My husband and I have been debating whether it’s okay to take away a kid’s lovey when all other warnings fail. As you can imagine from my previous posts, I fall squarely in the “no you can’t” camp. The lovey is a kid’s coping mechanism, that transitional object that is the half-step between you, the parent-as-salve, and the child’s ability to self-soothe. I believe in this to the core. But, while most madly in love with his dog blankie with a head (pictured in the far right corner of this picture), he sleeps with a menagerie of furry friends, as you can see here. He loves them all. If you subscribe to taking things away that matter when all else fails, where does one draw the line in terms of which “transitional objects” that one can reasonably take away? I’d love to hear your thoughts.


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Comments (9)


  1. Posted by: Judith

    What’s to debate? I don’t believe in this kind of punishment for children and consider it very cruel to say the least. Why take something away from your child that is crucial for them to feel safe?

  2. Posted by: Pilar

    The question isn’t the main lovey, that is not up for debate. it’s the other stuffed animals. Just as one takes away screen time or lego time as a means of punishment, which is in my opinion, not cruel, what are the parameters for other stuffed friends, which are not the lovey per se, but whose role is a bit blurry.

  3. Posted by: Jenny

    Why is there a need to take the other animals away? What would be the reason for that? I have a pretty lax attitude about that stuff, I figure if my daughter wants to take her entourage of stuffed animals to college, it’s fine with me.

  4. Posted by: Judith

    My children are still young (4 and 2.5) so that might be the reason, but I never punish them by taking things away from them, be it screen time or stuffed animals or anything else. They simply don’t misbehave (yet?) in a way that warrants that kind of action.

  5. Posted by: Tricia

    We did take things away as punishment — screen time, toys — but we never took away precious lovies, nuks, or any other comforts. And we never took away evening books and snuggles as punishment. That was so important to the kids and to us that it would have felt like withholding hugs and kisses as punishment. And we would never do that.

  6. Posted by: Dee

    I think that goes too far as punishment. Also when the parents consider something like that it seems to me that they lost control of the situation completely….

  7. Posted by: christian

    I’m a much bigger fan of natural consequences then punitive ones. Although taking something away makes the adult feel like they are in control, it rarely does much for the kid but make them hurt and resentful. A natural consequence, on the other hand, helps mimick real-life decion making.

  8. Posted by: Deb

    Hi Pilar — this is a good question. And I’m a little (a lot) frightened by the tenor of some of the comments… I don’t think you’re a horrible person, or have “lost control” just because you’ve considered this. In our house, the “rules” are straightforward — we’re a team, and each member enjoys privileges and has responsibilities (which include behaving like nice people, cooperating, doing chores, etc). If you misbehave, you get a warning, and then you lose a privilege… and we try to make it kind of go together. So hit your friend with your stuffie, maybe lose that stuffie for a day… “forget” to come home when you said you would, and you can’t call on your friends for a day or two. Sass your mom (and yes, we use the word “sass” in our house), and maybe there’s no TV that night. My son totally gets this. It’s your job to turn your kids into nice adults that other people like having around — and that means there’s gonna be discipline at some point. So yes, while I’d never take away a main lovey (not even for a day), I think if it’s gonna work for you — i.e., if it helps get across the idea of action and consequence — then I don’t think your child is going to be irrevocably harmed by not being able to sleep with Mr. Fluffy Bear #4 for an evening or two.

  9. I agree with Deb. I think maybe the other posters have children that are too young for this question. Redirection, natural consequences only goes so far once your child is older. For our 12 year old, our consequence is loss of computer time, which to him is HORRIBLE! He says I’m being a mean mom, but I’d rather him think I’m mean now, and learn to be civilized (not hit, be honest, not “sass”), and not have to learn these life lessons with much bigger consequences when he is a teen or older. We limit computer time to a set amount each day, so taking it away is meaningful. Maybe there is something you could take away (TV, legos, computer) that doesn’t help him sleep? In my house it’s hard enough to get everyone to sleep on time, I wouldn’t want to make that any more difficult! :)
    I think the fact that you are taking the time to think about this means that you are a caring and good mom!

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