So if you don't spank....what do you do? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 90 Old 02-03-2010, 10:02 AM
 
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Originally Posted by peaceful_mama View Post
I am NOT going to sit and facilitate a conversation about what all led up to it. I don't think that will get the message across that I want--which is that NO action on another person's part justifies you spitting in their face.
I'm perfectly OK with talking about being angry and what to do with the feeling of angry.
Whew, the second part of this addresses the first part. But I'd still talk about the specific thing. You can make it clear the reaction is unacceptable while still working on solutions to what caused the reaction. You just do the solution building at a time removed from the conflict.

It's not "oh you spit about this so we'll figure out how to make it better" it's "hey, you really want to play with the DVD player, but we can't afford for it to get broken, what can you and I do about this?"

Having a delay, e.g. a conflict in the morning, talk to her about solutions after dinner or even the next day as seems reasonable to you, also gives you a chance to check with other people about solutions that have worked with their families. Maybe your family will do something totally different, but just hearing about other solutions can break the feeling that nothing can possibly work.
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#32 of 90 Old 02-03-2010, 10:17 AM
 
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The problem is that you're looking at this from an adult perspective rather than a 3-year-old's perspective. "No action justifies a response like that." Well, some actions justify a strong reaction. Not spitting, which we understand as adults, but 3-year-olds don't usually have a lot of actions at their disposal and are still learning which reactions are OK and which are off limits. If your 3-year-old feels heard, that you understand why he got so angry, he might feel less need to act out. He's developing a sense of justice and being heard will help him feel less like he needs to get back. As will giving him other actions to take or words to use when he feels he's been wronged and has to respond.

The reason I wouldn't punish is because I don't believe punishment teaches what I want to teach. That doesn't mean "except when something is really bad" because then I would think that punishment works best and therefore has to at least be used when something is really important. I dont' think punishment teaches good behavior ever, therfore I just don't use it. The only reason I think people want to punish in this case is becasue a grandma was involved and they want to appeal to her anger and desire for revenge from having had the child spit at her.

If the problem stared becasue he didn't feel heard and felt like he was wronged, punishing him is just going to make him feel less heard and more wronged. That isn't a solution. Let him know that he's heard, that spitting is not an acceptable way to respond when he gets angry at someone, and give him alternatives. But I do think you should listen to why he was angry because the more he feels he is heard, the less he will act out to be heard.
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#33 of 90 Old 02-03-2010, 10:21 AM
 
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i also don't think forcing them to clean up someones face or watch someone clean up their face and then putting them in time out for not being sorry will work on what it is you want them to get from this. think about when you are angry... are you sorry? probably not, and if later you are you have the ability to process your actions, think about it and then feel remorse... you can't force that on someone.
If we didn't remove my son from the situation (i.e. "time out"), it would play it out like this:

Me: (does something he doesn't like: takes away a toy he hit his brother with, told him it's bedtime, whatever)
DS: "PFFFFFFFTTTT!!!!"
Me: You may not spit.
DS: "PFFFFFFFT!!!"
Me: I can see that you're very angry. You can say "I am very angry!"
DS: "PFFFT! PFFFFT PFFFFFFT!!!!!!"

He needs to be removed from the situation so that I (and any one else he's targeting) do not continue to be spat on. At the point where he doesn't have the control over himself (understandable, he's three!) to refrain from spitting on or hitting people, it's my job to prevent him from doing so.

The discussing and the processing and the giving of better tools- that all needs to happen, but you're right, it's not going to happen in the moment, and it's not okay to let the behavior continue while the child calms down.
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#34 of 90 Old 02-03-2010, 10:30 AM
 
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so the general consensus is to either yell in their face or yell at them, show the disgust at them and then put them in time out. not sure this is effective. how exactly will this teach them how to control their behavior and learn more appropriate ways to express themselves when we are screaming at them. we are losing control, we are showing it is ok to disrespect and to be scary.
Well, i did say that i wasn't touting my approach as AP, only that i don't spank. Also i do not scream at her, i just wouldn't hide my disgust.

And in my own defence i would not have to feign disgust at this sort of behaviour! It provokes a deep disgust response in me, even imagining it makes me mad!

I don't see how it aids my DD for me to hide MY emotions in order to teach her how to handle her own. If anyone ever spits in her face i want her to know it's absolutely fine for her to get out of there, and that when someone is acting like that towards her following her urge to GET AWAY from that person, rather than stay and try to help them, is absolutely ok. I agree that she is young and not in control of her emotions, but to me it is really super important that she gets, as early as possible, that it is NEVER ok to spit in someone's face, no matter WHAT she is feeling. I am happy to delay a lesson in how to handle extreme emotion so i can teach her in the moment how completely unacceptable her behaviour was. For me the discussion about how much she wanted or did not want to do whatever it was which caused the spitting would have happened before it got to spitting. The only way this could happen in my relationship with DD is if i said, once, what needed to happen and her immediate reaction was spitting in my face, which just hasn't happened. I try to help her handle frustration so she doesn't NEED to learn right then how to handle rage.
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#35 of 90 Old 02-03-2010, 01:20 PM
 
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I think I would have looked at her directly with a serious face and told her very firmly "You cannot spit." Then at that point I would probably lift her off the chair and set her down on the floor while saying "no spitting." At which point she would probably start crying and after she calmed down a little bit I would tell her "Spitting is very rude, if you are mad say 'I'm mad.' That is very disrespectful what you did to your grandmother, Grandma doesn't like that. No spitting, if you are mad, say 'I'm mad.'"

I have had a great deal of success with my almost 3 year old lately by telling her how to express herself more directly. So if she is mad and pushes her little brother, or yells because she didn’t like how my husband treated her, I tell her things like. “Tell your brother ‘I’m mad, don’t take my toy.’” Or “tell your father ‘be gentle with me.’” If he had been sharp with her. I am trying to teach her how to stand up for herself without being aggressive and it is going better than other things I tried.
I agree with all of this. We are also working on using our words and putting an emotion to a specific action.
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#36 of 90 Old 02-03-2010, 02:32 PM
 
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Somebody said it's an entirely different relationship...I see that point. I don't think I'm totally successful in being there but I do see the point. And I'm a lot closer to the point than my parents were....I would really rather my kids do what I ask because they want to um, well do you see where I'm going with this? NOT because they fear me.
I believe for people who grew up being spanked that it's a process to get there. Despite lots of turmoil as a child, my mother did not believe in spanking. It wasn't part of my childhood, and so it's really easy for me to look at it completely from an outsider's perspective. My ILs did spank, and my husband struggles with the same idea of "then what do you do when..." It's been a journey for him to work on learning other ways to handle conflict.

It's us: DH , DS ; DD ; and me . Also there's the . And the 3 . I . Oh, and .
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#37 of 90 Old 02-03-2010, 04:57 PM
 
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Wow.

I already posted my reply, so I wasn't going to reply a second time, but I really wanted to comment on the amount of disrespect going on in this thread. Not just from the children, but from the parents as well.

Can someone explain to me how using a form of withdrawl (love, physical, etc) as punishment for bad behavior, helps our children to be anything other than compliant to our demands (ie. child chooses not to spit to avoid a punishment like being sent to the corner), as opposed to teaching them a different way to deal with their emotions?

This is a gentle discipline forum, and I see nothing gentle about this method whatsoever.

I'm not trying to be rude... I'm just trying to understand.
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#38 of 90 Old 02-03-2010, 05:05 PM
 
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I think that the most healing thing for me was realizing that I didn't have to do anything in those sorts of situations.

I think the hardest thing about the punishment mindset is the nearly compulsive feeling that I *must* do something to react.

In what you describe, I think I'd likely say something like, "Oh man, mom, I'm so sorry that happened. Can I make you a cup of tea?"

I'm going to go back and re-read the first post, but what was Grandma doing in the little one's face in the first place? Were they in conflict?

ETA: I'm reading here: "WIth the incident in question, I did not see it. I don't know exactly what led up to spitting--I think it had something to do with climbing up to attempt to operate the DVD player herself. (A no-no in our house, DD has broken the thing about 3 times, 2 fixable by us.)"

I'd childproof. No way would I be able to tolerate my mom interacting in a physical way with my child to stop her and no way would I be able to tolerate 3 year olds interacting with electronics in a way that she could break them. Not good for her; not good for grandmas and really not good for me.

Childproof; childproof; childproof. Then let 'em roam.

I found the Montessori books really helpful in thinking through that early learning environment.

At 3, my experience was that preventing the frustration in the first place avoided nearly all the troubles.
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#39 of 90 Old 02-03-2010, 05:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sgmom View Post
Can someone explain to me how using a form of withdrawl (love, physical, etc) as punishment for bad behavior, helps our children to be anything other than compliant to our demands (ie. child chooses not to spit to avoid a punishment like being sent to the corner), as opposed to teaching them a different way to deal with their emotions?
The natural consequence of spitting at people is that people will dislike and avoid you. I'm not willing to let my children experience that consequence, so I intervene with a logical consequence that closely approximates the natural one. If you cannot behave in an appropriate manner around other people, you lose the opportunity to be around them. Yes, you *also* have to teach them a different way to deal with their emotions, but sometimes the teaching alone isn't enough at that moment and you have to actually physically prevent the action from reoccuring. If a child is throwing a toy, you can prevent that by removing the toy. If they are hitting or spitting, the only way to prevent it is to remove them from the person they are attacking (or have that person leave).

It's not about punishment or making them suffer- it's about giving them the time and space to attempt to reestablish control of their own bodies.
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#40 of 90 Old 02-03-2010, 05:15 PM
 
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In what you describe, I think I'd likely say something like, "Oh man, mom, I'm so sorry that happened. Can I make you a cup of tea?"
Love, love, love this. Showing compassion for the person spat upon teaches the child a lot more than punishing them for the behavior. In my opinion, anyway.
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#41 of 90 Old 02-03-2010, 05:20 PM
 
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Can someone explain to me how using a form of withdrawl (love, physical, etc) as punishment for bad behavior, helps our children to be anything other than compliant to our demands (ie. child chooses not to spit to avoid a punishment like being sent to the corner), as opposed to teaching them a different way to deal with their emotions
I love ds unconditionally, but I do not love and accept all of his behavior unconditionally. There is a difference, and learning this distinction is a key part of healthy relationships as we grow up. I think stopping a behavior because it offends people, and makes them not want to be near you, is a good reason to stop this kind of behavior (spitting in a person's face). In my experience, ds did not feel unloved, he felt like I was being real with him. I agree, we need to be teaching--and it may be semantics or just perception as to which part of a response is teaching vs. punitive.

Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children--William Makepeace Thackeray
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#42 of 90 Old 02-03-2010, 05:24 PM
 
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Originally Posted by prothyraia View Post
The natural consequence of spitting at people is that people will dislike and avoid you. I'm not willing to let my children experience that consequence, so I intervene with a logical consequence that closely approximates the natural one. If you cannot behave in an appropriate manner around other people, you lose the opportunity to be around them. Yes, you *also* have to teach them a different way to deal with their emotions, but sometimes the teaching alone isn't enough at that moment and you have to actually physically prevent the action from reoccuring. If a child is throwing a toy, you can prevent that by removing the toy. If they are hitting or spitting, the only way to prevent it is to remove them from the person they are attacking (or have that person leave).

It's not about punishment or making them suffer- it's about giving them the time and space to attempt to reestablish control of their own bodies.
But we as parents (or leaders), we should be about teaching. Not how the world would react as a natural consequence if they were to do this to a stranger. This might be completely appropriate for an older child, but in my opinion, such punishments should never be put upon a young child, who is still learning about "the ways of life".

If your child were to hit you, would you hit them back? Probably not, but this is exactly what a natural consequence would be if they were to get into a fight at school.

I understand by removal of the toy (in your explanation), but how does that relate in ANY way, to removing them from the room in an event of physically or emotionally expressed anger (spitting, kicking, biting, whatever)? One is about learning self control, and the other is about learning an appropriate way to deal with emotions.

I doubt that you would remove your child from the situation if they were fighting over a toy. You would probably take the toy away and help them (maybe by means of playing a different game) how to play nicely together. So why would you do it when they display anger or frustration?
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#43 of 90 Old 02-03-2010, 05:25 PM
 
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It's not about punishment or making them suffer- it's about giving them the time and space to attempt to reestablish control of their own bodies.
Unless she was continually spitting, and it doesn't sound like that, she had reestablished control over her body when she stopped spitting. She didn't have to be taken away for that. I think it's just punishing but trying to sound nicer about it.
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#44 of 90 Old 02-03-2010, 05:30 PM
 
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Unless she was continually spitting, and it doesn't sound like that, she had reestablished control over her body when she stopped spitting. She didn't have to be taken away for that. I think it's just punishing but trying to sound nicer about it.
I agree. I've said to older kids "Please don't do that to me. I don't like the way it makes me feel", and they understand. Continue the behavior, and I probably wouldn't want to be around them. Toddlers don't understand this (they will learn this when they're older). It seems rather unfair to me to punish them for that.
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#45 of 90 Old 02-03-2010, 05:40 PM
 
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Unless she was continually spitting, and it doesn't sound like that, she had reestablished control over her body when she stopped spitting. She didn't have to be taken away for that. I think it's just punishing but trying to sound nicer about it.
I'm speaking largely from my own experience with my son, who would continue spitting when he was upset about something unless physically removed from the situation.

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I understand by removal of the toy (in your explanation), but how does that relate in ANY way, to removing them from the room in an event of physically or emotionally expressed anger (spitting, kicking, biting, whatever)? One is about learning self control, and the other is about learning an appropriate way to deal with emotions.
Because it prevents the action from happening again. I mean, if I had a magic wand that would make his salvia dry up and disappear, I might use that instead , but since I don't I have to take his mouth, spit included, and the rest of his body away from the target.


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I doubt that you would remove your child from the situation if they were fighting over a toy. You would probably take the toy away and help them (maybe by means of playing a different game) how to play nicely together. So why would you do it when they display anger or frustration?
In a toy situation, I could prevent the problem by taking away the toy and help them by getting down there, being involved, and modeling appropriate play.

In the spitting situation, I can prevent the problem only by removing the entire child, and help them by empathizing, offering different ways of expressing emotion, etc.

And if he continues to spit at me while I'm doing that, I will remove myself from him; I don't want to model that allowing yourself to be assaulted is appropriate. I could hold him in my lap facing away from me, but that sort of restraint only escalates the situation for us.
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#46 of 90 Old 02-03-2010, 05:44 PM
 
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I can understand moving a child away if the child is actively continually spitting on people to protect them. I wouldn't allow a child who was actively spitting to keep spitting on me or anyone else either. But that isn't what it sounds like was happening in the OP. It sounds like the child spat on grandma one time after she moved her away from a VCR.
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#47 of 90 Old 02-03-2010, 05:46 PM
 
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Sorry for hijacking this thread... There's no need to reply to this. I'm just throwing this out as a different way this situation could have been handled.

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If we didn't remove my son from the situation (i.e. "time out"), it would play it out like this:

Me: (does something he doesn't like: takes away a toy he hit his brother with, told him it's bedtime, whatever)
DS: "PFFFFFFFTTTT!!!!"
Me: You may not spit.
DS: "PFFFFFFFT!!!"
Me: I can see that you're very angry. You can say "I am very angry!"
DS: "PFFFT! PFFFFT PFFFFFFT!!!!!!"
Instead of getting mad and telling them what to say (or what they should say), what would have happened if you got down to their level and said "I can see that you're angry. Are you angry because you don't want to go to bed? Is there something we can do together to help you get ready? It's very late and I can see that you're tired. Would you like for me to read you a story before bed?" Try to relate to your child, and understand where he might be coming from. It might not work the first time and if he were to not listen and spit at me again, I would say "Okay (wipe your face.) I can see that you're still angry. That's okay. Hey, let's go pick some jammies! Would you like to wear the green ones, or the blue ones?" Or maybe ask if he wants to bring something specific into bed with him.

It's soon learned that spitting gets no reaction (a negative reaction is still a reaction), and that you want to HELP him, and not punish him. In 16 years of nannying, and now raising my own child, I've never dealt with a kid that this didn't work with - quickly. Children quickly learn to give me respect, because it's what I give them from the second I walk through the door.

It's different of course when you're dealing with a child who spits at your mother (or their grandmother), but I would still rather take it as a teaching opportunity than using it as an excuse for punishment.
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#48 of 90 Old 02-03-2010, 05:56 PM
 
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Originally Posted by prothyraia View Post
In a toy situation, I could prevent the problem by taking away the toy and help them by getting down there, being involved, and modeling appropriate play.

In the spitting situation, I can prevent the problem only by removing the entire child, and help them by empathizing, offering different ways of expressing emotion, etc.
Are you saying that we can role model for appropriate play, but not for how to handle emotion? Just a thought, but do you often display unstable (frustrated or angry, etc) emotions and find that it's difficult for you to regain control? Kids do and WILL pick up on this, even if you think you're being subtle about it. How can we expect them to feel safe and secure in knowing that we're there to help them through their own emotions (which are often quite scary for young children), if we ourselves are unable to control our own?

I completely agree on teaching (sometimes by offering) different ways of handling emotion, but there is most certainly more than one way to deal with this specific problem than by removal of situation.

Just my opinion though!
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#49 of 90 Old 02-03-2010, 06:44 PM
 
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I think the reason I have such a big problem with this is because it teaches the child how his actions affect himself, rather than how it would make the other person feel.

"I'd better play nice, or Suzie won't want to play with me."
"When I play nicely with Suzie, it makes her feel really good."

While yes, spitting at people will probably make them dislike you, NOT spitting at them (and being nice to them) will likely have the opposite effect. I just feel that it's better to teach them how to make friends, than teach what makes people go away. And I have seen this before, with a couple of kids. They were punished when they were little for being physical towards their siblings (hitting, mostly), and when they got older they would be mean to the kids they didn't like at school.

Anyway... that is all. I was just thinking about this and wanted to mention it.
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#50 of 90 Old 02-03-2010, 07:15 PM
 
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Just a thought, but do you often display unstable (frustrated or angry, etc) emotions and find that it's difficult for you to regain control? Kids do and WILL pick up on this, even if you think you're being subtle about it.
I don't think anger and frustration are synonymous with unstable. They are both valid emotions, like happiness or sadness. I don't think it helps their understanding of how their actions affect others (the mom, the grandma) in a situation if we act like automatons, and give them the impression that they can engage in provoking behaviors and always get a measured "Cindy, we don't spit. You have hurt Grandma's feelings." as the only acceptable response.

I don't think anyone on this thread is advocating being out of control with their kids--far from it. Spitting, hitting, kicking, hurting people--are just not acceptable in our home and those behaviors are going to elicit a stronger response than not listening or not putting your clothes in the hamper.
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#51 of 90 Old 02-03-2010, 07:40 PM
 
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If we didn't remove my son from the situation (i.e. "time out"), it would play it out like this:

Me: (does something he doesn't like: takes away a toy he hit his brother with, told him it's bedtime, whatever)
DS: "PFFFFFFFTTTT!!!!"
Me: You may not spit.
DS: "PFFFFFFFT!!!"
Me: I can see that you're very angry. You can say "I am very angry!"
DS: "PFFFT! PFFFFT PFFFFFFT!!!!!!"

He needs to be removed from the situation so that I (and any one else he's targeting) do not continue to be spat on. At the point where he doesn't have the control over himself (understandable, he's three!) to refrain from spitting on or hitting people, it's my job to prevent him from doing so.
I think removing a child from the situation so that the spitting (or hitting, or sand throwing, or whatever) is TOTALLY different than time out. Time out is withdrawing your love and attention for a certain amount of time while they are supposed to be thinking about what they did, but in reality they are probably just being pissed, or sad, or lonely, or guilty. I don't do time outs, but I will help my son (almost 4 now) stop hurting someone else by physically removing him from the situation. I do this while empathizing with him. "It looks like you are really frustrated/angry/etc. I can't let you hurt your friends/grandma/dog so we are going to move over here. I'm sorry that [whatever caused behavior]. That was frustrating." I do this while holding and cuddling him. Usually just a little empathy really helps him calm down and then express what's on his mind. Then maybe a deep breath, and we move on. If he'll be going back into the same environment that caused his anger (ie- a sandbox) I would probably give him a reminder that throwing sand hurts people, and I know he doesn't want to hurt anyone.

There are also times when the behavior wasn't "provoked" but just something that the kid thought would be fun or funny, like throwing sand or spitting. They might be doing it to get a reaction, etc. In this case in stead of empathising with their frustration, I would empathize with their curiousity, or the temptation by saying something like, "It's really tempting to throw sand because it feels so cool in your hands, but sand hurts and you don't want to hurt anyone" or "You really feel like you need to spit right now. Spitting on other people is dirty and makes them upset. Let's go outside (or in the bathroom) where you can spit all you want."

I admit, in the heat of the moment, if I were the one being spit on, I would possibly initially react with, "Maximus! Don't spit at me!" then I would take a breath and get back into parenting the way I would like to parent- unconditionally, and with empathy and creativity.
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#52 of 90 Old 02-03-2010, 08:08 PM
 
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We've gotten a little away from the situation in the OP, but I'd like to continue this line of thought.

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Instead of getting mad and telling them what to say (or what they should say), what would have happened if you got down to their level and said "I can see that you're angry. Are you angry because you don't want to go to bed? Is there something we can do together to help you get ready?... (snip) ...Okay (wipe your face.) I can see that you're still angry. That's okay. Hey, let's go pick some jammies! Would you like to wear the green ones, or the blue ones?" Or maybe ask if he wants to bring something specific into bed with him.
In our case, he wouldn't be able to understand the words because the he'd be spitting loudly while I tried to talk. All those ideas and techniques are fabulous, and I've done similar things in other situations, but when someone is unwilling to listen you can't force them.

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Originally Posted by sgmom View Post
It's soon learned that spitting gets no reaction (a negative reaction is still a reaction), and that you want to HELP him, and not punish him.
I can see how this would work, but at the same time, I'm unwilling to indicate that the appropriate response to being spat on is to calmly ignore it.

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Are you saying that we can role model for appropriate play, but not for how to handle emotion?
Oh, of course we can model appropriate handling of emotion. But that's the second part of the equation for me- the first part is eliminating the opportunity to continue the problematic behavior. Particularly if other people (relatives, friends, younger brother) are involved.

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Just a thought, but do you often display unstable (frustrated or angry, etc) emotions and find that it's difficult for you to regain control? Kids do and WILL pick up on this, even if you think you're being subtle about it. How can we expect them to feel safe and secure in knowing that we're there to help them through their own emotions (which are often quite scary for young children), if we ourselves are unable to control our own?
I do, actually, and I'm certain that some of my son's behavior is related to my own. He's also very very like me in temperament as well, and I suspect that plays a large role also. His younger brother (and their dad!) is nothing at all like us in this regard. But I also think it's incredibly valuable for me to model how to appropriately deal with anger and frustration, by using words or by taking space, as opposed to, say, spitting on someone.

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I think the reason I have such a big problem with this is because it teaches the child how his actions affect himself, rather than how it would make the other person feel.
And I can see the value of saying "so-and-so was really sad that you spit on her"- when the child is in a space where they can actually hear and understand that information. If they're angry enough that they're spitting and hitting, it's almost impossible to find and nurture that grain of empathy.

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I don't think it helps their understanding of how their actions affect others (the mom, the grandma) in a situation if we act like automatons, and give them the impression that they can engage in provoking behaviors and always get a measured "Cindy, we don't spit. You have hurt Grandma's feelings." as the only acceptable response.



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Originally Posted by Ell-Bell View Post
I don't do time outs, but I will help my son (almost 4 now) stop hurting someone else by physically removing him from the situation. I do this while empathizing with him. "It looks like you are really frustrated/angry/etc. I can't let you hurt your friends/grandma/dog so we are going to move over here. I'm sorry that [whatever caused behavior]. That was frustrating." I do this while holding and cuddling him. Usually just a little empathy really helps him calm down and then express what's on his mind.
That's how we (ideally) would handle what we call a "time out" here. It's definitely not a 'go to your room for 3 minutes and think about what you've done!' sort of thing. However- when my son is upset- holding and cuddling and empathizing don't do anything other than make him *more* upset. He needs to rage on his own for a minute before being able to accept emotional support from anyone else.
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#53 of 90 Old 02-03-2010, 08:41 PM
 
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Thanks for the reply, prothyraia! It sounds like what you do might be called a "time-in", rather than a "time-out" (if you're unfamiliar with this term, look it up).

As for the holding (unless I'm misunderstanding), holding a child (as is restraining him until he calms down) creates submission, which I think we agree that none of here want from our children. And it makes perfect sense why he would get even more upset. Some kids need to be held and cuddled, others don't want you to even touch them. The best thing you can do to help them is to set them down, and remain as calm as possible (while not leaving them). Even if that means doing nothing but staying with them and being quiet until they were ready to reconnect.

I still STRONGLY disagree with the use of time-outs for young children, but in a more serious case (like as in this thread), a time-in could be a good thing.

Now back to our regularly scheduled program.
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#54 of 90 Old 02-03-2010, 09:22 PM
 
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Can someone explain to me how using a form of withdrawl (love, physical, etc) as punishment for bad behavior, helps our children to be anything other than compliant to our demands (ie. child chooses not to spit to avoid a punishment like being sent to the corner), as opposed to teaching them a different way to deal with their emotions?

This is a gentle discipline forum, and I see nothing gentle about this method whatsoever.
Because when you break the rules and expectations of society people react negatively, which conditions members of society to behave within a certain social standard.

And, FWIW, there's nothing DISCIPLINE related about not teaching exactly that to the child.

Gentle Discipline means teaching without violence (to oversimplify). To discipline is to make a disciple of, to teach and instruct.

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The natural consequence of spitting at people is that people will dislike and avoid you. I'm not willing to let my children experience that consequence, so I intervene with a logical consequence that closely approximates the natural one. If you cannot behave in an appropriate manner around other people, you lose the opportunity to be around them. Yes, you *also* have to teach them a different way to deal with their emotions, but sometimes the teaching alone isn't enough at that moment and you have to actually physically prevent the action from reoccuring. If a child is throwing a toy, you can prevent that by removing the toy. If they are hitting or spitting, the only way to prevent it is to remove them from the person they are attacking (or have that person leave).

It's not about punishment or making them suffer- it's about giving them the time and space to attempt to reestablish control of their own bodies.
The *only* thing I slightly disagree with here is that I would, in the OP's situation, encourage the person being spat on to immediately say to the child "spitting is yucky, I don't like it!" and walk away from the child. My child would be crushed, I'm sure, but that is a fast lesson in how people feel when treated so disrespectfully and I am very supportive of natural consequences. If a child spat on me (mine or otherwise) I would say exactly the same thing. There's nothing non-gentle about setting and enforcing boundaries.

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I love ds unconditionally, but I do not love and accept all of his behavior unconditionally. There is a difference, and learning this distinction is a key part of healthy relationships as we grow up. I think stopping a behavior because it offends people, and makes them not want to be near you, is a good reason to stop this kind of behavior (spitting in a person's face). In my experience, ds did not feel unloved, he felt like I was being real with him. I agree, we need to be teaching--and it may be semantics or just perception as to which part of a response is teaching vs. punitive.
Well said, I agree.

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But we as parents (or leaders), we should be about teaching. Not how the world would react as a natural consequence if they were to do this to a stranger. This might be completely appropriate for an older child, but in my opinion, such punishments should never be put upon a young child, who is still learning about "the ways of life".

If your child were to hit you, would you hit them back? Probably not, but this is exactly what a natural consequence would be if they were to get into a fight at school.
My bolds. What is wrong with teaching a 3yo how the rest of society will react (her gma included) when/if she spits on them? I don't understand how gentle discipline in ANY way correlates to protecting them from the results of their behaviors, positive or negative.

And no one is suggesting the child be spat on. That wouldn't be gentle, nor would it teach anything except repeating the child's behavior is appropriate.

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#55 of 90 Old 02-03-2010, 09:29 PM
 
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Gentle Discipline means teaching without violence (to oversimplify). To discipline is to make a disciple of, to teach and instruct.
Emotional, or physical?
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#56 of 90 Old 02-03-2010, 09:37 PM
 
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I find I don't like isolation/withdrawal either.

One thing that seems to work is to focus on the victim first. I think it takes a lot of wind out of their sails when you come rushing across the room, making noises and saying, "Oh, gosh mom! Are you okay? Can I get anything for you?" And give her a big hug and don't even acknowledge the perpetrator for a solid moment.

Then what I would do is turn to the child and say something clear and short, such as, "That was very disrespectful and hurtful to your grandma. We can talk about our anger and we can feel angry, but we do not spit in faces."

This works when little kids hit/bite each other, too.

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#57 of 90 Old 02-03-2010, 10:14 PM
 
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Emotional, or physical?
It's not emotionally violent to say what I suggested above. To say "you bad naughty child, how dare you! Go away!" would be hurtful and wrong. There's a HUGE difference.

It bothers me that the focus seems to be a higher concern for the person who committed the offense, than the person who was on the receiving end. Especially when the offender is my own child, it's even more so my responsibility to teach them immediately that treating others so disrespectfully is completely and utterly unacceptable. And it would be disrespectful to the offended person to do otherwise as well.

ETA: It is my job to prepare my child to succeed in the 'real world' on their own, beginning in small steps even as a young child. To presume and behave as if my child is too fragile to experience the consequences and reactions from their own behavior (positive or negative) is an inappropriate parenting perspective, IMHO.

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#58 of 90 Old 02-04-2010, 03:56 AM
 
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I think that the most healing thing for me was realizing that I didn't have to do anything in those sorts of situations.

I think the hardest thing about the punishment mindset is the nearly compulsive feeling that I *must* do something to react.

In what you describe, I think I'd likely say something like, "Oh man, mom, I'm so sorry that happened. Can I make you a cup of tea?"
I can understand taking preventative measures. And in some cases I do think we just "do something" or punish just because we feel pressure to, especially from other people (like people who just got spit on). But in this situation I think there would definitely need to be a boundary set. Could you please explain to me the advantage of "not doing anything." and is there any situation where you personally would feel the need to "do something?"
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#59 of 90 Old 02-04-2010, 06:55 AM
 
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We do time outs but dd1 controls how long she is in time out. When she is calm and ready to talk about and apologize she may rejoin the family. She is almost 3 and very verbal. She hasn't spit at us yet but she occasionally hits me or dd2. I often ask her if she would like it if I did that to her. She usually says no and then I explain that I feel the same way so she should not hit me.

I come from a family that spanked and it is my relfex reaction after the 10th time of telling someone to stop. But i fight it. I am not perfect, there have been times when its a really bad day, I am sleep deprived or sick and dd1 is just pushing and pushing and I have hit splapped her hand or something. I apoogize afterwards and we talk about it. I don't feel like I was abused for the occasioanl spanking but I also know that it is not the best way or the most effective and respectful way to teach children. How can I tell her not to hit if I hit, ykwim?

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#60 of 90 Old 02-04-2010, 07:17 AM
 
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Hmm, I guess i feel isolation is warranted because spitting is a really big deal to me. It's not like chucking a toy or even hitting (in as much as DD CAN hit, at nearly 4). If she spit on the bus driver she would face a criminal charge in this city (there was an 8 year old permanently banned from all city transport and sent to the Children's Panel last month for spitting, granted on more than one occasion, at his school bus driver - the drivers carry dna swab kits for that in this city and it is regarded and treated as assault).

If DD ever spit on me my priority would be to communicate VERY memorably that it is in. no. way. acceptable, no matter what she is feeling, no matter what i have asked of her. It is the sort of aggressive behaviour i would personally save to escape from an attacker who had already gotten hold of me. Not someone who wanted me to go to bed.

Punishment versus consequent is semantics to me - if DD spit in her best friends face her best friend would avoid her like the plague, to punish her for spitting in their face. THAT punishment from the friend, one of ostracising, would be a natural consequence, but also a change of behaviour or circumstance to attempt to modify DD's feelings or behaviour towards that friend - a punishment. I am not against showing her the results of her actions, i just simultaneously try to model the sort of behaviour i think is acceptable. It is acceptable to me to remove one's self from someone who spat in my face, but not to hit them. So yes, i will get away from her, but not hit her.

I find the repeated posts about talking, understanding and relating to one's child somewhat ridiculous. I've been raising her nearly 4 years, full time. We do understand one another! We talk all the time and relate well enough that she's never actually spat in anyone's face. I actually know parents who smack who have incredibly close relationships with their kids, with kids who feel they can rely on their parents and turn to them, it's not what i want to do because i think it doesn't work, but i also don't believe that one cannot simultaneously use punishment as a parenting tool (or consequences if you'd prefer to call it that) and be a good, loving parent. The bigger picture is so important in this context. I would absolutely react as i've detailed to spitting. There is probably nothing else which would bring this response - perhaps the second violent act against a much smaller defenceless child (again, she's never done this) would warrant this. For extreme behaviour she gets an extreme reaction - from me, from the general world. The difference is that after *I* have walked off disgusted, washed my face, and avoided her until i've calmed down, i'm her Mama still, we're going to talk about it, make up, and in a few minutes she gets a new clean slate with me. I love her, she knows i love her. She is very secure in this, my demonstrating that her ACTIONS are not loveable doesn't translate into ME not loving HER. She doesn't get that with the rest of the world, the consequences for acting in this sort of way towards other people are potentially far more long-lasting. For me it's my JOB to teach her what she should expect if she acts in a given way - including being told how wonderful and helpful she is when she is - not my job to rationalise her every action with the feeling behind it. Understanding why she spat does not, in almost any situation, mitigate what she has done. She is a very verbal child, and she uses it well to test boundaries. If i demonstrated no disgust but began talking to her about how she mustn't spit but is she angry she would invent descriptions for 10 different kinds of spitting and try them all out to see if i really meant it. I have to parent the kid in front of me, she benefits from a dialogue on so many grey areas, but for black and white issues like this she does far better with very clear boundaries.

Of COURSE, with all the hundreds of kinds of person in the world, and all of us parenting little individuals YMMV.

Yes, i'm really strict/harsh/mean by some standards. But i have a really good thing going with my kid here, i feel strongly i'm on the right track for us. I am fully prepared for the new baby to arrive in June requiring a completely different approach, which is why this place is so great, because i am pretty much guaranteed that whatever kind of kid i get next one of you wise mama's will had encountered and overcome whatever problems i have.
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