Originally Posted by Storm Bride
I think the shaming (which term I also dislike as I do think it carries a connotation of intent on the "shamer's" part, and that intent wasn't there, but this conversation is hard enough to have in a coherent fashion online as it is, so I'll go with it) was more painful and hurt more. I never said I thought it was more effective. It actually tended to make me feel like crap, put up a defensive shell, and be a complete bitch in many ways, for at least a few days. Spankings (which were, admittedly, administered at a much younger age than most of the shaming) were direct, to the point, and effective at what they were used for, which was getting my attention. .
I'm okay with "effective". That's what they were. It certainly sounds better to me than "violent". I don't find spanking, at least as it was practice in our house, to be particularly controlling and it's never even registered with me as manipulative (maybe that's because I've crossed paths with a handful of master manipulators, including my ex, and not one of them would have ever laid a hand on anyone in anger or discipline - I simply don't equate a swift smack on the butt with manipulation).
I think of manipulation as being a way to change someone's behavior. I know it has a negative connotation, but in the context of behavior modification, it's rather innocous.
I think we're confusing each other. Practice what? Discussions about needs and how to express and meet them? I've practiced that with all of my kids, right from the get go. I practiced it with ds1, as well. Yes - we have used some punitive measures, including spanking when he was little (his last spanking was...12 years ago? Maybe 13?) and the one (or two) grounding. I've done less of it with ds1 and dd1 than with ds2, because with ds1 and dd1, it worked - they responded to it from the beginning and I didn't have to have discussions that involved much beyond, "so, what's wrong, and why are you so mad at so-and-so"..."oh, I can understand that - I think my feelings would be hurt, too", etc. etc. With ds2, it doesn't work that way. We talk and try to listen and figure out what's going on, and help him label emotions and recognize cues that he needs sleep, food, etc. It doesn't do anything. That's why I've had more discussions with him than with his two older siblings combined, not because this is a new approach for me.
I've never studied NVC techniques, as such. But, from what I'm gathering here, I've been using them most of my life. My feelings are often mixed, but I can recognize when that's happening. DH...not so much, but he tries, and he does work with ds2, as well. (No - we're not always patient. The frustration level with ds2, on the part of everyone around here, gets pretty high on occasion. Even dd2 sometimes tries to avoid him, which is just heart-breaking to see, because it crushes him. He adores his baby sister.)
Okay, so go check out CNVC.org and check out some of the basic reflection steps. It's not wuite as simple as you describe. I have some good exercises I do with my kids (in class) and my colleagues (during inservice days) and they are more about trying to remove judgement from our observations (which is REALLY REALLY hard to do actually) and then connecting the feeling to need being met or unmet....so when I say highlight the positive, I don't just mean "hey you;re doing so great today!" I mean "Hey DS, this morning you were so easy going and chilled out, why do you think that is?" and then leading him to the discovery that being well rested helps him have better attitudes...it's something we have a to make a conscious effort with constantly...to be fair we have had only ONE kid and no teenagers to handle during this time, so we were able to really focus in on him.
DS1 was/is a people pleaser. But, it was also simple limit/boundary testing. If it got to a point where I'd spank him, he understood that he'd reached the boundary, yk? DS2 doesn't...get boundaries.
I honestly don't know if ds2 would hit me back. That hasn't been an issue. The time I hit him (you know...I seem to recall there was another one - within the last year - can't recall the circumstances, though...I've had to fight it down more than once, so...I'm not sure...), he settled down almost immediately. He doesn't generally hit/hurt people out of a reaction to threatening or being hit himself. We still haven't figured out his triggers. A few of them are straightforward - basic "I want that and she won't give it to me" type stuff. Some of it? Not at all. When he first started this stuff, he'd never been threatened or hit or anything like that. He did get yelled at a lot for a couple of months when he was...just over two, I guess. I was in late pregnancy, exhausted, miserable, and he was being incredibly difficult and dd1 was also going through an awful phase, and I wasn't coping very well. But, the crazy-making behaviour started before that. It's been going on for a solid four years.
Okay, so what's the logic of me continuing to try to monitor his behaviour, talk to him, work through things, etc. when that's not working? If there's no logic to spanking a child when that doesn't change the behaviour, then what's the logic of not spanking a child when that doesn't, either? I'm not saying I want to spank him, but the approach we're using is NOT working. In the last two weeks, he's punched his older sister in the face at least eight times. He's tried to bite her. He's hit his little sister. And, there is no rhyme or reason to it that can be detected from outside. (I do know there's reason for it inside him - but we can't find it.)
Why keep going? Well for one, it has allowed you to maintain your integrity as a mother and not be hypocrtical in your teaching of your child...most of the time, right? Two, it will eventually sink in. Three, if and when you do figure out what is at the root of the behavior issues you won't have to feel guilty about hitting a kid who might have had a special need. You will know that you did your best to model love and patience and understanding over rule enforcement.
Another reason is that consistency is key. You mentioned that his older sister does get spanked still...is that something he is aware of? could it be that he equates that with a sign of your love and devotion for her and so he wonders why he doesn't get the same treatment and maybe he thinks it's because you think he is too bad to respond to it? I am just trying to think of why you have different techniques for two kids in the same house at the same time.
DS2 isn't exactly like that. He can be a complete sweetheart (sweetest kid I've ever met, in some ways), but he can also be a raging animal. And, it's not "if we stay on top of him, he's fine, but if we leave him alone, and all hell breaks loose". Sometimes, he's happy to play alone for a while, and even wants to do so. Sometimes, he can sit and play Lego with dd1 for an hour or two (I recall one day when they played with a PlayDoh ice cream maker for three solid hours - heaven!!). Sometimes, he'll sit on the couch and read board books to his little sister for 10-15 minutes, then play with her for a bit. Keeping him active is great...to a point. Then, he gets tired and balks and wants to sit and watch tv or otherwise be entertained. He's really, really difficult to figure out.
Oh, sorry - I thought you meant me hitting him as the aftermath of me holding him down! (This kind of conversation is really hard by forum!) That incident was...a year and a half ago, or two years ago, maybe? I can't remember if I was still pregnant with dd2 or not. But, I suspect it would go down pretty much the same way if it happened today. He doesn't understand the way people react to him at all. He did get that I was sorry I'd hit him, even though it was hard to explain that I didn't mean to. But, he didn't get that he'd hurt me. It wasn't even on his radar. And, it still isn't. He had a major meltdown a couple of months ago when I took him out of a house where dd1 was having a playdate (he wanted to stay, but he wasn't invited). During that meltdown, he knocked something off the girl's bookshelf, tore all over their house trying to hide, punched me, slapped me, tried to gouge my eye, and sunk both hands into my throat with everything he had (it hurt for the rest of that day and all the next day). And, the final conclusion was that "nobody likes him" because I made him leave and wouldn't let him ride sideways in his car seat.
Anyway, I'm going way off topic. DS2 has been amazingly frustrating to deal with, for a very long time. And, talking to him and trying to make note of the positives and helpling him label his emotions and needs and such hasn't made a damn bit of difference. The only real improvement in the last four years is that a year and a half or so ago, he finally quit peeing on my carpets multiple times a week (sometimes multiple times a day)...which is actually huge, but...yeah...he's kind of exhausting.
Well, I didn't mean to hit him at all, so I'm not sure what changes I could have made. But, leaving him wasn't an issue. He was hurting his sister, and if I'd walked out, he'd have just gone after her again. Believe me, if "please do X for ten minutes" was an option with this kid, I'd be using it...to save my own sanity, if nothing else! (This is part of what I was talking about upthread when I talked about how one can just leave an abusive partner - I couldn't just take dd1 and walk out and leave ds2 in the house alone to cool off, yk?)
He sounds exhausting. But here are somethings I have done when DS was acting out in violence. I put DD in the front carrier so that he cannot get near her. I have sent my nieces to their room so that he could not get to them. I have asked his dad to leave the house with the kids so that he and I could be alone. I have removed all throwable objects from his room until he calmed down. If leaving him alone is not an option, can you remove things that can hurt him? It does not surprise me that a 3 or 4 or 5 year old would not GET that they hurt mommy. You seem invincible to him and it sounds like he hurts you a lot and you bounce back or move on without reacting. I am not going to try to problem solve for you, here as I am sure you have done lots of that, but little steps should not be discounted. It's small, but it's a sign of more to come.
hmm...I was interpreting your use of "hierarchy" a little differently than you meant it (thinking of the very authoritarian "you do what I say NOW" kind of environment, with a "head of the house" and stuff like that). Yes - the adults were in charge (well, mostly mom, because my dad was very passive). Spankings were definitely used to enforce the rules and make sure things were done the way they were supposed to be done. But, the rules themselves weren't just about mom and/or dad being in control, yk? They were about everybody having consideration for each other, and keeping everybody safe.
That makes more sense. Thanks