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What gentle discipline works for strong willed children>?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I know I have never posted on this board before, but I really need some advice.

I used to be a spanker, and I am proud to say that I am not doing it anymore (excpet for the very few and far between slip up which I am not proud over)

Dh however, is not going with me on this one...he believes they still need to be spanked. I tell him there are other ways to do this, and he then says to me "well, then, you teach them how they are supposed to behave!"

I am a mother of 5 children age 7 and under. Dh works lots of hours, so it does end up on my shoulders, which I don't mind....just means I have more say in how things are handled.

The problem is, my kids are all very strong willed and independant like you could not imagine! My 2 year old will go into the kitchen to get her own drink instead of coming to ask! I work with them and work with them, but it does not seem to work very well. I have tried all I can think of, and hope that you will be better than I and have some suggestions.

Now I know that some do not agree with any kind of punishment, but I still have tried time outs, etc because words alone do not always seem to work....and frankly, I don't think any of it is working at this point! I am trying more and more to really explain things well to them about what they are doing that is wrong (and have even caught dh trying to do it too!!)

But what do you do when they are soooo strong willed!? I am really at my wits end, and wanting to be the good parent here, but I just don't know what to do to make it work anymore

Any ideas? Questions? Am I even being clear?? :


I did fine the discipline book by Sears at the DI for 50 cents! and plan on reading it, but i need some more immediate suggestions.

Thanks mamas!
post #2 of 14
I am more of a positive reinforcement parent. I time-out and such when he is bad, although I make a special effort to reinforce his good behavior. For instance, if your 2 year old were to ask for a drink you could reward her with a little something extra. Such as a cookie, or grapes, something that she likes.
post #3 of 14
Quote:
I am a mother of 5 children age 7 and under. Dh works lots of hours, so it does end up on my shoulders, which I don't mind....just means I have more say in how things are handled.
Well, right there I would like to bow to you in reverance! 5 children that young is a tremendous job and I respect that immensely.
Its hard to really know your familys dynamics to respond. I can only guess by the small bit you have written here

Other than getting some great books
(How to talk so kids will listen and...sorry someone help with the name of this book!)
You gave the example of your 2yo getting their own water...perhaps set up your home to accomodate their independence...like keep a stool near the sink with cups of water , or get a faucet they can easily use etc so they can do this without you worrying...keep food at eye level for them to get etc (We do this for our strong willed son and it works for us)
So, you know, create success for them and for you.
Its hard to create a mindset up trusting and having the expectation that they "want" to listen and co-operate..but I really think its worth the work to do it.
(Not suggesting you arent, I again am assuming from what youve written that this may have gotten lost with 5 children and spanking as a way of life in the home etc)

Dont know if this helped, I hope it did.
Best of Luck to you!

oh and ps. Get a mothers helper who is the bomb at GD and non violent/coercive parenting to help you a few days a week!!!!
post #4 of 14
I only have one ds (who is 2) and he is very strong willed. I will just tell you what I have found that works for us and you can decide whether any of it will be at all helpful to you in your situation (one child is very different than 5 ). The most important thing for me was to realize what was just not worth worrying about, I needed to let go of a lot of ideas of what behavior was worth fighting over. (I really liked the book "Kids Are Worth It" the author says if it is not unhealthy, immorral, or dangerous it generally isn't important-not an exact quote so I could be way off LOL). That eliminates much of what could become daily battles for us. I also let ds do as much for himself as possible, he gets his own food and drinks whenever possible, helps to pick out clothes, and helps me with the daily cleaning. It is just expected that every member of our household will contribute to the upkeep of the house (this meant that when he was a baby I wore him in a sling while I worked, and as he was able to help he has-I don't expect a good job though, and many dishes have been broken along the way ). He likes to be a part of these activities and it keeps him busy, plus we get to spend the time together (plus I try to keep it fun). The other thing that makes a difference for him is to keep his mind stimulated and prevents him from becoming frustrated and bored (he is an extremely bright child and needs this kind of mental stimulation). We also avoid refined sugar at all costs, within 30 min. of eating any sugar he turns into a tantruming, impossible-to-deal-with monster.
Hope at least something was useful, there are many women with larger families that will probably be a lot more useful Good luck!
Laurie
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks you guys! Those are some things I never even thought of. A lot of my frustration stems from the mess the kids end up making when they do just go and help themselves to whatever they want. I think that deciding that is a battle not worth having, and then helping to make it easier for them will solve a lot of the issues. That really does give me something to work with.

I did spend the day once with a friend who was really into GD, and i have to say...she was exhausted by the time the day was half over! LOL----she did not even know what to do with the kids!

I will check into these books as well....Dh may be leaving for almost 2 months for a new job, and i am hoping to implement a lot while he is gone!
post #6 of 14
Quote:
Thanks you guys! Those are some things I never even thought of. A lot of my frustration stems from the mess the kids end up making when they do just go and help themselves to whatever they want. I think that deciding that is a battle not worth having, and then helping to make it easier for them will solve a lot of the issues. That really does give me something to work with.
If the mess is the problem, I would suggest getting the kids involved in cleaning it up. Tell them how proud you are that they can get there own food/drinks/etc and ask them what needs to happen to clean up the mess. If they don't know, take time to teach them how to clean up. It will give them a sense of responsibility and belonging. Good luck.
post #7 of 14
With the spilling, what worked for us when DD was younger and wanting to do it herself was to either have drinks ready for her in the fridge she could just get or filling the pint tupperware containers with different drinks she could pour herself. We keep towells down low and everyone at least helps clean up after themselves.

HTH and you are *amazing*

Kay
post #8 of 14
Blow non-stop raspberries onto tummy till begs for mercy!

a
post #9 of 14
Sometimes it takes awhile for children who were controlled with spanking to respond to more gentle approaches.

Also children have unique temperments and some are more (ahem) challenging than others.

I would try to create an environment that helps the children to do well. I might consider, for example, having a jug of water cooling in the refrigerator for your 2YO, if she spills it's just water.

Keep a few nice toys and ditch or store other toys (for rotation every once in awhile.)

Sometimes you need to provide strong bounderies for your children (especially the 'strong willed' ones) This means being alert to keep them from doing something outright wrong or dangerous instead of waiting for them to mess up and *then* punishing them.

Also, you might need to pick your battles only being on their backsides for the "biggies" leaving the "smallies" in your wake.

Having really young children close together is a real challengs and things will get better.

Are you a Christian?? Judging from your children's names I'm guessing. I imagine you and your husband might be under some pressure to discipline your children with "the rod" because "the Bible says so". I can help you with some of those nagging questions if you want to pm me.

This parenting thing is a lot of hard work, be encouraged!!

db
post #10 of 14
I really agree with akirasmama a lot

my daughter is very strong willed, and I'm so proud of her for it! She's independent and strong and quick to pick up new things!

So I let her try everything herself. Then we make a game or a song out of cleaning up.

So she can go get her own drink, and I'll cheer her on the whole time. If she makes enough of a mess, I'll run and get the camera. Then we/she clean/s up.

I figure encouraging her is a lot less work than taking care of a more dependant child.
post #11 of 14
Quote:
If she makes enough of a mess, I'll run and get the camera. Then we/she clean/s up.
LOL Thats exactly what I do. We have a ton of "messy Akira" photo's. When he decided to paint the fridge with fingerpaint I had one of those "what a mess" moments, but dh just laughed and held him up to reach the corners while I ran for the camera. We now have a very colorful frigde, and it is definately a conversation starter. Much better then getting upset and punishing!

Laurie
post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by DebraBaker
Keep a few nice toys and ditch or store other toys (for rotation every once in awhile.)

Sometimes you need to provide strong bounderies for your children (especially the 'strong willed' ones) This means being alert to keep them from doing something outright wrong or dangerous instead of waiting for them to mess up and *then* punishing them.

Are you a Christian?? Judging from your children's names I'm guessing. I imagine you and your husband might be under some pressure to discipline your children with "the rod" because "the Bible says so". I can help you with some of those nagging questions if you want to pm me.

This parenting thing is a lot of hard work, be encouraged!!

db
Yes we are Christian, but we do not do the "rod" type of discipline because of it being in the Bible. Fortunately our Church (LDS) encourages gentle discipline as we believe all people are a child of God and should be treated as such.

You have some good ideas, and fortunately they are ones that I have started implementing already. It is just getting dh to go along with it that is soo challenging. he grew up in a not very loving family, and he has a hard time with this.

I also like the toy idea...that is one of our biggest messes and struggles...to keep their rooms clean! We are in a smaller house, so a small mess looks huge! But I think that taking some toys out would be good for cleanliness as well as to weed out some of the "plastic" toys they have.

I do get very discouraged when I have set the boundaries, and they continue to just blow them off--I know they are kids, but it does get hard, and I am trying so hard to make it a better environment for them. I feel like I battle them, and then I battle dh too cause he gets mad at me for telling him not to spank them.

*sigh*

Thank You.
post #13 of 14
Jessica,

My dh also grew up in an abusive situation.

It was a real struggle (still is but things have grown better over time) because when people are in a stressful moment they tend to do what they are familiar with from childhood.

In a stressful moment he would tend to want to make the kids "respect him" (read fear him) he would cite, "We feared my dad and behaved around him" and I would note, "You hated your dad, I remember how much you *hated* your dad, is that the sort of relationship you want??"

Of course not but he's doing the hard work of breaking generational cycles of abuse.

Perhaps you could share with your dh in a calm moment when the kids aren't around. It *is* hard work for him but work worth doing (lest it remain for another generation!!)

I'm so glad your church has a gentle attitude toward children (I live in the East so we don't have many LDS people but I know a *few* and they tend to be sweet gentle parents )

db
post #14 of 14
A trick that might work, especially since you are dealing with so many young kids, is to momentarily imagine they are someone else's kids and you are their teacher/nanny.

It's funny but when you get really stressed, taking this point of view can immediately reign in your temper and improve your self control. For whatever reason, people are much quicker to yell at or punish their own kids than they are someone else's.

As a quick fix when things get crazy and chaotic, this might help you....that and giving lots of hugs and silly faces. I think with so many little kids, the real challenge is just to keep from "sweating the small stuff" too much, and winding up burned out and frustrated.
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