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"children need boundaries" (is this true?) - Page 4

post #61 of 135
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I owe my son not interfering with his own inner knowing. His connection with God. That belongs to him, and will serve him better than anything I can impose on him. That's his real safety and protection.
aira...

...but now someone is going to say, what if it is the voice of the devil telling your son to kill someone and he thinks it is God??

Great post too sledg
post #62 of 135
I'm really confused as to why some people think some people are saying that they wouldn't intervene on behalf of another individual that their dc was hitting. That was explained way back. Am I missing something? Is it me?

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Originally Posted by aira
Indulge me while I keep that overused, strained hitting analogy in play... If my son ever (God forbid!) finds himself in a life-threatening situation with a crazy knife wielding idiot hell-bent on stabbing him, and he sees an opening to knock the nut out, disarm him and stay safe... That's the option I will be rooting for.
Yeah, that's the same type of reason I don't tell ds he'll get hurt if he plays with scissors. There's a pretty good chance he won't! I don't even tell him its dangerous (it just seems an extreme word). I tell him it's unsafe to play with scissors, and try to explain that he *could* get hurt.
I don't tell him "We don't hit" because if *he* is hitting, then "we don't hit" isn't true anymore. I guess you could say "hitting people is wrong- if they don't want to be hit, if its not in self defense," and its true. But "Brooke doesn't want to be hit" is much easier to understand, imo. And my ds doesn't take that to mean that our other dog *might* like to be hit.
post #63 of 135
Sledg, as always, I love your posts!

I can never say things as clearly as you!
post #64 of 135
CC, of course someone will go there. I'll just

Some people just want to take things impossibly far out of context. :yawning:
post #65 of 135
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Originally Posted by aira
Brigianna, it seems you are approaching this from a very punative paradigm.

How will I explain the concept of "get away with it" to my child who doesn't know about punishment, and hopefully will continue to be internally driven when making his choices?
I'm not very good at explaining myself, especially on this forum. So I'll try to clarify as best I can--I was trying to convey the opposite of a punitive paradigm. I want to teach my kids to do the right thing because it's the right thing to do, not because of some consequence. And natural or logical consequences are still consequences and, if that is motivating someone, that is still an external rather than an internal motivation. This is where I tend to have a problem with natural/logical consequences and also with non-violent communication. While I think there are some good things there, it is still a subjective external motivation. So with the children hitting example, I think that to say "your cousin doesn't like to be hit" or "it makes me sad when you hit the baby" are not sufficient reasons why he shouldn't hit. Because, really, what obligation is he under to do what someone else likes, or to keep me from being sad? I'm not being critical or judgemental, but I don't think, regarding internal vs. external motivation, that "I feel sad when you do this" is all that different from "if you do that again I'm putting you in time-out." They are both trying to motivate the child through external consequences rather than an internal knowledge that something is wrong. So my only point about "getting away with it" is that people will often do wrong things without any negative consequences, whether artificially imposed (getting punished) or natural (making someone sad), but that it is still wrong.

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I'm not confused about moral/social and natural limits. Do you think I am because I used examples of each? I'm all for giving kids an honest account of all sorts of limits. I think I did a fair job explaining that.
I didn't mean that you were confused but that I thought you were conflating them. People can figure out for themselves that they can't fly and have to sleep. And people can figure out moral and social boundaries, too, but they often need more help. That's why I thought your analogy was a bit of a non sequitor.

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I get the impression (but certianly might be wrong) that you may be framing this in a religious context. If that is the case, I just won't follow you to your points about morality.
Well, yes, but I don't think you need a religious context to recognize universal natural rights.

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FTR, my statement about there being no absolutes was a bit tongue-in-cheek, seeing as the statement itself is an absolute. However, I do believe that there are absolute princples regarding the nature of the universe, creation, life, call it what you will. But when it comes to folks being folks, we can't make blanket statements or assumptions.
Of course, every person is an individual. But every person still has inalienable natural rights and a place in the natural order (or that's how I see it anyway). How they choose to exercise those rights and live within that framework is up to them as individuals.

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I mean, 100 years ago it was an absolute that pigs couldn't fly. But now you just have to buy one a ticket on Delta, and he's going to 30,000 feet. It's relative. It's all gonna be relative in the end, even if it's doesn't appear so in our lifetimes.
Yes, but again there is the distinction between natural and moral boundaries--circumstances and human innovation can alter natural limits but moral limits are constant. It was wrong to assault people 3000 yrs ago and it's wrong to assault people today.

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Indulge me while I keep that overused, strained hitting analogy in play... If my son ever (God forbid!) finds himself in a life-threatening situation with a crazy knife wielding idiot hell-bent on stabbing him, and he sees an opening to knock the nut out, disarm him and stay safe... That's the option I will be rooting for.

I will not lie to DS by telling him that it's never OK to hit b/c there's some absolute morality that makes it "wrong" in someone else's opinion. Or that he will surely face punishment in the afterlife for hitting, or anything silly like that. I will not inhibit him in any way from freely using his judgement based on an honest apprisal on his situation.
We can always come up with exceptions and extenuating circumstances for anything. But that doesn't make the general principle that it's wrong to hit people against their will false. I don't think you can say that a principle isn't valid just because there might be some situation where another principle (like self-preservation) might take precedence.

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I know, I spend considerable time and effort training first my reflexes, and then refining my judgement so that I may hopefully interact appropriately in my environment. I spend a lot of effort undoing all the abolute programming I got as a little one.

It inhibits the development of judgement to tell kids that these are rules and this is the exception. I find that it cerebralizes the whole process. When facing a situation, we often spend precious time going through our checklist about if X is good? bad? is this the rule or the exception? Would I be bad for taking care of myself by X? Is that selfish of me, to stand up for myself?

It's crippling. And all this stuff can be sorted out in an instant if we are able to relax and feel, listen to the silence, hear our intuition instead of the parental programming that shouts over it.

I owe my son not interfering with his own inner knowing. His connection with God. That belongs to him, and will serve him better than anything I can impose on him. That's his real safety and protection.
On this we'll just have to agree to disagree. Intuition is great and has very useful elements but it isn't everything. Personally I'm glad I was taught and chose to learn self-control over instinct. I have a lot of really bad instincts.
post #66 of 135
Well, my son doesn't seem to know that he can't fly, or that he can't avoid sleep! Just don't think the distiction is such an important one. Like I said, let's represent all "limits" for just what they are.

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I don't think you can say that a principle isn't valid just because there might be some situation where another principle (like self-preservation) might take precedence.
If there is an exception then it just isn't principle.

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On this we'll just have to agree to disagree. Intuition is great and has very useful elements but it isn't everything. Personally I'm glad I was taught and chose to learn self-control over instinct. I have a lot of really bad instincts.
Then we are not talking about the same things.

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I don't really feel like going for another round of the same, so I'll just refer back to the previous posts in the thread...
post #67 of 135
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Originally Posted by captain crunchy
That is a good point aira, and one I was going to bring up as well. That is my issue with teaching "WE DON'T _____ " or "Doing such and such is WRONG".

Children, especially small children are very much creatures of black and white logic. I don't want to teach my children that hitting for example, in every circumstance is wrong. There may be a situation where they have to hit for self defense for example. I won't teach them it is rude to scream, but rather, say "I don't like to be screamed at, Johhny doesn't like to be screamed at" (whatever) because there may be a situation where they will be able to, or have to scream. I don't want to frame my explanation of things with the statements of "except when, if this happens, well if this situation arises, it's okay."

I would rather explain things to my daughter in the context of the situation at hand. I honestly don't feel that by saying "Johnny doesn't like to be hit" she is going to think, gee whiz, well, Suzy might, and haul off and hit Suzy. I don't think my child is hell bent on hurting people as some posters seem to present in their examples. I may explain something like "most people don't like to be hit" in that instance, but I am not going to place value judgements on my daughter. I will not say to her "Hitting is BAD and WRONG!!!" ....because as you pointed out Aira, not in the context of martial arts, or in self defense, or even in the game tag, where though it be gently, you are hitting someone to *tag* them.
Of course anything can be parsed and asked "well what about this case? What about that? What if you were stranded on a desert island?" etc. When I was in Sunday school one of the things the class did to amuse ourselves was try to come up with hypothetical circumstances to try to get the teachers to say that a rule wouldn't apply in that case. We came up with some pretty creative examples. But I belive we were misguided--just because there is some circumstance where one principle takes precedence over another does not make the other principle false or invalid. Which is why I was trying to explain that there are degrees of boundary, like the distinction between a right and a preference.

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Furthermore, telling a 2 year old toddler that it hurts you emotionally when they hit you etc, is way manipulative to me. Yeah, if they physically hurt you, feel free to say, *ouch!* that hurts when you hit, I don't like to be hit!* ....but the manipulation of forcing your values on someone else and exploiting their need to be approved of by you by disapproving of their actions in the form of emotional manipulation, is not okay with me.
I agree, or at least that it *can* be manipulative. Which is why I think it's better to say "it's wrong to..." than "I feel sad when you..." At least in moral contexts. I have no problem asking my kids to do things based purely on my feelings and preferences, but I want them to know the difference between those things and moral issues.
post #68 of 135
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Originally Posted by aira
I don't agree that it's principle.
What is it if not principle? Desire?

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Then we are not talking about the same things.
Probably not. I confess I'm a little confused by what you're talking about.
post #69 of 135
All I'm saying about that one is that if something doesn't hold up in all cases, it can't be a fundamental or an absolute.

It could be many other things, but then it's situational.
post #70 of 135
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Originally Posted by aira
All I'm saying about that one is that if something doesn't hold up in all cases, it can't be a fundamental or an absolute.

It could be many other things, but then it's situational.
But can't a principle be valid in all cases but sometimes be overridden by another principle? In the self-defense example--non-violence is a principle. Self-preservation is also a principle. In certain rare cases they come into conflict with one another, and people disagree about which should take precedence over the other. Hard-line pacifists would say that non-violence takes precedence over self-preservation. Most other people would not see it that way. But that doesn't mean they aren't both valid principles.
post #71 of 135
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Originally Posted by Brigianna
But can't a principle be valid in all cases but sometimes be overridden by another principle? In the self-defense example--non-violence is a principle. Self-preservation is also a principle. In certain rare cases they come into conflict with one another, and people disagree about which should take precedence over the other. Hard-line pacifists would say that non-violence takes precedence over self-preservation. Most other people would not see it that way. But that doesn't mean they aren't both valid principles.
I agree. And I agree that the thing that we are trying to do is teach our children OUR moral code. So I think you can talk about morality within your own family as an absolute, and when your children are ready for it, maybe that will be the time to discuss how different people have different moral codes. In fact, we do that a little bit already.
post #72 of 135
I would like to request that we keep the discussion about the topic at hand and refrain from getting personal. The goal of the forum is to support each other and learn about gentle discipline, not criticize each other.

If you need clarification or have any comments for me, please feel free to PM me before posting again to the thread.

Let's keep this thread about boundaries. Thanks
post #73 of 135
Quickly, regarding extrinsic vs. intrinsic motivation. Going with the ubiquitous hitting example: I don't think that saying "hitting is wrong, we don't it" is any better at producing intrinsic motivation than is saying "I don't like it when you hit me." Personally, my goal in saying "I don't like it when you hit me, because I need for my body to be respected" is to give information (I say "please touch me gently" in order to communicate how I expect/need/want to be treated-giving infomation about my personal boundaries, I guess). I don't think saying "hitting is wrong" provides enough information: my kids have asked me "why is it wrong?"

I think that my children don't like to hit people, that they don't take pleasure in hitting, they do know (on some level) that it's not effective in terms of getting their needs met. I can see plain as day that my kids don't feel good about hitting someone. I think that the reason they hit is that in any given moment they don't have the impulse control or words/skills to respond in a different, more effective way. So really the most effective means of helping my children learn to not hit is to give them information about how others feel about being hit and to help them learn to calm themselves and to help them learn to communicate more effectively.

I am learning that my children are already intrinsically motivated to be responsible, contributing, caring members of our family and society. They enjoy living in harmony with others, they do not enjoy conflict and struggle (though it can't be avoided), they enjoy a loving and gentle relationship, they enjoy contributing and accomplishing, they enjoy learning-all this is already there. They simply need the maturity and skills to act on the motivation that is already there. Do they also enjoy getting their own needs met and having things the way they want them? Yes, like all of us-and, as for most of us adults, it feels better to them when they are getting their needs/wants met in harmony with those around them, rather than at the expense of those around them. I think there's probably a better way to say this, but I don't know how.
post #74 of 135
: slegd
post #75 of 135
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Quickly, regarding extrinsic vs. intrinsic motivation. Going with the ubiquitous hitting example: I don't think that saying "hitting is wrong, we don't it" is any better at producing intrinsic motivation than is saying "I don't like it when you hit me." Personally, my goal in saying "I don't like it when you hit me, because I need for my body to be respected" is to give information (I say "please touch me gently" in order to communicate how I expect/need/want to be treated-giving infomation about my personal boundaries, I guess). I don't think saying "hitting is wrong" provides enough information: my kids have asked me "why is it wrong?"

I think that my children don't like to hit people, that they don't take pleasure in hitting, they do know (on some level) that it's not effective in terms of getting their needs met. I can see plain as day that my kids don't feel good about hitting someone. I think that the reason they hit is that in any given moment they don't have the impulse control or words/skills to respond in a different, more effective way. So really the most effective means of helping my children learn to not hit is to give them information about how others feel about being hit and to help them learn to calm themselves and to help them learn to communicate more effectively.

I am learning that my children are already intrinsically motivated to be responsible, contributing, caring members of our family and society. They enjoy living in harmony with others, they do not enjoy conflict and struggle (though it can't be avoided), they enjoy a loving and gentle relationship, they enjoy contributing and accomplishing, they enjoy learning-all this is already there. They simply need the maturity and skills to act on the motivation that is already there. Do they also enjoy getting their own needs met and having things the way they want them? Yes, like all of us-and, as for most of us adults, it feels better to them when they are getting their needs/wants met in harmony with those around them, rather than at the expense of those around them. I think there's probably a better way to say this, but I don't know how.
Once again sledg, awesome post! I totally agree
post #76 of 135
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Originally Posted by sledg
FWIW, I have learned that I cannot make anyone do what I ask-not even my kids. It is not possible to control another person. And while I probably actually can find some ways to make my kids do some things right now, there will come a time when I can't make them do anything. And making them do something, well that creates a disconnection (however brief it may be) and the more we disconnect the less my kids will value and respect what I have to say and offer. The more we disconnect, the less cooperation there is between us, and the more struggle there is. This I have experienced already, though my kids are still quite young and I admittedly cannot predict what the future will hold regardless of how I parent from here on out.

So I am learning to focus not on making my kids do things, but on communicating with them so that they have the information they need when it comes to relationships with others and to making decisions. When it comes to danger, of course I will physically step in and prevent something dangerous from happening. I will block one child's hands from hitting another, I will grab a child about to walk into the street. If a child tries to hit me, I'll move or block the hit while saying "I do not want to be hit." In the example you gave of your kids running on the sidewalk but not actually in the street, I've btdt. I didn't feel safe with my kids' running on the sidewalk, not at all. So what I said (to my 4 and 6 year old-the two year old still goes in the backpack) was this "When you run on the sidewalk I feel scared, because I'm afraid you might accidentally run or fall into the street and get hurt by a car. I need to know that we're all going to be safe traveling on the sidewalk, so I want you to walk." And repeated, and repeated. Did some running, watched them run a little (asking them to "walk, please") and realized it's probably not as dangerous as I'm afraid it is, and within a few days it actually wasn't a problem anymore-they weren't running. I could have said (and actually, I may have said this and realized it was foolish, I can't remember) "if you keep running, we won't walk anymore" but I realized that this was not something I wanted to do-we like to walk, it's good for our bodies and our spirits, it's enjoyable time together, and to just stop walking wouldn't teach them how to be safe walking down the road.
Sorry I could not answer earlier, Sledge. I totally agree with everything you say. How I wish it worked...and it does, with my younger. But for some reason, the eldest gets deeply disconnected - at times - and she then becomes really hard to get a hold of (physically as well as more deeply) for really long stretches of time. The worst comes when her sister decides to imitate her. Then, they cross boundaries with an ease they would never otherwise have had. I know I need to keep the eldest's cup full, but it ain't easy.
post #77 of 135
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Originally Posted by gaialice
I know I need to keep the eldest's cup full, but it ain't easy.
I hear ya. I get that. With some kids it really ain't easy at all.
post #78 of 135
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Originally Posted by sledg
I think that my children don't like to hit people, that they don't take pleasure in hitting, they do know (on some level) that it's not effective in terms of getting their needs met. I can see plain as day that my kids don't feel good about hitting someone. I think that the reason they hit is that in any given moment they don't have the impulse control or words/skills to respond in a different, more effective way. So really the most effective means of helping my children learn to not hit is to give them information about how others feel about being hit and to help them learn to calm themselves and to help them learn to communicate more effectively.

I am learning that my children are already intrinsically motivated to be responsible, contributing, caring members of our family and society. They enjoy living in harmony with others, they do not enjoy conflict and struggle (though it can't be avoided), they enjoy a loving and gentle relationship, they enjoy contributing and accomplishing, they enjoy learning-all this is already there. They simply need the maturity and skills to act on the motivation that is already there. Do they also enjoy getting their own needs met and having things the way they want them? Yes, like all of us-and, as for most of us adults, it feels better to them when they are getting their needs/wants met in harmony with those around them, rather than at the expense of those around them. I think there's probably a better way to say this, but I don't know how.
Okay, I'm going to play the devil's advocate a little bit here. Sledg, I always really love your posts, and I also love your viewpoint of assuming positive intent.

However, I personally believe that dynamics can arise in families where children are hitting for more reasons than the ones you have listed. And I think that needs arise in children that we cannot meet, or sometimes even help them meet. There are a lot of things that children have to do for themselves. And I think that it can help protect children from hitting each other if their parents make a very strong stand against violence.

I don't know if I'm describing this very well, so I'm going to try and give an example.

There are often threads here about children who are in a hitting phase, that are frequently hitting their siblings or what have you. I agree, somewhat, that these children probably don't like hitting. But I also believe that part of the reason children don't like hitting is because it is not socially acceptable, and they are socially sanctioned for it (in many different ways), and children are hard-wired to learn what is socially acceptable. AND, I believe that some children resort to hitting more frequently because it works for them, because it gets their needs met, so to speak. If parents are sending an unclear message about hitting, like the pp's friend who ignores her child's violence, the child may rely on it more as a first resort. Because it works, especially with younger children.

And here's my most controversial statement. I can remember being a child and hitting my siblings, and I did like it. In a way. It was easy to not think about their pain. It was easy to mock them when they cried. I don't think I was an evil child, I see children do this all the time. But I think part of growing up is trying that out, being mean and seeing what happens. Seeing how it feels when you hurt someone else, and when children are young, I don't think it feels that bad (for the perpetrator).
post #79 of 135
I see what you're saying, Sarah. I agree that there are many reasons why children hit, but I really think that with the exception of those times when a child is experimenting to see what happens (which is not unheard of) that a child who is hitting is experiencing an urge that is natural and the result of (yep, I'm gonna say it) an unmet need (and quite likely a lack of impulse control or other skill).

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AND, I believe that some children resort to hitting more frequently because it works for them, because it gets their needs met, so to speak.
Yes. So if the child's needs are met in another way, the child won't have to resort to hitting.

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If parents are sending an unclear message about hitting, like the pp's friend who ignores her child's violence, the child may rely on it more as a first resort. Because it works, especially with younger children.
Yes, and no. Yes an ambiguous response doesn't help a child learn to refrain from hitting. But really, if the child is using hitting as a way to get their needs met then is the answer to take a stronger stand against hitting, or to ensure that the child's needs are met? IME, the hitting doesn't stop until the need is met. And of course, skills have to be learned as well.

I agree that it is probably true that part of the reason kids don't really enjoy hitting is that it's socially unacceptable. I also think a big part of the reason kids don't like to hit is that being social creatures, they like to connect with others-and hitting promotes disconnections, not connection.

I can remember "liking" hitting my siblings, because it was a release-my needs weren't being met, I wasn't being listened to, and because it is a human urge I lashed out. And there was, honestly, some satisfaction in that-but not much, because it never really solved any problem and because I did love my sister it did feel bad also. I'm inclined to think that if we had learned better problem-solving and communication skills, with less focus on "hitting is wrong" and more focus on empathy and listening and meeting needs, we would have relied more on those skills/strategies and less on hitting.

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And I think that needs arise in children that we cannot meet, or sometimes even help them meet.
I think in this case it's not our strong declaration that hitting is wrong that is going to best protect anyone, it's the development of empathy and the information we as parents give our kids and the communication, problem-solving, and coping skills we help kids learn that are the best protection against violence.

And I'm thinking that I guess I don't understand exactly what's meant here by parents not taking a strong stand against hitting (except for the mentions of parents not responding or responding unclearly). Is it a stronger stance to say "never hit, hitting is wrong" than to say "he didn't like being hit, it hurt his body, let me help you solve this without hitting"? I think that in my every day interactions, when I focus on how that other person felt and focus on teaching my child alternative ways of handling a situation I am taking a pretty strong stand against using violence (even if I don't say "hitting is wrong"), and am pretty strongly promoting solving things in a more peaceful way-in no small part by dealing with my child peacefully myself. KWIM? I'm not saying my way (er, the way I aspire to) is better, just that maybe don't be so quick to write it off as not strongly showing a child that violence isn't the way.

Time to go.
post #80 of 135
Great post sledg...again

I agree with this statement a lot:
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think that in my every day interactions, when I focus on how that other person felt and focus on teaching my child alternative ways of handling a situation I am taking a pretty strong stand against using violence (even if I don't say "hitting is wrong"), and am pretty strongly promoting solving things in a more peaceful way-in no small part by dealing with my child peacefully myself. KWIM? I'm not saying my way (er, the way I aspire to) is better, just that maybe don't be so quick to write it off as not strongly showing a child that violence isn't the way.

Time to go

I will go further to say I don't think most people like or respond well to value judgements on their actions. I mean, something someone does may be *wrong* to you, even to them, but it doesn't help the situation (imo) by telling them THAT WAS WRONG!!! I just feel that it doesn't accomplish much, with children or adults.

Suppose I had a friend over to my home who for instance, smacked her child in front of me. I don't allow that in my home, I feel personally it is wrong to hit children, but in my approach I will be seeking a gentle, effective, peaceful way to make my stance known. I think it would be more effective and gentle to say to said friend, "I realize you are frustrated friend, but I don't allow hitting in my home. Let me make you a cup of coffee and let's all cool off for a moment, sound good?" (or something similar, just using an example). I don't think it would do anyone any good to say "THAT WAS WRONG FRIEND! WE DON'T HIT!" To me, that sets up an immediate adversarial situation where said friend feels on the defense and like I am making a judgement of her (which I would be).

So, some people may not see the difference between "I don't like to be hit, I like to be touched gently" while demonstrating a gentle touch -- or saying "hitting is wrong", but I see a big difference in how a child may percieve said statement.

It is not my aim to shame my child in any way, and it is just my humble opinion that telling my child they are wrong or hitting is bad or other value judgements, is shaming to them, even if it is a *soft* shaming. Now, before the responses come, I am not suggesting that my child won't ever do anything that I *percieve* as wrong in the context of this discussion, however, I just don't see how pointing out her failings gets me closer to helping her become the person she is meant to be. I would rather focus on treating her how I like to be treated when I have said or done something "wrong". I would rather help the offended party communicate -- (Are you okay Suzei? etc) "Suzy does not like being hit, she seems upset." I *may* even go as far as saying that depending on the situation -- but I wouldn't make a blanket statement about something being "wrong and bad"...especially morally, because as we all know, that is subjective.
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