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Observations of traditional discipline

post #1 of 188
Thread Starter 
Today, DH and I were at a bookstore, killing time before DS' pediatrician appointment. We happened to observe a mother with an older toddler (probably 2.5 - 3 years old) who was walking through the store crying, tantrum-throwing, etc.

It was kind of an interesting experience, because we both realized how far we had come down the gentle discipline spectrum. In the past, we would have watched this scenario play out and thought that the mom was doing "ineffective" things to curb the little one's "misbehavior." (She gave her a swat on the bottom at one point, not particularly hard, tried reasoning with her, tried to get her to pick out a book, ignored her, etc.)

This time, we both watched this and thought, "This little one clearly doesn't want to be book shopping right now, and she is trying harder and harder to convey that message to her mom, who isn't seeming to get the message."

It was just kind of neat to realize how differently we interpreted this family's interaction than we would have years ago. And it really did bring home a point I'd recently read, that children act according to how they feel.

Just wanted to share, and say thanks to everyone who has encouraged mamas here to consider situations from a child's POV.
post #2 of 188
I know the feeling!! It's funny that we have to "realize" that 100% of the time children ARE actually trying to tell us something! What a revelation! When I actually stop and "listen" to my child, the "misbehavior" clears up (usually).

Wendi
post #3 of 188
Quote:
"This little one clearly doesn't want to be book shopping right now, and she is trying harder and harder to convey that message to her mom, who isn't seeming to get the message."
Exactly what I was thinking throughout the first part of the post. What is it with taking kids shopping, anyway?
post #4 of 188
Sometimes people don't have a choice, and have to take their kids shopping with them. Sometimes the kids don't particularly enjoy it. What choice do you have when you *have* to get something done, though? :
post #5 of 188
My baby is only three months old, but I've started reading about GD already and watching my sister with my three-year-old nephew. Before I would think, "There's got to be a better way to get him to listen without hitting and yelling all day." Now I think, "Why does she even expect him to listen to her at all?" For example, he'll ask the same question three times in a row. He is only three and still working on his language. She'll yell, "STOP REPEATING YOURSELF AND I'LL ANSWER YOUR QUESTION!!" He'll hang his head and say, "Sowwy.." Poor guy. The things parents demand of their little ones sometimes are just unreasonable.
post #6 of 188
Quote:
What choice do you have when you *have* to get something done, though?
Yes, I can see how my words could be offensive to many (actually, most). I'm sorry.

It just didn't seem like the case here. Perhaps I misread or misjudged, but it sounded like the mama was forcing a bookstore trip down the child's throat.

FWIW, I've never looked at children in shops and wondered, "What are you doing here?" Nor have I ever been annoyed at tantruming children in public places. I just think shopping is highly overstimulating for children.
post #7 of 188
Quote:
Sometimes people don't have a choice, and have to take their kids shopping with them. Sometimes the kids don't particularly enjoy it. What choice do you have when you *have* to get something done, though?
Thats a very good question...
(though I will add as a side note...book shopping is not something that must be done - its something you do for fun...amazon is better anyhow if you just need to get a book for whatever reason lol)

Well...I am in this boat - for a variety of reasons. But my must need to be done shopping is only for food. This is where consensual living comes into play well for us (usually lol)...There are ways around trying to get something done that must be done. For small babies - you cant beat a sling. Even my son who is 2 loves his sling and can often be happy just being in it and near me. Now he wants to 'do' more things and be a part of everything more...which takes clever thinking. Be it making shopping fun, bringing something fun along, I even got a buggy for him that faces me so he can sit in one place keeping everyone safe and happy but still shopping with me and talking with me and being invovled and putting things in the basket for me, etc... there is always I feel, a way around something that must be done. It just takes listening to one another and working together - instead of not listneing and trying to work against....Like that mother in the OP example. (hypothetical...)If I just didnt have a computer and couldnt buy a book off amazon and had to go to the bookstore and my son just didnt want to be there (and I couldnt put it off for another time because I was a single mother with no other family)...I know this for my son at least would be fixed by some sling action - pop him in and then we both are happy! lol And then I would get in an out and make sure what I sorta knew I was after before I got there to make it quick and smooth and easy for us all!
post #8 of 188
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post #9 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaOutThere View Post
Exactly what I was thinking throughout the first part of the post. What is it with taking kids shopping, anyway?
Well, lucky you for never having to take your kids to the store.

I think the mom likely knew the kiddo's feelings. Maybe she just couldn't rearrange her schedule for the day. Not every parent bends to the whim of their children.
post #10 of 188
Heh, for me bookstore trips are an outing I enjoy and if my 5 year old wants to be a bear about it then thats what he's going to do. I do lots of things I truly do not enjoy just because he enjoys them and he can return the favor on occasion. I do talk to him and work with him explaining that we all need to learn to do some things we don't like to do and do them happily out of consideration for others. We all make compromises and we all take turns. Sometimes mommy gets a turn too. There are also things HE enjoys about the bookstore, like going to the kid's section and having Daddy read to him while mommy shops and vice/versa.

I also shop on Amazon too, but going out to a bookstore and picking up the books is so much more fun. I also get to interact with other shoppers and talk about books. I love that.

I do love the shift in perspective the OP had. It really is a different world when you really believe kids matter and their opinions count.
post #11 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by mz_libbie22 View Post
Well, lucky you for never having to take your kids to the store.

I think the mom likely knew the kiddo's feelings. Maybe she just couldn't rearrange her schedule for the day. Not every parent bends to the whim of their children.

I'm glad it's not just me. I try to time everything so that everyone is happy and best-equipped for an outing, but sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and go. go (and yes, sometimes it's a bookstore or something other than groceries). My job isn't to make sure they always get what they want, but to teach them how to deal with negative feelings.
post #12 of 188
As for the bookstore not being necessary...
For 4 months last winter/spring, we lived in Brooklyn while our apartment was being renovated. DDs preschool (and our regular apartment) were in Manhattan. After preschool, I went to Barnes and Noble b/c she was generally happy there and she'd nap in her stroller and I'd get hot chocolate and sit in the cafe while she slept. I could NOT take back to Brooklyn on the subway after school and before nap, b/c she'd fall asleep on the train and I could not carry her and her stroller out of the station. Nor could I babywear her at 3 y o for the 2 hours she naps, while pregnant with ds.

So I'm sure there were days when she was tired and cranky and "misbehaving." I know there were bad morning sickness and migraine days where I was a bad Mama (I never spank, but there was surely shouting going on). But that was the best place I could think of for us to be at that time. Now dealing with ppd. there are also days when we go out b/c I need to be out of the house even when dd doesn't want to be. It might be the best that mother can be at the time. (I'm always worried I'll read about myself on MDC after a bad day with the kids! )
post #13 of 188
I appreciate the OP perspective, although I admit that I'm not surprised the subsequent posters feel it is necessary to shoot her down.

I've had the same realization. That I don't have to get a lot of things done that I thought I did (who am I doing this for? is a great question I ask myself) and that I don't have to act like a horse's @ss no matter what reason I tell myself that I do.

Not that I don't sometimes act like a horse's @ss, just that the line that I *have* to act like a horse's @ss is not true.

When my kids are done, we are done. If I go home without finishing the grocery shopping (which I've only had to do once), there's food at home, just not what I was planning. I don't live on a desert island. If we eat cereal for dinner happy, it's better than a 4 course meal pissed at each other.

There are a few things that *have* to be done when they have to be done. When I'm tired and cranky and pushing my kids beyond their limits, *they* aren't the ones misbehaving when they resist.

It's a paradigm shift and once made, everything looks different.

And somehow I manage to have a partner, have 2 kids, have a job and get us all fed and dressed.
post #14 of 188
I think something else to consider is that some of us have kids who just meltdown without any warning (no obvious one anyway and believe me, I've looked long and hard). And when she does there is literally nothign I can do but make sure she's safe and wait for her to accept being picked up without me getting hurt and her getting angrier. So it might look like I'm being a terrible parent by "ignoring" her, but frankly it's the only thing that works. And I'm not ignoring, I'm giving time and space. They probably look the same to someone who doesn't know us though.

And I have tbh, sometimes I expect my kids to go along with something I want or need to do, just like I go along with stuff they want or need to do. The proportions are just different is all (hardly an equal split). I realise that if you're into consensual living, then this might be different for you, but the general tone of judgement is what gets to me. If you don't know the other person's circumstances, best not to make a judgement based on one incident.
post #15 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by L&IsMama View Post
Sometimes people don't have a choice, and have to take their kids shopping with them. Sometimes the kids don't particularly enjoy it. What choice do you have when you *have* to get something done, though? :
Exactly what I was thinking.
post #16 of 188
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by L&IsMama View Post
Sometimes people don't have a choice, and have to take their kids shopping with them. Sometimes the kids don't particularly enjoy it. What choice do you have when you *have* to get something done, though? :
Having been observing this shopping trip, I think it was more of a "let's get out of the house and get some books for ourselves" idea, timed poorly.

But often, we do have to take little ones shopping. I think that it would have helped this mama if she had stopped for a moment, looked at her LO, and acknowledged the LO's desire to leave. Or given her a concrete thing to do - "We need to pick a calendar for Aunt May, and then we can leave. Can you point to some that you think she would like? What about this one, with the kitty cats?"

Instead, it was easy for the LO to feel that the trip was never going to end, and for the mama to be frustrated that she couldn't get anything done because the LO was throwing fit after fit.
post #17 of 188
Quote:
Yes, I can see how my words could be offensive to many (actually, most). I'm sorry.
Did anyone read this? I think I misjudged the whole scenario, which is quite easy to do when related by someone besides the mama herself. I'm not sure why I even bothered to participate in this thread.

Again, sorry that so many of you are offended by my words.

I handle my shopping in a way that I find efficient for my family. You can all do what you want.

Thanks,
Unsubcribing
post #18 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by chfriend View Post
I appreciate the OP perspective, although I admit that I'm not surprised the subsequent posters feel it is necessary to shoot her down.

I've had the same realization. That I don't have to get a lot of things done that I thought I did (who am I doing this for? is a great question I ask myself) and that I don't have to act like a horse's @ss no matter what reason I tell myself that I do.

Not that I don't sometimes act like a horse's @ss, just that the line that I *have* to act like a horse's @ss is not true.

When my kids are done, we are done. If I go home without finishing the grocery shopping (which I've only had to do once), there's food at home, just not what I was planning. I don't live on a desert island. If we eat cereal for dinner happy, it's better than a 4 course meal pissed at each other.

There are a few things that *have* to be done when they have to be done. When I'm tired and cranky and pushing my kids beyond their limits, *they* aren't the ones misbehaving when they resist.

It's a paradigm shift and once made, everything looks different.

And somehow I manage to have a partner, have 2 kids, have a job and get us all fed and dressed.


I have a car about one day a week, and financially and environmentally I try not to make more trips than I need to. I plan for as many stops as my kids can handle, but some days their patience is shorter than others. That doesn't mean I pack up and go home. It means I do what I need to and try to help them get through it.

I just love these "I'm a better mom than you" threads.
post #19 of 188
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kay11 View Post
I think something else to consider is that some of us have kids who just meltdown without any warning (no obvious one anyway and believe me, I've looked long and hard). And when she does there is literally nothign I can do but make sure she's safe and wait for her to accept being picked up without me getting hurt and her getting angrier. So it might look like I'm being a terrible parent by "ignoring" her, but frankly it's the only thing that works. And I'm not ignoring, I'm giving time and space. They probably look the same to someone who doesn't know us though.
FWIW, my son is a quick meltdown-er, too.

I didn't think this mum was a terrible parent, just that she was reacting to her child's behavior rather than taking a step back to look at the whole situation, questioning whether the LO was trying to send her a message about her unhappiness with the way the day was going.

She actually seemed like a very nice mama, just tired and really wishing she could look at some books and that her toddler would get over being miserable and let her shop for a minute or two. I think we've all been there.

I was reflecting more on how I would have previously "indicted" the toddler for misbehaving, and now I tend to realize that the toddler is just trying to communicate her feelings about the situation as best as she knows how.

I do try very hard not to be judgmental toward other moms, and I know that 99% of mothers are doing the very best that they can with the information they have. But our society makes it hard, because we tend to focus so heavily on reactive discipline and "behavior," rather than on needs and inability to communicate them.

So when our LO "acts up," especially very small children, it's often hard to step outside of that paradigm and try to figure out how to address the real issue.

:
post #20 of 188
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by IdahoMom View Post
I just love these "I'm a better mom than you" threads.
You know what? That's not an assessment that's exactly free of judgment, either.
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