I punished my 12 year old daughter and feel bad

Katie - posted on 12/10/2014 ( 18 moms have responded )

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My 12 year old daughter told me she was going to ride her bike i told her ok but only for half an hour because dinner would be ready. She had been gone for more than an hour i was worried sick. When she came home and hour and a half late I told her she was grounded for 3 days. I feel bad I hate having to punish my kids. Should I give her a chance? Was that even the right punishment.


My husband was the one who punished the girls. He left a year ago now i have to do it on my own.
I need help

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Jodi - posted on 12/10/2014

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You shouldn't feel bad about it. She has to realise there are consequences to being late, because her lateness causes inconvenience and worry. Make sure she realises how it makes YOU feel when she does this. Children need to understand that other people are also affected by their actions and choices. Talk to her when you give her back her privileges, and explain that you need to be able to trust that if you ask her to be home by a certain time, she really needs to be home, as if she isn't, you really can't trust that she will make good choices next time she asks.

Sarah - posted on 12/12/2014

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Punishment is defined: the infliction or imposition of a penalty as retribution for an offense.
Discipline is defined: the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior
Consequence is defined:a result or effect of an action or condition.

There seems to have sprung a debate on semantics. Despite what the dictionary may say, every parent or family applies their own definition to these words.

I interpreted from Katie's post, that she wondered if she had done the right thing when her daughter came home late? Perhaps grounding for 3 days was a little long, especially if her daughter is a generally obedient child. That said, what I think most of the mother's agreed upon was how important is is to follow through with whatever punishment, discipline or consequence is given.

Ev - posted on 12/12/2014

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Wanda,

I have to add a bit to Jodi's post on the consequences. What you are talking about are called "natural consequnces" when something happens because of something that is done. Such as the boiling water on a hand. Or climbing on furniture and falling off and getting hurt. Those are natural consequences. And the lady is right, there is such a thing as a consequence for actions done. A child goes out to ride the bike and does not come home on time and gets grounded for 3 days is a consequence for actions taken. We all endure consequences for the choices we make natural or otherwise.

Jodi - posted on 12/11/2014

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"That is a punishment. Consequences are actions that happen naturally."

Actually, Wanda, that isn't true. Consequences are the effect or outcome of something that occurred earlier, whether it be natural or otherwise. They do NOT necessarily need to be natural. They can be imposed consequences, generally a logical one. When we talk consequences with regard to discipline, we talk about natural AND logical consequences. A logical consequence to a child who breaks curfew (doesn't come home at the allocated time) is to ground them. A perfectly REASONABLE logical consequence. Logical consequences are not about power, dominance and fear. Logical consequences ARE about teaching children the difference between good choices and poor choices.

As an example, if a child at my school does not do their work during class time, they stay in at lunch to complete it. Sure, not a "natural" consequence because it is something I must impose and monitor, but sure as heck a LOGICAL consequence.

On the other hand, spanking a child because they are late home....there is no logic in that.

Look up the actual definition of consequence. Nowhere does it specify it must be natural.

Dove - posted on 12/11/2014

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If you go out past curfew... you don't go out. That IS a logical consequence for that action.

Whatever... I don't have power struggles in my home and my oldest is 13... and knows full well if she doesn't come home when she is supposed or let me know she'll be late... she's likely to not get to go out the next time.

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Rebecca - posted on 12/13/2014

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Don't feel bad about it. If it were my child, I would';ve been worried too

Dove - posted on 12/12/2014

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I feel guilty every time I must impose consequences on my kids that I know they don't like. It's called 'mommy guilt'. Even though I am MORE than fair (and often times way too lenient).... I still feel bad about it.

Not every parent does, but it is quite normal and common. Doesn't mean the parent has done ANYTHING wrong.

It is hard to be the only one doing this job... especially since she's only been doing it alone for a year. You did good, Katie. If she's not a 'repeat offender' 1-2 days may have been sufficient, but 3 days is most certainly not over the top. Talk to her... let her know why you made the decision you did and don't feel guilty. You are trying to make sure she is safe AND held accountable for her actions. Good job.

Wanda - posted on 12/12/2014

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Katie, why do u feel bad? Do u feel u reacted to her in an unfair way? Did u not like how she felt after? Perhaps u punished out of anger and u r disappointed in yourself? I have felt that way. One time I over punished my daughter.. But I had a talk with her after and told her that she put me in such a position that I got angry and because of that anger came the punishment. I still made her follow through with the punishment but now when something happens I try my best to take a breath and say we will talk about this when I calm down. That way I can think more clearly and it leaves her in a place of wondering what I will say, causing her time to think about what she did. Is that perhaps something that may help u in your decision making?

Wanda - posted on 12/12/2014

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Ok ladies, so that being said, do u think 3 days is sufficient? Perhaps if this has happened often. What was the conversation like when she got home? Was she apologetic or did she show no signs of remorse?

Wanda - posted on 12/11/2014

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Can I say one thing I have learnt in my readings? That is NOT a consequence. That is a punishment. Consequences are actions that happen naturally. The consequence to pouring boiling water on your hand is that it gets burnt. That is something that you learn. Punishment however is an action handed down from a dominant figure. Parents like to feel better by replacing the word so that they feel like they made the child learn something..when actually the consequence to your action is that she will fear you. Now.. With that said..lets just say that you punished your child for making you worry. Is that wrong? Not if it works for you. Now if it causes fights and resentment then no, that doesn't work.
I have a 14 yr old that is self destructive when she is punished. She takes my anger personally.so for our home we need to choose our actions carefully. Does not mean we don't have rules at home..just means we need to do things with thought.
As a child, do u remember learning things from your parents strict ways? Or do you remember consequences?
Our parents came from a time when there were few choices. My moms family were poor with ten kids, so every day was full of chores. No options as things had to get done. Then our generation, we had more time as teens for activities. More choices. Now look at today's generation.all it is, is decision making and choices. If we do not teach our children how to make choices, they will live a very hard life. So we as modern parents need to try our best to focus our attention on teaching them how to make good choices, which comes from consequences.. If we choose to punish and tell them all the answers they will never learn.
So I know many people will disagree with me..and honestly it doesn't bother me. The people who can't see different ways of parenting can keep having their power struggles because that's all they know and need to have that king of the throne role.
My opinion would be to talk with her and let her know that she breaks your trust when she doesn't come home on time. that it is not ok in your home because you worry and you do your best to keep her feeling safe so you expect the same respect in return. Honesty goes a long way, and you can build up a respect with her rather then resentment. What do you think?

Mommabird - posted on 12/11/2014

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Everyone has given great advice, most of what I would have said myself. I agree she should have something with her to tell time and a way to contact in case she's late. I know when I was 12 and rode my bike around I was never just riding in circles for an hour and half, I would stop at someones house to play at least once and would use their phone to call my mom to let her know thats where I was. But I did that because I KNEW my mom would be worried if I was gone longer than 15-20 min. Lol

Just curious on what you grounded her from for 3 days, you didnt say...

Bella - posted on 12/11/2014

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Stick with the consequence. You don't want to be one of those parents that never have a punishment stick, trust me, I see it happen all the time. She needs to understand what could have happened.... If it were me, I would have been worried to the point where I would have called the police and, that would have resulted in a serious issue. Surely your daughter understands why you punished her. I'm sure this will help her become more responsible later in life.

Sarah - posted on 12/11/2014

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Dove makes a great point with making sure your child has a watch or phone, they can set the alarm. Then they have no excuse at all......
it is terrifying to not be sure your child is ok, even an hour or two can feel like a lifetime. You are sure they are just a hanging out with friends and then you picture the worst. The trouble with teens and tweens is they believe they are invincible.

Dove - posted on 12/11/2014

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That was a perfectly logical consequence for her actions. Make sure she knows that because she was late you were worried about her and you didn't know if something had happened to her.

Perhaps she needs a watch and/or a cell phone if she is going to be allowed freedoms outside of adult supervision... so she has no excuse for losing track of time and if she doesn't show up... you can call to find her (assuming she will answer... my own kids are bad at that one because they stick the phone in a bag and forget to check it...lol).

Sarah - posted on 12/11/2014

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If you are interested in other good parenting books, Foster Cline, is the author of two great books: Parenting With Love and Logic, and Parenting With Love and Limits.
He covers everything from sass mouthing to financial responsibility. Both would be available at your local library for free.

Erin - posted on 12/11/2014

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Hi Katie. I'm sorry to hear you're feeling bad. Discipline is tough. I think it's tough for every parent, but also very necessary. Hang in there. I'm sure you're doing a great job!

There's a good book called "Dare to Discipline" by James Dobson. It's been around for a while but the principles are timeless. I think it would be an encouragement for you. You can check to see if your local library has it, or maybe the Focus on the Family website.

It hate to to hear about your husband leaving. It really just breaks my heart. There's no question, our kids benefit from the example and strengths of both parents in the home. Is he still around at all? Does he have any kind of relationship with your daughter? Prayers for you!

#LIvn'ItUpInCO

Sarah - posted on 12/10/2014

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You handed down a consequence so whether or not you regret it, you MUST follow thru. If you don't, what does she learn? That when you say be home in a half hour she does not have to come home because there will not be a consequence.
What you can do, after the three days are up is talk to her. Tell her you think you might have gone overboard. which if she is a generally obedient kid and this was sort of an accident, maybe you were too harsh. But let her know, that there will be consequences for her actions. Maybe set up what they will be; if she is late, she will lose TV or phone privileges. Try to make the punishment fit the crime ahead of time so you won't act out when you are feeling emotional.
Hang in there!

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