Some parents find it useful to keep a written record of their children's punishments. This idea is not new; punishment books have been used at schools, reformatories and similar institutions for at least 150 years (see some examples here and here). This page, which was suggested by a reader of this website, describes an adaption of the punishment journal concept for use in the home.
A punishment diary can be helpful for the parents:
On the adverse side, maintaining a punishment diary is not only time-consuming but also introduces an element of formality which may be felt inappropriate for home use. But if you feel comfortable with this concept, here are some recommendations for you.
Entries in the diary can contain the following data (feel free to modify this list):
Due to its confidential contents the punishment diary should be kept very private so that nobody except the parents and the child will have access to it. A good solution is to use one of those diaries that are lockable with a key. If it comes with a double key, one key can be kept by the parents and one by the child. If you have more than one child, use a different diary for each one. When the child reaches adulthood (or some other agreed age) and the diary is no longer needed, it should be given to him/her so that he/she can keep it or throw it away.
After it has been introduced and explained to the child, the diary should be used consistently for all punishments given. Not only spankings but also time-outs, extra chores, writing lines, groundings, no TV, allowance cuts, etc. should go into it. The entries should either be written by the child, or together, or the parent can write the first part and let the child complete his/her part. It is best to write the entries directly after the punishment has been completed and the child has been fully forgiven.
The reader who suggested this page wrote about her experiences after introducing the diary to her teenaged daughter, "The first time we used it I talked to her for a long time about why I think spanking is important, especially why I think it is important for older girls since most of her friends aren't spanked any more, and then why I thought the diary was a good idea, and I think it took her a little to get used to it but she really uses it now as a way to communicate with me, apologising for something or else to say she didn't understand why a punishment was as strict as it was. In that case I know I have to explain better to her in future. I think that brings us closer together."
Last update: May-09-2003