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proper punishment for my daugher
October 21, 2005
7:37 pm
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shyshy
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My 10 year old daughter brought home a d- in spelling today on her progress report. I don't know what to do as a form of punishment.

I told her that she would not be attending her girlscouts meetings till she brought that grade up but that means 3 months of missed meetings. I don't want her getting bitter over this. I just want to teach her a lesson on how important school work is.

It's not that she needs help in spelling because her teacher added a note that she is getting b's on her tests. She's just getting zero's on her other work for not handing it in. She always claims that she forgets her spelling book/words at school.

Any ideas on what I should do?

October 21, 2005
7:43 pm
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readyforachange
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Well, I've worked in education for 20 years, so maybe I can help a little...

First, is this D- the first time you have heard from the teacher that she was doing poorly in spelling? Did she send a note or call you to let you know that your daughter wasn't turning in assignments? Did she give your daughter the opportunity to turn in the missing assignments for partial credit?

Many 10 year olds are irresponsible and disorganized. Does she have an assignment book or sheet that tells her what she has to do each night? Does the teacher make sure that before she leaves school she has all of the materials she needs and her assignments written down? There needs to be communication between you and the school, and your daughter needs to be responsible for getting it home and back; but she'll need an adult on either end checking for it.

I think you could give her a general punishment for the D- (maybe taking away a special privelege like TV for a week, or playing with friends for a week). I think missing an activity she has already signed up for might be a bit too harsh for such a long period of time (maybe that's the Girl Scout leader in me talking πŸ™‚

And taking it week by week...if the teacher says she's turned in all assignments for the week, she can have TV or go to the next GS meeting; if she doesn't, she loses TV or can't go to the next meeting.

Just a suggestion....

October 21, 2005
7:56 pm
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mamabear
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I do think that is a bit harsh. Three months of meetings is a lot.
Our job as parents is a hard one, we have to look not just at the behavior itself but the reason for it and the attitude behind it. Do you think it is childish immaturity or something else?
You know your child best, I like ready's advice, and being that she is in education, she knows what she is talking about.
Our discipline should be a balance between love and control, and I think we should give punishments that are in line with the severity of the offense.
My dh often punishes the kids in ways that I consider too harsh. I think we should pick a healthy consequence and then stick with it, not say something too severe and then go back on our word. What we say must go, so we should be careful not to undermine our own authority. Maybe you could add a condition to the punishment of missing meetings of taking it week by week like readyforachange suggested, so it is not so harsh but you are not going back on your word?
Mamabear

October 21, 2005
8:01 pm
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shyshy
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Ready: this is the first time I hear that she is doing poorly in spelling. The teacher has not called to let me know that she is not turning in assigments.

She does have an assignment book though and I know that every now and then she tells me that she forgot her spelling book at school. But other than that, no other communication about that whatsoever.

And yes, she IS VERY disorganized. I never had a problem with my son doing what he needed to do but with her it's a totally different story. She knows the routine of what she needs to do when she gets home from school. Do her homework, clean her room and then she can go out and play.

My kids usually get home before I do. Today was one of those days. I called her before I got home and asked her what she was doing. Outside playing. Did you clean your room I asked her. No, she forgot! She also forgot to call me when she got home like she was supposed to. She excuses everything away with "I forgot" I'm really getting tired of it and wondering if she's doing it on purpose!

October 21, 2005
8:13 pm
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mamabear
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I read the new dare to discipline by James Dobson, it was awesome

I got tired of I FORGOT too, so I followed his idea of making a chart, and giving rewards.

It has helped with one son TREMENDOUSLY and the other one not so much, but he is only 3 1/2 and not really that interested yet, but I know every child is different and I am still looking for something for him.

October 21, 2005
8:16 pm
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mamacinnamon
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My 12 year old decided to get an F in home ec. Who flunks home ec? What we did w/ her was that she comes straight home and does all homework, no friend, no tv, no nintendo till it's finished. She also has to bring her book for home ec home EVERY night whether she has homework or not. She also must bring the grade out of an F by quarter's end or she will be grounded ALL the next quarter.

That's how we handled it.

Be firm; strong; let her know you love her but she is smarter than a D- and that a D- is not acceptible. If she is having trouble in the class she needs to tell you. And you are her mom and you expect more from her because you love her. Doesn't matter anything about the other kids.

And end w/ I Love you and a hug. πŸ™‚

October 21, 2005
8:16 pm
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shyshy
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Good ideas. I think I am going to do that. She has a parent teacher conference scheduled for this Monday. Perfect timing. I'm telling the teacher that I would appreciate a phone call from now on when she is slacking in an area and am going to ask her to give me an update at least once a week with what she has or hasn't turned in.

I don't think it's fair that the teacher has not communicated this with me and just slapped her with a d-!! I am also going to ask her if she can make up this work somehow to bring her grade up and from this point forward, her weekly progress determines her weekly/biweekly girlscout meeting attendance. I think that's more reasonable.

Thanks for your help!

October 21, 2005
8:20 pm
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shyshy
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mamacinnamon: She really isn't having any trouble in the subject because she's getting b's on her tests. She's just not handing in her work. I don't know if her teacher is meaning homework or classwork. Every now and then she'll tell me that she forgot her spelling book at school.

so it's just that she's being irresponsible. Thanks for all your ideas! It's nice to have someone to ask that's always there!

October 21, 2005
8:21 pm
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readyforachange
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James Dobson is wonderful...

I think a chart is a good idea. I did that with both my kids for morning routines. When they were little, my ex was always gone for work very early in the morning, so it was my job to get myself and both kids ready for work/school. I made charts of the steps they needed to do, and taped them on their bedroom doors: Eat Breakfast, Brush your Teeth, Comb your Hair, Get Dressed, Get your Lunch, Pack your Backpack...

When I saw them doing one of the jobs, I would check it off. At the end of the week, I gave them a reward for the number of checks they had. It made my life a LOT easier in the mornings.

My son was also very disorganized at school. We had a hard time getting him to remember to turn things in, bring books home for homework, etc. The teacher and I worked out a system where he had to write down his assignments, get his books and papers together, and she checked to see that he had everything he needed. She signed off on it. Then when he got home, he had to have all of those things, and I signed off that he made it home with everything and did his work. Then she checked him in the next morning to see if he had it all there! It worked, and now he's a sophomore in high school, and I never have to ask about assignments. He's totally independent with it (and has been since about 6th grade).

The teacher really should have let you know this was a problem...and offered to allow your daughter to get those missing assignments in before she put a D- on a report card. Just my opinion; I'd talk to her about it.

October 21, 2005
8:22 pm
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shyshy
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mamabear: I made a chart some time back for her cleaning her room, tried paying her an allowance and tried taking things away. Nothing seems to work with her.

That's why I thought about telling her she can't attend girl scouts meetings till she brings up a grade but then I felt like it was a little harsh.

So, I'm going to go with the weekly evaluations and see how that works.

October 21, 2005
8:32 pm
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Anonymous
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Shy,

my daughter is 12 and she was queen of forgetful.

soooooo, the school and I came up with the following - she has an assignment book - the teacher provided it - and the teacher makes sure the assignment book is filled in and accurate and she signs each page. the teacher checks her book bag before she leaves for the day to make sure she has all the right materials...and I make sure she finishes the work, and then I sign the page that I checked it.

Now my daughter was getting cranky that I was checking her work - so I let her have a shot at getting it done without my checking and that seemed to go okay - it was the getting her stuff home that she needed the most reminding.

At home - there is a "schedule" of chores to do, and it's posted in a public spot - she checks off when she is done - if she does not complete her work, she loses a privelege like tv or computer or play time with friends. I do NOT take away play time outside, as she NEEDS the outside fresh air and exercise...I may assign EXTRA chores if there is no appropriate privelege to take away.

now............
here is my questions.......

your daughter does well on tests...but does poorly at handing in her stuff...sooooo, is the work too damn simple???????? my daughter was unchallenged - she got the words on monday and knew them ON MONDAY, so the repetetion of the weekly spelling words made her bored out of her skull...so she HATED doing it....once they started giving her harder work, she excelled and did the work....she had a contract - she was given a spelling pretest on monday - if she got 95 or better, she was allowed to (her choice and I had to agree as well) pick the harder words for her weekly work - and then she got a spelling test based on the harder words on friday and her weekly work was based on the harder words. She only missed THREE weeks last year - she got 95% or better on EVERY pretest but three...and these were words she did not know....so go figure...problem ALL along was she was just flat out BORED with the mundane work they gave her...and I guessed that all along, but could not get the school to try my ideas...then along came a new progress teacher and WHAMO, she was at a 10th grade reading and comprehension level (but her writing still sucks...lol).

anyway - you need to figure out the root of the problem....my daughter is also ADD inattentive type or slow cognitive tempo, so she is a daydreamer and often needs reminding to pay attention - she takes wellbutrin, cuz the stimulant meds didn't work, I make sure she gets fresh air and exercise, doesn't get alot of junk and gets a DHA supplement every day...it has helped alot....she is alot "perkier" these days.....

also - on taking away girl scouts - it is an organized group and the discipline she learns in girl scouts is something she will keep with her forever, including the commitment of going each week, I wouldn't take it away....but I would establish a rule of no tv/computer/play until all homework is done - and if it isn't done, and she is out playing when you get home - then appropriate punishments like putting away dishes after dinner or cleaning cat's litter box or sorting laundry or something might be in order...it's hard when you are not home to enforce the rules.

I also used to email my daughter's teachers daily to see how her progress was, so I didn't have to wait until it was too late to pull her grades up...and when all else failed, I called the principal and she put a special child study group together, even tho she wasn't special ed material, they will do that for children at risk...typically they put together a behaviour contract that addresses wahtever weakness the child has...like our assignment book plan and other "perks" the school had in place to reward caitlin for doing a better job...I dreaded middle school this year and she is flying high, and I don't know how cuz her first trimester is ALWAYS a failure, and this year I stopped paying attention and let her do it on her own, stopped hovering and she is excelling....she even got an A+ in gym class which is TOTALY out of character for her...dunno what happened, but I think she is growing up!

October 21, 2005
8:42 pm
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faceit
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As a person that has been spelling challenged my whole life the thought of being punished because of it sounds counter productive. How about getting a tutor and support your daughters efforts to reach a goal that she sets for herself. My daughter and I do this and it works very well.

October 21, 2005
8:44 pm
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Anonymous
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oh, and if she uses a book - ask the teacher if you can have an extra one to keep at home for nights she forgets it.

in middle school, the team leader told us that if kids forget the book, drive their butts up to the school, walk them down the hall and get their book from their locker - since the school is open until 8 pm. due to activities and sports...so maybe that's another option...or is there another child in the neighborhood you can borrow it from when they are finished?

my daughter did well with a "marble jar"...when she did what she was told, or expected, or I caught her doing something good, she got a marble in the jar...when the jar was full, she got a reward - a trip out for ice cream or a trip to the library or something...but if she neglected something, she had to pay me back a marble....she HATED having to go in her jar and take out a marble...

Also - if you have the funds - give her say two dollars and fifty cents at the beginning of the week - give it to her in quarters - in good faith - in trust she will earn it - and work out a contract where she has to EARN the right to keep the money - if she misses a homework assignment (and this takes the assignment book or daily communicatino with teacher into consideration) she GIVES YOU back a quarter or fifty cents...if she fails to keep up her room, she pays YOU the money back...if she back talks or otherwise gets wise - she pays YOU the money back....and if she runs out, she has to dip into her savings from last week. It may sound like bribery - but it's kind of like an allowance you dole out in the begining of the week...cuz kids can't often see the reward at the end of the week.

If my daughter used to screw up on monday, that's it, she would give up for the rest of the week.

also, her teacher would send home a thursday homework notice, telling all parents what assignments the kids owed.

our school also saw a pattern with kids not turning in homework and the principal had a "detention club" - and any time the kid missed a homework assigment from the previous day, they stayed in for recess with the principal to catch up - but it got so that kids didn't want to go out to play, so the deliberately skipped homework...or they wanted tv time at home, and didn't care if they missed recess as a punishment...so the principal changed it to after school...and typically most kids only stayed for once or twice before getting on track....course, my daughter did four or five...but she was always the rebel...and since the principal saw that it didn't phase my daughter, they formed the child study team...and caitlin had opportunities to earn rewards too - like reading to the first graders or helping out in the library or doing something else she likes to do.

mind you, I am in a small town and there were only 35 kids in her grade, split between two classrooms - her graduating class being only 66 kids...from three different towns no less....

anyway, hope this helps - the school should be expected to back you 110% and don't let them tell you it's not their job - cuz it's not YOUR job to educate your child.

October 21, 2005
8:53 pm
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readyforachange
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alicat....can I rent you out to give parenting classes to some of my students' parents????

Great ideas!

October 21, 2005
9:09 pm
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shyshy
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faceit: she's not really having a hard time with the class. She is doing well on her test scores. She's just being irresponsible in handing in her homework.

Alicat and ready: you have some great ideas. Her school does do some stuff like every time she misses a homework she misses recess. Last year she had an assignment book that had to be signed by me everytime she did her homework. I have not seen that this year. I will have to ask her teacher about it on Monday.

I try not to take the healthy stuff away which is why I struggled with the girlscouts punishment and decided to ask your opinions. I just couldn't come up with anything else to take away that she likes to do that isn't healty. She plays outside which I don't want to take away because it's excersise and the fresh air is good for her. I also don't want to take away dance which she likes because I pay for it and that's also good for her. So what else is there besides tv? She doesn't watch much of that already.

I will have a nice little talk with her teacher on Monday and hopefully come up with a plan. I will also ask her if she thinks that maybe she needs more of a challenge. She does tell me sometimes that she doesn't have to study her words for a test because she already knows them.

Thanks again for all your responses. I was surprised I got this many!

October 21, 2005
9:28 pm
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mamabear
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THe charts we use have ten different areas to work on every day.
for every one they get, they get a sticker. For every one they miss, they get a strike. my rule is three strikes and you're out. NO nickels. If 2 or less strikes, they get one nickel for every sticker. They can earn extra nickels by asking for extra work, they can lose nickels if they keep doing something they already got a strike for, after a warning of course. Every night we do the chart, they have seperate cups they divide their money into 1)God- they give to offering in sunday school 2)keep to save for when they move out 3)Four-wheeler they are saving for (also they add birthday money and other gifts too) and 4)spend-they get to choose how to spend the money however they want.

The oldest gets sticks at school Green=good behavior, yellow=got a warning, red=bad behavior, lost five minutes of recess. They can get up to 3 greensticks in one day. I give him a star on his chart for every day he gets a greenstick, have since the start of school. At the end of the week, I let him choose a small reward. A drink from Sonic, a $1 DVD of classic cartoons, a sundae from McDonald's, or a 1 $ bill. He usually chooses the dollar and saves it for his four wheeler. For every extra greenstick he gets, I give him an extra nickel. He wants to earn money so much that he tries very hard, and has never even gotten a yellow stick at all!

My kids respond better to rewards than punishment, and it takes the emotion out of it for me.

Love,
Mamabear

October 21, 2005
10:06 pm
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mamacinnamon
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We did the journal book also. I bought her one and her teacher was to sign it and I think I got 5 signatures for 12 days. Also, this teacher did not warn us of any F either. It's our responsibility to keep up. This year they school implimented on the web a site where we can access our kids grades and follow them daily. Am still learning it but seems it will be a good thing. Can also leave messages for the teachers.

October 21, 2005
10:15 pm
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tinkrbell
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shyshy

I am so in the trenches with you. I have a 10 year old in the 5th grade, and I understand exactly where your coming from. I have learned that the older they get the more deceptive they become so as parents we have to push our way into their little world at achool. I get emails from my son's teachers every week letting me know his progress. I can alos log onto a web site hosted by our public school system and look at his grades any time. 5th grade is a very confusing grade. They are learning much more responsibility for themselves to prepare them for higher grades. As far as the pnishment, grounding with no TV no phone, no video games works well for me. My son isn't allowed to do anything but study in his room. Hope I helped.

tink

October 21, 2005
11:00 pm
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Matteo
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When I read this thread, I was thinking about how much joy of life these children really have? Great parental concern regarding the grades, great children’s concern to satisfy the parents, chores, punishment, taking away the privileges... But we have to teach them: responsibility, this, that, etc.

The thing is that by the time they are 6 they already know the rules, and what the shoul and what they shouldn't. If they don't enjoy homework after that age there is always a reason, and most of the time to punish the school, the parents, the school system, any other ADULTS before punishing the children. The stricter the better? Maybe but then the children either rebel or try to please, and in both cases will fill up the pages of counseling sites like this one in the future.

To think about it, I am so glad that I am not a child anymore!

October 22, 2005
8:32 am
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Matteo,

I think that it's not so cut and dry.

Some kids DON'T get it by age six.

Some kids don't understand the ramifications if they don't become responsible early on - and they are too young to understand it enough to pick it up themselves...if we don't help them achieve, they may totally lose out in their later years - it is easy to teach them when they are young - establish good habits - if not, it is MUCH harder to learn later on.

I was a good student with poor study habits - and I STRUGGLED later on in high school and college - I WISH someone had intervened.

As an adult there are the SAME reward and punishments - if you don't go to work, you lose your job, if you go to work and excel, you get a paycheck and raises...so why not start them young with the same type of responsibilities and understanding that this is how life is.

It's about balance. As shy said, her daughter does dance, plays outside, does girl scouts...and I am the same, I don't take play time away from my daughter.

If a child doesn't do their homework, and fails to learn, they stay back - THAT does HORRIBLE things to their esteem - and so we are trying to prevent that too. Failure KILLS a child's self esteem - it's our job as parents to give them the right tools to help them succeed. Motivation is the number one tool we can teach them.

Yes, it's a fine line, touchy subject - it is possible to PUSH TOO HARD - and have a child end up here...which is why responsible parents do all they can to make sure they are not going overboard.

unfortunately, in this society, life is not all fun and games....the life our parents or grandparents had is long gone and a child who grows up in that "play til dark" and schoolwork comes last generation type scenario is NOT going to get very far in life...education has become so important to a child's success as an adult. It IS unfortunate, but it is the truth.

And it is hard as a parent, knowing htat kids need to be kids - but yet, they need to work hard at the same time...it's a catch 22 for many parents.

October 22, 2005
10:07 am
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bonni
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Hi Shy,
I am having some of the same struggles with my almost 9 year old. She is disorganized and lazy. So is my dh. You can't make a person be organized and disciplined. You can reward them for those behaviors. But in the end, we have free will.

I think that Girl Scouting can teach alot of the skills that your daughter needs to be more responsible, so I think its counterproductive to cut it off. It is also public punishment, which is humiliating to a child. When I failed my first class, my parents were unbelievably supportive. I was suicidal and almost drove off a bridge (they didn't know that), so a punishment would have probably been counterproductive. I have gone on to be very successful, because my parents made me feel like I had the power to overcome the failure and succeed. They taught me from the age of 5 that I was responsible for school. Which is why I firmly believe that school is a child's job. I don't think that my parents are going to call my boss at work to discuss my performance evaluation and I don't think that I should have to repeat third grade. I think that our role as parents is to give a child resources to succeed in school, but it has to be their choice. It is better to fail third grade than to flunk out of a $20k a year college. She has to want to succeed in school.

I wish you the best. I hope my daughter figures it out too. but i'm not going to do it for her.

October 22, 2005
12:47 pm
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mamacinnamon
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Someone, I think Ready, mentioned James Dobson's book Dare to Discipline. I highly recommend this book. Very very informative.

I may get my head cut off here but I do believe in discipline. Children must have consequences for the things they do. They must have boundaries to grow to be responsible adults. To be truthful, kids want boundaries. Kids that are not disciplined vs. kids that are disciplined are much more responsible, feel more loved, etc. (according to things I read)

My 12 year old only got an F in home ec coz she putzed it off. She knows the material, she is very intelligent if I say so myself. We did the lesser punishments last year when we had the same problem. The book home every day, the missing out of friends coming over. This year is beginning a repeat of last year. She is smart enough and therefore will suffer tougher consequences.

I can personally vouch for the principle of discipline. When my kids were smaller, well, jr high nd hi school age. When they were grounded for wrong behavior the evil x would take them to the mall and buy them whatever they wanted. They'd have a party and invite all their friends. He did all he could to screw them up and he did succeed to a point. I think divorce hurts kids period to an extent. Anyway, his dad never made him suffer conseuences for his actions. In fact, he bailed him out of everything. Now when he was mad at my son he would put him in the psych ward for drugs just to get back at him. How he got away w/ it and had no custody is beyond me, but that's a different subject. So, to shorten this up a bit.... my son now does drugs still... my son cannot hold a job... my son has no sense of responsibility... my son is seriously looking at jail time soon. I still love him and he knows it. I stand behind him in that we tell him he is capable of bein responsible, holding a job, goin straight etc... And I honestly belive had he suffered and learned that there are consequences when younger he would not be snubbing his nose at the system now. I would much rather take my child's priviledges now than to watch her go to jail when she is older coz she thinks she is above reproach.

Make sense? Hope so.

The main thing about discipline is that when it is administered in whatever form (not beating or verbally degrading tho) your child needs to know you love him/her and that you are there for him/her and that you must discipline them because of your love for them. Hey, if you didn't love your child you'd not care about discipline.

I think ya'll are doin great, and I believe discussion on this subject is educational even for us adults.

πŸ™‚

October 22, 2005
1:25 pm
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Worried_Dad
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I believe the concept of "punishment" for children is no longer a valid concept in modern parenting.

Instead, you have responsibility, discipline, and consequences. That is worlds away from "punishment."

The scouting is also part of her education & socialization.

At age 10, I think that you need to personally take responsibility for her education--teachers can only do so much. Try spending some time with her every day working on spelling.

If the parents don't make a big deal out of education, it is hard for the kid to do so. Families with a culture of valuing education have kids that do better in shcool. Parental involvement is very important.

October 22, 2005
1:40 pm
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shyshy
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Wow! I didn't think this subject would generate so many responses but I guess I was wrong!

I told my daughter last night that because girl scouts is a positive thing and I don't want to see her miss out that I will lower the punishment to monitoring her once a week. If she misses any work for that week she will not attend the meeting. There is nothing else that I can really take away and I have tried the reward system with her in the past and it didn't phase her. also, I can't see rewarding her for doing something that my 12 year old is already doing without rewards.

The only other thing I can think of is making her clean her brothers room or something along that nature. Chores are not many in my house since I have a very small house so there isn't much to do that they aren't already doing. She will not like having to cater to her brother and at the same time none of her friends will know so it won't be humiliating to her outside the home.

any thoughts on that idea?

October 22, 2005
1:46 pm
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mamacinnamon
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Shyshy:

I'm not sure how I feel about cleaning brother's room. I kinda see a few red flags there as in him holding it over her head. Useing it as a threat in the future. See what I mean?

With my son grounding didn't work so we used labor for him. He had to move a pile of lumber and then move it back. He was/is a very angry person also and that helped w/ his working off his anger.

What about cleaning out the closets? Taking the dishes out of the cabinet and hand washing them so they are all clean again? Lots of creative things. With our youngest we have used writing sentences at times too. As in .... I will not yell at mom when she doesn't understand what I say the first time. (50 times). πŸ™‚

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