REWARDS VS. PUNISHMENT
Updated: Sep 13, 2020
Is It All Taboo or Can We Talk?
Let’s talk rewards and consequences. Which do you believe in or do you do both? Time out or removal of favorite objects? 15 extra minutes on the tablet or a cookie for listening? Personally I try to be a more well rounded parent and offer both or see what works. None of us as individuals are one dimensional with learning so why would we treat children as such in their most critical years? I believe we go through stages too where we need the rewards versus the consequences.
I come from an era where spankings (not beatings) were normal. And I turned out just fine. Even the Bible mentions “He who spares the rod, spoils the child” Proverbs 13:24. Now, I'm not the biggest Bible toting, preaching momma out here but I do definitely believe in discipline. Just to a certain degree. If used correctly and early enough, not too early though, I do believe a child will learn the way. Look at me, I turned out just fine. Now, I also know others though that have resentment in their hearts because they got spankings. It really depends on the child. In my experience I found that when I was to punish my kiddo by putting her in time out or something else I immediately saw the life draining out of her. So for me, this is not the way I want to go. However, in the end you do what’s best for you and your family. If you have kids you will definitely have to make these choices. We’re all human and not perfect so the yelling, and times outs, and punishments will happen. You will try it all but whatever you do you should be consistent and follow-through and be gentle in teaching the lessons before and after the punishments.
Like all of you I have been in the house with my two littles with no breaks for 4 months during this pandemic. If you’ve heard my story you know that this is really not new to me being home and not going into a job everyday (if not you can read all about it on the “about” page). But what is new is having a 9 month old here with a three-nager and living in a household with my mother and oldest sister. This multi-generational environment creates a whole new dynamic for my 1st born that neither she nor I am use to, especially not being in our own space. While it’s definitely lots of help at times it also creates a whole extra layer of stress. And in turn that stress turns into me being frustrated and usually more yelling than I care to do with everybody. My 3 year old has been in and out of daycare but not for any extended periods of time so I’m always hyper aware of her learning and me teaching her how to behave around others and how to listen to others and respect other people spaces. I’m very aware that one day she will be in school and out in society and she needs to understand how to listen to others and obey rules. And if she doesn’t there are usually consequences and no rewards for being stepping out of line. So I decided for the rest of this year I would intentionally work on developing her behavioral skills using mostly positive reinforcement while I still can in order to help in her growth, development and discipline. I chose to go the positive route first because we have enough people who beat us down later in life as adults. And now is a critical time to gently guide her and model to her with love and kindness. Plus let’s be real I’m tired of yelling and being the bad guy. Now don’t get me wrong I don’t want her to think that everything is a reward either so it’s been hard trying to balance the two. You don’t always get a cookie for going into work, but you may get a promotion or a raise or get to lead that meeting or the account you want with hard work and dedication. Lately we’ve been using a Good Behavior Chart to help with all of this that we found at Target to reinforce good behaviors. We’re also using star badges to clip to her when she exhibits good behavior. And of course vice versus she will lose it when she’s not listening.
Because there are other adults in the house and I want to be able to leave her with them from time to time; we needed a system in place for discipline and consistency just in case she gets out of line. That was the first step. My little one is very smart and will definitely try to manipulate the situation by trying to flash a smile and she knows it. She does very well with understanding right from wrong and testing the limits. Since we’ve been using the chart she has responded well to it and it’s motivating her to do the right things. This is also allowing me to put limits on her tablet viewing times and putting some boundaries and limits for me in place too. We tend to use the electronics as baby sitters and it can get away from us very easily. And I’m not that comfortable with it so I try to watch it. So now, instead of allowing her to just drown out watching her iPad she knows that if she picks up her toys and eat all of her food she can have the 25mins for viewing time or I’ll set a time for how long she can watch the cartoons on tv. It’s still a trial and error period though but it’s been working good so far and everyone is able to use the systems I have put in place.