Thursday, June 21, 2012

I Can Think On Thursday


Thanks to Brenda for hosting, Pondering with a Purpose.  This week's theme is Punishment.  How does one maintain discipline within the household.

This is a tough one for us as our two youngest, Liam and Erik are as different as night and day. We therefore typically have to discipline them taking various approaches as a result.  

Liam is a great kid but he has his challenges associated with Austism. Liam is generally well behaved until he doesn't - then he goes off.  One has to think about his world though.  Consider how frustrated you feel when you get you have something on the 'tip of your tongue' that you just can not get out of your mouth.  Now, just imagine that being your world and you now have an idea of Liam's existence.  So one could imagine that sometimes the inability to communicate really boils over with him.  He can get quite violent at times, so you have to protect yourself and him from himself.  The idea with Liam is that you have to pin him down and get him soothed.  This is easier said than done and I have the bruises to prove it.  The main challenge with Liam is to get him before things boil over and teach him coping mechanisms.  The problem is that while there are some warning signs that something is about to happen, they are quite subtle.  

While Liam is occasional and his outbursts are large Erik on the other hand is constant.  He is hard headed and a tester.  He is into everything and does the silliest things just because he can.  You can use more traditional 'punishments' with Erik.  He is a 'timeout' pro at this point.  The challenge with Erik is that he does not do anything too bad - he just does things that are annoying.  It is because he craves constant attention  The basic strategy with Erik therefore is to redirect him into doing something he can have part of your attention for or will grab his complete attention.

I think the key to discipline and punishment has to consider the individual, the circumstances and the situation.  For instance, you can not punish Erik for something he did an hour ago.  He has already forgotten what he did (and probably had three more infractions since then).  I think you have to approach discipline with a strategic focus on what you want to teach the child.  First priority is to keep them safe but afterwards it is about teaching them how to make good choices.  

Overall, I think the best you can do is demonstrate good character yourself, help them to make good choices and guide them with love and caring.  I really dislike the word punishment because it assumes a negative outcome.  I prefer to think of it as teaching my children to make good choices and to deal with consequences of their actions.  It is about providing them the tools to be able to one day mature into healthy, happy adults who make a positive contribution to the world as a whole.  

No comments:

Post a Comment