Concern about the Gente Discipline forum - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 07-28-2011, 12:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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In the Moderation thread, Cynthia said that y'all would be going over some of the forum guidelines the core values of MDC and making them more clear, etc. One area in which I would love to see more clarification is in the GD forum. I have one concern in particular.

 

This has been coming up a lot in recent threads, and I, personally, along with countless others have been accused of being part of a big sweeping movement of "Anti-AP" that is apparently destroying the Gentle Discipline forum. Concerns:

 

First, it is my understanding that gentle discipline is a somewhat broad and self-explanatory term and that the basic tenants are: 1.) you don't use corporal punishment or physical violence as a method of discipline, ever; 2.) you aren't overly punitive, and are more focused on solving problems rather than just punishing behaviors, and 3.) you respect your children. Would most of y'all agree with that assessment or have I left out anything essential?


Here's what the forum guidelines currently say about it:

 

Quote:

 


Effective discipline is based on loving guidance. It is based on the belief that children are born innately good and that our role as parents is to nurture their spirits as they learn about limits and boundaries, rather than to curb their tendencies toward wrongdoing. Effective discipline presumes that children have reasons for their behavior and that cooperation can be engaged to solve shared problems.


Hitting is never the best way to teach a child. Even in the case of real danger - as when a child runs out into the road - you can grab him, sit him down, look him in the eyes, and tell him why he must never do that again. The panic in your voice will communicate your message much more effectively than any spanking. You can be dramatic without being abusive.

 

 

I remember posting awhile back that my husband and I hadn't ruled out spanking for our children. And then I kinda-sorta defended the practice, (in a roundabout way). I was told, by SEVERAL people and in no uncertain terms, that that is NOT a GD position.

 

Now, thanks to MDC and some other online friends, and also our own experience with our daughter, we've decided we're not going to spank. So I'm thankful for that, and I'm glad this forum exists for that and other reasons. If anyone else has been helped directly or indirectly by this forum, I'm glad it exists. I'm glad that there was a clear consensus here on the subject of spanking.

 

But here's the other side of the coin: I'll use one example-- in a thread from yesterday, several people were accused of not practicing "gentle discipline" because they mentioned things like "limits" and "rules" and "boundaries". And one poster said that maybe MDC should host another sub-forum for all the people who disagree with her and thus aren't really practicing GD. In another post she intimated that her understanding of gentle discipline is colored by her acceptance of the Unconditional Parenting philosophy. (btw, I'm not trying to pick on or single out any one person....who it was isn't important. That these kind of discussions have been happening pretty much daily lately is the point).

 

Do a majority of people here believe that Gentle Discipline = Unconditional Parenting? Or, Consensual Living? Or Taking Children Seriously? Or Radical Unschooling? Because that's what I've been getting from this forum a LOT lately and I think it might be helpful if it were clarified. Is it possible, according to how most of you define gentle discipline, to be an authoritative parent and at the same time claim to practice GD? (That's authoritative, not authoritarian. Big difference....google it if you don't know.) Does practicing gentle discipline and being involved in the GD forum preclude believing that young children need limits? Is making and enforcing family or house rules contrary to what GD is all about? Does believing in implementing consequences for negative bahavior contrary to GD?

 

etc., etc. Thanks for listening. :)
 


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#2 of 13 Old 07-30-2011, 04:49 AM
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We have not yet reviewed our guidelines for GD to see what is needed there but we'll certainly take your questions into consideration and try to clarify the GD forum purpose when we do so. 


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#3 of 13 Old 07-30-2011, 06:49 AM
 
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OP, I never figured some of those things were not GD. I know in the past I have asked questions on here (we do set rules and limits, etc.) and it was never called anti-GD. Can you link to what you're talking about as I have not seen that. Is this a new trend? Because if so, I agree that it should be clarified what GD means on here.

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#4 of 13 Old 07-30-2011, 07:15 AM
 
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OP, I agree and I have seen this in the GD forum a lot too. I practice GD with my toddler, but for the most part I choose not to participate in that forum because it feels like there is a really big "GD= no discipline" attitude there. Just because I practice GD doesn't mean I let my kid run wild all over the place and not have any limits or boundaries, and that's what it feels like I *should* be doing whenever I visit that forum.

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#5 of 13 Old 08-01-2011, 03:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kittywitty View Post

OP, I never figured some of those things were not GD. I know in the past I have asked questions on here (we do set rules and limits, etc.) and it was never called anti-GD. Can you link to what you're talking about as I have not seen that. Is this a new trend? Because if so, I agree that it should be clarified what GD means on here.


Yeah, I'll PM you the link to the thread I was talking about (although there are MANY others like it), because I don't want to inadvertently "call-out" the people who made some of the points I posted about. :)


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#6 of 13 Old 08-01-2011, 04:30 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Adaline'sMama View Post

but for the most part I choose not to participate in that forum because it feels like there is a really big "GD= no discipline" attitude there. Just because I practice GD doesn't mean I let my kid run wild all over the place and not have any limits or boundaries.

Whew, could written those words. I agree so many parents think that little or no discipline is the way to go. Kids need rules, boundaries and limits.. sometimes to keep themselves safe. I won't apologize for that.
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#7 of 13 Old 08-01-2011, 04:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coffeegirl View Post

 

Do a majority of people here believe that Gentle Discipline = Unconditional Parenting? Or, Consensual Living? Or Taking Children Seriously? Or Radical Unschooling? Because that's what I've been getting from this forum a LOT lately and I think it might be helpful if it were clarified. Is it possible, according to how most of you define gentle discipline, to be an authoritative parent and at the same time claim to practice GD? (That's authoritative, not authoritarian. Big difference....google it if you don't know.) Does practicing gentle discipline and being involved in the GD forum preclude believing that young children need limits? Is making and enforcing family or house rules contrary to what GD is all about? Does believing in implementing consequences for negative bahavior contrary to GD?

 

etc., etc. Thanks for listening. :)
 


Ha.  In our house, gentle discipline does not mean consensual living.  We have rules, limits, and boundaries here and I still believe we practice gentle discipline.  I haven't noticed any crazy posts in the GD forum for a long time but haven't really looked either. 
 

 

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#8 of 13 Old 08-01-2011, 09:03 PM
 
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OP - I've noticed what you're talking about for a while now, and that's why I don't frequent that forum.  Hopefully we'll get some clarification on this issue!


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#9 of 13 Old 08-02-2011, 05:40 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coffeegirl View Post





Yeah, I'll PM you the link to the thread I was talking about (although there are MANY others like it), because I don't want to inadvertently "call-out" the people who made some of the points I posted about. :)


i think you pretty much have.

however, i will say this:  in the guidelines for the forum, i believe that it even states that a collaborative approach (doesn't that mean working WITH your kids to set limits?) is best. 

i am also pretty sure within the thread of which you speak, i was pretty specific about exactly what i meant by everything i said.  i understand that you have your hackles up about your previously pro-spanking approach, which did not go over well.  however, i do have ideas and am able to contribute to these discussions.  i tried to be pretty careful with what i said.  i am not a confrontational mama and i don't like to offend people.  however, i DO think it is important to talk about the distinction between making rules and enforcing them and working with children to create rules with them that are much easier to enforce.  i am sorry if i offended you personally, although i think much of your problem with what i have said comes from either taking what i have said out of context or not reading what i have written.

and since this kind of is about me, i hope that it's ok for me to answer this:

"Does practicing gentle discipline and being involved in the GD forum preclude believing that young children need limits? Is making and enforcing family or house rules contrary to what GD is all about? Does believing in implementing consequences for negative bahavior contrary to GD?"

you are talking about two separate things here.  i am not sure i like MY words being used to lead to this train of thought, as i never once said that i didn't believe in limits.  essentially what i spoke about in the thread was that it was a pretty good idea to have the child in question work on coming up with limits along with parental guidance.  i'm not sure where you're getting the rest of these ideas.  i think it's pretty strange that you are using these conclusions that are not based upon anything actually stated by me to criticize other practitioners of GD in general.  i'm actually offended by this, now that i think about it, simply because you DID call me out, with hints and allusions, but then took what i said and turned it around to mean that "people in the GD forum don't believe in ruuuuuullllles."  how about if you're going to say this sort of thing, back it up with a quote from whomever you are saying belives this?  i feel pretty icky about this altogether. 

i also don't think it is too cool in general to talk about the thread and the poster within the thread and then pretend you are not singling anybody out.  anybody can look and figure out you were talking about me.  i really don't care.  i absolutely stand by what i say.  but i think it would be MUCH more honest to just come out and link to the thread ( http://www.mothering.com/community/forum/thread/1322544/television-computer-and-video-games-oh-my )and use my name, you'd be saving people the trouble of figuring out who the mystery person is who you're talking about who didn't say exactly what you're saying i said. 

________________

and: you're right!  i did suggest that mdc make a separate forum.  i do think it's a good idea.  some people think that GD means you just don't spank, then there is indeed a world of difference between that and what some other people do.  enough so that it does seem to cause contention because UP folks do not use rewards and punishments and try to collaboratively solve problems while other folks cannot see eye to eye with this (which is totally fine, it just causes lots of confusion that could be solved by having a separate area where posters know what viewpoint is being represented)


Is it getting lonely in the echo chamber yet?

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#10 of 13 Old 08-02-2011, 08:49 AM
 
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Another forum might be a good idea.  Maybe one especially for people who are more radical (UP, Summerhill, Consentual, free-range).  I also find that any mention of being strict gets some heated responses and that's not really inviting to many members.  I'd like to see that forum as a place where people can work out their parental discipline issues and discuss new ideas without feeling that there is only one type of response that is "right."   I like hearing about what limits other parents set, how it works for them, etc.  I also like to hear about different ways of looking at it (not calling it discipline at all in some cases) as well as some critique of why some techniques didn't work for you. With discipline, it's hard to meet each other where we are and if you're new and looking for new ideas, you'd get scared away from the gd forum pretty quickly. 

 

 


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#11 of 13 Old 08-02-2011, 09:28 AM
 
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I think another forum might be nice but I also think it might be nice to have a thread in GD that is titled "What GD means to me" so we can see how big the gaps actually are, or if its just a communication problem. There is no sense in asking for another forum if a lot of us actually agree on most stuff and its just a communication problem. For example, I have never read about UP, consensual living, ect. My philosophy about discipline is just my instinct. So, I think Ill go ahead and do that, and I encourage all of you to post what your beliefs about GD are, not just respond to what others are saying.
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#12 of 13 Old 08-02-2011, 09:34 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adaline'sMama View Post

I think another forum might be nice but I also think it might be nice to have a thread in GD that is titled "What GD means to me" so we can see how big the gaps actually are, or if its just a communication problem. There is no sense in asking for another forum if a lot of us actually agree on most stuff and its just a communication problem. For example, I have never read about UP, consensual living, ect. My philosophy about discipline is just my instinct. So, I think Ill go ahead and do that, and I encourage all of you to post what your beliefs about GD are, not just respond to what others are saying.


So true...and I bet if we asked what consentual living, UP, etc mean to members who say they use those styles, those responses would also be just as varied. 

 


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#13 of 13 Old 08-02-2011, 11:52 AM
 
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http://www.mothering.com/community/forum/thread/1324073/what-does-gentle-discipline-me-to-you#post_16584538

I posted it, so if anyone wants to share their beliefs, please go ahead.

And Hildare, just to let you know, I had no idea who the PP was talking about until you posted.

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