A producer at WPIX-TV/PIX 11 Morning News reached out to me last week to see if I would be interested in speaking on a parenting panel discussion about creative punishments. Since Reggie was off from work (meaning that I wouldn’t need to scramble for early-morning childcare) AND this is my “year of yes”, I agreed.
After doing a quick phone briefing with the producer I wondered aloud if I would be the best person for this segment. Initial examples of creative punishments included the mom who knocked ice cream out of the hands of her children because they refused to say thank you to the worker who gave it to them and another mom who gave her teen 3 warnings before she put the child’s car for sale on Craig’s List*. (While I disagree with their public sharing, I actually have no problem with the actual consequences that the parents gave.) I have some different views on punishment…
1. I think in terms of discipline not punishment. (It was good to see that the therapist on the segment agreed.)
2. I believe that discipline should come from a place of love with the overall goal being for the child’s future good.
3. I’m not a big fan of social media shaming. Parents can discipline their kids however they feel fit (as long as they are not being abusive) but I don’t agree with sharing kids’ discipline/punishments on social media. For me, it seems more like an ego thing for the parent rather than a genuine concern about their kids.
A friend and I were discussing this a while back. While our parents surely embarrassed us in front of friends (if we acted a fool in front of our friends), it was different. Why? Because our friends knew our family and the totality of our personality…not just some social media clip of us behaving badly. Context means a lot. Also, the discipline/punishment was done in the moment and then it was over. Social media is so different. Once something is out there, it’s available forever…even if the parent has a change of heart and takes it down. No, thank you.
For me, creative discipline means that you take the time to get to know your child as an individual and invent the consequences accordingly. I wrote a bit about this in an earlier Secrets to Raising Well Behaved Boys post. It takes time and attention to learn how to motivate your kids to be their best. I’m also a big fan of applying personality-type learning – like the 4 types found in Gretchen Rubin’s Better Than Before talk – in raising your kids. One of my sons is an Upholder while the other is a Questioner. Since they have very different personalities, my husband and I discipline them very differently. For instance, one of the expert tips that was shared during the segment was to let your child know consequences in advance. While that works great for my “upholder”, that’s awful advice for my “questioner” because he will weigh his options to see if the consequence is really all that bad. With that one, we have to keep him guessing. As parents, we have to know our own kids in order to come up with original ideas to discipline them.
In any event, I’m glad that I went on the show. I think that I’ll enjoy during more parenting segments in the summer. A variety of opinions is what makes life interesting. You can see the clip below:
P.S. I was not giving the woman who had opposing views the side-eye. 🙂 She was simply sitting beside me so when I looked at her, it was from the side! She actually was quite lovely and we had great conversations both before and after the segment.