In the Moderation thread, Cynthia said that y'all would be going over some of the forum guidelines the core values of MDC and making them more clear, etc. One area in which I would love to see more clarification is in the GD forum. I have one concern in particular.
This has been coming up a lot in recent threads, and I, personally, along with countless others have been accused of being part of a big sweeping movement of "Anti-AP" that is apparently destroying the Gentle Discipline forum. Concerns:
First, it is my understanding that gentle discipline is a somewhat broad and self-explanatory term and that the basic tenants are: 1.) you don't use corporal punishment or physical violence as a method of discipline, ever; 2.) you aren't overly punitive, and are more focused on solving problems rather than just punishing behaviors, and 3.) you respect your children. Would most of y'all agree with that assessment or have I left out anything essential?
Here's what the forum guidelines currently say about it:
Effective discipline is based on loving guidance. It is based on the belief that children are born innately good and that our role as parents is to nurture their spirits as they learn about limits and boundaries, rather than to curb their tendencies toward wrongdoing. Effective discipline presumes that children have reasons for their behavior and that cooperation can be engaged to solve shared problems.
Hitting is never the best way to teach a child. Even in the case of real danger - as when a child runs out into the road - you can grab him, sit him down, look him in the eyes, and tell him why he must never do that again. The panic in your voice will communicate your message much more effectively than any spanking. You can be dramatic without being abusive.
I remember posting awhile back that my husband and I hadn't ruled out spanking for our children. And then I kinda-sorta defended the practice, (in a roundabout way). I was told, by SEVERAL people and in no uncertain terms, that that is NOT a GD position.
Now, thanks to MDC and some other online friends, and also our own experience with our daughter, we've decided we're not going to spank. So I'm thankful for that, and I'm glad this forum exists for that and other reasons. If anyone else has been helped directly or indirectly by this forum, I'm glad it exists. I'm glad that there was a clear consensus here on the subject of spanking.
But here's the other side of the coin: I'll use one example-- in a thread from yesterday, several people were accused of not practicing "gentle discipline" because they mentioned things like "limits" and "rules" and "boundaries". And one poster said that maybe MDC should host another sub-forum for all the people who disagree with her and thus aren't really practicing GD. In another post she intimated that her understanding of gentle discipline is colored by her acceptance of the Unconditional Parenting philosophy. (btw, I'm not trying to pick on or single out any one person....who it was isn't important. That these kind of discussions have been happening pretty much daily lately is the point).
Do a majority of people here believe that Gentle Discipline = Unconditional Parenting? Or, Consensual Living? Or Taking Children Seriously? Or Radical Unschooling? Because that's what I've been getting from this forum a LOT lately and I think it might be helpful if it were clarified. Is it possible, according to how most of you define gentle discipline, to be an authoritative parent and at the same time claim to practice GD? (That's authoritative, not authoritarian. Big difference....google it if you don't know.) Does practicing gentle discipline and being involved in the GD forum preclude believing that young children need limits? Is making and enforcing family or house rules contrary to what GD is all about? Does believing in implementing consequences for negative bahavior contrary to GD?
etc., etc. Thanks for listening. :)