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Getting Spanked for Timeouts

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Momlogic's Andrea: I thought timeouts were the progressive way to punish. But are even they too cruel?

Yesterday, when I picked my daughter up from her new preschool, the teacher told me my two-year-old was having trouble following directions that day. I nodded in weary agreement -- she's been very defiant this week.

"I give her timeouts," I offered, "That's what you guys do, right?"  

"Oh no!", said the young teacher, aghast. "We praise the good behavior and distract them with something else when they behave negatively."

Oh. Crap. This discipline thing is tricky. And here I was secretly patting myself on the back for not spanking my toddler's backside. Meanwhile, it turns out the preschool's mode of discipline makes mine seem like Abu Ghraib. But, hey, it's not like I'm waterboarding.

As the teacher expounded on the preschool's principles of punishment, my mind wandered to my timeout experience the night before. My daughter was locked in her chair prison -- it's amazing to me she stays put. She can escape any time -- instead, she begs for mercy. Her crime? Hitting me in the face when I tried to put on her new Dora pajamas. (Maybe I should've bought Diego instead?) I don't know if "distracting" her would've helped either of us at that moment. It took every bit of my moral strength not to punch her back.

Has the pendulum swung too far when it comes to doling out punishment for our kids?  I don't even know ANY moms these days who spank. Maybe I'm hanging out with the wrong crowd?

next: No More Back Fat!
24 comments so far | Post a comment now
JMM September 19, 2008, 10:45 AM

I say timeouts are good for parents to do but you don’t want her preschool to be like home. Enjoy that they don’t “punish” your kid and continue doing what you’re doing. You sound like a good mom to me. :)

Bailey September 19, 2008, 10:50 AM

we don’t “spank”…i don’t know if it would be called that or not. our 2 1/2 year old gets a little out of line sometimes (what 2 year old doesn’t), he gets a pat on the butt (not hard enough to hurt, but hard enough to get his attention. it’s very rare that we have to do this (i think we have done it maybe 3 times)…it’s a last resort when he ignores anything else we try to do to make him stop. thank god he is a good kid….i see some of my the other kids at daycare and don’t know how their parents do it.

Linney5680 September 19, 2008, 11:01 AM

i think it depends on the child. some can be distracted and for some time outs work. for mine, time outs work. thankfully!

Shay September 19, 2008, 11:52 AM

I spank. Nothing too severe. A tap on the hand or leg and a look of disappointment can really drive a point home. The last thing your child wants is to disappoint you. When they see that look on your face and the tone of your voice can sometimes be all you need.

Renee September 19, 2008, 12:02 PM

We spank and use timeouts. And our kids still love us and they are well adjusted.

bloggingmom67 September 19, 2008, 12:17 PM

We use timeouts or we take away privileges.(No TV, no sweets, no allowance.) My kids are 8 and 6, by the way. That works if you follow through and do let the kids pit one parent against the other.

I was spanked as a child and never abused, so I know spanking can be done humanely. But I’m just opposed to using violence to solve anything.

Jami September 19, 2008, 1:05 PM

You need to discipline children. This is how they learn. Now as to what kind of discipline you use is what works with that child. I have three and I am finding out that the same discipline does not work the same with them all. If your child stays in her time out chair. It sounds like it is working with her.
The one thing I found out with my oldest and most defient child is that no matter what punishment you use you need to make sure that when it is all over you give your child a hug and tell them that the reason you discipline is because you love them and want them to learn that that kind of behavior is naughty and can hurt others. My daughter is a very curious child and she has shown me that children want to know why something is wrong.
That being said I have spanked my kids, but never abused them. Spanking works best with one of the three. Ussually all I have to say is “do I need to spank” this is ussually all that is needed. Time outs do not work with him. He is kind of a loner and he does not think that sitting quietly alone with no one bothering him a punishment, and taking his favorite toy away just makes him more mad. With my oldest this does not work and she is harder to punish. She is more prone to outbursts of anger without warning. These are getting better the older she gets but it has been a long hard road. Sometimes taking her favorite toy away for a specific amount of time works and sometimes a time out works. The one thing that I do with all of my kids is explain why. If they are going to learn what is wrong and right they need to know why they are wrong or right. After the punishment is over let it go. Tell them how much you love them and hold them.
Whatever you decide to do remember you are doing it out of love to guide your children; not out of anger to punish them. This is not always easy. It may be hard to remember when your child is kicking and hitting you, but it is important to remember to discipline out of love not anger. The other thing I have learned is that you will make mistakes. It is important that if you do make a mistake it is OK to ask you child to forgive you. It will amaze you at how understanding your children can be when you are honest with them.

Wendi September 19, 2008, 1:23 PM

I have three kids, 13, 11 and 2. With that said, they are all different when it comes time for discipline. We do spank, not abuse and that will work for 2 of the 3. We also use time outs for my little one. He seems to get the idea and even knows where to sit and that he has to stay there till he is quiet and then we can talk. We talk about what he did and then always end with a hug and kiss and him saying sorry for what ever it is he did to who ever he did it to. This includes the dogs and cats. It is important that they learn to say sorry and mean it and that there are consequences for their actions, either good or bad.

Now I would like to say that I am so happy to read that there are so many parents that are actully disciplining their kids. I think that the we as a society have gotten way to relaxed with this issue. I truely believe that is why we have so many problems with tweens/teens and young adults. We need to get back into being a part of our kids’ lives and showing them that it is not OK to just do whatever whenever they want. By us being there and following through with whatever punishment we choose, it shows the kids that we care and expect better from them.

Kiki September 19, 2008, 1:44 PM

We spanked our girls. Not abused. It definately made the straighten up any bad behavior. They are now 12 and 16 and both doing very well. They also have respect for others as well as receiving respect from others.

I definately agree with Wendi’s comment.

M.L. September 19, 2008, 6:19 PM

We spank, not abuse, but we also try other methods first. Time out, or taking a privilage away, if that doesn’t work, then they get a spanking, of course if it’s a situation where they put themselves in danger, it’s a spanking. My kids are 7 and 2, and they are not harmed by it.

R.C. September 19, 2008, 10:55 PM

If the parents in todays society would go back and discipline their kids the way we were disciplined as children the juvenile centers and the jail cells would be less crowded and kids would not be carrying guns to school. I would rather see a child get spanked, than to see one get hurt. Yes i do spank my children sometimes and yes it hurts me to see them cry, But it makes me very proud of them when we are in public and people say you have the most well mannered kids. Now thats something to be proud of. Father of four children 3, 6, 12, and 16 year old.

momoffour September 22, 2008, 6:37 AM

I tried spanking with our first (he’s in college now) but felt it didn’t work. So I started sending them to “the corner” and making them count. If they had done a small thing they might count to 10 and a big thing might be 100. They would count outloud. They have to be able to count to do this however.

Elizabeth September 22, 2008, 9:20 AM

I just read R.C.’s comment and I have to chime in. We do not spank our kids. We talk to them like they are people. We talk about what behavior we expect from them both at home and in public. We say “please” and “thank you” to them, and teach them to say it. When we get angry at them, we apologize later for losing our tempers.

And every teacher they have ever had, every parent who has ever had one of our kids over for dinner or to a party or a sleepover, every one has commented on how polite and well mannered our boys are. They aren’t disruptive in school, and they are never rude. I’m saying this because I don’t believe that hitting children teaches them to have good manners. Just my opinion.

nina September 22, 2008, 11:05 AM

I spank. I am a single mom and I cannot afford to slip my authority even a little bit. I deal with quite a bit, but once in a blue moon my 3yr old (who talks like she is 30) gets out of line and a swat on the butt grabs her attention and she deals with it in time out. I feel so guilty sometimes I cry to myself in the bathroom, but both of us feel better in about 30minutes and she is my loving little one again, not the two horned green eyed monster!

Anna September 22, 2008, 11:29 AM

as long as you dont use a ruler or something and hurt your kid, there really isent anything wrong with spanking. Its all just another government sceme to take over parenting

Kelly September 22, 2008, 12:24 PM

my kids are now in their 20’s and are very respectful, honest, hard working adults. I did spank them when they were younger. They were a joy to be around, and were very well behaved. One evening at dinner, we had to swat one of them for acting up. A while later, a couple came up to us, and thanked us for not being afraid to discipline our children in public. They said that more people needed to be willing to set rules and enforce those rules no matter where they were.
My daughter has one of her own, and chooses not to spank. I respect her wishes, but have a difficult time taking the little one out for anything fun, because she won’t behave. Being given a timeout when she gets home doesn’t faze her, and if she is miserable where she’s at, leaving is ok with her too.
I’ll take the respect and good manners in public any time.

R.C. September 23, 2008, 12:48 AM

Dear Elizabeth are to anyone who has read my comment, I said i spank my children sometimes not every time they do something wrong, we do talk to our children and often i will give them the option especially the two oldest to pick a punishment, cell phones video games computer car keys etc. Growing up we often say i am not going to punish my kids like the way i was punished, the truth is no two parents discipline their kids the same way but as responsible parents and parents who really care we just want the best for our children and for them to be safe. And believe me when i tuck them in at night and they say we love you daddy that means the world and all to me. Elizabeth thanks for your comment and you sound like a great parent keep up the good work. Best Regards R.C.

Tracie  September 23, 2008, 4:29 AM

I don’t know what our society has come to (don’t spank your kids) give me a break…. When I was growing up we were spanked there were four of us and not in a good way but I can tell you that it was no picnic, that being said I do spank my children and again there are four lol… I do not abuse my children but I can say that they are all well behaved they can get a little rambunctious at times like any children I know but they are well mannered and do not get in trouble at school they behave properly in public and at friends houses. In this day and age my children are told at school that if they get hit to call the police or to tell a teacher or counselor at school and then you have Child Services on your back and that is one monkey you do not want, I worked for them and can tell you that once your in the system you are always in the system no matter what whether you were found guilty of abuse or not. I believe that it is not only the fact that more and more parents aren’t disciplining their children but that they aren’t even paying attention to them anymore. In todays society it is almost mandatory for their to be a two parent income to be able to survive so there are more and more as we call them latch key kids not to mention there are many more single parent households then there used to be so it’s hard. There are so many contributing factors nowadays (ie) drugs being the biggest, teen mothers that have not finished there education and feel that it is more important to have friends and party because they are young and were not ready or willing to take the responsibility for a child, I feel that is why there are so many younger juveniles in the system than ever before and because no one cares about them they become repeat offenders its a vicious cycle. Which brings me to the point that if parents were a little more caring and disciplined their children a little more be it spankings or not the children of our future would not be in jail or on drugs by their teens. Pay more attention to your children especially if in two parent working households, the child tends to get away with more that way, check up on them call the school make nice with your neighbor so that if they see your child doing something they will not be afraid to tell you, be honest with your child society can be cruel it’s not all time outs and counting or spanking there is a real world out there, and if it hits the point of a detention center there will positively be a time out, and counting as in the days or months maybe even years it will take for them to get out, not to mention the kind of spanking they would receive in there it won’t be a swat on the buttocks that’s for sure.

ncd4ofus September 30, 2008, 12:22 PM

I love this: “It took every bit of my moral strength not to punch her back.”
I am a mom of two who also works from home - my 4 1/2 month old is still in her blissful non-mobile state. BUT my 2 1/2 year old girl is the most emotional child…everything, and I mean everything is DRAMA! She wants milk, then she weeps (and I use that word specifically because the neighbors must think I am throwing her against the wall with all the wailing) when I give it to her in the wrong cup…aaarrrrgggghhh.
But, in the end, I am a big fan of discipline, because let’s be honest if you don’t do it while they are young, you aren’t doing your child any favors. They eventually become adults and then have to learn to self-discipline which is much, much harder.
Love and discipline…they really are synonyomous in my book.

hoolio February 10, 2009, 2:03 PM

AkfO7z hi! hooli?

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