Completely Disagreeing about Disciplining

27 Jul

Most of the time I read my normal daily blogs and I say nothing. Yes, I am one of those lurkers we all hate. Hey, don’t hate on me – I’m TRYING to come out of luker-dom! But one of the reasons that I don’t is because when I disagree about something, generally the blogger doesn’t care for my disagreeing and takes the comment down.

I try not to be rude or mean when I’m disagreeing – most of the time I say something like, “I disagree – I feel that…” ect. No matter how constructive the comment was, the blogger gets offended.

Let’s talk about this morning, for example.

This morning I was reading Zoot’s blog. Zoot has 3 children – 2 boys and one girl. Her oldest is a teen, her youngest is a baby. It is her middle child – her daughter – who is causing her the most problems right now.

For awhile Zoot has talked about the struggle she’s had disciplining her daughter. She’s talked about how she’s been sent notes home from daycare that talk about how her daughter has physically harmed other children. She has poured her heart out to the bloggers and has talked about the struggle and how she’s searching for answers.

I admire that. I admire it when a blogger is able to come out of their corner and to talk about the issues they have going on in their lives, no matter whether they’re good issues or bad issues.

Today, however, Zoot posted about how she uses a cold shower to discipline her daughter.

She talks there about how she’s against spanking, and that she is trying to find a way to discipline her daughter that will actually get her daughters attention, so she picked her daughter up and put her, fully clothed, in a cold shower.

She goes on to say that this is the fourth time she’s done it since Thanksgiving and that she gets immediate results for the day once she’s done it. (although it’s apparent to me that since she’s still having to put her in a cold shower, it’s not a good long term solution).

I wrote a very long comment about how I disagreed (even though all of the other commenters thought it was a great disciplining technique) and how I believed there were lots of other methods of disciplining that you could use that were a great deal better than tossing your fully clothed child in a cold shower.

I talked about some of the techniques we’ve used with our own children, and with foster and respite children, and about how no matter how strong willed they were, there is always an answer.

The comment was written constructively. I didn’t say anything like “OMG you suck so hard for doing that!” I merely said that I disagreed and that I felt there were other ways to discipline that were not humiliation and punishment as that “technique” was.

The comment was immediately taken down.

The only comments Zoot has left up are ones that say that they agree, even one of a girl who says “huh…I am going to totally have to keep that in mind….I don’t think I can use it for when I am babysitting, but if I am every lucky enough to have kids….this could be an idea.”

Let me first say, and this is the “not nice Randi” coming out, that if any babysitter EVER tried to discipline my child like that, I’d flay them alive.

Since my constructive criticism was taken off of Zoot’s blog, I’ll say it here, where my forum is always open to those who want to comment.

I think putting your child in a cold shower to discipline them is wrong. I think there are dozens of other techniques that you can use to discipline your child that are not bordering on mistreatment of the child. First of all she punished when she was angry. You never discipline your child when you’re angry – that’s rule #1 of the disciplining handbook. If you’re so pissed off at your child’s antics that you’re ready to commit physical violence, you remove yourself from the child for a few minutes to calm down. Only when you are calm do you discipline the child.

It’s just like when you’re upset at another person. If you’re so mad at another person that you’re willing to hit them, would you actually hit them, or would you walk away and count to ten and calm down?

Sometimes when I have gotten so upset at the kids that I can feel the violence in me building, I either remove myself OR I look to Scott, and vice versa. Having someone else there who can help you to discipline is a good thing.

Next, there are TONS of techniques that you can use on a child of that age (or of any age, really).

For instance you can:

  • take away all of their toys and have them slowly earn them back.
  • have them stand in the corner – yes, standing in the corner, we’ve found, works well for those “high spirited” children who need to have absolutely no stimulation in front of them during their time out.
  • take away their privileges – and this means choosing the ones that really mean a lot to your child, such as television, gaming, or time spent with certain family members. It may be hard for you to deal with, but disciplining isn’t supposed to be easy for anyone.
  • reward charts – rewarding your child for good behavior is just as important as disciplining them for bad behavior.

One thing I have to comment on is how good our children are. Our two kids are great. I don’t mean they’re perfect – far from it – but at least a handful of times a month we’re told how great our children behave. I feel very fortunate in our children but at the same time I know that a lot of it is because they know where our line is. Children crave boundaries, and once you give them their boundaries they’re content. Sometimes they’ll test the boundaries, but that’s part of being a parent. You have to be able to adjust your disciplining for each child as they grow older.

While I disagree with Zoot’s punishment technique, I am more saddened by the fact that she took my comment down. It was not meant to be hurtful, and the comment itself wasn’t written hurtfully, but it was taken down anyway, apparently closing that method of communication and discussion.

NOTE: I Googled “cold shower to discipline” just to see if anyone else had talked about this subject and found this thread talking about cold showers being used in disciplining.

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12 Responses to “Completely Disagreeing about Disciplining”

  1. Marilyn July 27, 2009 at 4:49 pm #

    You may not have meant to be hurtful, but I don’t think you understand when someone is looking for support, not judgment.

  2. cagey July 27, 2009 at 5:09 pm #

    Unabashedly, Zoot is my friend and I cannot pretend to be unbiased. Furthermore, I have seen her parenting personally and in action. You are taking one post out of thousands and handing down some pretty harsh statements. Good grief.

    Also, I could not help but giggle at the notion that someone who is directly opposed to violence would say something such as”if any babysitter EVER tried to discipline my child like that, I’d flay them alive.”

    Keep in mind that one person’s idea of “constructive criticism” can easily be considered as another person as “self-righteous judgment”. Sure, you are upset that your comment was taken down, but if you wrote that comment in even half of the same tone and manner as your wrote this post? Then the comment should have been taken down. Zoot’s place is not one of venom and judgment.

  3. DaveP July 27, 2009 at 6:29 pm #

    I disagree with the cold shower punishment being a legitimate means to discipline a child. That’s bordering on torture in my opinion.

    As for the removal of that comment, I find it wrong that any negative comment disagreeing with Zoot should be removed while those agreeing are left up. What happened to freedom of speech?

  4. Kile July 27, 2009 at 8:21 pm #

    Okay I’m going out on a limb here since a) my wife already commented on this thread, and b) I consider Zoot to be a friend of mine. Technically (speaking in the terms of the social service community) a cold shower would not be considered “neglect” because there is no neglect component to it. It would also not be considered physical abuse since it would need to have some degree of intent (e.g. striking a child to intentionally leave a mark). However, I also think it’s one of those gray area punishments that leaves open the possibility for crossing the line. Dunking the kid in a cold shower for a few seconds to get their attention and then immediately drying them off is probably okay. Extended time under the cold water or leaving cold wet clothes on them to the point of potentially causing hypothermia is not okay. It’s also very easy to attack a parent for disciplining their kid in a manner you wouldn’t and doing so is counter-productive. Zoot is looking for other options and it sounds like what she really needs is someone to give her advice on how to deal with her child. That’s the approach any good social worker is going to take so I think it would be best if that’t the approach the blogosphere takes as well.

  5. Jenera July 27, 2009 at 9:16 pm #

    I’ve read Zoot for awhile and commented a few times-even in disagreement but I don’t think I’ve had a comment taken down. But I don’t know.

    I disagree with the whole cold shower thing. i know of some that use it during the potty training time but I could never do that. I have used colder water when cleaning up Aidan when he’d poop in his underwear on purpose but it wasn’t freezing.

    As far as comment removal, I have had several times where I’ve had comments that were very judgemental and attacked me. While they hurt my feelers a bit, I always left them. Mostly to see what other people thought of them. I think many times we have our loyal followers that will jump to our aid the instant someone says something not along the normal lines. It happens. It’s like the mob mentality I think.

    all that said, it sucks she took the comment down and if in fact the comment was not attacking her, I hope she doesn’t make it a practice of censoring her blog.

  6. scootersbabygirl July 27, 2009 at 9:33 pm #

    I was not trying to be judgmental, nor do I believe that the tone of this blog, or of the comment that I left, was judgmental. During both I am saying that I disagree with that form of punishment and am giving other options for different types of discipline, including reading some of the SuperNanny books or watching the show and implementing some of those techniques, as most of them work very well.

  7. Holly July 28, 2009 at 2:06 pm #

    Hmmm, when I went to the blog it appears the whole post was down. As a nanny, I completely disagree with the cold shower as a punishment. You shouldn’t have to *shock* your child into behaving. As you intelligently mention, Randi, you should NOT punish a child out of anger. You want a child to grow up knowing what is right and wrong and why, not, “Well, if I do this I get thrown in a cold shower.”
    I don’t think you were being rude or judgmental although your tone may have been a little harsh (unintentionally I’m sure.) Honestly, mine would’ve been too. All punishment should be doled out in a controlled, calm manner and if someone is so mad they are putting their kid in a cold shower, it doesn’t sound to me like they are calm or controlled. You gave some good suggestions for alternative punishment.

  8. Mom July 28, 2009 at 2:29 pm #

    Hi, I’m Mom. I normally do not get into these blog things, but this time I just had to. I was not the best parent in the world, none of us are, we are always learning right?? However, putting a child in a cold shower to get their attention for any reason in my eyes is bordering crazy.

    You are probably all to young to remember the perfume commercial years ago whose logo was “if you want to capture someone’s attention…whisper.” One thing that I have learned over the years is…this is true…it does work!! I have done this many times over the years not only with children but adults!!! I work in a day treatment program; we have children from 1st grade through 12th. I have “whispered” to a number of them, and sometimes it takes a bit of time, but eventually they do calm down and listen to what I am saying. They may beat the walls at first, cause they don’t want to listen, but eventually they do.

    NOW…I hate to say this but I’m going to. A number of these children are in our program BECAUSE of the emotional abuse that they have received from their caregivers be it mom, dad, gram, aunt or uncle! Social Services unfortunately have guidelines that they have to follow, and you are right….”doesn’t leave a mark…it’s your word against the abuser.” Social services can do nothing about it. Emotional abuse can be 10 times worse than physical abuse, we all know that bruises go away, our emotions stay with us, no matter how old we get they are still there.

    I truly feel that everyone that thinks “cold showering” a child to “get their attention” should seriously consider how close to the line this is to emotional abuse! Now this is just my opinion, I have seen too much of it to not feel this way. If you need to go to that extent to “capture their attention,” my opinion, you better think a bit harder. Eventually this isn’t going to work, Kids always have to turn things up a bit just to see if you are paying attention, then you will have to up the discipline. Eventually this could turn into emotional or possibly physical abuse if you cannot learn to control yourself and your actions first in your disciplining.

    I don’t know if I’m being “judgmental” don’t know if I even care if I am or not! I do however, care about the children in this world, and know that they have to deal with so much more in life than I ever had to. I also know how hard it is to raise children in today’s world.

    The amount of abuse, emotional and physical is so large that it’s is impossible to even guess at. These children need healthy support from the adults in their lives, not someone that gets so frustrated that they end up doing something that they would normally not do, and regret it 10 – 20 years from now. Please calm down and think of what you are saying and doing before you do it.

  9. scootersbabygirl July 28, 2009 at 2:33 pm #

    Cagey – I’m not a fan of physical violence, but anyone who did anything to harm my children would absolutely be on the receiving end of me being extremely pissed off. I’m sure all mothers would feel the same way.

  10. natobean July 30, 2009 at 6:16 am #

    I have not read Zoot’s site, but I will say that the “freedom of speech” & censorship comments are way off base. Although I am not a blogger myself, from what I have read, many of these blogs are like personal diaries/journals for the person. It is that individual’s right to do what he/she wants with his/her blog. I can guarantee you that many people would delete certain comments if say, the commenter left nasty comments about his/her kids/family, etc. I understand that the comment Randi left was not vicious in nature, but it is Zoot’s blog. Randi can do what she wants with her blog, Zoot can do what she wants with hers. Freedom of speech & censorship don’t apply.
    As far as cold showers are concerned, I don’t see anything harmful/wrong about them. My mother did that once when I was a child (according to her, I don’t remember) & I did not need anymore. Apparently I learned my lesson. I have suffered no ill effects & am a normal human being & am very close w/my family. I was also spanked as a child, but once again, have suffered no ill effects. Every child is different & as a parent, you are constantly trying new things to try & raise a “good kid.” What works for one may not work for another. People saying that a quick dunk in a cold shower is like torture or abuse are taking it to the extreme. It’s not like waterboarding for goodness sakes! I feel that taking away personal time with family members is a pretty crappy thing to do to a child (as Randi uses as one of her examples above). Do I think it is borderline child abuse? No, but I disagree with it. To each their own. I don’t condone child abuse in ANY WAY, but what works for some kids may not work for others.
    Just as a note, the abbreviation is etc., not ect.

  11. Jan August 4, 2009 at 2:14 pm #

    I could never agree with putting kids in cold showers- ever. As you say, there are many other options. Peace.

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  1. To Clarify « If You Can’t Say Something Nice… - July 28, 2009

    […] Work Completely Disagreeing about Disciplining […]

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