What Works Better Than Punishment?

I teach a parenting class to justice-system involved fathers. Today I was saddened to hear that every single one of the inmates in my class, without exception, was punished, often quite severely, for expressing anger as a child. They are in my class to learn how to parent differently than they were parented, so we began what will likely become an ongoing discussion about ways parents can teach and model healthy ways to express anger.

I was delighted to come home from class and find this post from Dr. Laura Markham in my inbox. I'll share it with my students next week, and thought you might enjoy it as well:


For more information about Karen's parenting or interpersonal communication consultations by phone, visit www.karenalonge.com

Joint Custody: When your child is upset about something at their other parent's home

Q: My six year old daughter told me that her father locked her in her room with no breakfast, lunch or dinner. She tells the same story over and over again like it happened yesterday. Her dad says it's her imagination, but I believe her. She has a lot of anger towards him. She won't get out of the car when I drop her off for visits, and she often says, "Stupid daddy." I told him to change the way he disciplines her. My daughter does have a therapist. Any other suggestions?

A: I'm so glad to hear that your daughter has a therapist. The therapist would be a mandatory reporter, so if you suspect neglect or abuse you should let the therapist know so he/she can determine whether it needs to be reported to the authorities for further investigation, and take appropriate action to do so.

With that taken care of by a professional, you can turn your attention to your daughter and the feelings she needs to work through.

Joint Custody: When Your Ex Talks Unfairly About You To Others

Q: My ex tells our daughter's teacher, doctor and her friends' parents things that aren't true about me. How and at what point should I defend myself against these false characterizations?