I hate punishing my kid. Hate it. I want to figure out a way to do it without making her feel hopeless. I want to figure out a way to communicate love through punishment. People who hit their kids probably think that sounds wacky. I’ll admit it’s counterintuitive, but I feel like hitting her is counterintuitive, too, so love via punishment? How’s that such a stretch?
I know we punish our kids because we love them. Or at least that’s what we tell ourselves. I think I do it more because I don’t want to be embarrassed to have a kid who’s in jail at 17. I tried to explain to her that I was punishing her because I didn’t want her to grow up and not know how to act and wind up in jail.
She’s presently grounded from TV and a lot of other fun stuff for two weeks.
I wanted to only give her a week of punishment, but then she argued and thrashed and moaned, and so I kept tacking punishments on to her one week of no TV. She wound up with two weeks of no TV, no playdates, and two days (already served) of going to her room after school until supper.
She’s been pretty reasonable about it, and she mentions it often, so I can remind her that I’m punishing her for reasons that are in her best interest, instead of because I want to torture her and am just mean.
She has become somewhat stoical about it. She’ll say, “I just really miss TV (sigh) I wish I wasn’t punished.”
“I wish you weren’t punished, too, Pearl.”
“How about if I do something nice every day?”
“Sorry P. Still punished.”
“Pearl, why are you punished?”
“Because I broke the towel thingy in the bathroom.”
“You told me not to play on it and I didn’t listen.”
“Oh kaaaay. I guess I’ll just go to my room then.”
But when I first told her of the punishment, she told me she wanted to go live with grandma forever. She even called grandma to ask if she could. Grandma told her she could come for the weekend, but I said not till her punishment is over.
I talked to my mom about it later, and she said, “Pearl’s like you were. You were hard to punish. You would just go play happily in your room. You didn’t care much about TV. It was really frustrating.”
I don’t remember being punished aside from spanking until I was a teenager, and at that point there was no precedent so it was too late.
I don’t remember a single instance of what I was spanked for.
I want a better system that that, but I don’t know where to find one. She’s pretty uncomfortable with the present arrangement, so I guess it’s working for now, but what happens when she’s good to go read in her room for hours on end. I can’t ground her from books, not and retain any self-respect.
Ideas, other moms and dads? Books to recommend?