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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Would you say ”lumping” is an abusive way to punish a child, better or worse than corporal punishment?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (26783points) May 29th, 2014

To punish an unruly child without spank them, would you see ”lumping” as an acceptable alternative? If you are not familiar with lumping, it has nothing to do with striking the child in any way. You have the child do some menial task, usually something physically demanding for a period of time to get their attention. Such as you might have them move the firewood pile from the east side of the house, to the west side of the house, then when all the wood is moved, have them move it back to the east side of the house again; then repeat X number of times. Or dig a hole (if you have property to do it), and fill it back up, to dig it out again, repeating the action for X number of times. To get their attention of their bad act(s) without spanking do you see “lumping” as abuse, or not, if so, why?

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37 Answers

talljasperman's avatar

No.. you would lose your children’s trust… I would at least have them do something meaningful… like volunteer at a soup kitchen and help some one . I had a math teacher who made grade 7 students write math lines by powers of 10. 1 time 1 = 1 , 2 times 1 = 2 until you got to a magnitude of 10’s and double for each infraction.

snowberry's avatar

I have enough chores that “lumping” as you call it, sounds like a total waste of time. I’d rather have them mow the high weeds behind the fence (a super difficult job), pick up all the dog messes nobody has bothered to deal with, pull the weeds in the flower beds and lawn (including pulling out the tap-roots). Now those jobs are menial, but they are also helpful too. It’s a much better option IMO. I used a similar discipline when my kids were little. It worked very well, and they came away with a great work ethic too.

But I will mention this: At the time, they told me over and over how “abusive” I was.

Edit: They are now all out of college, but each has mentioned to me how that experience gave them such great work experience, and their bosses love them for it.

majorrich's avatar

When I was in the Army, I had to fill sandbags to fill a truck, then when it was satisfactorily full, I got to unload all the bags. It was excellent physical training, but I don’t think I learned anything by it. Now, time out, hoo boy that was excruciating, and we used that with my son. He would have much rather fill sandbags than have to sit on the couch for 15 minutes. Especially if I saw fit to serve time with him. (sometimes Mama would put us both in time out.)

dxs's avatar

It doesn’t sound very productive to me. Children should understand why the parents are upset at them and why what they did was wrong. I’m not a parent, but whenever I was punished in arbitrary ways like this, it only made things worse.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I wouldn’t be adverse to physical labor as punishment, but it should be productive. Bogus work is going to just piss me off more.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think it would engender frustration and an aversion to menial work. I think it would just make them angry.

hominid's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central: “To punish an unruly child…”

Stop. Just stop.

Megan64's avatar

Sounds pretty ridiculous to me.

johnpowell's avatar

You could just take away their phone and hurt them more.

Blondesjon's avatar

It broke Luke.

rojo's avatar

I don’t think it would be considered lumping since something productive was actually accomplished but once when you eldest was suspended from school for some stupid infraction, he spent the day loading brick waste from the ground, to a wheelbarrow and buckets then transporting it and dumping it into a trailer and then assisted in shoveling it off the trailer into the landfill. Hard physical labor instead of an asswhupin’. Not sure if it was any more effective but since I had to watch his smart-assed butt for the day, it kept him busy. It was several weeks before he got suspended again, but that could have been sheer luck on his part.

Haleth's avatar

What kind of lessons would that teach them- futility, hopelessness, pointlessness?

The idea of having them spend a couple hours or a day or more working on some project is a good start. I don’t have kids, but I have managed employees. Giving someone a long, pointless task shows that you care about being in charge more than their best interests. If they follow you out of that, it will only be out of fear of more punishment. They’ll resent you rather than respecting you, and grudgingly do the bare minimum that lets them avoid reprisals. You’ll lose the chance to teach guide them in positive ways.

Change is constant and the only way to be a good leader is to help the people you’re leading to be their best selves. You need to provide the right amount of discipline, praise, and learning opportunities, and it’s different for each person.

You wouldn’t believe how motivated people become when you give them the right learning opportunities. Giving a kid a long project could work, but it has to be meaningful and have a sense of purpose behind it. That way, you can turn a punishment around. Instead of breaking their spirit, you can help them grow.

flip86's avatar

Would writing lines be considered lumping? My foster parents used to make me write the same sentence 500 to 1000 times. It was terrible. It never taught me anything, and only made me resent them. They’d make me copy definitions from the dictionary too. They’d give me a list of 20 words and I’d have to copy each definition word for word.

Never would I put my daughter through that. It was cruel.

stanleybmanly's avatar

It isn’t necessarily abuse, but useful work would make much better sense as an object lesson. Make the kid clean his room or clean up the garage.

livelaughlove21's avatar

I’d rather them do the dishes.

Dutchess_III's avatar

One of Rick’s brothers came stumbling in drunk, early, early one Sunday morning. Dad let him sleep for couple of hours then got him up and out, setting fence posts for the rest of the day. It was hot and it like to have kilt the boy!

@stanleybmanly and @livelaughlove21…. I don’t know about having them do every day chores as some sort of “punishment.” They have to clean their rooms and help out with house work anyway, don’t they?

KNOWITALL's avatar

I don’t see it as abuse, actually it’s fairly common here. Picking up rocks or sticks for your family’s properties is a common one (or doing farm chores, or mowing, etc…) I also cut weeds with scissors once, but honestly I thought it was kind of fun, and it probably helped my work ethic more than anything (which is also very common here with farm kids who work young.)

It probably depends on the child and the infraction. Creating anger & frustration is not the point, it’s giving repercussions for poor behavior so if you’re not rewarding a child, punishing them via lumping probably is not the learning experience it’s meant to be.

Dutchess_III's avatar

But you were doing things that had to be done @KNOWITALL. It’s not like they made you pick up rocks and then, 30 minutes later, put them back where you found them.

I still don’t think that having them do everyday chores, which they should be doing any way, is any kind of deterrent.

longgone's avatar

Oh, great. Apparently, it is okay to be a bully if you also happen to be a parent.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@Dutchess_III Indeed. I don’t have kids. How about dish duty every night for a month. Ahh, I don’t care if they think of chores as punishment after that – it would be worth it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@livelaughlove21 And…after that they never have to do the dishes again? My kids did chores everyday before I got home from work. They alternated weeks. One week one kid had the kitchen and dining room, and the other had the living room and bathroom. That went on for years. It wasn’t punishment. It was sharing the house hold duties in a single parent family.

@longgone I seriously see your point. However, bullies do what they do just to do it, because they get some sort of satisfaction from it. In the case of “lumping” supposedly there is supposed to be some sort of lesson for the child. I don’t think it’s appropriate because it’s so useless. They can’t even look back and get satisfaction for working so hard. That seems awfully close to bullying to me.

However, a lot of parenting could be considered “bullying” if one chose to look at it like that. Any time you make your kid do something they don’t want to do, it could be considered bullying.

longgone's avatar

^ I do consider a lot of what is considered “parenting” bullying – corporal punishment, menial tasks, verbal abuse…all great ways to blow off steam.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Anytime you discipline a child with the sole purpose of blowing off your own steam, it’s abusive.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Dutchess_III GA. That’s one really good yardstick to decide if it’s abuse or not.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Thanks. Yeah. That’s why when I was REALLY MAD I’d put myself in timeout for at least 15 minutes before I handed out any consequences.

longgone's avatar

@Dutchess_III I agree. I don’t think children need to be “disciplined” at all, but that’s a different discussion.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Dutchess There is plenty of real work to do on rural properties that fun time is going fishing or riding bikes, etc… No one wants to pick up rocks and sticks. As punishment, I assure you it works for many of us and I honestly can’t remember my grandparents ever hitting or spanking me my entire life, but they taught me a lot regardless.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Right. That’s cool. As long as it isn’t useless work. “Lumping” is useless and self defeating. How would you have felt if they told you to pick up the rocks and sticks, and then, 30 minutes later, told you to put them all back? And why are you a jellyfish??

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Dutchess On our property, trust me, picking up sticks that would be replaced with more sticks in two days is useless…lol The jobs themselves weren’t the point, it was a non-violent exercise in discipline, hard work and obedience.

Eh, something different I guess, I don’t think I ever used any of those since I started here. Funzies.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@KNOWITALL listen to me! What would you have thought if they made you pick up all of the sticks and rocks and then instructed you to put them all back?

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Dutchess_III I would have done it and thought in future I’d listen to what I was told to do to avoid this whole thing. I’M LISTENING!! :)

What I never understood is how people who didn’t discipline their kids and allowed poor behavior to go unchecked, always seem so bewildered when those kids end up being bad adults. If it isn’t taught while young, obedience, then how do they learn rules and to respect authority in school or with law enforcement or the IRS? Parents are supposed to be teachers, not just providers of money or roofs and food.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@Dutchess_III Uh, no, they just don’t do them nearly as often.

Darth_Algar's avatar


I guess mowing the grass is pointless as well when it’ll just grow back in a few days.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Darth_Algar I’m the weirdo that loves mowing but yeah, I guess…lol

turtlesandbox's avatar

Mowing the grass isn’t pointless. Tall grass attracts pests and critters. just sayin

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@johnpowell You could just take away their phone and hurt them more.
If there were no phone, computer, driving privileges, etc. to use as a “stick”, or they just did not care for them, then what?

@Haleth If they follow you out of that, it will only be out of fear of more punishment. They’ll resent you rather than respecting you, and grudgingly do the bare minimum that lets them avoid reprisals.
Curious, if you had the child sit in a corner for a set amount of time in which nothing was accomplished, what would they learn different? Also if a ”time out” did not leave them with any fear of the punishment, how would that work better or gain the parent or teacher more respect? Just asking…..

@flip86 Never would I put my daughter through that. It was cruel.
What way would you use to (A) show the severity of their actions, (B) be repugnant enough to them to avoid said Boorish action in the future, and© give them a respect for you and your rules?

snowberry's avatar

Not really “lumping” as you call it, but we used to live in a house with wood heat. The insulation was almost non-existent, and the only room in the house that got warm was the room with the wood stove. I told the kids that if they couldn’t get along, they’d have to hang out outside or in a cold room until they figured out how to behave. It was, by far the most effective discipline tool ever!

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