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Does GD Breed Wild Children?

post #1 of 128
Thread Starter 

Preface- I only have an 8 mo so there's really not much GD going on at all yet. And I readily admit I'm a new mom who knows little about all this stuff. I was a 4th grade teacher for 7 years so I've got about 200 kids that I've "helped" raise but other than that, nope, nothing.

 

Okay, I recently read How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and How To Listen So Kids Will Talk and Unconditional Parenting. Then I wrote a blog post about it here. When I posted a link to my blog post on Facebook, I got mostly "yeah right, that doesn't work in real life" comments from moms. I don't want to seem naive and clueless but I kinda feel that way now. Even though all their comments were kind, it really was like they were all rolling their eyes at me and laughing. Or maybe that's just how I interpreted it! eyesroll.gif

 

So- What is your experience? Does GD REALLY work? When DH and I attempt to raise our son this way, will he turn in to a wild hooligan? Right now I'm obviously very much against spanking and really even time outs. But I've never needed to do either to my kid! Then on the other hand, I don't want to raise mindless drone who obeys everything I say or a kid I need to punish/bribe all day. 

 

I guess I just need some reassurance. Did your kids turn out respectful and well behaved? Is GD working for you? How do I NOT feel like I'm an innocent mama with my head in the clouds?!?!

 

Thanks:)

post #2 of 128

Not at all!! All my friends who use GD have the sweetest most laid-back kids, sure some people think their wild but that's because they're acting like normal kids and most adults nowadays have forgotten what that looks like.

 

That being said my kids are wild, but if I were to use non GD techniques it would be worse. Fortunately my 2 really spirited kiddo's respond very well to GD. And, we only use UP, time-in, and NVC here.

post #3 of 128
Yes, I think it does. When you know there very little consequence for your actions.. you tend to get away with what you can.

One of my friend's kids was being GD'ed and he could throw a tantrum and get his way for the most crazy things. My friend would claim she was just "listening to him or respecting him as a person" but it entailed her going to the supermarket at 5:45 p.m. because he wanted a certain dinner menu that night.

If my kids had thrown the same tantrum, I would have sent them to their room to calm down and then shown them the appropriate other dinner choices like a peanut butter sandwich or a bowl of cereal. Not even my hubby can alter the dinner menu that late in the day.
post #4 of 128

Not in my experience.  I think it depends on how you interpret GD and Alfie Kohn though.  Neither style says not to have rules, discipline, or boundaries.  Both approaches encourage being thoughtful of the rules, boundaries, and discipline that is used though.  Alfie Kohn just seems to encourage much deeper thought and writes in a way that seems to be meant to challenge our beliefs so we can reflect on them but even he talks about setting some limits and not engaging in repetitive debate when the answer won't change.  I think it is harder when kids are young and you are worried about them turning out badly, as they get older and you see that it really does work you will probably start to relax.  Even parents who spank are often hardest on the first and ease up a lot as the kids get older or they have more kids because they see what a little thing most kid stuff is.

post #5 of 128

I don't think that GD breeds wildness.  For us, GD has bred adventurous, confident, articulate, trusting, and fun children.  They also happen to be a little wild sometimes.

post #6 of 128
Some kids will be wild no matter how they are raised. Some kids will be mild no matter how they are raised.

I don't think GD makes kids wilder than they would be otherwise. I think the only kind of parenting that would make children less wild would be if children were literally afraid of their parents, they would be less wild when their parents were present. But generally I don't think we have as much control over our kids' temperaments as we'd like to think we have.
post #7 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by philomom View Post

Yes, I think it does. When you know there very little consequence for your actions.. you tend to get away with what you can.

One of my friend's kids was being GD'ed and he could throw a tantrum and get his way for the most crazy things. My friend would claim she was just "listening to him or respecting him as a person" but it entailed her going to the supermarket at 5:45 p.m. because he wanted a certain dinner menu that night.

If my kids had thrown the same tantrum, I would have sent them to their room to calm down and then shown them the appropriate other dinner choices like a peanut butter sandwich or a bowl of cereal. Not even my hubby can alter the dinner menu that late in the day.


Maybe I missed the boat somewhere, but I thought that some of the core tenents of GD (in addition to listening/respect) was setting boundaries as well as implementing consequences when those boundaries are breached.  I think perhaps your friend was cherry-picking certain aspects of GD but not setting boundaries.  To me, that is not GD, but no discipline at all.

 

OP, we have had a lot of success with GD.  It is not to say that our DD's personality is easy to deal with at times, but others have commented on how well-mannered and respectful she is of others.  She does have her wild moments (like any young child) but when she needs to step up to the plate, not just at home but in public, she's with the program, so to speak.  I have neighbors who utilize corporal punishment and all kinds of punitive responses on their kids on a daily basis.  Their kids don't understand boundaries though.  I have to laugh when I think about it, but my DH in a fit of frustration the other day (after said kids were running through our apartment going through drawers and creating a mess) said:  'those kids are bad seeds.'  I wouldn't go as far as saying something like that, but the general lack of respect that they have for others and the property of others is a little unnerving and living proof that the street runs both ways.
 

 

post #8 of 128

To me gd is not about letting my kids get away with whatever they want or respecting and responding to their every wish. That way I think they would be selfish and maybe wild too! We gd and I think my kids are pretty normal, a little wild sometimes too but respectful. I guess only time will tell!

post #9 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post

Some kids will be wild no matter how they are raised. Some kids will be mild no matter how they are raised.

I don't think GD makes kids wilder than they would be otherwise. I think the only kind of parenting that would make children less wild would be if children were literally afraid of their parents, they would be less wild when their parents were present. But generally I don't think we have as much control over our kids' temperaments as we'd like to think we have.


Yep. Especially when they're little.

 

When they get older (around 6-8?) it's a little different, because it somewhat switches from "discipline" to more "instilling values, character, and morals," and on that end, GD (if we just define it as "non violent, no screaming, treat your kid with kindness and empathy") probably makes them less wild (compared to hitting and screaming, etc.)

 

That said, I do think UP probably would have been really, really bad for my "spirited" kid. He really seems to need a more authoritative and strict style of parenting to not be in a permanently bad mood. My mellow kid is only 3 and a half, but I think the only thing that would "make" her anything besides cooperative and happy would be abuse and neglect?

post #10 of 128

In order for us (I am referring to my family) to be successful GD parents we decided on some non-negotiable rules. They aren't very many, and they resolve around being respectful and polite and non-violent.

 

 

Quote:
 One of my friend's kids was being GD'ed and he could throw a tantrum and get his way for the most crazy things.

 

And this is not respectful or polite, or I would argue even GD. It is taking the "easy" way out, even though it will lead to bigger and bigger problems down the road.

 

GD is not being permissive. I think of it as picking the battles most important to you, keeping the family rules simply and clear, having clear and fair consequences, and not being punitive.

post #11 of 128


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by oaktreemama View Post

In order for us (I am referring to my family) to be successful GD parents we decided on some non-negotiable rules. They aren't very many, and they resolve around being respectful and polite and non-violent.

 

 

 

And this is not respectful or polite, or I would argue even GD. It is taking the "easy" way out, even though it will lead to bigger and bigger problems down the road.

 

GD is not being permissive. I think of it as picking the battles most important to you, keeping the family rules simply and clear, having clear and fair consequences, and not being punitive.


How do you define "punitive?"

 

post #12 of 128

 

Quote:

 How do you define "punitive?"

 

Over the top punishment designed to get back at a child for wrong doing. It is punishment as payback for the wrong doing-making it so personal and hurtful. We avoid that type of punishment at all costs.

 

 

post #13 of 128

I can't speak for all kids, but I can speak for my own twin sons, who are almost 17 years old. They are polite, respectful, and have solid core values. In 1994 I had never heard of GD, but that's essentially what DH and I have done - treat our children with respect, set age-appropriate limits and enforce them with natural and logical consequences, and above all, be consistent.

 

That said, our kids have laways been good rule-followers. I realize that they have easy-going personalities, and would probably be pretty good kids no matter how they were raised - but I doubt we would have the same kind of relationship. The worst time we ever had with our sons was in 3rd grade, when J had a teacher who used punitive discipline. J didn't know how to deal with it, and responded by acting out, and not wanting to go to school at all. It took 2 years of really wonderful teachers to get him back to where he had been in school.

 

GD definitely does NOT mean no discipline - remember, discipline means "to teach", and all kids require teaching. I consider myself to be a pretty hard-nose parent, but that doesn't mean my sons were subjected to physical punishment or time-outs. It means that I made rules that were fair, and I enforced them consistently. In our house, the rules applied to the parents as well as the kids (if they can't eat popsicles on the white couch, neither can DH).

 

A simple example: bed time. The boys would periodically ask for a later bed time - after all, their freinds got to stay up later! I told them that bed time was determined by how much sleep they needed, and they had a time schedule in the morning that couldn't be changed (school). I said if they could consistently wake up on their own before the alarm went off, we would know that they were getting enough sleep, and they could stay up later. But if they needed an alarm (or Mom) to wake them up every day, they either were getting the right amount of sleep or not enough. We had the conversation several times over a few years, but eventually it stuck - and now, as high school juniors, my sons go to bed at a decent time every night (sometimes before I do).

 

I read "How to Talk..." when my sons were about 10, and I was already doing just about everything in the book. Another one I like is "Kids Are Worth It" by Barbara Coloroso.

post #14 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by oaktreemama View Post

 

 

Over the top punishment designed to get back at a child for wrong doing. It is punishment as payback for the wrong doing-making it so personal and hurtful. We avoid that type of punishment at all costs.

 

 



Aahh...gotcha. Some people define punitive in such a way that any use of time out qualifies, so I was just wondering.

 

post #15 of 128

Wait, it the argument here that being kind and respectful to people while trying to understand their point of view and stating your own boundaries usually results in disrespectful behavior? When I'm kind and honest with adults, I tend to get honesty and kindness in return. I'm not sure why this would be different for children.

 

I think everyone needs to be able to state their own boundaries. It doesn't necessarily need to result in hard and fast rules (except perhaps not hurting others). I believe in behaving ethically. I think we're managing to give our kids that message without time outs, punishments, or rewards. Is it messy? Yes. We get frustrated with one another because we're human beings trying to get along and live together with constantly conflicting needs and desires. We can still be respectful of one another and demand respect without resorting to autocratic rule.

post #16 of 128

Are time outs and rewards "not GD?"

 

post #17 of 128
Not all people who do GD use time outs and rewards, but I think of GD just as meaning discipline without harsh, physical, or shaming type punishments. As the words say, discipline that is gentle (and I would think emotionally as well as physicall gentle.) GD seems like an umbrella term that could include different specifics.
post #18 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamakay View Post

Are time outs and rewards "not GD?"

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post

Not all people who do GD use time outs and rewards, but I think of GD just as meaning discipline without harsh, physical, or shaming type punishments. As the words say, discipline that is gentle (and I would think emotionally as well as physicall gentle.) GD seems like an umbrella term that could include different specifics.


^Yes.

 

I believe that time outs and rewards as assumed tools are counter-productive to my goals, as they are as coercive as punishment, if not as harsh as corporal punishment. Not everyone believes that, I understand, but I feel like it's difficult to deny. I realize that most people seem them as tools to achieving a pleasant workable life.

post #19 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by philomom View Post

Yes, I think it does. When you know there very little consequence for your actions.. you tend to get away with what you can.

One of my friend's kids was being GD'ed and he could throw a tantrum and get his way for the most crazy things. My friend would claim she was just "listening to him or respecting him as a person" but it entailed her going to the supermarket at 5:45 p.m. because he wanted a certain dinner menu that night.

If my kids had thrown the same tantrum, I would have sent them to their room to calm down and then shown them the appropriate other dinner choices like a peanut butter sandwich or a bowl of cereal. Not even my hubby can alter the dinner menu that late in the day.



GD does not mean consequence free, and consequences do not have to be physically or emoitonally harsh to be effective. 

 

Maybe your friend just didn't think dinner or the subsequent going shopping was a battle worth standing her ground over (is 5:45 a particularly bad time to go shopping?  I am sort of out of touch with US culture...is that like rush hour at the A & P?) at that time.  If you've been fighting all day or say you made a promise you forgot about...it might be the right thing to do in that situation for HER.  I don't think it's fair to judge the child's entire personality for now and ever after over one little incident like that...but I gather you have other examples to prove he is indeed a wild child as a resultof the parenting softness. Maybe she really is a push over and will have to find a balance between respecting herself and respecting her kids.  I think it is very hard to teach our kids respect if we do not first and foremost foster a sense of respect for ourselves. 

 

For many parents GD is a journey, a swinging pendulum that has gone far to one side as a result of harsh parents of their own, and a decision to do things differently, or a gut instinct to never hit the child and having no tools to implement other ways of communicating and teaching.  It takes a few years, or even kids to get it right, and every day is a learning experience and a journey of self discovery.  I don't think there is anything wrong with that.  We are not born parents, we are made parents through trial and error.

 

In my experience harsh punishment based discipline (which don't seem to be what you would do anyway, so I guess I am confused) do not guarantee mild manner either.  My niece has been spanked and screamed at forced physically into her room by having the door TIED shut and she is still wild and aggressive and rude at times (she is also sweet at times).

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by woodchick View Post

I don't think that GD breeds wildness.  For us, GD has bred adventurous, confident, articulate, trusting, and fun children.  They also happen to be a little wild sometimes.


 

Me too.  In fact for us GD has led to more self awareness, and more introspection as parents and a more open insightful relationship with our kids, in comparison with friends and family who have done things the harsher way.  We are notably more open with him, more attentive, and respectful and we are careful not to hold double standards, because he calls us on it when we do.  Maybe we would have had a kid like that anyway, but the anecdotal evidence I see around me tells me otherwise.

 

The thing is I think GD positions me more strategically for managing the wildness is more effective ways.  Instead of expecting DS to behave no matter what and being sorely disappointed when ocassionally he doesn't, and starting a battle of dirty looks and threats and eventually name calling and punitive measures (sometimes Time Outs are for everyone to cool down and get a grip, but sometimes they are used as a way of revenge for bad behavior that might not even be their fault), I recognize cues and make choices accordingly.  I know DS needs protein in his blood stream to be calm and happy.  So I ALWAYS carry a snack with me.  I know DD is a crank pot if she doesn't have her afternoon nursies and nap.  I know they both are unpredictable after 5pm.  So I don't take them places after 5pm if their behavior is important or going to be judged (nor do I invite people over who I think might be judgy)  I had a party invite tonight and was told I could bring the kids but rather than bring them and have people say "what wild kids she has...what they need a smack on the bottom!"  I thought better of it and have decided to send my regards and keep them home.  I'll be at the party on Saturday when I have a babysitter lined up.

 

I think ultimately GD strives to build a relationship of intimacy and emotional connection, trust and consistency.  It is about building a world of respect and safety and love for your children.  It is about teaching our children to have empathy and to use that empathy to communicate their needs without violence and abuse and hopefully learn to recognize their needs, and ask for their needs to be met in respectful ways, and accept the responsibility of their own needs gracefully when others cannot help them.  We also strive to show them the logical and natural consequences of their actions and choices, and be respectful of their journey of self discovery in this world in ways that are safe and gentle. 

 

These are lofty goals, and no one that I know lives up to them at all times...but we aspire, and if nothing else we can teach our children to aspire for a better, less violent (passively and physically violent) world, too.
 

post #20 of 128

For some reason this part did not pick up in my quote in my post above...

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sere234 View Post

So- What is your experience? Does GD REALLY work? When DH and I attempt to raise our son this way, will he turn in to a wild hooligan? Right now I'm obviously very much against spanking and really even time outs. But I've never needed to do either to my kid! Then on the other hand, I don't want to raise mindless drone who obeys everything I say or a kid I need to punish/bribe all day. 

 

I guess I just need some reassurance. Did your kids turn out respectful and well behaved? Is GD working for you? How do I NOT feel like I'm an innocent mama with my head in the clouds?!?!

 

Thanks:)



So in a nutshell, yes it is working for us and DS has turned out great and things are really going well with DD, too, though at 16 months it's more baby management then discipline, but at this age with DS we were still heavily relying on TOs and frowning and mostly shouting to get our point across, then trying to counteract that with lots of hugs and talking it out to balance it.  It took us a while to get past the hurt there and move into a better place with DS.

 

The thing is that it is hella difficult for a while to keep order and be the parent you want to be.  It is hard to shake the habits of our parents, and the legacy they gave us with their own discipline methods.  It is not easy to skip parties and fun stuff  with friends and family and have to leave events because you realize that the only way you are going to get your kid to behave the way you need them to is with threats of violence, aggression, name calling, or bribing.  It is not easy to be prepared at all times to meet the physical needs of your children that are keeping them from being golden sweet, and it is not easy to have the patience and presence of mind to not take deeply personally when they embarass you in front of others, or when they get mad, seem ungrateful, or swing at you or call you names.  It is not easy to remain calm and detached but also loving and empathetic.  It is not easy to observe their actions without judgement and find ways to meet their needs.

 

It's flipping EXHAUSTING!  There are days when it is just easier to scream and shout,,,but the damage done to the trust and love is undeniable and very very difficult to repair. 

 

It seems easy because after all, who would ever want to raise a hand to their child?  But it's very time consuming and at times I feel like a huge failure.  But then I see my kid interact with people of all ages like a confident equal, with respect and kindness and empathy, intellect and curiosity, and I think...not bad, lady, not bad!

 

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