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DigitalBlue's avatar

Is using exercise as punishment for your kids a good idea?

Asked by DigitalBlue (7072points) November 3rd, 2012

A friend posted a photo on Facebook of her kids doing exercises and she said that in their house they don’t spank, they don’t ground, the kids have a workout that they do when they do something wrong. Certain exercises are punishment for certain offenses. It’s not the first time I’ve heard of parents doing this.

I have read so many stories and seen on TV people who struggle with food issues, and how hard it is to break habits that tie eating in with emotions, is the same true for exercise?

Is it a good idea to associate exercise with punishment? Is using exercise as a punishment likely to create negative associations with being active or working out?

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17 Answers

fremen_warrior's avatar

Is using exercise as a punishment likely to create negative associations with being active or working out?

That is what I was thinking.

Ron_C's avatar

First of all I believe that forced exercise is very bad for little children. I guess it would be acceptable punishment for older kids and teens but like @fremen_warrior says, they will later equate exercise with punishment and will avoid it as soon as they leave home.

Jeruba's avatar

Are those the same parents who offer food not only as a reward but as a comfort (“Oh, you fell down, sweetie, don’t cry—here’s a cookie”)?

Blondesjon's avatar

I’m going to land on the side of not liking the idea of associating exercise with punishment. Pavlov wasn’t 100% right but he was right enough.

Instead of spankings, exercise, or groundings, we have always forced our misbehaving children to work in a Vietnamese garment factory for x amount of time where x=the severity of the misbehavior.

Not only have our kids learned that there are worse situations to be in than simply having to sit the fuck still in a restaurant, they have also picked up a little Vietnamese along the way.

It’s hilarious to eavesdrop on them when they are doing the laundry.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I think it’s a lousy idea. Exercise should be fun, not punishment.

Bellatrix's avatar

I think it’s a very bad idea and for exactly the reason you suggest. It creates a negative association to exercise. @Adirondackwannabe just posted as I was typing but he is spot on, ‘exercise should be fun’. We want our children to be active and to see exercise as a natural, fun part of their day – not something they have to do when they have been naughty.

Coloma's avatar

Sounds hardcore authoritarian-ish to me. The family boot camp scene. lol
I don’t like the idea at all, no.
My daughters punishments were to help me more around the house or do extra chores.

Pretty average I’d guess, but forcing a child to exercise is rather control freakish if you ask me.

deni's avatar

Horrible idea

MissCindy's avatar

I would have to agree with the others here. If you use excersize for a punishment, then all you are doing is making the child, hating the thought of being healthy. As a child, I was always given the smallest piece of dessert, because I was the biggest eater. It made me want more desserts: and even now, I have a tendancy to overeat if desserts are available. I find myself sneaking desserts even though I am an adult, and can eat what I want. It is a phycological thing, and one I fight with even at my old age.

Trillian's avatar

Let me throw a dissenting view in here; I mashed my daughter and her little friends when she was five or so. I left off after a few days because they started making stuff up to get in trouble, they enjoyed it. The last thing I heard as I was walking away after their last failed attempt to bring down the wrath was “Let’s mash ourselves!”
She’s almost 30 now, works out, is actually qualified to teach Pilates. It doesn’t seem to have had any negative effects.

DWW25921's avatar

I don’t think it’s punishment at all. The kids probably think they’re getting away with something. I knew of a mom that used “bed” as a punishment. That’s just an awful idea! I mean, if bed is a negative how do you expect to put your kids to sleep every night without them feeling like they’ve done something wrong? When I deal with kids about 20 minutes before they go down I say things like, “Lucky, you get to go to bed soon” or “I wish I could go to sleep now but I have boring grown up things to do.”

Jeruba's avatar


DWW25921's avatar

@Jeruba Can be another term for crunches or a high intensity workout.

Rarebear's avatar

Of course it’s not a good idea.

ucme's avatar

Horses for courses is about all that needs to be said.

MissCindy's avatar

Trillian- did you make a game out of it, or was it, “You kids were very naughty! Now you are going to get mashed!” ?

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