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it's official.. Gentle Discipline is not possible with my child :(

post #1 of 260
Thread Starter 
It's just not. I have tried everything. she does whatever she wants. she doesn't eat what she doesn't want to eat, she does whatever she wants, she screams until she gets it, even in public. I threaten a lot. it's the only way to make her do things. "eat or no more TV" is a common one. "let me put your hair up and you can have some candy" it's awful. seriosuly, I have tried EVERYTHING. she is out of control. she is strong willed just like me, and I am starting to understand my mom, because she went through this with me!

I honestly think I have failed GD! what's next? I SO don't want to be a mean mama! I need help! I don't want dd to keep acting like such a spoiled brat! (I swear she does, it's my fault) she demands everything (with a please at the end though) it's so hard. she cries and screams and NOTHING will calm her until she gets her way. believe me i have tried, she will kick and scream for hours if I don't give in. I always do because I want her to be happy, but this can't continue.

I need help! thankfully my ds was my dh's personality, calm as a bird :

post #2 of 260
Stop giving in.

Please stop thinking of your child as a spoiled brat.

Please stop making food an issue.

Please stop threatening.

Please stop making her do things.

Don't put her hair up if it is such a big problem.

Turn off the TV.

Stop basing your decisions on what she can and can't have on totally arbitrary reasons, "You can't have a doll today because today I decided that you have enough dolls." Is it really worth the struggle?

Stop thinking your child is out of control. Negativity breeds negativity.

Examine why YOU are struggling with this child.

Go give her a hug and a kiss and tell her you love her always.
post #3 of 260
I am struggling with the same thing. I'm a GD failure. My dd is SO strong willed. She's also very loving to her family. She's just very. Period.

The above advice is good, but I can also understand your frustrations. For us, I just don't always have time to get down to her level right at that moment, I don't have the emotional resources to use humor or whatever it takes to lighten the mood and move on.

I guess I don't have much advice to offer . . .just wanted to tell you I completely and totally understand. It's easy to be a good GD mommy when you have a child who is receptive to it. My dd is very combative. Has been since birth. There are certain power struggles I must win, for her safety, for her well-being. There are others I must win because we live in a society where there are rules that must be followed when out in public.

What's been working pretty good is a delayed punishment. Okay, I know punishment is not popular here but sometimes it's what works for us. I'm sure there are better options and when I have the time I do mean to read those books everyone here talks about. (Hey maybe I should get off the net and read more! lol!)

Anyway, if we are out in public she often things she can do whatever she wants. I warn her and if she does it again I tell her what the consequence will be when we get home. And I always follow through even if she's being the sweetest angel by the time we get home because she knows she can move my heart with a smile. But I say, "Remember when I said stop doing xyz and you did it anyway? Well that's why you can't have any more videos today" or whatever. Because that made mommy sad" and I go into a talk about how her behavior affected others.

I'm rambling, it's late, I should get to bed.

I totally agree about ending the hair battle and any others that you can. My dd used to have the most beautiful, long, wavy, thick hair. The hair I always wished I had, so I took great pleasure admiring hers and getting compliments on it. But oh the fights we had over her hair! The bathtub struggles to get it washed, the crying over the tangles I had to comb out, the hassle of having to put it up daily so it would not get in her face. Finally when baby was about 2 mos. old I got their portraits taken and then chopped her hair to a bob. Never regretted it! If I want to admire her hair I get out the picture and look at it for a few minutes.

With eating, she does have feeding issues and I do have to make sure she eats well. The girl can fast for 2 days and not be hungry. But what I do is we all eat together so she gets attention at the meals. If she finishes a reasonable amt. of food she gets dessert, usually a yogurt or something. No TV during meals either, no toys at the table, no singing at the table. Talking is good though.

BTW screaming because she didn't get that toy in the store never hurt my dd. The first time she did have a royal tantrum through the store and into the parking lot, and it was continued at home. Finally got tired of hearing it and put her in her room, told her to come out when she was done crying and we could talk. Second and third times I just told her if she cried we were leaving the store immediately. Left a full care behind. Also told her that she was being left with Daddy while Mommy went shopping because of her crying. Now she will ask to look at the toys and I'll say, "Okay but we are not buying any. You have so many toys at home." She'll even carry one through the story and then I'll tell her to say bye bye to it and she does. I just held my ground and eventually she got the message.

If only it was that simple with everything . . .

Darshani
post #4 of 260
Darshani,

With no judgement - By telling your dd that her behavior makes you sad you are allowing her to manipulate your emotions. Very powerful tool for a little one.

And (I don't want to pick on you, really...just make you think) how is the delayed punishment working? Do you mean that now she has leanred not to do the things she used to do while outside?

I do realize that none of this is easy. It wasn't easy for me. The important thing is to change your perception, to delve into the reasons behind your child's behavior, to discover why you demand of your child what you do. I don't buy for a minute the theory that some children are simply born more combattive than others. It starts from the beginning because the parent's style of interaction starts from the beginning too.

My dd was a biter and still hits occasionally. She has had sleep issues. She has had tantrums.

My dd didn't want to go to preschool yesterday. She cried and clung to me. Instead of just saying, "You will go to school today and that's final," I asked her why, and with a little talking she finally admitted that she didn't want her visiting grandmother to come pick her up. Nonverbal children can't express themselves like this. But we need to be open to all the possible reasons behind a tantrum, not just the most immediate and logical one.
post #5 of 260
You definitely need boundaries for her that no amount of screaming crying begging or pleading will change. But don't make big issues out of things that don't warrant that strong of boundary.

Don't make her eat. It's her body, let her choose.

Just because you don't want to be a mean mom, isn't an excuse to bribe her with candy to get her hair combed and then complain that she's out of control.

If you give me exact scenarios, I'll give you exact advice, but you'll still have to be the one to carry it out.

First thing, if you don't like the tone of voice she "asks" for things in, teach her the voice you want to hear. It sounds like she understands the word please needs to be included, she'll learn the voice is important too. "when you have a happy voice I'll be quick to do that" model the exact pitch and tone you want.

Gentle discipline is possible with your child. You are the one that has to make it. You can't just focus on the gentle part and try to keep the peace. She needs to learn discipline for herself. The rest of her life depends on you teaching it to her. Even if it makes you a strict mama for a little while.
post #6 of 260

I just finished reading

The Natural Child by Jan Hunt.She has a great outlook on this subject.Definitely a book worth reading!!!

Linda


ps: We have had the hair battle too.If I catch her half asleep in the morn during her tv time she usually doesn't complain.When she does I tell her she can wear it down but when its time to go outside we have to put it up and that goes over ok. I rarely get to do anything fancy with it and have given up on dreams of her looking cute all the time....some battles aren't worth it.
post #7 of 260
What's with the hair thing? Why do they need to wear it up?

Sincerely curious.

Really.

Truly.

Honestly.

post #8 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by loving-my-babies
It's just not. I have tried everything. she does whatever she wants. she doesn't eat what she doesn't want to eat, she does whatever she wants, she screams until she gets it, even in public.
***She screams because it works.

Believe me, if I could get a raise at work every time I screamed, I'd sound like an angry two-year-old ALL THE TIME.

Also, she doesn't care if it's in public, but it sure sounds like you do.

I bet she knows that.


Quote:
I threaten a lot. it's the only way to make her do things. "eat or no more TV" is a common one. "let me put your hair up and you can have some candy" it's awful.
***Okay, I am asking this seriously: What would be so bad if she did not eat?

Really?

I have never, ever heard anywhere of any kid at any time starving to death when she had perfectly good food put in front of her.

Suggestion: Put the food down. If she eats, she eats. If she doesn't, she doesn't.

DO NOT SAY A SINGLE THING ABOUT IT, NOT EVEN A LITTLE.

After a time acceptable to you, take the plate away. If she puts up a stink about it, put the plate down. Take it away ONLY IF she would risk food poisoning by eating it.


Quote:
seriosuly, I have tried EVERYTHING. she is out of control. she is strong willed just like me, and I am starting to understand my mom, because she went through this with me!
With all support and due respect, Loving, you have not tried everything. What you have not tried is not giving in to her when she screams.

Quote:
I honestly think I have failed GD!
I really don't think you've failed the "gentle" part, but maybe the "discipline" part can be changed to improve your situation.

Quote:
what's next? I SO don't want to be a mean mama!

And that's the root of your problem. You're so concerned that she'll hate you for being mean that you give in to every demand.

Hon, little kids (believe it or not) do not want you to give in to their every demand. If you do, what they'll do in response is pushandpushandpush looking for your line in the sand. You know -- the line you can NOT cross ? If they don't find it, guess what? Pushandpushandpush...

Part of being a good mom is saying NO.

Quote:
I need help! I don't want dd to keep acting like such a spoiled brat! (I swear she does, it's my fault)
Don't reduce it to labels. She's not a "spoiled brat." She's a kid who's gotten her own way too many times and is desperately searching for the limits and guidance she NEEDS at this age.

Quote:
she demands everything (with a please at the end though)
This is still rudeness in our house. Tone of voice is just as important as phrasing of requests. Do you give in when she says "I WANT MY BARBIE...please!"? If you do, then you're teaching her that rudeness is acceptable as long as you tag on a perfunctory "please" at the end. How long is she going to have a job if she thinks she can say to her boss, "You're an a&&&&&&&... SIR!" ?

Quote:
it's so hard. she cries and screams and NOTHING will calm her until she gets her way. believe me i have tried, she will kick and scream for hours if I don't give in.
Okay, this is a serious question. If she cries and screams for hours...SO WHAT? Again, really, so what? It is not pleasant, I guarantee. However, it takes sooooooooo much energy and soooooooooo many calories to do that. What you do by giving in to her "always" is teach her that this method of screaming ALWAYS WORKS.

The next time, just let her scream. Buy some ear plugs and tough it out. Really. Prepare for two weeks of hell, Mama, but if you can stick out those two weeks, the other weeks are going to be way better. It's also a two-steps-forward-one-step-back issue: it'll get better, then worse, then better.

Honestly, what I would do is the following:

1. Make any demands of yours reasonable demands. Hair up is not really that reasonable.

2. Ask her opinion and give her options: "Do you want your hair up or down?"

3. Serve the food and BE QUIET ABOUT IT.

4. DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT make alternate food. If she doesn't like the broccoli stir-fry, please do NOT NOT NOT make chicken fingers or whatever else. Serve what the family is eating.

5. If she doesn't eat, she WILL NOT STARVE. If she wakes up in the middle of the night hungry, give her a glass of milk or something (NOT FOOD) and explain that her choice not to eat resulted in her being hungry and that breakfast will be served in the morning. PERIOD. If she screams about that, go ahead and let her.

I am sorry if this doesn't sound particularly gentle. The point to teach her is that her choices have logical, natural consequences AND that screaming doesn't work.

6. Turn off the television. I have every confidence it is not helping her behavior at all.


Quote:
I always do because I want her to be happy, but this can't continue.

I need help! thankfully my ds was my dh's personality, calm as a bird :

I agree, this can't continue. Stop feeding the troll, Mama. You feed the troll every time you give in to the screaming.

Listen, I love my child more than life itself. After having been a public school teacher for eight years, I have no tolerance for rudeness or disrespect. I don't spank, belittle, and rarely yell, but I do not let my child, whom I love dearly, get rewarded for being rude or throwing a tantrum.

After all this, . She'll still love you even if you set limits.
post #9 of 260
ParisMaman~ Thank you for your first post! I just want to ditto it. I am so sleepy I may not be able to be coherant.

As for the hair, my dd has fur hair. It is fluffy and super fine. It tangles easily and creates a big mat in the back of her head and breaks off. If I'm able to get it in a ponytail, the damage is much less. Dd doesn't like to sit still even though she does actually like to see herself with her hair all done up. Anyway, for us, coupled with the hair in the eyes thing, the fur hair rat's nest is what makes us need to get her hair up sometimes.

My solutions for the hair issue:
I cut her bangs while she was engrossed in a toy. I clenched my teeth because I don't think I could cut a son's hair, but it had to happen, her natural bangs were poking her in her eyes. I haven't had to trim them yet and it's been a long while. I don't regret it.

Then I found that washing her hair was pretty unnecessary since it doesn't get greasy or anything, and I wash it very rarely, only to get chlorine from the pool out. Even at 20 months she lets me wash it occasionally to get gunk out when I explain to her why. She will tell me it's "awful" while I do it, but she wants the stuff out of her hair too. I never force her. Not washing her hair has changed it and it tangles less now. I have found that less than a drop of jojoba oil also takes care of the mat and frequent combings after we sleep or she goes in the car seat. She likes to comb my hair while I comb hers.

Sometimes I put it in pigtails while she is sleeping, I do one side, nudge her so she rolls over and then put up the other side. She loves pigtails so she's pleasantly surprised when she wakes up and can admire them, and she doesn't have to sit through tangle combing or hair pulling. It also helps me learn to be gentle for fear of waking her.

Lastly, it isn't the end of the world if she doesn't want her hair up today, so what if she has tangles? They aren't on my head. She knows the consequences of it and she is smart enough to decide on her own. Also, if she wants a hair tie out, I take it out. It's her head.

So, in reference to the OP, I want to say that threatening isn't GD. Making ultimatums isn't GD either. And PLEASE don't make food an issue. My dd is under 5th percentile I think and I wish to god she would chow down but it just isn't her metabolism. I trust her to eat when she's hungry. If she is not eating what I think is right I evaluate her nutritional needs and possible illnesses that might affect her appetite. Otherwise, I have to trust her instincts.

I dunno, my dd pretty much does whatever she wants and I don't feel like a failure at GD. Sometiems she is really sassy and that's okay. I don't have the expectation that she will be obedient to me, only that she will be true to herself. Her needs and wants are no less than mine.

Also, do a search in this forum for tantrums, I'm nak so I will elave it to you. There was an AWESOME article in Mothering about tantrums while I was pregnant. It talked about the need to clear the system of energy and frustrstion and how parents can support that need. It also helped me allow myself to have "tantrums."

You're not a failure, you're learning! Don't give up! Gentle discipline isn't just about not spanking or beating a child, it's about repectfully communicating with your child. You'll get there. No matter which way you do it, parenting is difficult, no one style is going to solve your problems. Stick with it.
post #10 of 260
I agree with everything Charles Baudelaire said. (I often do! ) Giving your child everything she wants -- especially giving in to screaming and the like -- is *not* being a nice Mommy. Holding to your limits in love, even if your dd seems not to like it, IS. Hang in there! You may find that being a bit more strict, yet less controling (over food, especially), allows you to act nicer, yell less, etc. Respect is a two-way street, after all. I think in the end, a strict but calm and respectful parent is much better for the child than a permissive but angry and resentful parent. You can do it!
post #11 of 260
My older dd is extremely strong willed and did not respond in the least to many gd techniques. I highly recommend "Setting Limits with Your Strong-Willed Child : Eliminating Conflict by Establishing Clear, Firm, and Respectful Boundaries," by Robert J. MacKenzie.
post #12 of 260
I am sorry to hear that you are having such a tough time.
I love Parismaman's first post--inspiring for me!
My dd is very, very strong willed (my mother insists she's never seen anything like her--with some amusement and some horror in her voice ), and *letting go* of many issues has been invaluable here. Her hair is hers. Her body is hers. Anything regarding her body is her choice (although we give her motivating information when I feel strongly about an issues--like brushing teeth to avoid cavities).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Baudelaire
***3. Serve the food and BE QUIET ABOUT IT.

4. DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT make alternate food. If she doesn't like the broccoli stir-fry, please do NOT NOT NOT make chicken fingers or whatever else. Serve what the family is eating.

5. If she doesn't eat, she WILL NOT STARVE. If she wakes up in the middle of the night hungry, give her a glass of milk or something (NOT FOOD) and explain that her choice not to eat resulted in her being hungry and that breakfast will be served in the morning. PERIOD. If she screams about that, go ahead and let her.
I agree with #3 above, but not with #4 and 5. What if she doesn't like what is served? I think refusing to serve other food--even when the child awakes hungry, just to prove a point--is continuing the food battle. I strongly suggest that you drop the food battle completely.

Buy food you are comfortable with dd eating at any time. Prepare meals with her preferences in mind (I always remove a portion of veggies from stirfry before adding any sauce, because dd does like sauce, for instance). Serve the meal, and ignore her eating. To be honest, I can't tell you what dd eats at each meal, because I am not paying attention to it. We are talking, sharing stories of our day, etc--not monitering each other's eating.
If dd finds nothing appealing at the table, tell her that she can get herself something from the bottom shelf of the fridge (have some fruit/yogurt or other acceptable choices on the lowest shelf), or offer to get her something (easy) after you have finished your dinner. Yes, more work--but not much work (since you are not offering an alternative meal, but just a piece of fruit or cheese or a hardboiled egg or something equally easy), and dd will soon realize that she has no one to fight regarding food.
If there is some type of food that you are battling about (candy), stop buying it. Get rid of it!
Same with the tv--if it is become a problem, just unplug it. Do other stuff. And I would explain it that way, too. We are battling too much about the tv. Mommy doesn't want us to fight about it anymore. Until *we can figure out a way to watch tv without fighting, the tv will stay off. But we can do all these other great things: ______.
I know, easier said than done--but if it breaks the cycle of battling, it may be very well worth it!
post #13 of 260
Quote:
Stop giving in.
Absolutely. ITA with this (and i would even if Ellie weren't my friend).

I am by no means a GD intellectual giant. I only found out what i was doing was called that when i came here 20 months ago.

My son is a handful. Gorgeous, delicious with blue eyes that will melt your heart and anyone that looks into them, but a handful with a capital H. That said, but picking my battles, standing firm in what i feel is important (safety being a big one, eating healthy foods and being respectful and kind), not giving in, has not only relieved me, but greatly relieved him, mostly from the screaming fits, kwim? With gentle guidance and sometimes frequent reminders, this leaves both of us "off the hook".... And when i say no, i mean it. no means no, no matter how many times or ways you ask me. period. I actually say yes many times....

It can be so hard to stand our ground in front of a wailing screaming child, especially if we are out in public, or at home exhausted from the never ending battles some kids give/have. I find GD is almost easier for me. Boundaries, guidelines, respect goes a long way. When i have to be tough, i am....but always with love in my heart.
post #14 of 260
Let me explain something (and thank everyone who dittoed me ) 'cause I think it sounds snotty: When I say that the strong-willedness stems from even the earliest interactions I am talking about styles of communicating whose effects can be very subtle. And I am mainly talking about the children like the girl described in the OP. Like SB3 and EFMom say, you can work with a strong-willed child and not have the need (desire? too hard to GD?) to conclude that he or she is just not made for GD/mutually agreeable techniques of forming a quality adult (hee hee).

Oh, and I say Stop Giving In to you because you need to break this cycle. There is a point, when you will be further on, where it will be perfectly acceptable to change your mind about something you have said no to, etc. But I think you need to get past the marathon screaming fits first.
post #15 of 260
Ditto, Paris Maman what great posts.
My daughter's hair, ugh, it's brutal, but it's how she likes it.
GD does work, you've got excellent advice here.
post #16 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunnmama
Same with the tv--if it is become a problem, just unplug it. Do other stuff. And I would explain it that way, too. We are battling too much about the tv. Mommy doesn't want us to fight about it anymore. Until *we can figure out a way to watch tv without fighting, the tv will stay off. But we can do all these other great things: ______.
If this is too much, then maybe you could sit down with her in a calm moment and discuss the tv issue? Define the problem ( the battles, the screaming), and ellicit her suggested solutions. Suggest some of your own. Write them all down, and then decide together on a way to solve the problem. Maybe she will be more receptive to rules that she helps to define?
post #17 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by ParisMaman
Darshani,

With no judgement - By telling your dd that her behavior makes you sad you are allowing her to manipulate your emotions. Very powerful tool for a little one.

And (I don't want to pick on you, really...just make you think) how is the delayed punishment working? Do you mean that now she has leanred not to do the things she used to do while outside?

I do realize that none of this is easy. It wasn't easy for me. The important thing is to change your perception, to delve into the reasons behind your child's behavior,
I agree on most of this. Problem is we are in a time if crisis in our home. Probably when things get easier I'll have the mental capacity to think more deeply about things. Right now our baby has some serious health and feeding problems. 3yo's had to grow up fast in some ways.

BTW yes the delayed thing does work. She's smart, probably smarter than I am! lol! But yeah, it does work. Most of the time when I get that stern look she starts to rethink her choices.

I also believe that she should know how her actions affect others. Yes, hitting me or whatever, it does make me sad. What's wrong with letting her know that? She has a problem making friends sometimes and I tell her that hitting them makes them sad and that's why they don't want to play with her. Since using this strategy she's been a lot nicer to her peers and kids want to play with her again.

I think this board is great-- I learn a lot here. Makes me bend my brain! lol! I also think every child is different and not one formula works for all children.

Darshani
post #18 of 260
Thread Starter 
EVERYONE.. thank you for all your help. ALL your posts are wonderful, and I have read them all and learned from them all.. now, if you want to help me some more.. :LOL

about her appearance..I admit I like my dd to look nice. she has GORGEOUS brown hair, I mean gorgeous. she knows she does, and since she has it long, it gets really messy when she sleeps. so when she gets up, she does NOT want to comb it. If I bribe her, she will let me, but I don't want to bribe her anymore! she insists on wearing the same clothes that she wore the day before! even if they are dirty! I let some things pass, but honestly, it does bother me that she go out with dirty clothes when she has a huge closet of clothes with tags on them still. am I a bad mama for wanting her to look nice? I don't want to be like my mom! and she was like this!

about the food, this is what she will do. she won't eat unless it's something she wants. and what she wants is usually junk. I have a whole fridge stuffed with home made organic food for her. I can't even bribe her into eating it. she just won't. some things that are good for her, she likes. for example, she LOVES cherry tomatoes. she also likes cheese. other than that, she knows there's ice cream in the freezer, and begs for it, kicking and screaming until I serve her a bowl of ice cream. (we buy it for dh and I and we give her some, I don't like saying no completely to her eating things like ice cream, I just wish she would know it's not for EVERY SINGLE MEAL kwim?
it's very challenging for me, but I don't want to try to change her because of her personality. I love her the way she is.

Charles- you are so right. My worst fear is that she will hate me. that I will end up being too strict with her. like my mother was with me, and now I am very resentful towards my mother. I buy my dd everything she asks for. it's not just me, my dh buys her everything too. is this so wrong? I don't want to say no to the toy at the toy store, if I can buy it, then why not?
post #19 of 260
I think there have been some great suggestions/advice offered here!

I wanted to say a couple of things....

First, I think it's important for us to heal our own childhood issues ourselves with or without our own parents. The way to heal these things is not to just do the opposite with our own children. I think it's very important to take a look at our own issues and deal with these things ourselves. It's not our child's issue as to whether we want them to look a certain way. It's not our child's issue if we couldn't stand the way our parents did something.

You say in the OP that GD is not possible with your child, and that you have failed at GD. However, the things that you are describing is NOT GD. So please don't blame what's going on to GD.

I think that it helps to look past the moment. While it often may be easier to "give in" at a particular moment...do you really want to deal with what you may have created by doing so?

If you want to buy your daughter everything at the store (and your DH also wants to do this) fine...but you are the one that stated you have an issue with the behavior that goes along with the times that you don't want to do this. So maybe it would be good to take a look at what you are really wanting to have happen here.

The issue here is that you are dealing with the things that you have created. You have taught your daughter to do these things. It's not about GD, it's not about your daughters personality, it's about what you have taught her to do.

GD is not about a child doing whatever he/she wants, whenever they want, and however they want. It's about loving your child enough to guide them in a gentle manner. It's about loving them enough to parent them. It's not always the easiest solution - often it's not. But it really does pay off greatly I think many of us are geared towards the all or nothing, the extremes. So we see things as either that we would be total dictator authoritarian type or we would be absolute permissive doormats...neither are healthful for children.

It's awesome that you are willing to come and ask for support! And it's ok to mess up - it's a process and when we know better we do better
post #20 of 260
Thread Starter 
clothcrazymom- thanks for your kind words and very wise post.

ok, so about an hour ago, all the TV's are OFF! NO TV IN OUR HOUSE! the radio is on, and dd is playing with paints in the livingroom, listening to some music. wow, I feel good about turning the TV off. I will take her to ger gymboree class later on today, so that will give us something to do. I need to find more activities to do at home, I am buying her more finger paints and some more paper (she has a lot but if it's new it'll motivate her and she'll be happy playing)
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