That’s right, I absolutely NEVER punish my child. If I’m being completely honest I did punish him once, I guess just to give it a try. It felt so completely wrong that I’ve never even been tempted again, and that was 3 years ago.
Pissed off parents have no shortage of punishments to choose from. There’s spanking, of course, or the ever-popular time out. There’s grounding your kids, taking away things that they like (that’s the one I tried), or forcing them to do something unpleasant.
If you’re looking around for justification for punishing your child, you’ll find that, too.
But there’s another radical option. It involves having a connected, cooperative relationship with your child instead. I know. Far out, huh?
To have the kind of relationship where you come together in joy, you have to give up punishments. You just do. Punishment has no place in a family.
Let’s talk through the reasons I don’t punish my child and why...
I don’t let teachers coerce my child.
He was not forced to read at the developmentally inappropriate kindergarten age. He is not forced to suffer through the equivalence of a full time job just to be educated according to politicians’ guidelines.
I don’t let other people coerce my child.
I tell him that his body belongs to him and that he sets the rules. I give him the language to respond to people who are trying to get him to do things he doesn’t want to do.
I don’t coerce my child.
We work together on bedtimes and the contents of meals and what kind of clothes he will wear. For things he “has” to do, like those related to health and safety, I have a vast commitment to cooperation, and we figure out something that works for both of us.
And there’s one other person who is not allowed to coerce my child.
It’s the future, hypothetical version of him.
This is a tricky concept, but stick with me a minute.
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