with me.

08 Oct 2015, 09:33
You exercised unconditional love. Good for you! I made the same statement to my two "adopted" kids. I told them that if I ever found drugs in my home I would report it to the police. I never had to follow through because the kids showed me the respect that I gave them. They are grown and the eldest has a child of his own. He is a wonderful dad and a good husband. My daughter is married and want a child more than anything. She has had a miscarriage but survived it and is still trying. My own two kids have children of their own too and my son has given me my first great-grandson. Life is good!

13 Oct 2015, 17:38
You exercised unconditional love. Good for you! I made the same statement to my two "adopted" kids. I told them that if I ever found drugs in my home I would report it to the police. I never had to follow through because the kids showed me the respect that I gave them. They are grown and the eldest has a child of his own. He is a wonderful dad and a good husband. My daughter is married and want a child more than anything. She has had a miscarriage but survived it and is still trying. My own two kids have children of their own too and my son has given me my first great-grandson. Life is good!

Sorry - just getting back to this one. Hard to keep track with my memory.

I do love her without condition. Good thing - she's so impulsive I can see why so many foster families gave up on her and sent her back to the group home. I would never do that in a million years. Even before we got custody of her there was a time we thought we wouldn't get her and I cried like I'd lost my own child. We had been a visitation resource for her, so for about a year she spent weekends, holidays, and vacations with us.

I'm very protective of her - she was abused physically and sexually for years and I can at times go overboard with it. I see everyone as a potential predator until they prove otherwise. That said, I do trust her current boyfriend more than anyone else - male or female. He genuinely cares for her and has met my two criteria: show her kindness, and show her respect. She lived 17 hard years before we got her, and she deserves to be happy now.

That's why it was so hard to make that call. It broke my heart to do it, but I'm thankful they saw what I was trying to do and assured me she would be ok.