I am of the opinion that there really can be no punishment or discipline without some sort of violence or at the very least, force. I think many, many of today’s parents feel like you two do, that they want to parent without violence, without hitting, but there’s a trap in that, which you may have felt. It might even be a majority of parents who want that, at least in our part of the world, but I think most are doomed to failure, because of what punishing is, which is, abuse with a reason, and the reason doesn’t change what it is – oh, wait. I’m doing it again, aren’t I?
I do concentrate on the no punishing thing, my wife’s yelling at me right now, that there’s more to it than just not punishing, she wants me to tell you that we had none of the usual things, no:
– bedtimes – we’d get them up in the morning for daycare/school/work, so they’d naturally get tired and sleep at night. Wifey couldn’t stay awake for them, she sleeps at 9:00 pm, so I’d stay up and wait them out if they weren’t ready to sleep.
– mealtimes – feed them when they’re hungry
– cribs – we had a “family bed,” two queen mattresses on the floor, for years and years
– toilet training – they’re human beings. They figured it out at pretty much the normal ages.
– punishing – any way at all. Our kids’ stuff was theirs, and we never took anything away, never confiscated their toys, pacifiers. No timeouts – OK, Wifey took around five timeouts, running away and locking herself in a bedroom out of frustration before she might have a freakout (she says when the kids made her sad). She says they were all during times when both kids were home, that she didn’t leave a kid alone. Of course no hitting. I did allow myself to lose it a little and start yelling at them every now and again after the younger one was at least eight years old. Our house has been a terrible mess all these years, as you can no doubt imagine. It gets frustrating sometimes.
– forced sharing – same as confiscation, their stuff is theirs, not ours to take back when we feel like it. No forced friends either. If our kid didn’t like someone’s kid, they could hang with us, they didn’t have to suffer someone they didn’t like alone. That strained some adult relationships.
– Santa Claus – and other ’fun lies.’ We told them Santa was a game people played. That strained some inter-family relationships too.
So, I’ll step through your example, step by step:
– For example: Child gets one hour of screen time (ipod) a day
– No such rule. I’m embarrassed to say, all the time is screen time in our house. We’re not nearly active enough. It’s all Wifey and I can do to get our one hour walks in three times a week, and almost none of that for far too many years.
– however said child is caught using the ipod under the covers when he is supposed to be sleeping, in this scenario the child consciously snuck the device into his bedroom without permission when he know that was a no-no. Not a first offence either.
– Again, for us, not applicable. Can’t “hide” in the family bed, there weren’t those sorts of ‘no-nos’ anyway. The kids’ screen time, we were all together for anyway, all in the family/living room or in the family bed. There wasn’t really any unsupervised screen time, we always knew what they were doing. Plus, since there were no punishments to fear, there wasn’t any sneaking or hiding, at all. Of course, no rule to offend, no offence, no first offence, no third strike.
– Mom and Dad decided to suspend ipod privileges for a period of 2 weeks which by definition is “punishment.” Curious how you would have handled a similar situation (on the assumption the approached used is not aligned with your blogs).
– Yes, this is punishment, and how is it accomplished without force? Do we play “keepaway” all day, or are there more penalties if your kid finds the device and tries to take it? It is my opinion that some things sound like non-hitting punishments, but really, when push comes to shove, it is all eventually dependent upon force. Sorry, it always go to some technical sort of talk around punishing for me.
I expect that’s maybe long enough for now?