6 Ways Parents Shouldn’t Punish Their Kids

I don’t give a care regarding WHAT they did. Here’s what you should never do and why. I know I’ll forget some things, but I can always just write something for this later. I also have others, but this is nearing 1000 words (sorry!), so a part two is definitely in the works.

#6 Make them swallow their own spit for being thirsty.

It’s become a habit for me to continue to do this just because. Any time I was thirsty, this was said to me. And if YOU or SOMEONE ELSE is getting a drink and it WOULDN’T HURT to get them a drink, don’t you dare make them sit there and make them swallow their own spit whilst they watch you/someone else drink. That’s YOU, trying to be POWERFUL, when you’re really just being a bitch/an asshole.

I almost always had a sore throat after doing this, and because it’s what I was told to do and taught to do for several years, the habit comes back ever so often. It gives me a headache, it uses a lot of energy, and sometimes I even do it so much that my spit becomes blood. Because when you’re trying to swallow your spit, you’re forcing that spit upstream. That’s spit you likely lack. I see it as only dehydrating yourself.

#5 Punish them for wetting the bed.

When you’re asleep, you’re asleep. Unless you train yourself, you can’t control your dreams, so how should you be able to control your bladder? If they’re constantly doing it, buy them Good Nights. They’re specifically for bedwetting. Then, try to stop them from getting a drink/eating after eight, or at least a few hours before bed. Have them use the potty before they go to bed. If they’re thirsty, let them get a drink. If, after a few weeks, they continue to do this, take them to the doctor! It could be a medical condition.

I ended up having a medical condition that made me unable to not wet the bed, and I was always punished for wetting the bed even after diagnosis. I still do it, only rarely. There is medication for it, that will help, but remember to be patient. It really lowers your self-esteem, because it’s so embarrassing. Even admitting it on my personal blog is difficult for me, but I know now that everyone develops at different rates.

As a note: If your child is going to a friend’s house overnight for any reason (i.e. sleepover, slumber party, etc.), talk to the parent(s) about your child’s condition before you tell your child they can go to see if they will understand. If they seem completely against it/don’t take it well, it’s probably best that the child doesn’t go. This does, unfortunately, risk the chance(s) of the child also being bullied and/or the withdrawal of the invitation.

#4 Mess up their room./Throw out their stuff.

Just don’t. Don’t mess up their room because you’re upset, don’t mess up their room because something is out of place, don’t mess up their room to teach them a lesson, and don’t fucking throw out their stuff because you’re trying to “teach them a lesson”.

You know what that taught me? That taught me that having a room that met others’ cleaning standards made me completely miserable. It also taught me that having things that were important to me meant absolutely nothing to the people who had bought for me, etc. It taught me that everything is replaceable. It taught me to not be materialistic, but it also taught me that wanting to have things for me is wrong. It has made me somewhat of a hoarder. It has also made me feel weird about accepting things others give me. I’ve spent years trying to be okay with having and wanting stuff, but I feel like I’m someone who doesn’t deserve it.

#3 Make them feel horrid because “in other countries ____”.

What works for some doesn’t necessarily work for others. Don’t make them feel shitty about ___, because all you’re doing is patronizing what they feel. Try to use a different method whose side effects won’t carry on later in their life and make them feel selfish and as if their problems are pedestrian and don’t need tending to.

#2 Not signing for their homework/allowing them to do their homework.

Don’t destroy it or take it away, either! None of my teachers had sympathy for me, nor did they believe me. Your kids not only receive wrath from you, but they receive it from their teachers as well and suffer consequences from it.

#1 Eating.

“If you don’t clean your room, you won’t get to eat supper tonight.”

“If your room isn’t x% clean/I can’t see a difference in x time, you don’t get dinner tonight.”

“If you don’t do your homework, you won’t get breakfast.”

“If you don’t do your chores, you won’t get a snack.”

I don’t care what the fucking reason is, you don’t take away a meal (includes snacks) from a child. Aside from spanking (or beating), I was punished with this method a lot. And now I starve myself to punish myself, because I feel as if it’s one of the few ways that I’m supposed to punish myself. And then I’m starving, so I eat a lot. And then I feel horrendous because I never would have been allowed to eat that much, so I starve myself again. I know it’s wrong, but it doesn’t feel completely wrong. Lather, rinse, repeat. If you don’t want your kid growing up to have an eating disorder, let them eat.

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Comments on this post

Georgia Kate’s gravatar

I’ve never been told to swallow my own spit before, though that would be bloody dire. And ineffective. I always thought that being thirsty made you produce more saliva as like an indicator of how thirsty you are… no, wait, that sounds like a load of bullshit. I don’t even know how I made it through Biology last year, haha.

Having a condition when you do constantly wet the bed would be so confusing as a child. At least with your diagnosis, you know it’s not your fault you can’t not wet the bed. 🙂

Your third point really struck me… it is amazing how the actions of parents reflect on their children and what they absorb from it. Your outlook on items is so different from mine; whereas everything in your eyes is replaceable, in mine, most have value.

I can’t imagine a parent not allowing you to do your homework. Surely that’s anti-parent? My mum’s always on my back about it. But you’re right: it’s wrong to effectively stump their education, learning, and progress. It’s not fair either on the child or the teacher, who might as well have set nothing.

“I was punished with this method a lot. And now I starve myself to punish myself, because I feel as if it’s one of the few ways that I’m supposed to punish myself. And then I’m starving, so I eat a lot. And then I feel horrendous because I never would have been allowed to eat that much, so I starve myself again. I know it’s wrong, but it doesn’t feel completely wrong. Lather, rinse, repeat. If you don’t want your kid growing up to have an eating disorder, let them eat.”

Oh, Liz… I just want to give you the biggest hug right now. You aren’t supposed to punish yourself at all, however tempting it may be. I know that in the past I have had moments when I have loathed myself and my actions and things I’ve said and once upon a time I did try starving myself, though what I was trying to achieve I still don’t know. But you’re better than that. I know it’s corny, and easy for me to say as someone without an eating disorder, but self-love is vital. You just have to accept yourself and all your flaws for what they are, and recognise them as essential parts of you rather than pieces you want to chip off. It’s hard, and I know so few people regard themselves that way, but you are a wonderful girl. You aren’t defined by what you do, but by who you are.

I hope I haven’t been patronising, because that wasn’t my intention at all. And I apologise if you feel I’ve spoken out of turn, or have just fucked up in general. I’ve never been brilliant at comforting people.

Just stay strong, yeah? And have another cyber-hug: *hug*

Take care. xx

Sara’s gravatar

Liz,

I took a spin through your photos. They are really nice. I love the ones of the cats, especially the tabby on the roof:~)

You should consider showing more of them on your site. The butterflies were also very nice.

Have a great day.

Stephanie’s gravatar

Uh… the only one I had ever heard of before was not being allowed to eat dinner – and I’ve only heard of that as punishment for eating too many snacks! I assure you that these are definitely not comments and that very few children have to suffer through what you did in your childhood. Only truly abusive parents would do this. And as an Asian-American, I especially cannot imagine any parent ripping up a child’s homework. That’s just… no.

Liz’s gravatar

@Stephanie, I’ve even seen these things in the parents who take care of their children supposedly well. Even people on Facebook post things like this, and I think it’s more common in the south.

Stephanie’s gravatar

@Liz, then in that case, my friends and I all had fabulous upbringings, and I hope that one day, everyone can have a childhood that’s as great as mine (in that one regard). But you have reason to be hopeful, because these things, as far as I know, aren’t done in a lot of places, so there are probably a lot of people who agree with you.

Robin’s gravatar

#6 has “When you’re the adult/the parent…” written all over it: “I can say no because I’m the parent.” “When you’re the adult, you can drink ___ whenever you want.” Actually telling you to drink your saliva is downright cruel.

The “other people have it worse/people in other countries” mentality is damaging. We are made to feel as though we are not allowed to have any non-chipper feelings of our own. I saw one of those quote picture thingys that addresses it perfectly: “Saying you can’t be sad because someone else has it worse, it just like saying that you can’t be happy because someone else has it better.”

I think consequences should teach some sort of lesson about why the task/chore was necessary. Taking away food doesn’t teach the kid that homework is necessary for better grades.

Alice’s gravatar

Oh gosh *hugs* I’m just really sorry that you’ve even had to experience so many of these. Swallowing your own spit while thirsty? That’s practically counterproductive; I’m pretty sure our bodies preserve our spit to keep us from being parched to death. And being punished for bedwetting sounds completely unreasonable, to me – it’s not something that you can control, and I highly doubt it’s anything any kid wants to do more than once in their life, if ever at all. >:(

Just… wow, gosh. I do hope you get better by your own standards, even though it seems like a lot of these habits were practically forced and taught to you when you were younger, which is completely unfair. Seriously, throwing out/messing up your kids’ stuff for any reason at all? Not signing for a kids’ homework even if they’re completely honest about it? Fucking denying your kids food? These are all legally abusive – and if not, borderline at the least – and it’s just – I realize that you are working towards your own happiness and recovery, and I really really wish you luck on all of it <3 I think you're strong and organized enough.