Tuesday, September 13, 2011

{Let the punishment fit the...child}

In our house we are well aware that our children all have very different personalities. What affects one just doesn't have the same reaction from the other.

When it comes to discipline and giving out consequences for their choices we see this personality difference in full effect.

Ella had a few hard days over the weekend where she struggled with telling the truth. We'd talk to her about why it's good to always tell the truth even if you know the end result of telling the truth will probably still get you in trouble.

After many (many) small fibs over the course of two days and a couple bigger ones where she was given plenty of opportunity to tell the truth, she was then given a punishment that we knew would really hit home with her.Oh the drama that ensued when I told her to go get a piece of paper and a pencil. She didn't know what I was going to make her do but she knew it wasn't going to be fun.

In tears already because I told her how very disappointed I was in her (pull that phrase out with Miss Ella and the tears flow, with Mailee you get no reaction) she began to cry even harder as I told her to number the paper to 30 and told her she needed to write "I will not lie" thirty times.

Oh.the.drama.! You would've thought she was dying!!!Tears dripped on her paper as she cried the whole time while writing. When she was finished she threw her pencil down and buried herself into her bed.

Not the reaction of remorse we were looking for.So back to the paper and 15 more spaces were added for her to write and ponder why she was writing and why she should really be upset...not at us or the punishment, but in herself for making a bad choice.

Mailee just couldn't comprehend what the big deal was. She wanted to write like Ella too and kept asking us if she could.

It was one of those moments when it was clear to me that though we have the same expectations and guidelines and even rules for the most part for all our children, the way we handle situations when a child of ours needs to be given a punishment for their less than stellar choices depends on the child. What is highly effective on one may not always work for the other, and in our case this is blatantly clear.

It's been three days since the writing punishment and Ella still reminds me about it, making sure I am aware of how brutal that was for her.

I made a mental note of how effective the punishment was...you know...for next time.Side note: I can recall numerous occasions when my own parents used this writing punishment method on me.

One time in particular sticks out when I was being toxic to my sibling and to this day I have the scripture passage from the Bible still memorized (you would too if you had to write it 500 times!!!).

Ephesians 4:32 "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."

Though I am hoping I don't have to make my children write this passage 500 times just as I did when I was little, I am pretty sure it will happen, but as long as they understand why they are doing it, that's all I care about.


moo said...

Professor Umbridge, much? lol.

{Erica} said...

Lol...what mom and dad never made you write?

It's not like I made her write in her skin...

Meg said...

I never had to write lines, but I think you are brilliant for coming up with this punishment. It really is all about what works for each individual child to help them recognize adn change their behavior. I have one child that is often unkind to her siblings. For dicipline, we often assign her service (read to so and so for 15 min, make so and so's bed, etc). You'd think we were cutting off her limbs. My other daughter is always volunteering to do her service jobs for her...but if I ased HER to sit and write lines, she would be a hot mess. Every child is different! I totally thought of Umbridge, too! haha! I still totally love that you did this. Great parenting, Erica.

Melia said...

Parenting is SOOOO hard. It is almost harder to explain to the children why their punishments are different.

I am sure that Ella learned her lesson.

Sarah said...

I love this. I love the crocodile tears and sobs while writing her lines. Anna would probably respond a lot the same way to this punishment, I am definitely filing this one away! Thanks for the great idea :) It wouldn't work in the least bit for Katie, they really are so different and require such different things. Love the creativity - so essential for raising kids! :)

Sol said...

gosh what a weekend for all of you. I hope all is well now.

Anonymous said...

I love this idea!! Ashlyn would have the SAME reaction!!! I think I am going to try it next time she is super rude to her sisters...probably in the next 15 mintues! Ps speaking of punishment alysse kept crying and whining about hating school and every day being the worst day ever! So I told her if she could have a positive attitude for 2 weeks we would call you guys and if "mailee" wanted to go to Disneyland!:) and the rest of you can come too!:) so far day 2 she is happy and it is working so check your calendar and let me know when you guys can go...if it continues....

emily kate said...

I love this so much. I think it's such good parenting you're doing, matching your consequences to the individual child. And I really love that you took pictures!

Jaime Stephens said...

I love this post this is sooo true! I love the picture of her writing it, it's intense I bet she was so mad you took that :)

William said...

I preferred the kneeling on the hearth with the hands in the air punishment instead!!! Reading your post made me think...what goes around comes around....and you are doing a great job trying to teach the kids. You can always bring back the document later in case a "slip up" occurs and she will remember!

Love ya,