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A mom caught her 10-year-old daughter pinching money out of her wallet to buy lollipops. This is the second time in a month she’s found her out so now she and her husband are weighing in on a more hefty punishment: to deny her Christmas presents.
Other parents might consider other forms of punishment like taking toys and gadgets away, but the mom says those aren’t options for her daughter.
“She doesn’t have any devices, play computer games or watch much TV so we can’t use this as a punishment. We can’t stop her from going to her sports lessons (which she loves) as it will be letting the teams down. My husband feels we should give her no presents at all at Christmas,” she wrote on School Mum, asking other users for thought and opinions on the matter.
Close to 600 people answered, some agree.
“Your daughter learning responsibility will be much better for her long-term than missing presents,” wrote a commenter. Adding that “presents need to be scaled back in importance” as people forget that Christ, not gifts, is the center of Christmas.
However, many more disagree with the punishment.
“Discipline the child, don't bully her. Denying Christmas to a child whilst everyone celebrates around her is just plain cruel,” wrote one. Adding that, “You'd also be punishing her each and every day up until Christmas as well, as she knows the big day is approaching and she is getting nothing. Discipline should be immediate, not lingering.”
The comment with the most likes, 529 to be exact, also disagrees saying that the parents need to “RELAX” an opinion, she says, borne out of experience. “If you have things as tightly controlled as your post seems then your in for a bumpy ride,” she wrote. She advises that the mom, her husband and their child talk through their problem and find out the cause of their daughter’s stealing. “Communication with her will go a very long way.”
Child Psychologist Dr. Laura Markham agrees that the punishment is too much. “It doesn’t address the root problem, because this child already knows stealing is a mistake, since she faced consequences before,” she told Yahoo Parenting.
“I guarantee that the damage you do taking away the holiday will only make things worse, ” she added, “because instead of helping her with whatever problem she is having, she hears the parents telling her, 'I'm going to punish you with the worst thing I can think of.'”
Contributing author Mariel Uyqueingco of SmartParenting.com.ph’s article entitled 5 Common Reasons for Children's Misbehavior also believes in understanding children’s misbehavior before finding a positive solution. “Instead of thinking that our children are misbehaving to spite us or just because they are being naughty, we have to look at our children and try to determine what is going on behind their behavior.
“As the grown-ups in the parent-child relationship, we should focus on the underlying reason of a behavior in order to think of a positive way to help our children,” she adds.