Yesterday the topic of punishment came up in one of the groups I am in. I was rather surprised by the majority of the answers.

The person was asking if the parents are not together should one parent’s punishment carry over from one house to the other parents house? And does it matter how often they see the parent they do not live with?

The poster said her kids did not see there dad but maybe all together 24 hours out of a week. He told her when she picked them up that they gotten into a fight over something and they were not allowed to do x and y as punishment. She was supposed to enforce said punishment at her house for what they did at his house. She was asking if others would do this or how they would handle it. He did not tell her what happen other than a fight over something and this was their punishment.

Most were saying that yes she should uphold it and that it didn’t matter how involved or not involved the other parent is. That it teaches the children to respect the other parent, it shows the kids they can’t get away with things, it keeps them from playing one parent against the other and that the kids are there for such a short time there really isn’t time to punish them and that if the parent wait to punish them until they come back it isn’t as effective as right when they do something.

I was one of the very few odd men out with my answer and probably the first odd man out before others started saying anything that didn’t go with what the rest were saying.

My thoughts on this is that both parents have rules for their house and the children are expected to follow the rules of the house that they are at. If said children do not follow the rules of the house that parent needs to take care of whatever punishment they feel the child should have for said miss behavior. It should be done at their house not brought home for me to enforce. There are many reasons for this, one the child being in trouble with me should not interfere with what the child can or can’t do with their time with the other parent. That is their time together to do things. Two if the kids are with one parent for such short amounts of time and are always getting in trouble with said parent then they are always coming home with punishments to be enforced by primary parent making them the bad guy all the time and straining their relationship. Three if they are in trouble with the primary parent a lot of times then that carries over to the parent they hardly see then the little time they do get to spend together is spent working around punishment from home. This limiting what they can or can’t do. Four What if my rules and punishments are different between houses and the child is being punished for something they wouldn’t have been punished for at home or in a way that the other parent does not agree with? How am I supposed to punish a child for doing something that I allow. Five If either parent or both are living with someone else and they have a blended family of kids all mostly living with them but going to two other parents houses with two other sets of rules the primary parent now has three houses of rules and punishments to keep track of for how ever many kids are involved on each side. You would just about not have a time that kids would not be in trouble for one thing or another and on some kind of punishment from somewhere and now again you have the primary parent and step parent as the bad guy enforcing these all. By the time they get back to the other parent that punished them the punishment is over so they have not really dealt with the problem or the child being punished and now it’s over and they just go there and have fun again. Again making the other parents home seem like the place they are just always in trouble in and not getting to have fun.

There are many ways to punish kids that would work for just about any parent regardless of how much time they are with the parent or not with them. My kids hardly ever get grounded from this or that or not allowed to go here or there. Most of the time just sitting down and talking to them works. Depending on what it is, if it needs more than just being talked to about then it turns into a in your room for the night or taking a nap. If they are just to wound up and off the wall hyped up being loud and things they get warred then they have to all sit down for so long on the couch. This giving them time to calm down. For little kids redirection works because they do not understand a lot until they are older. Other kids sitting for a little while or time out are good. These are things that you can do no matter how much time you have with the kids. If we go out to eat and they get in trouble or can’t act right then we box our food up and leave. If it is a group of us together then we go to the car and sit until they calm down and decide they want to act right sit and eat like everyone else. If it happens again we wait outside or in the car until everyone is done. In the stores if they are not listening then the little ones have to get in the cart and sit so that I can get what I need to done. If it is to bad then they will do more sitting when we get home or I will not let them have tv. But most of the time it is for the day and that is it. I have punished them for a week from this or that right before they go with their dad. But I tell them it starts when they get home or that the days they are with their dad does not count toward their over all days if they are in the middle of it. When they get back home we pick up where we left off and they finish their days.

The problem with most punishments that they do not work is because parents do not follow through with them. They threaten all day and night and until they are blue in the face, but they do not ever do it. Or they do it and the kid cries and begs and promises that they will be good and not do it again and the parent gives in and lets them off. So now the kid learns that if they beg enough or throw enough fit that mom or dad gets tired of hearing it and gives in so they just have to have their fit until they do. My kids use to think oh mom will forget by the time we get back from dad’s or she will give in and let us since we haven’t been there for a few days she won’t be mad anymore and let it go. They seen no mom said this is how it was going to be when we got home and mom followed through. That is why now most the time if my kids do something I can talk to them give them a warning and let them go. Because they know if I say keep doing this or that or if you do this or that again this is what is going to happen it is going to happen.

Guys your kids can’t play one of you against the other if you do not let them it don’t matter what rules or punishments you have or do not have in place or in common. Kids play parents against each other because the parents allow them to. You can back the other parent up without having the same rules or punishments and without them carrying over from one house to the other. Not carrying them from on to the other is not undermine the other parent. Telling the kids that they should not have been punished for whatever they did, telling them they do not have to listen to the other parent or go by their rules when they are there, going to the other parent and questioning why the child is in trouble and expressing that you think it is wrong or they were to hard or shouldn’t have punished. Doing these things are not backing the other parent up, under minding them and sets you up to let them play one against the other.

If my kids come home and complain about being in trouble at their dads I tell them he has his rules and if they did not follow them then they have to deal with whatever punishment he hands out. If I feel it was out of line or extreme or what then I go to him in private and find out what happen and why the punishment was what it was. We talk about it. How the kids feel about it and if it was or wasn’t handled in the best way. Because my kids try to start things between me and my ex and play one against the other. My oldest loves to tell the story to make it look like she was treated so unfair and leave out the parts about what she did or why she has the chores she has.

Like she told my ex she has to wash all the dishes in the house while my son didn’t have to do them at all and just had to vacuum. She left out that they use to take turns doing dishes and vacuuming but she didn’t want to vacuum so she made the deal with me and my son that she would do the dishes twice a day in return if my son vacuumed every day and she didn’t have to. Everyone was happy and fine with this. I didn’t care as long as chores were getting done and this everyone was happy with their jobs because my son didn’t like doing dishes. When I say doing dishes they washed cups, plates, bowels silverware after each meal so they didn’t sit all day. I washed all the pots, pans big bowls and things like that. So nothing at all really maybe 5 minutes of dishes after each meal for them. But she tried to get him to think she was spending hours in the kitchen doing dishes and things. He sent me messages going on about it. I stopped him and told him and when he brought her home we all talked about it right here and she had to tell him that was the deal that she made and when it took her more than a few minutes to get them done was because she had left them all day until after dinner so she had more to do instead of doing her chores when she was supposed to. she has tried it a few times between us when she does we get her and call her out on it and make her tell it how it really is and not leave out anything. She has learned that it just don’t work.

I can see if the child did something that was just really “bad” or out there that just needs to be handled right now and can not wait or what. If they got caught stealing, or doing drugs or just something above and beyond your normal everyday kid things. Then yes it needs to be addressed right then and there and by not just one parent. It needs to be addressed with all the adults involved in the child’s life and yes a blanket punishment or way to handle it needs to be put in place that would carry over from one house to another because that is a a problem that isn’t going to be fixed with just a little punishment or with on parent trying to do it on their own.

As for respect if a kid has respect of one parent or the other is going to come from how that parent treat the child and how involved or not involved they are. Not rather one parent carries out the punishment that the other parent puts in place or not.

I can tell you I cam from a divorced home and had that one parent that tried to control what we did when we went with my dad down to where we could go and what we could do.

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