“The punishment should fit the crime.”
I remember having friends that had a permanent time out chair. It was used as the consequence for everything and used many times a day. I remember thinking that it didn’t seem to be a very effective tool. The child didn’t seem to be learning anything from the moments in time out as there didn’t seem to be any behavioral change. It occurred to me that maybe more thought should go into the consequences for my children’s actions.
We decided to approach discipline from the perspective of consequence instead of punishment.
We let our children know what was expected of them and what would happen if they didn’t listen. In this way, they “earned” their consequences. We also looked closely at what the particular consequences should be and how they related to the offense. For example, if our son was having a hard time getting along with his sister, having some time alone in his room was a better choice than no television. If our daughter was not picking up her toys because she was distracted by a show, the TV was taken away.
Approaching discipline this way really worked as they got older, and we were able to invite them into the consequence choosing process. My son was having some trouble in school. We asked him what he thought the consequence should be for not getting his homework done. He realized that playing with his friends right after school then doing his homework was not a good system for him. He decided that the best consequence was to only be allowed to play with them after his work was done. He found he was super focused on getting his work done when he reversed the order. We could have taken away the television or his phone, but neither of those were part of the problem. Taking them away would not have had an effect on his homework. Maybe for your child, playing with their friends first might give them the time they need to relax after school which could make them more focused later on in the evening.
The point being that every child is different and one type of discipline will not work for everyone – even if both of those children are yours.
A huge benefit to this type of discipline was the self-discipline it taught our children. Before we knew it, they were on their own, making all their own decisions. Having had practice choosing their own consequences proved to be an important asset.