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Workshop #8: Discipline - Page 2

post #21 of 64
Originally Posted by taramommy View Post
In response to the question about whether the first three years are the hardest, I have to chime in that I definitely feel that it depends on the child.

I think how hard parenting is tends to go in phases. There are easy times, there are hard times. Or, if you're parenting my oldest, there are hard times and harder times. My oldest, who has been very challenging to parent, did not become challenging to parent until after she turned 3. And it was worse when she was 4 and older. But at the same time, how hard it's been to parent her has depended a lot on her skills, whatever developmental phases she's been going through, circumstances, my own state of mind/skills/approach...

Originally Posted by taramommy View Post
Now at seven, I don't know what to do with the dear child! She climbs things at the grocery store, gets "mouthy" and morose with me and her father when asked to perform simple tasks like put her laundry in her hamper, and acts aggressively toward her five-year-old sister. I'm not sure what we've done wrong, to be honest. I find applying GD with her to be a huge challenge, because I feel that behavior and speech that is disrespectful to others (including but not limited to her father and me) and infringes on their rights cannot be tolerated, and simple discussion of this fact doesn't seem to work. I find myself creating consequences, such as time-outs, because I don't know of another alternative. And yet, it doesn't seem to be working, so a return to GD principles seems in order. I hope it doesn't seem like I am over-reacting; the problem really has gotten to be what I consider extreme. Any suggestions?? I have a hunch that my own exasperation and frustration show too much and contribute to the problem, but my husband doesn't usually have this issue, and she responds the same way to him. Incidentally, she attends public school and is a model student - her teachers love her and we have not had a report of a single incident of problem behavior in her three years of public school and two years of Montessori preschool. She saves her frustrations for home, which I guess is a fairly good thing.
I would look at what the reason(s) behind the behavior might be. I find that when my oldest is acting out, there's a reason. Maybe there's some uncomfortable feelings she having trouble identifying and articulating. Maybe there's some problem at school, or she's had a bad day. Could be she's just all done at the end of the school day and can't hold it together when she gets home, unless she goes straight to snack or some relaxing (solitary) activity. Anxiety, tension, specific worries, overtiredness (particularly as a pattern), allergies or illness, boredom/not busy enough, too busy and not enough time to relax, an unpredictable schedule (my dd needs a predictable schedule) etc. can all lead to difficult behavior. And even at age 9, addressing the behavior alone isn't going to work-we really do have to address the reason behind it as well. We've found that working with dd (now 9) on better identifying emotions and physical states, learning ways of coping with and regulating emotions, better communication skills, better problem-solving skills--all this helps her improve her behavior. And the more we include her in that process--asking her what's up, listening long and well enough to really get what's going on, being willing to guess when she can't say what's up, sharing our concerns with her, brainstorming solutions with her (inviting her to come up with ideas herself and being willing to try them if they're realistic and address our concerns)--the better (the less she acts out and the less defiant she is). I often recommend The Explosive Child because I find the approach outlined in it to be so very helpful--even for kids who are not "explosive" or "easily frustrated and chronically inflexible."

So about disrespectful speech-I've found that simply stating "please do not speak to me like that. I hear that you're upset, are you angry about [x]?" helps. Not that it curbs disrespectful speech immediately, but it tends to keep her more calm, it helps her be more willing to listen, and it has helped her learn (over time) better ways of communicating. I find it helps to decide not to take it personally-it helps me stay calm and model the behavior I'd like to see from her. And when she is getting to the point where she's very upset and her behavior is hurtful or harmful to others/the environment, we do enforce cool-down time. Taking a break to cool down is a very important coping skill, and one can't resolve a problem when their emotions are running too high. Grabbing from your sister? You need a break from each other. Yelling at each other? Time to chill out for a bit. When you're calm you can try again. Broke something of your sibling's? You need to think about how to fix it or replace it, make a plan, and do it.
post #22 of 64
I'm really struggling right now, and I'm here to learn and get some motivation. Peggy's list of ineffective communication methods really woke me up to how far off track I have gotten. I don't have a lot of discipline goals for my children, but rather for myself. Having my behavior match my parenting philosophy is my biggest challenge. Thanks to everyone who is participating. Hoping to learn a lot.
post #23 of 64
Originally Posted by Think of Winter View Post
Having my behavior match my parenting philosophy is my biggest challenge. Thanks to everyone who is participating. Hoping to learn a lot.

I think this is a very common struggle.
post #24 of 64
Originally Posted by Think of Winter View Post
I'm really struggling right now, and I'm here to learn and get some motivation. Peggy's list of ineffective communication methods really woke me up to how far off track I have gotten. I don't have a lot of discipline goals for my children, but rather for myself. Having my behavior match my parenting philosophy is my biggest challenge. Thanks to everyone who is participating. Hoping to learn a lot.
I can definitely relate, and I think I need to print out that list and post it on my fridge to help with my morale at times.

I have been having a really hard time lately as well. What's weird is that two or three weeks ago, I was talking to my good friend and telling her how easy things have gotten since I bought and read (most of) Connection Parenting. What an inspiring book....seriously, immediately after I started reading it it suddenly felt like I was coasting through life with ds, who just turned 2 and a half this month. I'm not sure what has changed since then -perhaps just my attitude, though I'm not sure why-but things have been TERRIBLE lately. I've yelled, coerced, and snatched things out of his hands - something that I see my neighbor do to her three year old on a regular basis, and couldn't understand how she could be like that towards her child.

Two of my main issues, I think, is that I feel trapped in the house because we only have one working car which dh takes to work(and it's been pretty cold to be outside for any length of time), and because we spend 90% of our time at home, ds seems to have permanently attached himself to my breast. And it's made me realize that I am getting kinda tired of nursing... I don't necessarily want to wean, just slow down and have 3 or 4 set nursing times a day, but oh, we are so far off from that.

So those two things combined, I think have just made me short-tempered and not my usual playful self. I've been getting so irritated with him, just over little things, but they are things that I constantly have to negotiate with him, every. single. day. I just kinda feel like, certain things are part of our routine, have been for a while, so he should be used to it by now. So I shouldn't have to chase after him with a toothbrush and have to wait, every single night, for him to finish what he is doing, at his leisure, for me to brush his teeth. Seriously. I've tried to make a game of it and search for purple dinosaurs in his mouth, which works for a short time usually, and most of the time I just sing the ABC's or something while I brush. But it's just frustrating that it's like Mission Impossible to get the toothbrush in his mouth to begin with, every night. And it's started becoming that way for his bath, for changing clothes -- it seems like he has been resisting everything lately: I guess he's been practicing his 'stalling' skills.

Sorry this is so long, I just needed to let this out since I've been feeling kinda down about it lately. I think the first thing I should do is Peggy's list on my fridge and read Connection Parenting again. And any input from you ladies is greatly appreciated in advance.
post #25 of 64
Originally Posted by Think of Winter View Post
I don't have a lot of discipline goals for my children, but rather for myself. Having my behavior match my parenting philosophy is my biggest challenge.
This is a very common struggle. You are most definitely not alone in this.

I think self-care is very important, and so easy to overlook as we focus on caring for our kids. I know that the better I'm taking care of myself, the better able I am to be the parent I strive to be. And, too, it's easy to have expectations for myself that are somewhat (or even very) unrealistic, and to focus too much on how I'm falling short. It helps to adjust my expectations to be more realistic, and it has helped to learn to forgive myself and move on when my behavior doesn't match my goals. And it helps to make sure I'm not overlooking/ignoring the ways in which I am meeting my goals, the ways in which what I'm doing as a parent are working and are positive, so that I can build on that.

And, of course, as someone else here once said, all relationships do need some joy. It's so important to take time to connect and find ways to have fun and enjoy each other (especially when times are difficult). Typing this it occurs to me that of all the things people have told me about parenting, kids, and *how* to parent, no one irl has ever said "you need to have fun, too, you know." But you do, even if sometimes you have to try really hard to find or make the joy and the fun.
post #26 of 64
Magella, thank you so much for sharing your experience. You know, a lot of what you are saying are things that I do know, but sometimes lose sight of. I love the phrasing you use when your daughter's words or tone become disrespectful. I'm going to try to remember to use that!!

I also love the idea Mama Pisces mentioned to post some of the ideas for alternatives to punishment and ineffective communication methods on her fridge. I'm going to do that too, and highlight some of the ones I am most guilty of!

Also, thank you for the book recommendations. I have read Raising Your Spirited Child and like many of the thoughts therein, and I am currently reading the Sears' The Successful Child. I will look into the books mentioned in this workshop!

On the subject of authoritativeness... I once read the difference between an "authoritative" parent vs. an "authoritarian" parent. As a matter of fact, to quote the article, "'Parents who are not harshly punitive, but who set firm boundaries and stick to them, are significantly more likely to produce children who are high achievers and who get along well with others,' states U.S.News & World Report. Such parents are termed 'authoritative' ('do it for this reason'), as opposed to 'authoritarian' ('do it because I’m the parent') and 'permissive' ('do whatever you want'), disciplinary styles that produced children with behavioral traits that were markedly different. The studies, which spanned two decades, showed that authoritative parents were more likely to have children who were stable, contented, self-controlled, and self-reliant, and who were less likely to experiment with drugs. 'Authoritative parents are not bossy.'” I think we all think it's important to set boundaries and teach our children the reasons behind behaviors we expect, right? Thoughts on these statements?
post #27 of 64
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
But of course I wasn't going to let my child run to her death. And for us, protecting her safety often entailed "coercion." When I first started researching CL, I thought there was a "no coercion" rule or something. But I've since learned that there is no such "rule."

The focus isn't on "not coercing" -- but rather on what we do want to do: listen, respond, help, support.
In that light, is consensual living just another term for gentle discipline? Or how do the terms differ?
post #28 of 64
Originally Posted by boigrrrlwonder View Post
In that light, is consensual living just another term for gentle discipline? Or how do the terms differ?
You can read about Consensual Living at the website: http://www.consensual-living.com/

post #29 of 64
Originally Posted by boigrrrlwonder View Post
In that light, is consensual living just another term for gentle discipline? Or how do the terms differ?
Consensual Living is on the Gentle Discipline spectrum -- but not everyone who practices Gentle Discipline, practices Consensual Living. I recommend going to the Consensual Living website which Pat provided the link to. Pat is also a wonderful resource herself!
post #30 of 64
I am so excited about this thread! I have a daughter, 8mo, and I have books on attachment parenting but I know it's going to be hard. I (and my husband I think) was raised in a physically and mentally abusive home and have never really seen good parenting. I need all the info and support I can get - I have to figure out how to do this right the first time. My children will not be raised the way I was.
post #31 of 64
In my home I'm the leader of the family. I'm not the boss but I set the direction our family heads in, keeps everyone on schedule for all their stuff and provides the balance and experience to help my children navigate the earth.

I don't in anyway consider myself authoritarian but yeah, I'm likely authoritative based on the fact that in this home, I'm the authority(the most knowledgeable) about a lot of things.

My dh is my co-leader.

My children have a say in how things go in their life. It's a balancing act and sometimes things slip through and someone is NOT happy with how things went but generally we work things out without resentment.

I don't use the terms consentual living, gentle discipline in my definition of my family but we do live consentually and gently. I've found so many good things in different places and I refuse to subscribe to one methodology of one expert or another but take that which rings true for me and marry them all into our philosophy for our family.
post #32 of 64
Well, I just perused the CL site posted above (didn't read it all thoroughly, but did read the introduction page) and maybe I'm wrong in stating above that we all feel that there should be boundaries. I realize that I may have been overgeneralizing and that perhaps that's not a principle embraced by those who practice CL. I am new to the overall concept.

I agree with the idea that everyone's needs are important no matter who they are or what their age and that ideally everyone's needs will be met all the time. (No situation or family is going to be 100% ideal, though.) Interesting concepts on that site. I don't agree with all of it, but it's definitely food for thought. Thank you for sharing it.
post #33 of 64
Hi Everyone!

Joining in. I'm a big advocate of gentle discipline and have written a few things that seem like a good fit with this chapter:

My Discipline Spectrum

Why Punishment Doesn't Work

Short-Term Versus Long-Term Parenting

When All Else Fails

Those are just a few examples of my posts and articles on discipline. It is an interesting and challenging topic!

The thing I would be interested in talking about with all of you is how to teach children to be considerate of others and being cooperative. Certainly modelling it is the first step and I expect 2 year olds to think that the world revolves around them, but I had hoped my 4 year old would be more considerate of others at this point in his life.

He is very loving and generous, but he doesn't understand and doesn't seem to want to understand the negative impact that his actions sometimes have on others. Sometimes it is as serious as not understanding that his sister can get seriously hurt if he shoves her off the bed. Other times it is the less serious but ever reoccurring situation of not realizing that his lack of cooperation in getting ready to leave the house in the morning makes me late for work.

I try to use playful parenting techniques to coax him to cooperate, which is a good stop gap a lot of the time, but it doesn't help me achieve the long term goal of teaching him to be considerate and cooperative with others.

Any ideas?
post #34 of 64
Originally Posted by AaronsMommy View Post
What I have learned lately is that when I have nothing else to do and am simple spending time with him, I have no problem being patient, redirecting, being playful, regardless of what undesired behavior he is displaying. Yet, it is when I am trying to actually accomplish something that I struggle with giving him the time he needs to make his own decisions and keeping my temper in check.
I completely agree with this! I am a mama to a 19 month old girl who is fun-loving, smart and hilarious most of the time; however, she is also extremely strong-willed. I am truly learning about GD from the ground up...grass-roots learning I guess. My family was "obey or else!" and DH is also very authoritarian but is learning along with me thankfully!

I'd say my biggest challenges are to stop saying "No" so much (even though I often say it in a funny way) and to stop yelling when I am pushed to my limit. My mom was a yeller and I don't want to go down that road. I remember how horrible it made me feel.

I can't wait to learn more from all of the other GD mamas!
post #35 of 64
post #36 of 64
I am excited to be a part of this workshop. One of the hardest things that I contend with on a daily basis is slowing down enough to ensure that I am disciplining my children without snapping at them. It seems like life moves so fast, but when I regulate my time, and make sure that I always have time to listen to them, and what they are trying to tell me through their actions, then disciplining seems to go smoothly. It is when life is so busy that we have to get to the next place or committment immediately, that is when I have the most trouble making sure that everyone feels like what they are trying to say and do is being understood.
post #37 of 64
My DD is almost 20 months...and I'm going through the same things. I'm really really trying to say no less often, and I'm trying to give her a "yes" environment so that there are less things that she cannot play with around. It's really hard though sometimes when DD is sooo strong willed. I grew up in a yelling/somewhat spanking household...and I really really want to figure out how to not be that person.

Something I have just recently done was ask my mother what things she would have done differently in regards to parenting my brother and I. She was with us on Thanksgiving and kept saying how wonderful I am to my daughter and how she wishes she would have done things differently. She even teared up thinking about it. So I emailed her and asked her to explain what she would have done differently and why so that maybe I can heal from my growing up experiences that weren't so positive.

I'm so grateful for all the information I've learned on mothering.com and am excited to keep on learning!
post #38 of 64
Shivaya Mama, I hear you on the time crunch issue. One of the roughest times in our household (and I've heard from a lot of people that it's the same way in theirs) is in the morning before school (my dd attends public school). I definitely find that when I do things ahead of time (lay out clothes, make lunch) so that I am less stressed, the morning goes better.

And Tara, from one Tara to another ... Be so very grateful that your mother can look back and see that things could have been done differently. Even though it wasn't ideal for you as a child, what a beautiful contribution toward healing that gives you. I had a similar upbringing, with yelling and spanking and also a LOT of inconsistency and confusion - never quite knowing what to expect from my parents - but my mother criticizes dh's and my parenting. She is an RN and has even stated several times that she thinks she would like to become a "parenting coach." It is a real exercise in self-control not to cough or roll my eyes.
post #39 of 64
Tara, you are so right how getting everything together can help so much to stay calm and connected to our children. After my first son was born, a girlfriend introduced me to the Fly Lady system. At first I thought it was a bit silly, but when I read further, I realized how amazing it could be. I have to say that it has helped tremendously. I at least get a head start on everything in my day (I am pretty sure that I lose focus at around lunch time, but I am trying ). I suppose that I was never prepared for how busy life gets with small children, and how much being busy can effect our ability to discipline consciously. That is the one thing, every morning before I get out of bed, that I really tell myself to focus on; Just to put my day together in a way that is good and healthy for everyone. What surprises me is what I have to cut out of my day to achieve that, and how I have to plan my week ahead to make sure that everything still gets done. I suppose that it is just a learning curve that we are always trying to stay ahead of.
post #40 of 64
Shivaya...I was wondering if you could elaborate on how you put your day together in a way that is good and healthy for everyone...and what exactly you cut out of your day in order to do so.

I'm fairly young, (23), and I didn't really have what I consider to be a good role model as far as gentle discipline and basically a house keeper. I am a SAHM and I also work PT....but I feel like I have to learn EVERYTHING about running a household and being a good mother on my own....any tips?

And Tara...you're right. It was so very refreshing to hear my mom discuss her faults and the things that didn't go very well during my childhood. I'm not quite sure how to deal with it exactly..but just hearing from her that she wishes some things would have been different helps!
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