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Active Questions

No dinner as punishment
Family & Parenting / 11:47 AM - Sunday November 14, 2010

No dinner as punishment

Would you consider it cruel if one evening a child (say, 5-10 years old) did something bad to upset their parent(s), and they sent them to their room with no dinner?

- Asked by wudaddy, A Mr. Married Guy, Male, 36-45, Dallas, Law Enforcement

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I think a better "punishment" might be to go to their room or to bed right after dinner. No TV, computer, etc. Just go to their room for a "time out". That would probably have more of an impact than just no dinner.

- Response by mrscleaver16, A Married Girl, Female, 66 or older

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Missing one meal as a punishment isn't "cruel", but it's wrong for a different reason.

When you start using food as part of a reward/punishment system, the child can develop unhealthy associations with food. These kids often end up with eating disorders as a result - repeating the patterns learned in childhood - both in terms of overeating (using food to reward oneself) as well as anorexia (denying oneself food as self-punishment).

I'd vote no on this one. Take something else away, but not food.

- Response by piscesrising, A Thinker, Female, Who Cares?, Boston, Internet / New Media

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Not cruel being that kids eat so much crap throughout the day but I don't think it's right. At least I wouldn't let him have juice, or desert or watch TV or take his phone away. Or maybe remain in his room and go to sleep early. I wouldn't get food involved in the punishment because if they develop an eating disorder they are going to blame it on you. Or the kids say something (and they usually exaggerate) to the neighbors or teachers you'll have child services nocking at your door at 6am the next morning.

- Response by lokipr, A Player, Female, 29-35, Medical / Dental

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Thats just wrong. I prefer to beat their ass. Not starve them.

- Response by shanegalang, A Rebel, Male, 46-55, Transportation

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It's cruel cruel cruel , remember revolt begins from empty stomach ! and for a kid who even a teen, the future is bleak

- Response by orgasmic007, A Life of the Party, Male, 46-55, New Delhi

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I dont find it necessary. The child wont starve but there are other ways to disipline a child. Like.. whatever fun comes after dinner has been taken away.

- Response by A Thinker, Female, 29-35, Los Angeles, Administrative

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I don't think it is cruel. After all, kids should understand that food is not a given: we all do what we have to do in order to get the food. Still, I wouldn't do that to a kid. Kids need to eat. depriving the kid of food can make him sick or can make him even more of a pain in the behind. There are other better punishments that you can do with kids that are much more effective. Give him extra chores.

- Response by valannetine, A Creative, Female, 36-45

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Yes it is cruel. Especially for my daughter. I don't feed her junk all day. She gets 3 meals and a small snack and she's a tiny lil thing. She can't afford to miss a meal. It's wrong anyway. There are plenty of other things you can take away but to send a child to bed hungry is just flat out wrong. I'd love to smack a parent for doing this....or send them to bed hungry with their stomach growling and see how well they sleep.

- Response by misskitty420, A Cool Mom, Female, 29-35, Student

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IT is cruel. Basic needs such as food and shelter, love and belonging should be offered unconditionally. Taking food as a punishment causes unhealthy eating habits, insecurity, greed, and resentment. There are many many better ways to punish a child.

- Response by bford7, A Thinker, Female, 46-55, Financial / Banking

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YES it is cruel that is part of being a kid is making mistakes id send them to bed right after dinner!

- Response by baby_gurl521, A Hip Hop Girl, Female, 26-28, Other Profession

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I had this done to me when I was growing up and it has had no ill effects on me. I have not told my children to go bed without dinner, but I have used the dinner table to teach lessons. I made my children at least try the foods that were made for dinner. If they would not try it they could not have dessert or seconds.

- Response by painter3459, A Creative, Male, 56-65, Self-Employed

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In fact, I wish MORE parents would do stuff like that instead of always trying to be their kids' best friends, taking them aside to talk about how their feelings were "hurt" by what the child did.

Whatever. Send the kid to bed without dinner. Teach them that there ARE consequences for bad behavior.

They'll figure it out.

- Response by saucywench, A Creative, Female, 36-45, Cincinnati, Other Profession

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Yes only because it's teaching them to associate food with reward or punishment; and that's totally unhealthy like PR said.

Want to use it like that, then give them a peanut butter sandwich and milk instead of the meal everyone else gets (and no dessert). Then send them to their room and to bed at 7. That's more effective.

- Response by lioness21, A Player, Female, 29-35, Consulting

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That will not instill the value of the disciplinary action.

Chain the child to a tree, on a rainy night... and, then...
Eat their FAVORITE TREAT in front of him, just out of reach.

- Response by fehkarfight, A Couch Potato, Male, 56-65, Who Cares?

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Wudaddy, that sounds like a very appropriate punishment. It's just one meal, but at that age kids think it's the end of the world. You have to impress on them SOMEHOW that bad actions have consequences.

- Response by bookman, A Guy Critical, Male, 56-65, Who Cares?

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My parents did that to me. I turned out as a functional adult.

I think... that if the child is NOT skinny, even a bit overweight, it would NOT HURT the kid!

I remember once, when I was small, i screamed I HATE YOU! in a growling voice at the top of my lungs. I got sent straight to bed with NO dinner. I think I annoyed them so bad, they just didn't want to have to interact with me.

It is okay on Occasion, but not all the time as a regular-thing punishment.

- Response by discotrash, A Career Woman, Female, 29-35, Las Vegas, Other Profession

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That is definitely cruel. Teaching the child the proper demeanor is best to implant to them good values than making them go hungry for a night. They're only making the child resentful, rebellious, and create self-esteem issues. I think the parents should miss a day's meal as a punishment for this mean act.

- Response by donau20, A Sweet Sarah, Female, 29-35, Artist / Musician / Writer

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I've sent my kids to their room to think through what they've done and come back with an answer why they were wrong doing that, plus what they will do to not do that again...

I don't think I've ever done the no dinner thing but have had to send them to their room during dinner before....

- Response by hands, A Creative, Male, 46-55, Hong Kong, Who Cares?

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Of course its cruel, damned cruel. Animals are treated better. Can't say I'm at all surprised at some of the answers here - it just shows me what upbringings they had - dysfunctional :/

- Response by beenthere21, An Alternative Girl, Female, 46-55

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I think it makes sense. Both my wife and I had that happen to us when we were kids. We also had that happen to us in basic training. Children need to learn food isn't a given, there are times they will have to go without it and associating it with them not getting it if they are disrespectful makes perfect sense. What is cruel is my wife said one time she wasn't allowed out of her room at all for four days, no food, no bathroom prevlieges, she had to piss in her closet and later to clean it up! Kids nowadays do not understand what real punishment is.

- Response by A Life of the Party, Male, 46-55, Other Profession

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I think it is cruel. But it was my mom's last resort to punishment with a fussy eater like I was. She only did it once and I cried my eyes out. But I don't have an eating disorder. I think eating disorders are caused to replace happiness when you can't get it from the source so it is taught by adults who see a child cry you give them candy. That's taught behavior. Being sent to my room with no dinner was to show power.

- Response by womanv, A Career Woman, Female, 36-45, New York, Self-Employed

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Whether it is appropriate depends on what the kid did and why the parent is doing it. Lots of parents punish their kids not because the kids did anything wrong but because mommy and daddy are unbalanced psychos, they had a bad day and they think they can get away with it.

It is better to give an out of control 10 year old a punishment that modifies their behavior (like missing a dinner) rather than let them turn into a bad person with entitlement issues. It's not like the parents are cooking brussel sprouts and making the kid eat it or something. That would be mean.

- Response by A Guy Critical, Male, 46-55, Technical

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