This is a strange one - what do you think?

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  1. cocopreme profile image92
    cocopremeposted 14 years ago

    I recently heard a story about a woman who disciplines her kids with a spray bottle.  She has a 3 year old son who has a bad temper.  When he starts pitching fits, she sprays him with the water bottle to get him to start acting right.  She says that it is the only thing that is affective.  She says she has tried everything else (i.e. time out, redirection, positive and negative reinforcement).  Is this an appropriate way to discipline?

    I'm on the fence.  On the one hand, if it is working, why change?  On the other, is it going to be like spanking where the child learns to deal with problems with force and not with words.  What do you think?

    1. TimTurner profile image69
      TimTurnerposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      I'm guessing the spray bottle diverts the childs attention which allows the parent to regain control of the child.

      It's kind of what Caesar does with dogs on the Dog Whisperer.  He says dogs can only concentrate on one thing and if it is a bad behaviour, you have to snap the dog out of whatever he/she is fixating on to correct the behaviour.

      I'm all about finding a discipline procedure that works besides spankings and yellings.

      1. Jeffrey Neal profile image70
        Jeffrey Nealposted 14 years agoin reply to this

        Very good points, and Ceasar is awesome with dogs.  Kids aren't dogs, of course, but I don't see the spray bottle as "force" but a diversion as TimTurner said.  Odd, yes, and it wouldn't be my method.  But, if it works for this parent, and there is nothing harmful in the spray bottle who am I to question it?

    2. profile image56
      C.J. Wrightposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      Makes the child less susceptible to water boarding?

      1. TimTurner profile image69
        TimTurnerposted 14 years agoin reply to this


      2. cheaptrick profile image75
        cheaptrickposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        I hate myself for laughing so hard at this but you are so funny.
        Wouldn'T it be nice if this practice became prevalent in society?
        People would be squirting each other instead of shooting each other with guns.
        there would be laws that prohibit excessive Squirting and quality of water."Are you shooting Av ion or Perrier today".
        The real up side is the World would be a much cleaner place,That is ,if we were aloud to put a little soap in there as well.

    3. Ivorwen profile image67
      Ivorwenposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      Two of my aunts would dump a cup of water on their children's head when they were throwing temper tantrums.  It shocked them out of their fit, and allowed them to refocus. 

      I used it once with my oldest son when he was three.  He got mad about something and was trying to hit every one in sight. I had restrained him physically for over an hour and he was still fighting.   Fighting me and everyone else in the house (I was babysitting at the time, so that didn't help).  Finally, I told the other kids to get back, let him go, and when he charged me, throw water at him.  He was so surprised that he quit his screaming, ran to take off his wet shirt, and came back happy.

      I think it worked, no one got hurt, and the house was left intact.  After that, we worked on his attitude and appropriate ways to be angry.

    4. Merriweather profile image60
      Merriweatherposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      I don't know.  I guess it depends on the child.  I can't imagine that it would work for my children, but I can see how the surprise of it would get the behavior to stop and the parent a moment to think and talk.  Seems a little Skinnerian (sp?) to me, though.  Probably better than yelling. . .

    5. Rangerwife profile image61
      Rangerwifeposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      If it works, I'd do it.  Children need some sort of discipline, or they will most likely lead undisciplined lives where they end up hurting themselves and others.  It's not abusive, and it works for her, so why not?  I don't think I'd use that method, but that's just because I don't think it would work with my children.

    6. endeliz profile image41
      endelizposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      what a total wack job , you do that with a dog or cat MAYBE but NOT YOUR KIDS ! i am sure she will be without her kids soon !

    7. profile image0
      cosetteposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      sooner or later he will get desensitized to it. or worse, develop deep-seated psychological issues.

      so, i suppose if this woman was at work not paying attention, or pitching a fit, she wouldn't mind if her boss took out the old spray bottle and sprayed her with it, hmm?

      it amazes me what we think we can do to our children just because they are children. she needs to work harder to parent her child in a reasonable manner. we need to treat children with love and respect and teach them without using fear, intimidation and idioctic stuff like this.

      what, children don't deserve to be treated respectfully just because they are children? yikes

    8. Everything-Jewels profile image53
      Everything-Jewelsposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      I say whatever works. She's not beating him, and believe me there is tons of people out there who would do just that. She could even try to figure out what's making him act up, there is always something happening in a child life, when there acting up like this. I know I was in the child care business for many years. This water thing is mild though compared to what I've seen

  2. mega1 profile image71
    mega1posted 14 years ago

    seems to me that mothers who are looking for "easy" ways to discipline are missing something - it is actually fun to TALK to your child (even and especially 3 year olds) to help them learn, but also to get feedback from them about WHY they are behaving like that - usually they have reasons for bad behavior.  Sometimes they may actually be in pain, be hungry, or have some big issues that need attention.  Water bottles is very much like treating them like dogs.  Ugh. You're raising a human being - don't you want them to be happy humans?

    1. Lisa HW profile image63
      Lisa HWposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      I'm with you (although I'd add that, besides three children, I've raised one amazingly well behaved dog and a string of well behaved cats, and I wouldn't use any version of that approach with them either).  (I don't mean to sound like a obnoxious "know-it-all" by any means - only trying to point out that I've always practiced what I "preach" and have seen the results.)

      Having children (or pets) know you're sensitive, understanding, and out to make them feel safe and/or better, while also being the one in charge takes having the right (capable, calm, in-charge) demeanor, attitude, and respect for them.  When children see parents handle frustrations and difficulties well they emulate them.  Parents who don't know how to regain control without being physical and without in some way, and without yelling, have little kids who don't learn how either.

      I'm not saying someone who doesn't know how to come across to children as being capably in charge are bad people, bad parents, stupid, or anything else not related to this one, specific, thing; but by virtue of thinking, "It's the only thing I can do," though, they're showing that they haven't learned that there are other ways to deal with kids acting up (or that it's possible to teach children right from wrong without getting physical).  Not knowing what to do if teens start making bad judgments can go with the territory of having a teen, but dealing reasonably and effectively with a little, tiny, three-old who acts up isn't that hard for someone who understands that three-year-olds act up for a reason.

  3. prettydarkhorse profile image55
    prettydarkhorseposted 14 years ago

    thats okay as long as it doesnt make the child have a phobia in water??

  4. profile image0
    lyricsingrayposted 14 years ago

    she's treating her chid like a dog, or does abuse now not factor in this arrangement?

  5. profile image0
    TMinutposted 14 years ago

    Abuse? If she did it while playing with him in the water it wouldn't be abuse, right? Just like spanking and hitting, the intention makes all the difference.

    It is weird though.

  6. profile image0
    TMinutposted 14 years ago

    Reasoning with a three year old? Expecting sensible answers? You've got to be kidding! Fun, yes, realistic, no. Very fun!

    Me: Why did you hit your sister?
    3 yr old: She was turning me into a bunny wabbit but I want to be a dwagon.
    Me: ? Can she REALLY turn you into a bunny rabbit?
    3 yr old: Yes. She was just about to.

    1. pennyhowington profile image60
      pennyhowingtonposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      Been there, done that!  smile  My thoughts on the water bottle: If the child is especially strong willed, it may be that mom is using it to regain control.  If this is the case, as the child matures he will learn to be more in control of himself and the water bottle should no longer be needed!  (I hope.)

  7. Colebabie profile image60
    Colebabieposted 14 years ago

    Umm is it a three year old poodle?

  8. Dame Scribe profile image57
    Dame Scribeposted 14 years ago

    No. She can't be spraying her son. What happens as he gets older? hmm Maybe she should be watching, Supernanny or house of little terrors. She has to realize her son has learned this behavior from some reaction of her own, identify it n stop her own behaviors.

    1. rebekahELLE profile image87
      rebekahELLEposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      I agree here, damescribe. where is the teaching in this? discipline is teaching, training, not doing whatever works.
      somewhere along the line, this child has learned he doesn't have to listen until mom does something.

      some children refuse to listen to their parents because they see that mom and dad are not paying attention to them. hmm

      I've written a couple of hubs in case anyone wants to read about disciplining young children.

      1. Sybil Marie profile image60
        Sybil Marieposted 14 years agoin reply to this

        agreed. It is a behavior that has somehow been reinforced in the past. Mom needs to look at the antecedent (or what is happening right before the behavior) and the consequence (what happens right after) To find out what is keeping the behavior going. I wonder if she has tried active ignoring? If the behavior is attention seeking that might work.
        The water is adversive, and it seems to work but I wouldn't recommend it. The goal of any discipline or behavior modification is to make the modification unnecessary over time. How would you fade that out so the child is no longer engaging in the behavior? Sorry it's the it's the behaviorist in me. smile

  9. profile image0
    TMinutposted 14 years ago

    I guess the dog idea doesn't really strike me as much as it should, or as it does others because I have no animals and don't want any. I'm thinking strictly of immature humans. For ours here, it's usually easy to tell them what was expected, how what they did didn't meet expectations and tell how they can next time. Even with the little guy that works. But not all of my boys have been so easy to deal with.

  10. profile image0
    TMinutposted 14 years ago

    QUOTE: dealing reasonably and effectively with a little, tiny, three-old who acts up isn't that hard for someone who understands that three-year-olds act up for a reason.

    True, but it's also true that some kids act up for a reason that isn't acceptable and not easily fixable. Some kids just plain want to be the boss and refuse to do what they need to do BECAUSE they were told to. I don't believe most kids are that way but all the ones I've known do that occasionally. That has to be stopped because no matter how true it is that they deserve respect, they are still immature, illogical, and without judgment.

    If I sprayed one of my kids with a water bottle when they were little, we would have both started cracking up laughing and gotten into a big water fight. Sounds like fun, I know this isn't the point of the OP but thinking about it is making me kind of laugh.

  11. Lisa HW profile image63
    Lisa HWposted 14 years ago

    I don't think, when they want something ridiculous and that they just can't have or do, they necessarily want to be "boss".  They want to do what they want (which most of us, when it comes down to it, do; even if we know we can't) because they have an immature self-centeredness, inability to understand the sense in being stopped, and an inability to be "gracious" when they can't have things their way.  Children (all people) can have a "lower frustration tolerance point" if they feel as if they're always being stopped from everything they want to do/have.

    What they need is their parent to try to explain why they can't have it (they may or may not understand, but eventually they will), do something to eliminate the frustrating situation (like distracting them, making them laugh about something else, removing the source of frustration so they'll get their mind off it sooner, etc.) as soon as possible; but also to act as if they understand that being stopped from doing something feels crummy (no matter how old we are).  This kind of thing only has to go on as long as they're too little to understand something like, "You can have one cookie after dinner." (which is usually once they get to the emotional level of about four years old)

    If parents are able to establish a "take-it-for-granted" thing that the parent is the "team leader" (who sets and shares the rules) but everyone's on the same team, it's less likely there will be power struggles between two people who want to be "boss".

  12. profile image0
    lyricsingrayposted 14 years ago

    For me there is nothing to think about. Abuse is abuse and I consider spraying your kid as if you were training a dog, who doesn't even deserve that, abuse.

    Pretty simple, com on, please

    1. seyiari profile image60
      seyiariposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      lyricsingray, you are right.

  13. myownworld profile image74
    myownworldposted 14 years ago

    abuse apart, the poor child will never be able to swim again...
    and most likely develop a phobia for baths...
    not to mention always feeling wet... and susceptible to colds...!

    1. profile image0
      lyricsingrayposted 14 years agoin reply to this


  14. desu profile image57
    desuposted 14 years ago

    Getting sprayed by water is not abuse.  It's probably not a great method of positive punishment since it doesn't teach, but unless she's isolating the kid in a broom closet and spraying him for the lulz it's not abuse.  You've got to discourage negative behaviors somehow.

    I'm not a psychology major, but I have taken ethics courses and I have somewhat of an idea of what constitutes child abuse, and a water bottle sprayer ain't one.

    1. myownworld profile image74
      myownworldposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      just want to mention, Im doing my major in psychology, and spraying a child with water on a regular basis DOES amount to abuse - not because of the act itself, but the long term negative effects and associations its going to create in the child's mind. There are far more effective techniques to discipline a child and one cannot rely on just 'somehow' (which basically implies 'anyhow') when it comes to discouraging negative behavior, esp in children!

  15. RNMSN profile image60
    RNMSNposted 14 years ago

    this is too funny/made me remember when my 2 would go at it with each other
    katie: "mom! he's touching me"
    david wyatt "shes looking at me"
    me "if the two of you dont stop it I am turning this car around and going back home and no park today!"
    katie" Fine! just so he stops touching me"
        momentary silence
    David wyatt "I want to go to the park! You always side with her! I never get to do anything!"
    me "neither do I so thats somethng we have in common"
        car tuening around
    katie   "Mom!!! Now the Sun is touching me!!"
    me "thats right katie, I went this way on purpose just so the sun would touch you!"
    david wyatt "good so there" and he would poke her with his finger and on and on ad infinitum nauseous

    my friend sandy is even better/we still laugh about it/course both sets of our kids swear they were mentally abused so we have to wait until the grandkids get older before we can laugh out loud AT them smile

    candace" I'm stealing your air Chris" and she'd suck in as hard she could and laugh
    Chris "Mom shes stealing my air make her stop"
    sandy "Candace quit stealing your brothers air!!"
    Chris just cried harder and candace and sandy would laugh

    parenting is hard, there are no instructions, the only way to know if we are hafway successful is when love and respect is given and received by both parents and children
    even wont happen all the time or when we want it to happen
    we love our children, we treasure even the hardest moements
    we try to stop our own guilt from making us kill ourselves
    and we, if we are really really lucky, have at least one of our children tht loves us and helps us and doesnt judge us when they are in their young adult yrs, the hardest time for kids I think, from age 18 to 30yrs

  16. Hanna Bambina profile image60
    Hanna Bambinaposted 14 years ago

    yeah it's a bit of a weird one...haha! As long as she's not beating the crap out of him I guess... It might be a bit silly though in years to come when getting in a row with his spouse he may end up grabbing the nearest spray bottle. Haha.

  17. H.C Porter profile image81
    H.C Porterposted 14 years ago

    Is she saturating the kid with water, or is the spray used to get the kids attention, and she then talks to the child about what actions were inappropriate? If it is used every once in awhile to capture the kids attention, I say- no harm, no fowl. If the kid is constantly being drenched in probably isn’t working and when the child is 10 years old-he'll probably have a phobia of showers.

  18. Stimp profile image60
    Stimpposted 14 years ago

    Alright....some are comparing this spraying to training dogs.  I train dogs and horses.  You don't gain respect by force, or fear....NOR do you want to.  You want them to do the things you ask out of respect and of WANTING to please you.  I have watched animal behavior in packs/herds and have read a ton about it.  A GOOD leader is relaxed, calm, consistent, predictable AND fair.  If you are missing any of those elements it confuses the one being trained.  I have found this to be true and consistent in the techniques I've learned in a parenting class. Not to say I have all the answers AT ALL.  I'm just saying a GOOD pack leader would not urinate (which is comparable to spraying) on a non-alpha for misbehaving...a quick nip, maybe, but certainly not lifting a leg.

  19. itcoll profile image60
    itcollposted 14 years ago

    I have never heard of such a thing.But it seems like it has worked for her.

    1. endeliz profile image41
      endelizposted 14 years agoin reply to this



  20. zzron profile image58
    zzronposted 13 years ago

    Not abuse at all get real, if its not too hot or too cold and it teaches him not to act bad then what harm is it ? But still nothing beats a good old fashion butt whippin and the problem today is too many parents are too much of a wussy themself to take control and spank their kids when they deserve it. The bible even says to spank your kids but thats another problem that more people are getting away from the bible. Too many kids are growing up and going to prison as adults because somebody didn't care or love them enough to spank them when they needed it.

  21. profile image0
    pmccrayposted 13 years ago

    It's a lazy discipline and obviously not working well.  Too many people are under the impression that you can't talk to children. They're much smarter than you think. 

    Talking it out would probably be a better solution in an effort to find out why he has the tantrums.  You'll be amazed at what children will tell you if you just ask.  Dousing him with water is so impersonal and cold.  It works on dogs because they're not to bright.


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