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Observations of traditional discipline - Page 8

post #141 of 188
Jessica, I'm sorry you feel I've been unfair. I've already realized the Nazi analogy was ill-avised from many different angles, and acknowledged as much ... so, like Forest Gump, "That's all I have to say about that" (at least, it's all I can think of right now).

As far as what I said about the horse, I'm glad to hear that you are open to brainstorming with your daughter about various ways to achieve her horse-related dreams. I'd had the impression that you (or maybe it was another poster -- I'm not sure, and haven't gone back to check) felt that this sort of brainstorming was "giving the illusion of choice where there really was no choice."

I guess I just don't believe in ever saying "never" about stuff. I feel like I never really know for sure what might become possible over time. So while I certainly wouldn't promise my child a horse, I wouldn't feel like I was "giving the illusion of choice" by saying, "Let's pursue your interest in the ways we can right now, and we'll just see what works out."
post #142 of 188
About empathy -- I do realize that some kinds of empathy require absolutely no explanation on our part, for kids to pick up on them.

For instance, I believe that all children who are accustomed to having their own cries compassionately responded to, will automatically respond to other children's cries with compassion. I've noticed this empathy in both my girls, from a very early age.

I was saddened once in the library, to see a 6yo girl yelling "shut up" to her weeping baby brother or sister, and laughing at/making fun of the crying child. The baby was crying in the stroller while the mother focused on the transaction she was involved in at the checkout desk -- not just for a moment, more like several minutes, and seemed to be ignoring the child.

Of course, I've read some posts here by mothers who say that they may look like bad mothers, because sometimes their babies have meltdowns where they don't want anyone to touch them, and it's better to just leave them screaming in the stroller. So I'm not going to presume about what was happening in that mother's mind, or why she wasn't picking up her baby. Maybe the baby really didn't want to be picked up.

But I was shocked at the way the 6yo was treating her crying sibling: it ran counter to the compassionate response I'm accustomed to seeing from any child (not just my own) when confronted with a crying infant. I think of this compassion as pretty basic, and wonder what happened to make the girl want to ridicule instead of comfort. Still, I don't know the family, and realize there may be some factors at play that I'm not familiar with.
post #143 of 188
I just stumbled on this awesome thread (I so need to read here in GD more often!)

I wanted to respond to this:

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Originally Posted by Writerbird View Post
Mammal_mama, I think you put it very well, and your phrasing was free of judgment. You have a rare gift, and I hope you can tell I mean that sincerely.

It sums up fairly succinctly why this board has so much... drama, and why I don't think I can do GD.

As someone whose kid is currently on the inside and therefore perfect in every way (), I categorically refuse to choose a parenting method at this time. I need to see what his personality is like before I choose a method, for heaven's sake. But I am trying to do my research in advance, and figure out what I can do/live with/learn. Obviously GD is something I needed to learn more about before making that call, since more mainstream methods are all around me. Lurking here has been... educational, and I've been forming opinions.

I read the OP, and after all my reading here, I too immediately thought "that small child is trying to communicate that he wants to leave the bookstore, and feels unheard." It seems like this thread split into two camps - those who thought that the mother and child should therefore leave the store, and those who thought the mother and child should complete the errand.

I want my son to be happy and successful in a world that is neither gentle nor fair. It usually IS someone's turn to bite the bullet when it comes to unpleasant but necessary tasks. If I can teach him to do so with grace, without being a doormat, I will have succeeded at the only thing I'll ever do that really matters. It seems like teaching him from a very early age that his needs, preferences, and whims are always the final veto will set him up to fail in life, and to be a very unhappy person in general. That may not be the intent of GD, but it sounds, to me, as though that is the way it is practiced by the most zealous of the method's adherents.

I wish there was a discipline forum with a bit of a happy medium, because I expect that's where most of us fall.
You might just find that your LO comes out with an "easy" temperament. All 4 of mine have! (OK, can't be sure about the baby just yet). My kids LOVE to go to the store with me, they brush their teeth willingly, etc. They are not perfect or anything, but- with their "easy-ness", I've found that a little Playful Parenting goes a long way.

Just wanted to say it, so you won't be too scared/worried. Some kids are just easily agreeable. We are lucky because dh and I are both "easy going" too, so- we rarely have major meltdowns to deal with.

More in the vein of the OP, upon seeing a "misbehaving" child, my MIL will say "that child needs a crack" , whereas my mom would say "that poor child seems hungry/tired, etc." So- I can see the difference in perspectives really clearly.

On a more philosophical level (since I see from your siggie you are Catholic too), I feel this speaks to "the dignity of the human person" quite well
post #144 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
About empathy -- I do realize that some kinds of empathy require absolutely no explanation on our part, for kids to pick up on them.

For instance, I believe that all children who are accustomed to having their own cries compassionately responded to, will automatically respond to other children's cries with compassion. I've noticed this empathy in both my girls, from a very early age.
Well, um, I never let either ds CIO, and I never tell them to shut up when they are upset, or crying, and my ds1 has taken to telling his brother to "cry your speckled brains out". (see sig) Not very empathetic, but also nothing we have ever said, or done to him, so...:
post #145 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by L&IsMama View Post
Well, um, I never let either ds CIO, and I never tell them to shut up when they are upset, or crying, and my ds1 has taken to telling his brother to "cry your speckled brains out". (see sig) Not very empathetic, but also nothing we have ever said, or done to him, so...:
Okay, I notice that your sons are 4.5 and 3 -- so I'm guessing that sometimes they do stuff to make each other mad? I think it's fairly normal to siblings to sometimes say mean stuff to each other.

I didn't mean to make it so black-and-white, as if all children who are raised compassionately, will always respond compassionately to crying children (but I realize that's exactly how I put it, I'm sorry). Especially as kids get older and get into quarrels, they can get pretty mean at times.

But in my example of the 6yo making fun of her crying baby sibling, and yelling, "Shut up!" -- that just seemed pretty atypical IMO. But only that family knows all the particulars of their unique situation.
post #146 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
Okay, I notice that your sons are 4.5 and 3 -- so I'm guessing that sometimes they do stuff to make each other mad?
Oh, yes! All. the. time. :
post #147 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
Jessica, I'm sorry you feel I've been unfair.
(snip)
As far as what I said about the horse, I'm glad to hear that you are open to brainstorming with your daughter about various ways to achieve her horse-related dreams. I'd had the impression that you (or maybe it was another poster -- I'm not sure, and haven't gone back to check) felt that this sort of brainstorming was "giving the illusion of choice where there really was no choice."
Those are my words, all right, but that's not the context in which I'd said them. I was responding to this from crwilson, which I quoted:

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when I really, really, really wanted a horse, my parents were very good about it, even though they definitely didn't want a horse. They helped me calculate all the things that we would need, how much it would cost, and they also had me research all the things that I would have to do to take care of a horse. In other words, they took me seriously, even though I was probably about 9-10, when they could have just said no, too expensive, too much work. I'd like to be to do things like that.
This is what I saw as giving the "illusion of choice"--encouraging the child to research buying a horse as if it were a real option, with the goal of having them reach the conclusion that it is impossible before the parent has to say it. And I stated that I don't think there is anything wrong with it--that I might very well do things that way myself. But that at no point is it a true exercise of choice for the child. And that it is wrong (IMHO) to hold it out as the ethically superior approach to empathetically saying "no" at the outset. Either way can be kind, just, and attachment promoting, depending upon the child or the situation.

I think that steering said child toward horse-riding lessons, equestrian camp, therapy horses, whatever--all of which are great ideas--is a completely separate, unrelated approach and could be used in tandem with either of the responses above.

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I guess I just don't believe in ever saying "never" about stuff. I feel like I never really know for sure what might become possible over time. So while I certainly wouldn't promise my child a horse, I wouldn't feel like I was "giving the illusion of choice" by saying, "Let's pursue your interest in the ways we can right now, and we'll just see what works out."
Fair enough; and in most cases I would take a similar approach. Just not horse buying. I have been trying to think of another example but I'm stuck on horses. LOL.
post #148 of 188
Okay so I wandered back over and I'm trying to understand....Is it an ethical thing about the horses or that they're too expensive or is it something else? Is it like, "I will never buy my 16 year old a car?
post #149 of 188
Also, this exchange both amused and frustrated me:

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Well, I don't think anyone likes to be told that they are being inconsiderate, but sometimes it needs to be said, don't you think so?
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My thing is, I feel it would be extremely inconsiderate for me to presume to tell someone else whether s/he has a valid reason to be upset.
So it's inconsiderate to tell someone they are being inconsiderate? LOL

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I think that's the sign of a healthy relationship and interpersonal dynamic that we listen to each other even when it's not all sunshine and roses.
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Yes, I agree. However, I also see the ability to stop my "tantrum," and listen and be rational while someone else tells me what a jerk I'm being, as a real mark of maturity. It's way more maturity than many adults are able to muster up when their emotions are raging.
Well, first of all, I don't have "tantrums"--my form of being inconsiderate is to make plans or organize our day according to what my vision of our priorities is. If I'm failing to recognize the priorities of my daughters or DH, or if I'm weighting things too heavily toward my own priorities, it's good that they feel open to speak up about it. Sure, if I were a perfect and perfectly mature person I wouldn't do this in the first place, but heck, I'm just human, and so are the other members of my family. No one will go through life without ever being inconsiderate or unfair, or without bearing the brunt of someone else's unfairness. I think it's good to model directness and discourse about this kind of thing.

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So, I would see the ability to listen "when it's not all sunshine and roses" (I'm assuming this means when the storms are raging and thorns are pricking?) as something that maybe I should try to model for my dear children -- but not an ability that I'd expect them to have right-off-the-bat (especially since I don't consistently have this ability at age 43!).
Yes, I agree--I don't expect them to do it at all. I don't chastise or punish for being "inconsiderate" or "unreasonable" or "unfair"--and I don't use those words to describe or label their behaviors, either. (I should interject that, of course--I'm talking about my ideals--like all parents, I sometimes slip and use language that I know is not best.) I honestly and empathetically (as much as possible) explain the emotions and situation at hand to help DD1 think beyond her own desires, to understand that other needs/wants have to take first priority. I.e.:

"I know, it is so hard to leave the fair when you are having so much fun, isn't it? But tiny girl [that's what we call her sister ] has really got to get in the car so she can rest; see how unhappy she is? And we should get home so that we can have supper. How about we take one more ride on the carousel and then we hit the road, sound good?"

or, to take the case in point:

"Oh honey, it really would be so much fun for you to have a pony in the backyard that you could ride to school every day, but the thing is that ponies are very expensive to buy and take care of, and we just can't afford one. Also our yard is much too small for a pony to live in, and the pony would be really unhappy without a great big meadow to run around in every day. Maybe we can think of some other way that you can be around ponies."

And when I'm baldly putting my own personal needs above hers, I try to be honest about that, too:

"Sweetie, I know you really, really want to play a computer game with me right now, but the truth is I'm having a really hard day, and I'm super tired because tiny girl was up all night last night, and I just really, really need some grown-up quiet time so that I can be a better mommy to both of you in the afternoon. I am asking you to try to understand that, and to do me the really big favor of just playing on your own for a little while until I am better rested. Then we'll play a computer game or do something else fun that you want to do."

Truly, that's all I've been talking about. And if that seriously runs counter to what gentle discipline is all about, well then smack my a$$ and call me Sally, and I'll not darken this forum again.
post #150 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by chfriend View Post
Okay so I wandered back over and I'm trying to understand....Is it an ethical thing about the horses or that they're too expensive or is it something else? Is it like, "I will never buy my 16 year old a car?
Probably I just explained this in my cross-post, LOL:

"Oh honey, it really would be so much fun for you to have a pony in the backyard that you could ride to school every day, but the thing is that ponies are very expensive to buy and take care of, and we just can't afford one. Also our yard is much too small for a pony to live in, and the pony would be really unhappy without a great big meadow to run around in every day. Maybe we can think of some other way that you can be around ponies."

Mostly too expensive--and because I do think that having any kind of animal in your care is a serious responsibility--and we are not in any way equipped to take care of a horse.

If I had the money, which is not bloody likely, I could see myself buying my teenager a car, so that's not something I'd state an unequivocal "no" to. Taking care of a car is something DH and I could help with and advise on.
post #151 of 188
Deleted because I realised I was re-hashing the derailment issue.
post #152 of 188
I do know that this wasn't what the OP was about. I thought the OP was a really nice post, actually, and I don't disagree with any of it.

It seems that most of this thread has been discussion stemming from the third or fourth post. I don't have a problem (clearly) with threads taking that kind of route, but I am sorry that it's been frustrating for others.
post #153 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jescafa View Post
Probably I just explained this in my cross-post, LOL:

"Oh honey, it really would be so much fun for you to have a pony in the backyard that you could ride to school every day, but the thing is that ponies are very expensive to buy and take care of, and we just can't afford one. Also our yard is much too small for a pony to live in, and the pony would be really unhappy without a great big meadow to run around in every day. Maybe we can think of some other way that you can be around ponies."

Mostly too expensive--and because I do think that having any kind of animal in your care is a serious responsibility--and we are not in any way equipped to take care of a horse.

If I had the money, which is not bloody likely, I could see myself buying my teenager a car, so that's not something I'd state an unequivocal "no" to. Taking care of a car is something DH and I could help with and advise on.
Got it. If we did end up buying a horse, it'd likely be around the same cost as a small car and we'd have to board it. Which is, of course, a huge responsibility.

If dp weren't "horse-y" I'd probably think the same way as you. I wish it were safe to share pics over the Internet. I have a great one of the 3 of them at a sheep farm they go to for a homeschooling class/gathering/club a couple times a month. You could see my 7 year old working to clip the sheeps' hooves and my 3 year old nose to nose with a horse. Animals seem to really take to both of them.

It's work and it's a wonderful learning opportunity.
post #154 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by chfriend View Post
Got it. If we did end up buying a horse, it'd likely be around the same cost as a small car and we'd have to board it. Which is, of course, a huge responsibility.

If dp weren't "horse-y" I'd probably think the same way as you. I wish it were safe to share pics over the Internet. I have a great one of the 3 of them at a sheep farm they go to for a homeschooling class/gathering/club a couple times a month. You could see my 7 year old working to clip the sheeps' hooves and my 3 year old nose to nose with a horse. Animals seem to really take to both of them.

It's work and it's a wonderful learning opportunity.
Oh, absolutely--if you have the budget, the time, and the skills, I could see how it would be an incredible thing for a child or family to own a horse. I was making the "unequivocal no" point ONLY for my own family.

We love animals too, but cats are more our speed. I'm a bit intimidated even at the responsibility of owning a dog--neither DH nor I has any experience--but I do think that could be up for discussion someday.
post #155 of 188
Since we're using the horse example, which I initially posted (and realized I made grammatical mistakes on ), I wanted to clarify a couple of things. In my case, I think my parents may have actually let me get a horse had I really, really wanted to after the research. I grew up on a giant, nonworking farm, so we did have room for one. I don't think that my parents were being misleading when they helped me speculate/research.

I'm not sure how I feel about the appropriate response if there really is no way a horse (or whatever desired thing) can be gotten. At the same time, isn't it good for children to learn this for themselves? That is, the child, after researching properly, would also come to the conclusion that a horse couldn't live at his/her house because the yard isn't big enough and there's no place to ride, etc. Of course, this is age dependent, but I imagine the same theory might apply to younger children too.
post #156 of 188
Hey, thanks for clarifying. I think I just assumed you didn't get the horse! LOL.

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At the same time, isn't it good for children to learn this for themselves? That is, the child, after researching properly, would also come to the conclusion that a horse couldn't live at his/her house because the yard isn't big enough and there's no place to ride, etc. Of course, this is age dependent, but I imagine the same theory might apply to younger children too.
I agree that depending upon the situation it could be a totally legitimate approach.
post #157 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jescafa View Post
So it's inconsiderate to tell someone they are being inconsiderate? LOL
I think it can be -- if the thing you're labeling as "inconsiderate," is that your child is upset about something that you don't perceive as a "valid" reason -- and the pp seemed (to me) to be using the word "inconsiderate" interchangeably with "being upset for reasons the parent doesn't see as valid." As always, I'm open to being corrected if I got it all wrong.

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Well, first of all, I don't have "tantrums"--my form of being inconsiderate is to make plans or organize our day according to what my vision of our priorities is. If I'm failing to recognize the priorities of my daughters or DH, or if I'm weighting things too heavily toward my own priorities, it's good that they feel open to speak up about it.
See, I see people speaking up about not liking the plans for the day, as a whole different kettle-of-fish from parents deciding a child who's upset, doesn't have a "valid reason" to be upset. I just don't see it as inconsiderate for my child to to have strong emotions (even at inconvenient times) about things that I wouldn't be upset about, or wouldn't have thought that she would be upset about.

I may not instantly understand -- and sure, I don't always live totally in accordance with my parenting ideals, so sometimes I fail to respond as compassionately as I feel I should have. But when I'm so wrapped up in whatever other agenda is getting in my way of tuning in to my child right away -- I feel I'm the one being inconsiderate, not my child for having the emotions.

As far as your responses (as I now understand more fully) about the horse, and about not being able to play the computer game right then, I certainly don't see anything "not GD" here -- though of course it doesn't really hinge on what I think. It's more how you feel about what you're doing: I'll just affirm that I think you should feel pretty good about it.
post #158 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
But I was shocked at the way the 6yo was treating her crying sibling: it ran counter to the compassionate response I'm accustomed to seeing from any child (not just my own) when confronted with a crying infant. I think of this compassion as pretty basic, and wonder what happened to make the girl want to ridicule instead of comfort. Still, I don't know the family, and realize there may be some factors at play that I'm not familiar with.
My 7yo would be the one doign this to his crying little sister. We model empathy, we talk about empathy, we talk about trying to understand how the other person feels...

and at the end of the day? He's tired of his little sister crying and tells her to shut up. I have *never* told either of my children to shut up. Yet... there it is.

While its nice to think that modelling means children will behave exactly as you behave to them, they forge their own relationships with others, which are sometimes the opposite of what they experience in their own lives.
post #159 of 188
I still feel like we're talking in circles here.

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Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
See, I see people speaking up about not liking the plans for the day, as a whole different kettle-of-fish from parents deciding a child who's upset, doesn't have a "valid reason" to be upset. I just don't see it as inconsiderate for my child to to have strong emotions (even at inconvenient times) about things that I wouldn't be upset about, or wouldn't have thought that she would be upset about.
Right, that's what I was saying--they'd be right to call me on it, because it was inconsiderate of me. Like I'd be right to call DD1 on demanding a computer game while her sister was naked, poopy, and screaming her head off. Tact is recommended in all cases, though again, people are human, and sometimes there are tears and/or angry tones, from adults as well as children. We should still listen to each other; it goes both ways.

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I may not instantly understand -- and sure, I don't always live totally in accordance with my parenting ideals, so sometimes I fail to respond as compassionately as I feel I should have. But when I'm so wrapped up in whatever other agenda is getting in my way of tuning in to my child right away -- I feel I'm the one being inconsiderate, not my child for having the emotions.
Right, I agree--me being absorbed in my own agenda was my example of ME being inconsiderate, not my family. I would hope that they will always feel free to tell me if I am, or seem to be, thinking only or mostly of my own needs, to the detriment of the larger family. I model this by (kindly and empathetically) doing the same for them.
post #160 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post

I guess I just don't believe in ever saying "never" about stuff. I feel like I never really know for sure what might become possible over time. So while I certainly wouldn't promise my child a horse, I wouldn't feel like I was "giving the illusion of choice" by saying, "Let's pursue your interest in the ways we can right now, and we'll just see what works out."
You know, this is another thing that ... to borrow that phrase again ... gives "the illusion of choice." Or maybe "the illusion of not saying no" would be better.

I had been using variants on "we'll see" a lot with my 7yo, for situations like this, becuase I didn't want to always be saying no. And the other day we had a really interesting conversation with him about what he perceived as *how* DH and I were using "we'll see" and "maybe." Because he said "Sometimes, 'we'll see' means 'no,' doesn't it??"

So we talked about how a lot of times when he asks about stuff, I dont' want to say "no" right away, because it is more fun to be able to say "yes," and I really do need to think about it, and sometimes the answer really is going to be "no," and I try to say that, too. I try to save "we'll see" for times when I don't know how it could work out, but there's a chance it might.

And he was very cool with that.

I think "we'll see" if you really aren't going to see -- if there really is no possibility that what is being asked for will happen -- is lying to children, honestly. It makes them think that there is a chance, that you *are* thinking about it. And I try hard not to do that.

I wouldn't start using "we'll see" as some kind of synonym for "no," just out of some idea that one should never say no. There are some things in my life that I know will not be happening, whether for ethical or financial reasons, and I think its fairest to children to be honest about that. "We will not be going to that movie." "We don't buy things from that store." "We cannot afford that trip."
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