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hthompson2010
hthompson2010 asks:
Q:

My husband believes punishment for our 4yr old daughter should include taken away her toys for 1wk for serious infractions. Is this appropriate?

In Topics: Preschool, Discipline and behavior challenges, Communicating with my child (The tough talks)
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
Aug 11, 2011
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What the Expert Says:

This is a good question and it will be important that you and your husband can have a good dialogue about this particular subject so that you can be consistent.  When parents aren't consistent in their parenting styles it can be very confusing for the children.

At four years old, a child is like a sponge, learning so many different things.  We think the most important element of shaping a child's behavior is education.  When your child breaks the rules, it is important to have consequences, but part of those consequences should involve helping the child learn why what they did was wrong.  You want to be able to set your child up for success.  For example, if your child will not share a toy with another child, than you may not want to take away their toys so that you can give them an opportunity to be good!  It is always best to try and set up situations where your children can be good, be recongized for being good, and get positive attention.  

Sometimes it can be effective to take things away if they continually cause problems.  For example, if you child has a toy that they swing around and hit people with and you tell them to stop and they do not, the punishment than can be taking away that particular toy.  you then say that you have to take it away because you are worried about people's safety, not just because the child is "bad."  Time outs are also effective communication because it forces the child to stop, think and then identify, a) what they did, b) why it wasn't okay, c) how they feel about it, and d) what they will do in the future as an alternative.  You can also, of course, assist in your child problems solving these situations as needed.  

We wish you and your husband all the best in this situation and hope you can continue to provide a safe, healthy and happy home for your family!  And feel free to call our hotline at any time for assistance.  

Counselor, Dominic
Boys Town National Hotline-A hotline for parents and teens
1-800-448-3000
www.parenting.org

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Additional Answers (5)

gran24boys
gran24boys , Parent writes:
I think an entire week is too long for a 4 yr old.  And I would not take away all of her toys.  Perhaps a favorite one or 2 toys for 3 days or 4 at the most.  No matter how intelligent and verbal a 4 yr old may be, they are still only 4 yrs old and their perception of time is a lot different than an adults.  An entire week is a very, very long time for them.
> 60 days ago

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JeanneBrockmyer
JeanneBrock... writes:
OK, I think you are both on the right track.  Removing privileges is a very effective consequence, and, you need to carefully calibrate how long you take toys or other privileges away.  As for time, you need to keep in mind how long a 4 year old will really "feel the pain" of having a toy taken away. It is possible that after a few days she will substitute a different toy as her favorite, which would dilute the impact of the punishment.  Maybe a somewhat shorter time for a 4 year old would work better, possibly 3 days. You both know your daughter best and one size does not fit all in this situation so think together about what makes sense. And, you need to agree on the definition of a serious infraction!
Anyway, it's great that you are both basically in sync about how to handle behavioral issues with your daughter!

Jeanne H. Brockmyer, education.com expert clinical child psychologist
> 60 days ago

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JackieVaughn
JackieVaughn writes:
No, He should sit her down and talk to her and try to understand her feeling, and ask her why she is miss be-haven't. And do not yell at her at all, And try to be understanding with her feeling. She is only acting out for attention. If he's going to take the toy away, only for a day. Are better yet, sit her in time out. Only for four minute. Not no more if you just how to punish her for miss be-haven't. And be sure to let her know why she is in time out. Time out will give her time to understand her choice's she making. So she will learn from what she doing wrong. And be Consistent.  PS. Always listen to her feeling first and be very understanding. Ask her why, Are what's bother her. Question like that. I hope I have help you out on seeing some light on the problem. She only four
> 60 days ago

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sophiavannessa
sophiavanne... , Student writes:
NO SHE IS A BABY SHE DOES NOT KNOW BETTER. AND IF SHE DID SHE DID NOT MEAN IT!!!!
> 60 days ago

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EdEd
EdEd writes:
Great responses above - one thing I might add is that, at 4 years of age, 1 wk is probably too long to enforce a punishment. The general rule with punishment timing is that you want them to happen very soon after the behavior happens, then be over as quickly as possible while still making an impact. Punishments that are extended over long periods of time are probably no more effective than shorter punishments, but can have some more "side effects." In other words, the "dose" of punishment of 1wk is probably too high - not substantially more benefit, and a lot more cost.
> 60 days ago

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