Originally Posted by Mamame
Yet what if you have a child who's stronger willed and decides that they want to hit anyway and continue to do it? They know it's wrong, know better ways of expressing emotions but don't feel bad about it and are going to do it anyway. Sometimes I think it's OK to have outside consequences from the parent to help the child. Some kids need it, some kids don't. I think that's what's most important - what will work for this particular child?
I have a strong-willed child. Actually, I like to call her "determined," "focused," "intense," etc. She knows her own mind and isn't afraid to speak up for herself. She also has all the normal developmental behaviour of the average 2.5 year old! Sometimes it really makes me want to tear my hair out. There are days when I have to repeat lessons over and over and over. Omigosh, I hate days like that!
However, just b/c I have to keep reitterating our family values ("ppl are not for hitting," "hard toys are not for throwing," "we say excuse me when we pass somebody or want to get around them," etc), that doesn't mean that the lesson isn't getting home. Toddlers by nature are testers. They are seeking their own place in the world and exercising their ability to make their own decisions. Some children have this drive more intensely than others. 2 things I keep in mind on those "bad" days: This ability of Dd's to be persistant, to be courageous, and to speak her mind will serve her well in life (especially if she learns how to keep all of these traits and express them in a way that's respectful to both herself and others); second, she's a toddler and this kind of testing is a normal, healthy part of her development. She's trying to see if the rules stay the same in different conditions (different locations, w/ different ppl, or when DH or I am in a different mood).
I continue to do what I always do. I state the family value/rule or ask DD to tell me the rule. I intervene to stop her from doing something that is dangerous to herself or others. If she's hitting, I gently stop her hand. I say, "Ppl are not for hitting" or "what is the rule about hitting?" I also usually tell her that if she needs to hit she can hit the soft chair or throw her soft ball, or stomp, or yell, etc. If she's throwing hard toys, I ask her and/or reitterate the rule that we don't throw hard toys. I will usually offer her a soft alternative to throw. If that isn't effective, I will removed the hard toys and tell her, "Right now it seems like you're having a hard time not throwing the hard toys. I'm going to put them away for a little while and you can try again later to play w/ them safely."
Over time, I've watched these techniques really work w/ my DD. On a day to day basis, I may get discouraged, but when I step back I see that she has made progress. GD does work...it's just more work in the beginning! LOL.
BTW, I totally believe in the judicial use of logical consequences. Sometimes natural consequences are unreasonable or dangerous to the child/others. Sometimes the natural consequences are too subtle or far off for the child to understand (like why it's not okay to open the front door whenever she hears the doorbell). In these cases, logical consequences may be the best thing. Removing the hard toys, as I stated above, if the throwing doesn't stop and alternatives have been presented is what I would consider a logical consequence. Sometimes logical consequences are used when teaching or preventative measures (like baby proofing) could/should have been used instead. In those cases, logical consequences can drift into the realm of punishment.
What differentiates punishment and logical consequences, IMO is the intent and consideration given to alternatives. Logical consequences do not aim to shame or cause a child undue suffering. The intent is to protect the child/others/property while remaining respectful to the child. Punishment, by definition, aims to make the child feel bad.
Take the example of the taking away of the hard toys...
Parent A, sees her child throwing the hard toys. She says, "Stop that!" The child doesn't stop or throws something else. The parent then takes the toys away, maybe saying, "I told you not to throw the toys!" The child might also receive a slap on the hand, a time-out and/or a scolding. This is punishment. First of all, the child is told what not to do, but isn't told what to do instead. No explanation for why the toys shouldn't be thrown is given, nor is there any kind of consistant rule layed out. Then, the toys are taken w/o getting down on the child's level and helping them to understand that the toys aren't taken b/c they're "being bad." They are in essence told they are
Parent B sees her child throwing the hard toys. She gets down on the child's level. She says, "What's the rule about hard toys?" or "We don't thow hard toys, they can hurt someone or break something." She then says, "You can thow this soft doll or ball instead." Her tone of voice is non accusatory and non shaming. She doesn't regard this as a show of misbehaviour or defiance. She sees it as developmentally appropriate behaviour that needs correction and guidance. If the child continues to throw the hard toys, the parent again gets down on the child's level and says something like, "It seems like you're having a hard time not throwing the hard toys. I'm going to put them up for a little while but you can try to play w/ them safely again later." The child might still get upset at the removal of the toys (in which case, the parent can empathize and help the child label her feelings), but the parent won't have added shame and misery onto the lesson. This is GD and the use of logical consequences.
IMHO, NO child in the world NEEDS to be punished.
These may not be the greatest examples, but they come from my own experience. I am not as articulate as I wish I could be, but I hope I've made some kind of sense.