Molding our kids to be proper adults is, in my opinion the most difficult job on the planet. Every time my kids decide to push the limits and either break the rules or bend them so far that the original rules don’t apply I find that I again have to reach down deep and remember that these are my kids. Being a smart, firm, responsible, modern dad is hard. For many of us, the role as primary caregiver is not only new but we are trying to balance the role of disciplinarian as well which can be confusing and down right scary. Which begs the question, how much is too much when it comes to punishments?
I grew up in the South as a foster child from the state of Louisiana. When it came to discipline…progressive or gentle handed were not the standards I was accustomed to. Kneeling on rice, whippings on the back of the legs with a willow switch, holding phone books out with my nose to the wall…most of us would probably picture a torture scene from one of the classic 80’s and 90’s movies. Of course, these were some of the worst versions of punishments I had experienced and I have cataloged them under what NOT to do when punishing my kids. That brings the question, what is the best type of punishment for your kids? Physical discipline, time outs, punishment/reward systems, stickers and star what works best?
As many people that will read this, I’m sure there will be as many different opinions of what is the best road for discipline. In my home I have a hybrid system ranging on the severity of the broken rule and the age of the child. Normally, a time out is enough to get the point across. All of my kids are able to experience this from my eight year old to my 18 month old. The age dictates the time so for the eight year old, eight minutes, you get the idea. The next “level” of punishment is removing fun favorites such as snacks, computer time, TV, visiting friends etc. This is the most effective in my home but only for my older two kids since taking candy from a baby is…well frowned upon by humanity. The final and most severe and least used is spanking. All of my kids have had a chance to experience a spanking in some way, shape or form. If my 18 month old reaches for the stove or a socket, he gets a smack on the hand. A smack on the bare butt is reserved for the most egregious of offenses and I can count on one hand how many times I have used that level of punishment on any of my kids. (My little guy has not experienced a butt spanking yet.)
What do you think is the best form of punishment when your kids break the rules?