Punishment. It sounds almost as if we are a group of parents, discussing consequences for our children. But…more on that later.
Punishment is defined as
- “The infliction or imposition of a penalty as retribution for an offense.”
- Example, breaking the law demands justice and punishment.
- informal – Rough treatment or handling inflicted on or suffered by a person or thing.
- Example, my phone takes a lot of punishment because my hands never want to work right and I always drop it.
- The penalty inflicted
- Example, the parents helped their teen escape punishment from the law because of what he did
Today I’m going to speak to punishment in regards to modern day kids and teens. As a parent and as a professional I believe that makes me qualified to speak on this subject.
My kids – when my daughter was 12 she tried talking back to me. I remember this day in great detail. We were standing in her room, pained pink with black border that had dogs in them. She was upset about something and was talking back. This was a first – she had never done this. I realized this was a turning point. I could either accept this and have a future upset pre-teen tantrums, or I could take charge. As the parent – I took charge.
It was that moment that I believe helped mold her. She realized that I was in charge, not she. In that heated moment I stepped up. I told her, listen, I know you’re upset. But I’m the parent. I know they say that kids are going to rebel, talk back, and talk hate to their parents. And I’m here to tell you that I raised you better than that. You know better. I am telling you, you will NOT do that. This is the last we’re going to have this discussion. I never want to hear you talk back to me again. AND…that was it. It really was.
My daughter is now 17 and is going to college this fall. She has never talked back. She has never said “I hate you.” She has never disrespected myself or any adult. She follows all the rules and won’t break them. Perhaps this is because she is an Aspie (Asperger’s). Many Aspie’s are rule followers. Perhaps I just got lucky. Or perhaps it’s because we keep God at our core, at our center.
She has said that she had chances to stray, to do wrong, but she didn’t. She will say that she didn’t because it was wrong. She was involved in a church youth group for years, went on mission trips, youth retreats, and volunteered for local VBS. She will say that a large part of why she chose the right thing was because of what she learned at home, church, and youth group.
Now we no longer attend the church she grew up in. The reason? I divorced. You can read about that in my other post, Left Behind. While divorce will cause many kids/teens to get in trouble, she refused to be a statistic.
In general, we can use hardships as an excuse, or we can grow from them and get stronger. It’s when we are weak we get strong. I never did understand that until I was on my face and wiped out. When I was at my weakest I realized, I truly realized how strong I had become.
Parents – don’t stop your child from getting punished. Don’t stop your adult child from going to jail. Sometimes they need to fall on their face so they can learn to get up on their own. They need to learn that they have consequences.
I have a cousin who is 57 (I am 41) and he has never learned to take responsibility for his actions. Recently he has gone on a “trouble spree”. I took something to him a couple weeks ago and as I was leaving a Sheriff pulled in. Had he been able to run, he definitely would have. As it was, he kept telling the sheriff who his uncle was and how he was going to get him out of trouble.
People – TEACH YOUR CHILDREN, YOUR NEPHEWS, YOUR NIECES, THOSE AROUND YOU…STAND UP ON YOUR OWN. FACE YOUR CONSEQUENCES. If you are facing jail, go to jail with all the dignity you can. Learn from it. Become a better person.
Don’t be a parent who always gets their kid out of trouble.
Don’t be a blind parent. Your kid isn’t as innocent as you think.
Invade their privacy and read their texts. Look at the social media pages. KNOW what your kid is doing.
DON’T be a parent who is shocked when the cops show up at your house. Don’t be the parent who is refusing to believe the school when they say your kid did something.
KNOW your kid/teenager/mentee
SPEND time with them.
My daughter is 17. Her friends message me. I know her friends, and her friends know me.
I have her roommate on my social media. I have her roommate’s mom on social media. I plan on having lunch with her mom in a few weeks.
Punishment – I never really had to punish my daughter too much. I just had to guide her. I didn’t have to punish her because I set the bar high when she was young. I’m not against punishment, I am for justice, for learning, and for growing.
I see too many kids “getting away with murder” because their parents think they shouldn’t be punished. I feel so sorry for those teachers, for those school principals, for those guidance counselors. I will tell you, they have their hands full. I have talked to them, I am friends with them.
They have kids who turn into teens, who are like adults. They think rules don’t apply to them. They do what they want. Then we release them into the world.
Is the point of an injustice punishment or transformation and growth of the person who did the wrong?
That is really the question.