Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Crime and Punishment

We're in the process of totally re-vamping our discipline program. To preserve/restore sanity for all. Let us know if you have any suggestions.
The crime will be listed on the left with the punishment on the right. I'm looking forward to referring to the list in the coming days and just reading the punishment rather than trying to come up with something in the heat of the moment (with anger running rampant - it's amazing how angry you can get at a young child for playing with the milk cap/refusing to wear clean underwear/banging on the stair rail) and feeling like a bad mother. Besides, the "go to your room!" approach just isn't working...
By the way, this was a family affair. The boys helped with ideas for punishments. And of course there was a lot of, "What about when Caleb does..." and "Oh yeah, don't forget about when Sam..."

Lying...........................Hot Sauce (referred to as "spanking the tongue" by Lisa
Whelchel in Creative Correction)

Violence (hitting, biting, pushing, etc.)...................Write an apology card

Yelling..........................Memorize a Bible verse (Prov. 25:28, James 1:19-20)
Huh...I may have the entire Bible memorized by the end of
next week!

Disrespectful talk........................suggestions please

Interrupting.......................Reading time (5 minutes per year of age)

Whining............................Physical exercise (Running around the house, jumping jax)

Arguing............................Extra pages of schoolwork

Willful disobedience.........suggestions please

Selfishness........................Stand on a low stool in a designated corner for x minutes

Slow obedience.................Additional chores (choose from the chore jar)

Coming out of the room at rest...........Positive Reinforcement: Extra "up time" for
coming out given in 5-minute increments
per occasion of rest

Obnoxious table behavior.....................Must eat 2 lima beans for each incidence.
Must also sweep under the table after meal

Taking things without asking (stealing)........Mom or Dad chooses a special toy to
take away for a week

Destruction of property.............................Designated mess cleaner-upper for the rest
of the day

Aggravating car behavior..........................x minutes of silence with nose on knees

Complaining...............................................Pick a chore from the chore jar

Obnoxious laughter (at the moment, this is a very annoying behavior) in place
for 2 minutes

Clothes on the floor of the room.................1 drawer gets completely emptied out to
be refolded by offender

We're trying to make the punishment fairly related to the crime and for the time being to leave out spanking as a designated punishment. We've used it plenty in the past, with varying degrees of effectiveness, and with Noah being only 2 yet, he will still be getting his share of spankings as the punishments are a bit "old" for him yet. But for the other two, it's time to shake things up a bit. I would, however, be interested in your take on spanking - it's still in the running as a punishment for disrespectful talk and for willful disobedience. More on this in a later post.

Ideally, we also want to come up with a resolution for after the punishment is over, where they come and tell us why they were punished/corrected, and why it was wrong to do what they did. We will be attaching a few verses to each infraction for the kids to become familiar with because it's important for them to have Scriptural back-up for why they need to behave in a certain way. They can learn to respect the authority of God as well as the authority of their parents. Any great verses come to mind?

This was so refreshing for me to get down on paper. On the one hand, it's kind of fun after a long day of sending kids to their room, spanking, yelling, etc., to make a list of possible crimes along with how it will be punished in the future. On the other hand, it also makes me a bit more laid back with the kids because I feel like everything's "settled" - of course, it has only been about 4 hours since we started.


sean said...

Not a bad idea. Just a couple things:

First, I'm not a big fan of making chores, schoolwork, reading time, or Bible verse memorization a punishment. IMO - These are things that we should teach our children to do out of necessity to be a better person. I fear that using them as a punishment just reinforces the negative, especially with chores and homework. I do like your toy hiatus idea.

My question is, do the parents get the same punishment? I've been trying to encourage Jack to tell me when I'm talking disrespectfully or doing something "naughty."

(First comment!!! Woohoo!)

Molly said...

I don't have time to say much now, perhaps later, but just a couple of things. We definitely use jobs for discipline--the jobs I use, though, are the extra jobs that aren't ordinarily expected of the kids or even done by cleaning doorknobs and light switches. I will often use sentence writing for disrespect. I haven't done this yet because of the ages of my kids, but eventually, I will have the kids look up synonyms for respect, honor, etc and write out the definitions. We also use hot sauce for sassiness and call it "sassy juice." :)
Another of my "favorites" is blackout. If for some reason the behavior is out of control blackout wipes out all privileges for whatever amount of time I decide is necessary.

Sarah said...

Sean, I think that saying the reading time, chores, schoolwork, Bible verses are a punishment would be inaccurate (on my part). More correctly, a discipline, or a "correction" to negative behavior. Helps them to refocus on something that's positive. I have a workbook of sentences that helps them practice their handwriting. I just assign them a page when necessary. Removes them from the situation and is a lot more productive than the "naughty chair". I don't think these things are used in a way in which they'll associate it forever with the unpleasantness of being punished.

Parents do not get the same punishment at our house because if we encouraged our boys to point out our naughtiness, there would be a lot of disrespectfulness to deal with. I think I'd prefer to be aware enough when I screw up in front of my children to go to them and apologize. I just can't see my children communicating to me that I've done something wrong and managing to do it in an appropriate way. I know Jack has a vastly different temperament than my older ones, so maybe this is different for you.

Sarah said...

Molly, I like the blackout idea. That wouldn't be such a mouthful as, "THAT"S ENOUGH!! YOU JUST LOST EVERY PRIVILEGE FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE!! I MEAN DAY!! NO TREATS, NO SNACKS, NO EXTRA STAY-UP TIME, NO PLAYTIME, No..."

Molly said...

Right. So much easier to just say, "Ok, that's blackout!" We've actually been working on very defined consequences for our move to my in-laws. I'm a bit afraid (knowing specifically how certain family members try to "helpfully" chime in) that our kids will end up feeling like they're being bombarded by adults. It just ends up being a bit overwhelming to have correction happening from six points of view. Brendan and I know the routine, and the kids do, too, but I think it will help the transition a bit to have things written down. (And yes, there will be six adults because Brendan's cousin and sister also live there, although Allison is just there for a few weeks til her new apt opens up.) It should be interesting...
By the way, we were out of hot sauce today so Brendan used Worcestershire sauce. Not spicy, but on it's own it's pretty rude. ;)
Oh, and it's not a child's job to correct his parents (although I do think that sometimes it works once the child has been properly formed). That's what spouses are for. Although I've found it very helpful to ask my kids for forgiveness when I know I've totally blown it. It's good modeling--and Brendan and I always publicly apologize if on a rare occasion we've publicly messed up between the two of us.
Good topic, as always. I love the updated photos of the kids! Josiah really looks like Samuel in one of the shots. Darling boys!

Sarah said...

Yeah, we've decided that it's Samuel and Josiah who are really twins, by a fluke born 6 years apart. They look so much alike!

sean said...

I'm not saying that I want my kids to give me timeouts or anything and I didn't give Jack permission to do that. I guess I should have explained more or perhaps I'm just way off base. I want Jack to know that if he hears me saying mean things about other people or to other people that he should feel comfortable telling me that I'm wrong. I think kids have a better ability than adults to see when a line has been crossed. One night I called Wesley a silly name and Jack told me that I shouldn't call people names. He said it very innocently. Another night when I was furious with Jack he told me "But you're s'posed to take care of me." I paused and reevaluated my approach.

What I meant in whether or not the adults get the same punishment is that if one of you is acting inappropriately or saying something you should be saying or being disrespectful shouldn't there be a punishment for everyone? I doubt, Sarah, that you are saying adults can act in ways that kids can't but how do we demonstrate that to our children?

Sarah said...

I definitely do not think that the adults should be subjected to the same punishment as the children - at least not within the children's view - I think this would put you too much at their "peer level" and undermine your authority as a parent. There is something to be said about a child's illusion that their parents are perfect - not that I'd try to keep this up for them - but a bit of it isn't bad at all. A shallow awareness that their parents aren't perfect is, I think, enough for them to understand you make mistakes too just like they do - without having to be confronted with it on a daily basis. If your wrongdoing involves the child, that is different and should be addressed with them, but otherwise, I don't think they need an accounting from us - maybe just some examples now and then to prove that we are fallible. I think a child could be made to feel insecure if they were constantly being made aware of their parents' faults.
If you're having trouble with a particular "sin", discuss it with your spouse and let them pick the punishment if you deem one necessary.

Anonymous said...

Here is what we are "trying" to implement. My three oldest children each have a jar. They start with five marbles and for each infraction(sassiness, slow obedience, hurting...) they must remove a marble. The children can earn more marbles by using extra kind words, gestyres and helps. Also for quick to respond obedience and doing things w/o being told. The marbles are used for ganing privledges like going outside, art time, snacks, movie time, extra activities... if they have no marble then they may not do what they are wising to do. However, we do give a 'spank' with the spoon for willfull disobedience and hot sauce for sassing. These two are mostly used with my #3 child who has a very hard time in these areas.

Sarah I love reading your blog. Miss you!

Sarah said...

Tanya, I like that idea! I think for us, the main thing is to keep mixing things up, as one strategy doesn't work for more than a few weeks.
I miss you too!