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#1 of 20 Old 09-03-2004, 03:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So dd was born and it was natural and easy to breastfeed.
She slept with us because it was easy and safe.
We delayed solids which was easier than stuffing her face with food she wasn't ready to eat.
We use cloth diapers because its easy....

see the pattern.

Gentle discipline is not easy for me though. Now that dd is two things are getting harder for us. Doing what comes natural is easy but is not the right thing to do. I was raised with yelling and spanking and so that's what seems like the easiest thing to do to vent my frustrations.

So why is everything else not only the easy way but the best way but this is so much different?

Mom of a 7 yr old, 4 yr old, and 1 yr old. Wow. How did that happen?
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#2 of 20 Old 09-03-2004, 09:22 AM
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When they are very little, they're kind of like this big bucket of reflexes and needs. It's easy to fulfill those needs and more without resentment, anger, frustration.

But then they grow up into limits pushing, independant thinking, wanta press your buttons to see what happens kids. They have their own personalitites, and much more complex needs.

Sometimes it's difficult to separate the needs from the wants. It certainly is to them. Things aren't as black and white. It's not as obvious what the right path is.

In short, parenting is harder for a time. I found that 2.5-3 yo was very difficult for us. She was really pushing my limits with constant tantrums. But there was the adjustment from only child to big sister to big sister to a baby with some problems.

I'm happy to say that at 3.5 things are a lot easier (or maybe it just seems so to me). I'm just waiting for the next thing.


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#3 of 20 Old 09-03-2004, 09:44 AM
 
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I am 100% on the same page with you

things go better when I pick and choose my battles and then enforce my selected battles more creatively and gently-

but some days it seems like every limit is being increasingly pushed and I don't have any idea whatsoever how to handle it other than to go to bed, turn out the lights, darken the room, and -pray like hell that they fall asleep

we had one of those nights last night. only the falling asleep took about 2 hours.

but discipline, gentle or not, doesn't seem to fall in naturally at all for me. I wish I had someone good to model after/ learn from.
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#4 of 20 Old 09-03-2004, 11:39 AM
 
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I think most people have challenges with discipline, even if they don't choose gentle discipline.

A couple of reasons discipline might not seem as easy as the other natural parenting issues:
1) Our first-response instinct is to revert to the way our parents handled certain issues. For a lot of us that includes, demanding, yelling, and striking. None of which are very good tools, but when stressed (and boy is it stressful to parent a 2 year-old!) we retreat to the familiar.

2) We have different societal pressures than indigenous peoples that parent naturally. For instance you have the old ladies at the grocery store shaking their heads at your screaming toddler (happened to me yesterday) and you feel compelled to do something. You know everyone in the store is judging you parenting based on one emotional episode. It's hard to do what you know is right when a lot of people are thinking that child needs either a "good spanking" (how oxymoronic is that?) or a good talkin' to.

3) We are bombarded constantly with conflicting parenting approaches, all of which sound good. It's easy to be confused about which parenting path is really best for your child. And because of all of this information, we over-intellectualize parenting. In indigenous societies, women just parent their children. They don't stop and ponder the long-term effects of what they do every day. They don't worry about years of psycho-therapy or emotional baggage or self-esteem. So we tend to feel a lot more guilt than those women must have to deal with.

4) We are terribly isolated in this culture. We live in our own little nuclear families. We don't know our neighbors and our extended families are probably 100s of miles away, or at least across town. There is no one there to help us entertain our children when they get to be exasperating, no one there to help keep an eye on them when they get to be little dare devils. So we get to our wit's end quickly because we have no help. Also we don't have other mothers to serve as examples of good discipline. Even if you have a support system in the form of play groups or LLL or whatever, you are not integrally involved in the everyday lives of those women. You don't get to see what happens behind closed doors. And you probably only see them once or twice a week.

So there are somethings to ponder. I know I didn't give you any real solutions. I think we can all just do the best we can, but always strive to be better. Try not to be too hard on yourself when things don't go well. Instead of thinking about the time you lost it and started to yell, think about all the things you did right that day.
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#5 of 20 Old 09-03-2004, 02:04 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amarasmom
So dd was born and it was natural and easy to breastfeed.
She slept with us because it was easy and safe.
We delayed solids which was easier than stuffing her face with food she wasn't ready to eat.
We use cloth diapers because its easy....

see the pattern.


WOW. I did not co-sleep, because it was not easy for me or my kids. I did not delay solids because boy were they ready to eat, like champs (and bfing did not even reduce for a long time) cd'ing did it hated it used dd's.

BUt Gentle Discipline, at least in the no yelling, no spanking no punishing form comes easy to me. That's how I was raised.

So what is "easy" for one might not be easy for all.
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#6 of 20 Old 09-03-2004, 03:15 PM
 
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Amazing whats easy for one parent and not the other.

GD for the most part works for me, but i too struggle, especially when my exasperating 6 year old pushes, pushes, pushes.

I have a 17 yr old, and it can be difficult. I keep waiting for it all to be easier, and its not!
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#7 of 20 Old 09-03-2004, 03:28 PM
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#8 of 20 Old 09-03-2004, 03:39 PM
 
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Well, it might not be easier for us, but Gentle Discipline is definitely easier for the children. I mean, it's easier to behave well if you feel like your parents are on your team, supporting your good behavior.

Oh, yeah, I have something else to add:

Divorced mom of one awesome boy born 2-3-2003.
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#9 of 20 Old 09-03-2004, 03:50 PM
 
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I know in our case, button pushing isn't all about one thing. It's about pushing as many buttons as possible.

For the most part, if you can just relax and move at the kids speed, gd comes naturally, but if you're ever in a hurry, you're screwed.

Unfortunately sometimes I am in a hurry (although usually I prefer to be late than hurry and frustrate adults rather than fight with kids)
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#10 of 20 Old 09-03-2004, 03:57 PM
 
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Tree, in a way you are right, but i *do not waver*....my son is just the type that keeps hoping i will indeed change my mind and or position. sigh.

my other two were bit easier. eavh of my kids are so totally different.
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#11 of 20 Old 09-03-2004, 07:42 PM
 
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I am feeling your pain. I totally agree - I thought parenting was a breeze, although a tiring one, until my daughter turned two.

I don't know if this will help you at all, but I started referring to a lot of the childhood psychology books I had from college. Not that I thought my daughter was psychotic (well, the thought that one of us was often crossed my mind) but there's a lot of good developmental stuff there.

The ideas that helped me the most were Erik Erikson's stages of psychological development. His theory is that each age and stage of childhood presents a dilemna that the child must work through. It's our job to help them do it.

The very first stage is infancy, and the dilemna is trust vs. mistrust. Pretty easy for an attached parent. The second stage is independence vs doubt or shame. They start to walk, talk, become independent people, and it's up to us to enourage it.

I think the problem is the next stage (ages 2 - 6) when they are their independent little selves, ones that we have helped nurture and encourage. They then struggle with initiative vs. guilt. They are starting to be social, and begin to initiate what they want - and have to learn impulse control, acceptable behaviors, etc.,. And it's up to us to teach them.

The problem is the way they learn is to constantly push and test us, to see what's allowed. And once they learn that, they test to see if it's always allowed, or only ok in certain situations. And what situations may change what's allowed. And how far they can go before getting a reaction, and then a stronger reaction, etc.,.

So, I just remind myself every day that it's Halle's job to push my buttons, stretch the limits, test my patience, and see how far she can go. And that it's my job to keep a cool facade, and help her learn what's appropriate, etc.,.

Ok, I just rambled a whole lot, and I don't even know if it's helpful. But, hey, I'm trained as a therapist, what can I say??

Good luck!

"Home is where the heart is, no matter how the heart lives." - PP&M
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#12 of 20 Old 09-03-2004, 08:02 PM
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See, the pushing/testing thing just has never been a big issue for us. Maybe that's why the GD thing does seem easier to me. Or maybe it's because I say "yes" a lot and can usually negotiate a solution to avoid "no". Even when I taught behaviorally and emotionally disordered kids, I tried to stay away from "no". I negotiated assignments a lot, which most teachers wouldn't dream of doing, but it worked for us (I did have to point out that it probably wouldn't work during mainstreaming).

I have a high tolerance for a lot of stuff, which probably helps.

Now the issue I'm dealing with most is make-up, as in "It is okay for an 11 yr old girl to go out with goth-type eyeliner?" Negotiated compromises haven't gotten me very far, and mostly I've just decided to leave it. If I was okay with green hair at 7, I suppose eyeliner swirls at 11 are similarly weird and even more temporary. I'm sure a lot of people wouldn't agree, but for me it's easier to go along with it.

My sister at 12 had a stage where she plastered her bang to her forehead with hairspray and wore bright pink lipstick. I thought it was horrible, but my parents had been through two kids already and they let it go, and it passed. All Things Must Pass, as George Harrison said.

Most of my limits are about me, not my kid. I will not drive you here. This is my thing, you can't break it. And I extend the same rights to my kid...

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#13 of 20 Old 09-03-2004, 08:17 PM
 
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Thank you mamas for all these words. Although I'm not the OP I have been having the same issues. It's like, I know the right things to do, why can't I just do them? It used to be so easy. DD is 2 yr 9 mo now, with a 7 mo old little bro, things have not been so easy the past 3 mo or so. I used to be able to keep my cool, it's much harder now. I think the slowing down is really important. After ds was born I forgot to slow down agian, instead I tried to maintain the same momentum I had going with dd, not possible. I have been trying to slow it down, eat out, leave the dishes, etc. so I have more time for dc.
Sorry I don't have any wisdom to contribute but it is so good to feel like I'm not the only one freaking out lately!

Mama to 3:
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#14 of 20 Old 09-03-2004, 08:37 PM
 
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I think our experiences of this stuff are so personal. The first year of DS's life was absolutely the hardest time I have ever been through. For months, he basically had two states -- nursing, and crying (note that neither of these is sleeping, lol.) If he was in my arms or sling, he fussed, but if I put him down, he screamed hysterically. He'd comfort nurse endlessly. Daily, I had to renew the commitment I'd made to mother him empathetically and responsively, when what I often felt like doing (and never did) was putting him into the crib he never slept in, walking out of the room, shutting the door, and standing on the other side of it with my fingers in my ears whispering "shutupshutupshutupshutup."

For me, now that he's a toddler, I'm getting some payoff. I feel like we are attuned to each other so closely, I can practically read his mind. GD is not at all the way I was raised, and it is challenging, some days more than others, but it does feel natural to me, and while his occasional meltdowns are not exactly fabulous fun times, they really don't seem all that heavy to me compared with the endless impossible-to-please bottomless-pit-of-needs crying he did as an infant.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that raising our kids challenges us all in different ways. I am still on my first kid, but I daresay each child challenges us differently as well.
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#15 of 20 Old 09-03-2004, 09:52 PM
 
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It's easy to see from this thread that parenting experiences (as are our children), extremely indivdual. As well they should be, right? Early on, I was totally confused. I knew what came natural and didn't feel comfortable trusting it (societal reasons I suppose). I armed myself with information to support my natural instincts and what an amazing world of inner support for my own instincts that opened up for me (and DH also).

With that, I treated discipline in much the same manner. It's great to have instincts, but for most, it's important to arm ourselves with information to help support our philosophy. The key for me is simply to know what's normal for each given developmental stage because it helps me deal better when things come up. Basically, I read. Several different books actually, and take from them what feels right for our family, what will help DS and I connect (rather than disconnect) through discipline.

In my own experience, I felt it was about breaking the cycle of "let's have children conveniently" parenting which is how I was raised. When I talk about what comes natural to me in any given circumstance, I have taught myself not to relate to how *I* was raised by my own parents, but rather how the way they raised me made me feel. My mom yelled, I felt ashamed. She spanked occasionally, I felt demeaned and bad. She threatened surely, I felt scared. She was not in the business of nighttime parenting, made clear that at night I was on my own, and this of course still feels horrifying to me. My guide, is tapping into my own experiences as a child, from MY point of view rather than that of my parents has helped me break this cycle and have a different family life for DS. Well that and, KIDS ARE WORTH IT, KIDS PARENTS AND POWER STRUGGLES, PLAYFUL PARENTING, HOW TO TALK... you get the picture.

The beginnings of discipline shake most parents up. Every time I think I've got it all figured out, DS changes up and we're back at it again, learning growing together. I try not to let my emotions rule me during discilpine and remember to just do what actually helps the situation. Alas, if I'm tired, feeling uncreative and DS has been hell on wheelsl, I lose my temper. It happens. I hate it. And then I forgive myself, apologize to DS and know that it's important that he see mom is not perfect either, but that she's certainly going to try harder to be more sensitive next time around. A good metaphor for life I guess.

Hang in there!

Em 43 - Wife to hubby Mom to DS born: Jan. '01
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#16 of 20 Old 09-03-2004, 10:05 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar
See, the pushing/testing thing just has never been a big issue for us. Maybe that's why the GD thing does seem easier to me. Or maybe it's because I say "yes" a lot and can usually negotiate a solution to avoid "no". Even when I taught behaviorally and emotionally disordered kids, I tried to stay away from "no". I negotiated assignments a lot, which most teachers wouldn't dream of doing, but it worked for us (I did have to point out that it probably wouldn't work during mainstreaming).

I have a high tolerance for a lot of stuff, which probably helps.

Now the issue I'm dealing with most is make-up, as in "It is okay for an 11 yr old girl to go out with goth-type eyeliner?" Negotiated compromises haven't gotten me very far, and mostly I've just decided to leave it. If I was okay with green hair at 7, I suppose eyeliner swirls at 11 are similarly weird and even more temporary. I'm sure a lot of people wouldn't agree, but for me it's easier to go along with it.

My sister at 12 had a stage where she plastered her bang to her forehead with hairspray and wore bright pink lipstick. I thought it was horrible, but my parents had been through two kids already and they let it go, and it passed. All Things Must Pass, as George Harrison said.

Most of my limits are about me, not my kid. I will not drive you here. This is my thing, you can't break it. And I extend the same rights to my kid...

Dar

Oh, almost forgot! DAR ROCKS! Love this. Thanks.

Em 43 - Wife to hubby Mom to DS born: Jan. '01
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#17 of 20 Old 09-03-2004, 10:20 PM
 
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Dar - that is exactly how I deal with my 2yo. It's about what I'm willing to do or deal with, not him at all. He's mostly allowed to do anything unless it endangers him. If I don't want to deal with something right now, I try to avoid letting him do it, by removing him from situations, distraction, saying "no" and moving on. We have some break-downs and he's certainly a high-needs kiddo, but it seems to be working. The key is to not beat myself up when I do lose it, because sometimes I do. I have yelled, I have grabbed a little harder than I would have liked to, I have made DS upset by making him do things he doesn't want to do (brushing teeth, going inside, taking a bath, etc), but I think that we're doing okay and he's doing okay and everything will be fine. The key for me is really to not over-intellectualize it, because if I do that, I can always feel guilty about something. In general, we don't do things that I think are bad or damaging at all. I want DS to grow up and be confident in his choices. I don't want him to second guess himself all the time. I think being gentle and allowing freedom of movement aids in that a great deal. I just try not to think about it too much.

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#18 of 20 Old 09-04-2004, 08:07 PM
 
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When I had my first dd, I also did what came natural to me. She was an easy baby. It wasn't until recently that I realized that the way I chose to raise her was actually a type of parenting style (AP). What came naturally was keeping her close, loving her endlessly, breastfeeding and sleeping with her. As she gets older (she's also 2 now) it gets trying, but I keep this in mind: my job is just to guide her and show her the paths and choices she can make...not to control her behavior.
And if those grannys in the grocery store shoot me dirty looks, I just have to remember this.
My child is a free spirit.
It is not my job to control her.
I'm doing the best I can.
Now that we have a new little one, I realize how easy the first was in comparison. With this one, I have to try harder...I carry her in the sling 24/7 just to keep her happy. My 2yr old decided to move back into our bed, so it's really become a co-sleeping situation. As far as cloth diapers...that all began when I couldn't afford diapers and someone gave me some PFs. I'm addicted now.

"The best things in life aren't things."

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#19 of 20 Old 09-06-2004, 11:01 PM
 
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Amarasmom, I can relate to alot of what you say. If I remember right, we both have girls very close in age.

I am very willing to listen to my own inner voice, have read quite a lot and thought of having children for a long time before I actually did. ( I have been reading Mothering Magazine since I was 19. I was 34 when I had dd.) That has helped me a lot.

When it comes to discipline, I have to say that the most helpful thing in my past is that I was a dog trainer. There is very little difference between a toddler and a dog when it comes to the need to be positive in order to get the behavior you want willingly, the need to be consistant and to reinforce with love and the need to be creative in your solutions.

I also try to do things that make me feel good for the long term when it comes to discipline. For instance, if she is soing something I don't want her to do and I am getting frustrated, yelling might make me feel better in the moment but bad later when I calm down enough to realize that there was a better way. I guess having worked with dogs....and yelling at a few....I know that it is not the best way, so I am not inclined to have yelling in my tool box so to speak. Same for hitting.

I only have one child and a very easy going one at that... I expect that to change when we have another because every child is different.

Parenting does push us in our thinking and our behavior. It is a learning experience for us. I have to laugh at the notion that we have children and teach them....I think that children come in to our lives and teach US just as much as we teach them!

"To err is human, to forgive, canine." - Unknown
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#20 of 20 Old 09-07-2004, 06:42 AM
 
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Dar post (thanks Dar!) reminded me of one important lesson that I have learned, that has helped me through parenting: That everything is temporary, everything is a "stage". They will only be 2 for so long and exhibit all of the two year old behaviors. When my oldest was 2 and three and 4 he was a breeze, agreeable helpful, but at 5, when I had 2 kids younger than him he started beng disagreeable and I was just at a loss! Huh? No? He is now 7 and he is at another stage. More agreeable, but definately his own person. Parenting is alot about adapting. Kids are constantly changing. The challenges they present now will change and there will be different ones in their place. All my worst "mommy moments" came as a result of utter shock! that the child did what they did (like when ds was 5 and he was laying in his bed listening to tapes at bedtime and I walked by his room to hear the strangest sound- the sound of a tape being ripped up- ya know as the tape part is pulled off the turning part- I walked in to A PILE of his favorite tapes- in pieces!!, I still don't know why he did it, but it was completely out of character) Anyway, the best thing in parenting is to be prepared for anything, just because the difficulty you run into this time is X be prepared that the next difficulty will be completely different.

Mom of 5 boys- 13, 10, 8, 2 : and newbie Aug. 24th, '09 . babywearing advocate . Cook, baker, homemaker, wife to a man with another woman's kidney (live altruistic, unknown donor).
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