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Recently stopped spanking, need some help/ideas

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I have an extremely fantastic intelligent 3 year old. 2 was not so bad. We had no terrible 2's here. 3, though, has been a nightmare. 45 minute tantrums over mechanical pony rides outside of the grocery store, sitting in the middle of the parking lot and me not able to get her to move (I have an 11 month old, so I couldn't pick up the 3 year old). I also have bi-polar disorder and over the years have chosen against meds after they have repeatedly not worked for me. So parenting can be a bit of a challenge for me.

My DP and I were abused/spanked/beaten as children. So we have used spanking because it is what we know. Recently, I have come to a point of clarity that it isnt working and I hate it and so does he. We know its wrong and how it made us feel and we do not want to implement it with our youngest either.

I need some good book recommendations to learn about more effective methods of discipline when necessary. Things like brushing her teeth, eating her meals, picking up her toys and listening to me when necessary, like "please be quiet, A, your baby sister is napping". Sometimes she listens other times it's tantrum central. I understand she is her own person, and I try to let her make choices like what she will wear, what DVD to watch, what food she wants (within reason). But brushing your teeth is not negotiable and sometimes (ok alot of times) she is just so resistant. any advice welcome!
post #2 of 11
First, kudos to you and your DP for choosing not to share the legacy of corporal punishment with your child.

Okay, books. I love 123 Magic. However, it doesn't work great with my son. I just finished Parenting With Love and Logic. Two things about this book... the author is very controversial and secondly, well, I just didn't agree with every scenario he offered (sending children to bed without eating, giving away pets if they aren't cared for).

There is no one book that will do everything so just take everything you read with a grain of salt. Take from it what you feel your child will respond well to and leave the rest behind.
post #3 of 11
What really helped me were several things.

Alfie Kohn's dvd "unconditional parenting." the speech he gives is great and can inspire quickly on those days you really need it.

The books "How to talk so kids can learn." This one is quick and easy. and "Raising your spirited Child" (this one helped me see a different way at looking at my children who are not spirited, but just different from me.)


I really had to learn to say "yes." instead of saying "no." and also had to stop stressing about what other people thought of my parenting. I'd get so upset if my daughter had a tantrum in public...Once I finally made it about her and not me, it helped so much. A public temper tantrum meant that I'd stop whatever, hug her and just sit and wait for her to feel better. I got a lot of stares, but I didn't give that apologetic smile, I just ignored and continued comforting my daughter. Little things like that really help change your parenting.

Also, making sure the kids are comfortable (clothes fit well, not sleepy or hungry, not too bored, etc.) that helped.
Good luck. It can feel like a pointless journey at times, but it's worth it.
post #4 of 11
A book I would highly recommend is The Whole Parent: How To Become A Terrific Parent Even If You Didn't Have One by Debra Wesselmann. I was not physically abused by a parent, but emotionally abused, and this book has helped a lot with learning how to break the cycle.

I am also now reading Playful Parenting by Lawrence J. Cohen, and I find it has some great ideas.
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the suggestions!

We really need to do more hugging in this house. I have a hard time with my oldest. We had a really rough start and my mother has had her a lot and well, I have lost a lot of credit as the mom. My youngest is so different, in every way, personality and all, so I am learning to fall in love with my oldest again through the love I feel for my younger one. Maybe that sounds dumb, but it makes sense to me somehow.

I NEVER bonded with my oldest as a baby. Bonding is happening very slowly with her. I still struggle. DP is there to pick up my slack, thank god. A really loving daddy. Reassuring and sweet.

Anyway. I guess its a work that is so worth the outcome in the end.
post #6 of 11
My favorite parenting book, which is the only one that I've found that does not promise "magic" solutions, "well-behaved" toddlers, or anything else that is ultimately unrealistic, is Adventures in Gentle Discipline.

It has tons and tons and tons of examples of what different people do.

It does not have one right answer, except that loving does not involve physical coerscion.

It's accepting of you as a parent.

It does not make parenting into an ideological journey, so it's not "my way or the highway". It does not require you to believe a whole lot about anything related to psychology. You just have to be committed to being gentle to yourself and your kids.

You can open any page and there will be encouragement for you.

There are two whole chapters on what to do if you get off track. For me, that is huge. It admits that it's not going to be all, "Just do this and it will all go swimmingly from now on." Since you were spanked as a child and were in the habit of spanking, I think you may find that very useful. (I wasn't spanked and I do, and I find it SO REASSURING that this great gentle mom knew that we needed it... it indicates that she knows how hard it is. I think Alfie Kohn has one kid, possibly two?)

Other books that are useful are How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, and How to Listen So Kids Will Talk. 1, 2, 3 Magic is okay too. Beware: a lot of self-help books come with an authoritative tone and a promise of success. I personally find that discouraging when their formulae are just not working for us at that moment.
post #7 of 11
I second Playful Parenting for this age, it gives you ideas on how to take the tension out of a situation. FWIW 3 was worse for all my kids than 2
post #8 of 11
WTG for choosing not to spank. I was beaten as a child and it WAS a daily struggle for me to not spank/beat my kids. It has gotten much better over time, with practice. A book that really helped me was Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline by Becky Bailey. It made me look at thinks differently and it helped me to stop saying no so much and create unnecessary struggles.
post #9 of 11
I also found Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Kurcinka very useful. The book helps you identify your DCs temperament traits then helps you avoid and deal with behaviors based on your child's temperament. Kids, Parents and Power Struggles by the same author is also very good. The book The Science of Parenting by Margot Sunderland helps you understand your child and how your parenting effects their neurological development. The book has some very practical discipline strategies and goes into the causes of misbehavior.
post #10 of 11
Have you even seen, "How to Talk so Kids will listen and Listen so Kids will talk"? It's a great book. And "Respectful Parents, Respectful Kids" is sooo good. It guides parents in how to cultivate cooperation and respect in their families. It's easy to read, clear - cuts straight to the heart of things.
post #11 of 11
You have gotten lots of book suggestions. But with the tooth brushing, give choices "You want to use blue brush or green brush, want me to brush them or you to brush them, want to brush first or take a shower first" or make enforceable statement "Little girls that protect their teeth get to pick out breakfast" or "Little girls that brush their teeth the first time, get to pick out two books at bedtime." I am a big fan of Love and Logic.
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