I’ve got a 10 year old son in 5th grade. He’s a nice good kid, but he’s gotten into this habit of joking around and he seems to have learned how to get out of work, and gotten a bit disruptive in class.

He’s got an autism spectrum diagnosis and an IEP with the schools so he gets extra help, his teacher this year actually used to be the school social worker so she knows him. She’s been good for providing daily feedback.

I floated an idea with her and she said she would have to think about it, but I suggested maybe if he’s not behaving he should get push-ups.

Last weekend while I was using the bathroom he pushed his sister, so for my first time I had him do 10 pushups. I had spoken with him that if he was sent to military school that would be what would happen, and I was thinking about doing that myself.

I think it’s good for exercise and focus. Why isn’t this something that’s already being done in a broader sense? It seems to me that since the paddle has gone away, and writing sentences on the chalk board kind of seems to have disappeared along with chalk boards, there’s got to be something like this to fill in the discipline void.

Exercise should not be taught as punishment. Otherwise, I am afraid people will shy away from it.

Seems to work in the military.

I know some veterans who are in fantastic shape. Others look like they eat at McDonalds for all three meals. In other words, I am not sure adults are as impressionable as children.

You see… when I first had this idea I had this kind of doubt, so I did some searching around. It’s very important how it’s handled. Let me explain:

There’s a difference between discipline and punishment. My son’s trouble is that he has a lack of focus in school and that he’s seeking attention from his peers and being a goofball to get it.

Now he’s a beanpole that’s wearing adult size shoes before he’s even started sprouting up from puberty. He’s able to do situps and meet pushup requirements according to his report cards, but when I gave him 10 pushups what I saw is that he just isn’t that good at them, if I held him to military standards on form he couldn’t do it. The boy could really use a little strength training, and he might get that from being given pushups.

But the point of giving pushups as discipline is not just as some punishment, it’s redirection and done properly he should be using it to clear his mind and refocus.

The boy knows right from wrong, he knows better than to goof around and he knows he’s supposed to listen to his teacher.

The other things that have been tried aren’t working because they don’t really have impact or change the issue that’s the root cause, a lack of focus. He’s been sent to the office, the teacher has e-mailed home, she’s been trying this program where he gets scored based on whether or not he meets certain objectives then she reports daily, and we’re supposed to limit his time with electronics based on how he did. I think the last approach just is too far remote from the incident for the boy to make a connection, he’s told his teacher he doesn’t believe there’s any real consequences.

Don’t get me wrong, I want to hear opposing views and I’m open to alternatives, but this is where I’ve arrived after giving it some thought and the status quo needs to change.

I don’t knowhow it might impact your child specifically, but I had a wrestling coach who also taught French class, this was in grade 8. He would literally throw a utility ball at your head if you were talking out of turn (shows you how long ago it was hah). Although it wouldn’t hurt too much it would get a laugh out of the class.

Anyways, he would make students do 10-20 push ups in class on a whim, have the rest of the class count out loud if he didn’t trust you. As it were, I would sometimes be apt to chat more than my fair share so I had to do a hundred or so of those over a couple of years.

It certainly didn’t affect my love for exercise, but it did give you a quick burn so that you wouldn’t do it again (partly out of the humiliation and not wanting to let down my coach). I don’t see a problem with it, and it does give him a moment to take a mental break and think about why he has to do them. I’m no social worker, but it seemed to work for me, as a kid who had a great deal of energy.

Yeah, totally part of my thought if it was to be part of discipline for class was that on a first offense maybe he does his pushups in the hallway, then if he has a second offense it’s in class.

I don’t know if a teacher can credibly pull something like this off in the middle of a school year though, and one of the things is I’m a little unease about the after school electronics consequence because it’s kind of a consequence during my time for something that happens during the teacher’s time, thus I’ve approached this more as a suggestion than something I’m going to expect from his teacher.

As far as his teacher having been his social worker, I’m tending to take that as meaning she has liberal political leanings. Regrettably it’s not just stereotype, this observation is also reflected in the environmental consciousness undertones of most of the projects.

I don’t see a problem with it. I had a teacher that used push-ups as punishment except they were in sets of 20. First time was 20, second time was 40, so on and so forth. She did not give out warnings either. If she had to say your name its was push up time.

I have mixed feelings on using physical exercise as punishment–especially in school. In some cases, it could work. In others, not so much.

I had a friend whose daughter was not turning in her homework even though he knew that she did it. He found out that the math teacher was making her run as punishment. As it turned out, another student was taking her homework, putting their name on it, and threatening her if she told anyone. Instead of getting the root of this new shift in behavior and immediately contacting the parent, the teacher took it upon themselves to place guilt on the student and make them run. The girl chose to run due to the threats from the other student. The father got that changed but neither the teacher nor the other student were ever punished.

I would say that if you and the teacher are in agreement about the push ups and they actually work, then things are probably OK. However, it all depends upon the trust that exists. However, with that teacher having been a social worker, I would want to find out why she is no longer a social worker and if she has rejected much of the crap that she had to swim in when she was a social worker. If so, then she is probably worth a good parent-teacher partnership on this issue with your son.

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I have known some social workers in my day and I hold them in the same regard as I do psychologists and psychiatrists. Not worth a hill of beans.

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I think a kid will mostly learn punishment in the classroom setting, I think this is why involvement in sports or other extra curriculum activities can be important.